Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Knight Ridder Questions Bush Administration Honesty on Iraq

Knight Ridder continues to be among the strongest news organizations in providing the truth about Iraq. Joseph Galloway, senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder questions the honesty of administration claims that troops will return from Iraq in time for the 2006 elections:

Send out the general to suggest the draw-down is imminent, even as the Pentagon is announcing that between now and the end of the year we will actually increase the number of American troops on the ground in Iraq to secure the ratification of Iraq’s new constitution and election of its new parliament.

Some divisions nearing the end of their latest 12 months in Hell will find they are being extended for another month or two or three. Some divisions preparing to rotate back into Iraq for the second or even third time may find their departures moved up correspondingly. The overlap is the buildup.

It amounts to a stealth increase of forces in Iraq, done on the cheap, while simultaneously sending a signal to American voters that a reduction in U.S. forces -especially all those National Guard and Reserve troops who have borne a heavy and deadly burden in this war and whose families back home are voters - is just around the corner.

It’s enough to make a cynic of Mother Teresa.

The old saw has it that truth is the first casualty of war. In this war the truth was murdered in cold blood well before the war ever began, and it continues to die the death of a thousand cuts every day.

The president says we are going to stay in Iraq until the mission is actually accomplished as opposed to the photo op “mission accomplished” charade staged on that aircraft carrier flight deck when the real war was only just beginning, in May of 2003.

Everyone concedes that only the Iraqi people and government can win this war. It isn’t ours to win, but it has always been ours to lose.

So how are the Iraqis doing?

The optimists say that we have trained, armed and equipped a 200,000-strong Iraqi security force that can increasingly take over the job of pursuing the insurgents and terrorists. The pessimists say that, in fact, the new Iraqi force is heavily infiltrated by the very people that are the enemy, and it is so poorly trained and led that perhaps no more than 5,000 of them can be trusted to operate independently without constant American support and in company with American troops.

The insurgents, the same ones Vice President Dick Cheney declared to be in the last throes of defeat, stage ever larger suicide bombings and use ever bigger roadside bombs to kill even more American soldiers and Marines.

In two days of horror a Marine Reserve unit from Ohio lost 20 men, a few killed in a shoot-out in the open with the insurgents, but most in an IED attack that took out the vehicle the Marines were riding in -an amphibious tractor, essentially an unarmored antiquated relic of the Vietnam war that was never intended to operate more than a few hundred yards off a landing beach.

It can be fairly stated that many of America’s 1,800 dead and 14,000 wounded were killed because they were riding in unarmored or lightly armored vehicles that are totally inappropriate to the nature of the war and enemy we are fighting.


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