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BOB HERBERT: Another Thousand Lives

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    Another Thousand Lives By BOB HERBERT January 4, 2007 http://mparent7777-2.blogspot.com/2007/01/another-thousand-lives-bob-herbert.html How long can this go
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 5, 2007
      Another Thousand Lives
      January 4, 2007

      How long can this go on?

      Saddam is dead. The weapons of mass destruction were a mirage. More
      than 3,000 American G.I.s and scores of thousands of Iraqis have been
      killed. Voters in the United States have made it clear that they no
      longer support American involvement in this exercise in sustained
      barbarism. Incredibly, the U.S. military itself is turning against the

      And yet the president, against the counsel of his commanders on the
      ground, apparently is ready to escalate — to send more American lives
      into the fire he set in Iraq.

      In a devastating critique of the war, the newsweekly Army Times led
      its current edition with the headline: "About-Face on the War — After
      3 years of support, troops sour on Iraq." The article detailed a
      Military Times Poll that found, for the first time, that "more troops
      disapprove of the president's handling of the war than approve of it."

      Only a third of the service members surveyed approved of the
      president's conduct of the war, while 42 percent disapproved. Perhaps
      worse was the finding that only half of the troops believed that
      success in Iraq was likely.

      The service members made it clear that they were not attacking their
      commander in chief personally. His overall approval rating remained
      high. What has turned them off has been the wretched reality of the
      war. In the article, David Segal, director of the Center for Research
      on Military Organization at the University of Maryland, said, "They're
      seeing more casualties and fatalities and less progress."

      In other words, they're seeing the same thing everybody else is seeing
      — except, perhaps, Mr. Bush.

      On New Year's Day, readers of The New York Times could see the
      excruciating photo layout of the latest 1,000 American service members
      to die in Iraq. As in all wars, most of them were young. Many of them
      were smiling in the photos. All of them died unnecessarily.

      The war has been an exercise in futility and mind-boggling
      incompetence, and yet our involvement continues — with no end in
      sight, no plans for withdrawal, no idea of where we might be headed —
      as if the U.S. had fallen into some kind of bizarrely destructive
      trance from which it is unable to awaken.

      And who is paying the price for this insanity — apart from ordinary
      Iraqis, who are paying the most grievous price of all? The burden of
      the war in the U.S. is being shouldered overwhelmingly by a contingent
      of Americans whom no one would categorize as economically privileged.

      As Lizette Alvarez and Andrew Lehren wrote in Monday's Times:

      "The service members who died during this latest period fit an
      unchanging profile. They were mostly white men from rural areas,
      soldiers so young they still held fresh memories of high school
      football heroics and teenage escapades. Many men and women were in
      Iraq for the second or third time. Some were going on their fourth,
      fifth or sixth deployment."

      There is no way that this can be justified. It is just wrong.

      I've said many times that if a war is worth fighting the way to do it
      is to mobilize the entire country, drawing the warriors from as wide a
      swath of the population as possible and raising taxes on everyone as
      part of an all-out effort to defeat a common enemy.

      This war is not worth fighting. And if there were ever serious talk
      about enacting a draft or raising taxes to fight it, you'd see quickly
      enough that the vast majority of Americans would not find it worth

      There must be a leader somewhere who can shake the U.S. out of this
      tragic hypnotic state, who can see that it is beyond crazy to continue
      our involvement in this war indefinitely, to sacrifice another 1,000
      young lives, and then another thousand after that.

      All of the tortured, twisted rationales for this war — all of the
      fatuous intellectual pyrotechnics dreamed up to justify it — have
      vaporized, and we're left with just the mad, mindless, meaningless and
      apparently endless slaughter.

      Shakespeare, in "Henry VI," said: "Now thou art come unto a feast of

      We should end our participation in the feast of death in Iraq. It is
      criminal to continue feeding our troops into the slaughter.

      If there were politicians here at home with some of the courage of the
      troops in the field, we could begin saving lives rather than watching
      helplessly as the Bush White House continues to sacrifice them. Three
      thousand and counting is enough.


      Key Senate Democrats support Bush troop escalation



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