For several days, I've been contemplating what to write as still another year unfolds for the War in Iraq, which by all standards of sane measurements appears to be raging out of control from just about every aspect you consider. It seems the American people appear to be watching a very different movie than President BUSH. Today, he boasted of "signs of progress of the security crackdown" in Baghdad. Look at the military death toll YTD through the first 19 days of March and compare the same period year-to-year and PROGRESS isn't selling.
JAN 2007- MARCH 19
217 American military lives LOST
8 Other coalition forces
4197 Iraq Security Forces and Civilian Deaths (based only on confirmed news reports; actual is higher)
In 2006, for this same period the same totals were 2880
2007 totals are up by 150% year-to-year
President BUSH's comments apparently demonstrated still another change in his rhetoric from speeches he made in past anniversaries of the war. As we enter the 5th year, he not talkin' victory anymore, just resolve. NPR reflected on previous years promises today. In 2005, Bush said, "The victory of freedom in Iraq is strengthening a new ally in the war on terror, and inspiring democratic reformers from Beirut to Tehran." It is hard to credit him or his wars for "inspiring" anything but violence, killing and destruction and weakening our country --- no embarrassing our country and shaming it with a long list of lies, waste, mismanagement of our assets and other countries assets...oh, it is easy to go on.
In 2006, Bush said, "We are implementing a strategy that will lead to victory in Iraq… and victory in Iraq will make this country more secure." This year, after destroying neighborhoods, leading the charge that has killed and maimed thousands and displaced an estimated 2 million people, driven our military readiness in the ground, under-paid and shamefully mistreats our returning soldiers, it is clear that this goal was not achieved either. This year, he has changed his tone:
"Until Baghdad's citizens feel secure in their own homes and neighborhoods, it will be difficult for Iraqis to make further progress toward political reconciliation or economic rebuilding, steps necessary for Iraq to build a democratic society."
The words sound hollow. I wish for our country, soldiers and citizens and for all of Iraq we had more to offer than the emptiness of words.
However, I recognize that I am really not in a position to judge from experience when it comes to war. So, again, instead of pointing fingers, I pulled a highly credible book from my bookshelf today --- one that seems to cut across our all our differences, asking us to take pause from our unique vantage points in the world --- to consider the point of view from veteran of another war with the medals and honors that earned him the right to ask for our willingness to listen, think and question at least for a moment the realities of WAR:
"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. ...It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small "inside" group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes (current day example).
...It would have been far cheaper (not to say saver) for the average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred to the people --- who do not profit.
I spent 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a high-class muscle-man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism"
--- Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler
Author, War is a Racket Read it FREE
written by America's Most Decorated Soldier, 1935
So how do you feel about the war at this moment in time?
author and founder
Global Dialogue Center and Leadership Solutions Companies