Yesterday while speaking to a group of military wives in Washington, Mr. Bush said, “This war will require more sacrifice, more time and more resolve.”
Of course this speech of pre-emptive consolation to the news of the 2,000th death was not in vain, as the announcement came but a few hours after his speech at the air force base.
I wonder how many of those military wives recall what Mr. Bush said 1,794 dead US soldiers ago when he proudly announced, “Bring ‘em on” back on July 2, 2003?
Of course Mr. Bush went off yesterday about spreading freedom and laying foundations for peace as the bombs continue to drop in Iraq. He even went so far as to claim that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is the head of the Iraqi resistance.
“Each loss of life is heartbreaking,” he told the wives. But how would he know? A person who was a deserter during Vietnam and who would never allow his daughters to serve in Iraq, how could he know?
So now we continue the death march towards the 3,000 mark, with the announcement of another dead US soldier bringing the official tally to 2,001. With 159,000 US soldiers in Iraq now (remember when it was 138,000?) the tally will only continue to grow.
Yet the number of dead US soldiers still pales in comparison to the number of Iraqis dying, including Iraqi police and soldiers.
Even today two Iraqi policemen (IP) were killed in Ramadi when their police station was attacked, while in the “model city” of Fallujah, three IP’s were killed by a roadside bomb.
Also today, four gagged and bound bodies of three Iraqis wearing army uniforms and one of a contractor working with a US company were found with gunshots in their heads and chests.
Mr. Bush uses one of his favorite words, “resolve,” despite the fact that two days ago one of the largest suicide bombings to occur in Baghdad detonated between the Palestine and Sheraton hotels. The bomb, transported inside a cement truck, was carefully driven through a hole in the perimeter concrete barrier which was created by a car bomb just minutes earlier.
Reported in most major media outlets as an attack against journalists, what wasn’t reported is that there is a large number of security contractors (read-mercenaries) who use these hotels, and it is well known in Baghdad that the penthouse of the Sheraton is used by contractors and CIA operatives. That very room has been the target of rocket attacks as far back as December, 2003.
Thus, aside from targeting the US government-funded Al-Hurra TV station and the Fox propaganda outlet in the 18-story Palestine Hotel, journalists were exploited by the attack which generated massive media attention.
Killing at least 17 people, the attack sent a very clear message to the occupiers of Iraq-nowhere is safe; even in one of the most heavily guarded hotel complexes in Baghdad they are completely vulnerable.
The idea of political stability seems more of a pipe dream in Iraq now than it did before the recent vote on the constitution, which has been rejected by Arab Sunni leaders who called the process “fraudulent” yesterday.
Hinting at things to come in December, Sunni leader Saleh Mutlaq told reporters; “Violence is not the only solution, if politics offers solutions so that we can move in that direction. But there is very little hope that we can make any gains in the elections.”
Hussein al-Falluji, another prominent Sunni politician said the referendum was manipulated by Washington and added, “We all know that this referendum was fraud conducted by an electoral commission that is not independent. It is controlled by the occupying Americans and it should step down before elections in December.”
He and other Sunnis have called for a truly independent election commission (the head of Iraq’s current electoral commission was appointed by the US) for the December election, but added, “Politics is linked directly to security on the ground. The situation can only get worse now. I have just prayed to God to expose the truth about what is happening in Iraq.”
What will it take for a US withdrawal? Because with this “administration” in power, there is a guaranteed three more years of occupation in Iraq; and by then, 2,000 dead US soldiers will not seem like such a large number.