Sunday, May 08, 2005

No End In Sight

By my count, eight more U.S. troops were killed in Iraq this weekend.

The extent to which Iraq has fallen out of the national consciousness absolutely astounds me. If the current casualty rate continues, by the end of this year we will have lost almost two thousand troops there, with many thousands more suffering serious permanent injuries such as loss of hands, arms, feet, legs, and eyes. The level of overall violence is at its highest level since the war started, with car bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations all skyrocketing. A longtime friend of mine---a 40 year-old veteran of Desert Storm and other operations who was recalled from civilian life almost two years ago and remains in Iraq---calls the situation there a "FUBAR clusterfuck" and says morale is extremely low.

Meanwhile, our political and military leaders continue to take periodic but short-lived mission-accomplished-redux "victory laps"--dutifully reported by a passive, compliant and ultimately complicit mainstream media.

I have a longer post I want to write about Iraq, and I will try to do that during the next few days.


Anonymous jim in austin said...

"FUBAR clusterfuck"

Somewhat redundant since FUBAR, for the younger ones amongst us, is "Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition".

Iraq is being Afghanistaned into media obscurity, probably by design. I would have to imagine there will be some concern if it is still hanging around in '06 and there will be absolute panic if it is still getting troops killed as '08 approaches. I expect we will "declare a victory" and get the hell out of Dodge ala Dick Nixon should the latter be the case...

5/08/2005 7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When will the guard and reservists finish their 2 years, which will *require* them to come home?

5/08/2005 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fellow reservist started this site:

At least he is doing something positive to help.

Incredibly it doesn't even seem like there is a war going on.

So where do you think will be next: Iran, N. Korea, Syria, Pakistan, S Arabia, Haiti, Russia or some place in S. America?

Was listening to Think Tank talking about more people are living in some sort Democracy today than ever before --- certainly we didn't pull an Iraq on all of these. So in time, would Iraq or the Middle East have gone that way without war which included destruction of what infrastructure and order there was, dirty and cluster bombs?

5/08/2005 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no such thing as "have to come home". Current law is that reservists shouldn't serve more than 24 months on active duty. However, the standard enlistment contract says flat out, "The following statements are not promises or guarantees of any kind. They explain some of the present laws affecting the Armed Forces which I cannot change but which Congress can change at any time." So, guess what happens if the U.S. needs troops and a substantial number of reservists have hit that 2-year limit? That's right, boys and girls, it magically becomes a 4-year limit or a 6-year limit or a 10-year limit.

5/08/2005 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to think we'd have to declare victory and go home in 2005 or 2006. But it looks like the american people can tolerate an american soldier's death or two a day indefinitely. Certainly the media helps by barely covering Iraq any more, but really, is there anything new to report? Car bomb goes off. Old news.

So maybe it will be going on like this well into 2008, 2010, who knows. Perhaps when the ayatollahs feel strong enough that they no longer need us we will be asked to leave.

5/08/2005 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is my understanding that we are not coming home. Rumsfeld said it himself when he said look who is relevant (middle east and eastern europe). We are spending major resources in building permanent bases in Iraq. I don't know what that means for reservists.

Should we have gone to war without an exit plan?

5/09/2005 1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Beyond the Euphrates began for us the land of mirage and danger, the sands where one helplessly sank, and the roads which ended in nothing. The slightest reversal would have resulted in a jolt to our prestige giving rise to all kinds of catastrophe; the problem was not only to conquer but to conquer again and again, perpetually; our forces would be drained off in the attempt."

Emperor Hadrian AD 117-138

5/09/2005 4:45 AM  
Blogger David Studhalter said...

I am, as my own rarely visited blog announces, a lifelong, proud, patriotic liberal. And I appreciate CR's views, many, if not most of which I agree with. So, this begs the question, with the usual semantic creep having turned the meaning of conservative into something quite different from what it once meant, is it realistic of CR to continue to call himself a conservative? I ask this provocative question because the Radcons are doing more than asking it... they're accusing our host of being a plant of the Democratic National Committee (which for them is the equivalent of calling someone a "Fifth Columnist" back in the McCarthy era).

5/09/2005 12:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem in Iraq is that the war is over and we lost, and lost huge. (If you're just waking up from a coma, this happened a couple of years ago.) When soccer hooligans storm the field after the game, do the refs come back and adjust the score? No.

The big-picture problem with Iraq is the American term "insurgent" as applied to literally anyone who uses kinetic energy to oppose American colonization of the country, which wouldn't be so bad, except that we use the word in front of grown-ups from other countries who hold the heretical belief that geopolitics is a closed system where pyramid power and The Force have no real effect on the deeply held beliefs of people who don't like you to begin with, and like you even less every single time you take a giant crap on them.

5/09/2005 1:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two things: One, then you have John Tierneys moronic diatribe in todays NYT that maybe we need to quit focusing so much attention on suicide bombers because its just gotten so mundane. Ignore it and it will go away.

Two: Like Putin or not, he was right when he said that even though he desperately opposed US action in Iraq, now that we are their the US must see it through. He went on to say that it would be even a bigger faux pax to make the first mistake of entering that war then make a second mistake of just pulling out without establishing some form of peace.

5/10/2005 12:52 PM  
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