Sunday, June 18, 2006

Facta non verba

It seems the Bush Administration’s only (and utterly predictable) contribution to our Iraq war strategy is still to insist that “we” stay the course, in spite of the fact that dogged persistence using a losing strategy in the face of continual failure does not connote courage but only insanity. But it’s when he insists that “the sacrifice” is worth it that I cannot keep from gagging.

Perhaps if he was in any way one of the “sacrificers” instead of merely being the self-anointed “decider,” he’d have the right to say something about “our” sacrifice. But as it stands, his only “contribution” is to continue feeding our country’s youth (and some not so youthful) into the maw of this meat grinder. This is not sacrifice on his part; this is mere boy’s play, lining up the lead soldiers on the edge of the precipice and pushing them off the edge.

I might be a bit more forgiving if only there were some news of progress being made through the sacrifice of our troops, but it only, ever, gets worse. More troops die, so that they can be referred to by Bush’s Press Secretary as “a number,” while their lives and their potential contributions to society are lost, and the lives of their families are shattered forever. And for what?

Meanwhile, some in Congress have said for the record that they are OK with the provision of amnesty to Iraqis who have killed US troops, while our troops are still in country—WHAT??? Can there be a way to provide LESS support to our troops than to provide amnesty to those who kill them, what, so they can kill some more???

It is obvious that the lives of these young men and women mean absolutely nothing to those who are responsible for the danger that they face and their deaths and grave injuries. Our GOP-run Congress does not even care to provide sufficient funding for their care when they return home, battered and broken. But these stay-the-course fanatics are all front and center when it’s their own raises they’re voting on, and they’ll spout platitudes about sacrifice and courage until the cows come home, in spite of having no acquaintance with either.

Meanwhile, here are some excerpts from a report of life at the American Embassy in Baghdad......
An Arab newspaper editor told us he is preparing an extensive survey of ethnic cleansing, which he said is taking place in almost every Iraqi province, as political parties and their militias are seemingly engaged in tit-for-tat reprisals all over Iraq.

Personal safety depends on good relations with the ‘neighborhood’ governments, who barricade streets and ward off outsiders. The central government, our staff says, is not relevant; even local mukhtars have been displaced or co-opted by militias. People no longer trust most neighbors.

Embassy employees are held in such low esteem their work must remain a secret and they live with constant fear that their cover will be blown. Of nine staffers, only four have told their families where they work. They all plan for their possible abductions.

Since April, the “demeanor” of guards in the Green Zone has changed, becoming more “militia-like,” and some are now “taunting” embassy personnel or holding up their credentials and saying loudly that they work in the embassy: “Such information is a death sentence if overheard by the wrong people.”

For at least six months, we have not been able to use any local staff members for translation at on-camera press events....We cannot call employees in on weekends or holidays without blowing their ‘cover.’

Another employee tell us that life outside the Green Zone has become ‘emotionally draining.’ He lives in a mostly Shiite area and claims to attend a funeral ‘every evening.’

Fuel lines have grown so long that one staffer spent 12 hours in line on his day off.

[Employees’] personal fears are reinforcing divisive sectarian or ethnic channels, despite talk of reconciliation by officials.”
It seems appropriate to close with the following (inherited from my grandfather, who learned all about trench warfare in WWI France). It translates as “deeds not words,” and in the end, that’s all that matters.


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