Gen. Peter Schoomaker,
Chief of Staff of the Army, was almost apologetic in his announcement that he was stocking his cupboards for another four years of war in Iraq.
"It's just that I have to have enough ammo in the magazine that I can continue to shoot as long as they want us to shoot."
He cautioned that he was not predicting that things would get worse or that they would be there, but the nations top generals are becoming more vocal in their assessment that we are not leaving Iraq anytime soon.
Meanwhile, the debate over the methodology
of the study of Iraqi civilian casualties in the recent Lancet article continues. This is the same methodology used to determine death rates in regions like Darfur, and in presidential poling. Even if the low end estimate is used, the the numbers we have been given by the Bush administration are off by an order of magnitude.
It is a damned inconvenience for us to have to put our toothpaste and shampoo in plastic bags and take off our shoes to fly across the country to visit mom. It is frightening to see our right of Habeus Corpus suspended for the first time since the Constitution was written, our citizens now subject to warrantless searches and detention without trial on suspicion of terrorism.
It is the reality every day in Baghdad that you may be killed by an IED, kidnapped, tortured held and executed by militia groups and police alike. Regardless of whether it is 600,000, 400,000 or 50,000, Iraqi citizens are dying in greater numbers everyday. It has to be demoralizing to read that the US army is preparing to be in country until 2010, even if it is just precautionary. We cannot begin to know what is in the minds of the average Iraqi, but we can imagine how soul-crushing it must be to face the horrors of death counts every day. When they look to us and ask how this happened, and who is responsible, what is our response? Donald Rumsfeld
, when asked whether he bore any responsibility for the mistakes in Iraq, said,"...why do we have to keep going through this? Of course I bear responsibility, my lord, I'm the Secretary of Defense. Write it down, quote it. You can bank on it."
That was no apology, it was the snippy answer of an aggravated adolescent.
We are not the ones whose cities are being blown apart, who have no running water, no electricity for days on end when substations are targeted. We are not the ones who were promised an end to political imprisonments and torture only to find the police trained by their new occupiers refilling the same prisons and using the same methods as the old regime.
Given this atmosphere of unrelenting terrorism, and our lack of sympathy for their continued suffering, is it any wonder that Iraqis would like to see the Americans leave? Yet we refuse to give them any sliver of hope, any notion that we will ever go away.
There is a Buddhist saying, "Not to decide is to decide". To say that outlining an exit strategy for Iraq is giving "the terrorists" a plan that they can use to their advantage is poor logic. We submit to you that not having an exit strategy is a plan in and of itself. Having no clear exit strategy is as good as announcing that you plan to occupy the country indefinitely. Any announcements to the contrary won't be believed because they are not backed up with timetables. It's just like when your parents said, "We'll see."
Mr. Bush, you told us you were "The Decider". Stop hiding behind a failed and illogical tactic. Make a decision, if you can.
(crossposted to lj democrats)