Wednesday, May 30, 2007

For What?

Here's a taste of the news items out of Iraq today:

According to, 116 American troops have been killed in Iraq for the first 28 days of of this month, making May the bloodiest month for U.S. troops since November 2004 when 137 troops were killed during the second battle for Fallujah. The first battle for Fallujah killed 135 troops in April 2004.

According to the Associated Press, gunmen in Samarra set up fake checkpoints on the outside of the city and abducted more than 40 people, most of them soldiers, police officers and members of two tribes that had banded together against local insurgents.

Also according to the AP, 120 people were either reported killed or found dead nationwide on Tuesday. 35 bodies were found in a mass grave in Diyala Province.

Also according to the AP, mortar attacks in Fallujah killed 9 people. The mortar attacks were aimed at an American base but missed the targets and hit in a residential area instead.

According to Reuters, At least 23 people were killed and 68 others wounded when a powerful bomb in a parked bus exploded in central Baghdad while At least 18 people were killed and 41 wounded when a car bomb exploded in a busy market of a mainly Shi'ite neighbourhood in southwestern Baghdad.

Also according to Reuters, the bodies of 21 people were found shot dead in two different sections of Baquba.

And Britain confirmed that 5 British citizens were abducted from the Finance Ministry in central Baghdad by gunmen dressed in police uniforms. A 19 car convoy was used to cart the abducted Brits away from the scene.

The Washington Post notes how Preznut Bush, citing the new American military strategy of putting more American troops on the streets and in small combat outposts, said last week that this August "could be bloody."

To which I ask, "Bloodier than May?"

Because if that is so, than the preznut is going to have Republican support for this war - the only thing keeping the war going - crumble under his feet.

If Democrats could have garnered enough GOP support in the Iraq war funding bill fight to overcome a veto threat, they would have certainly added withdrawal timelines to the bill.

They didn't have veto-proof majorities in either the House (where they have a 30 seat majority) or the Senate (where they don't even have a majority - Joe Lieberman supports the war and Tim Johnson is still sick) so they bowed to the preznut and gave him exactly what he wanted in the funding bill.

But the funding will have to be revisited in September and a long, bloody summer in Iraq is going to peel away Repubs.

The NY Times says that process is already happening as GOP voters are turning against the war in larger numbers than ever before:

WILMETTE, Ill., May 29 — Through four elections, Debbie Thompson has supported Representative Mark Steven Kirk, a Republican and staunch backer of the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq.

But Ms. Thompson, a mother of two from this affluent suburb of Chicago, says her views on the war have evolved, and she now wants Mr. Kirk to change, too.

“My patience for this war, it’s run out,” said Ms. Thompson, 53. “I think this is the most expensive, stupidest thing ever done. My frustration has reached a level that is so unsettling, something has to be done.”

Though voters here in the 10th Congressional District have elected a Republican to the House for as long as anyone can remember, there is a newfound hostility about the war that is being directed toward Mr. Kirk, who was narrowly re-elected to a fourth term last November.

Nor is Mr. Kirk alone in his struggle to appease increasingly restless constituents. He and 10 other Republicans in Congress recently delivered a warning to President Bush that conditions in Iraq needed to improve soon because public support of the war was crumbling.

While a majority of Republican voters continue to support Mr. Bush and the Iraq war, including the recent increase in American troops deployed, there are concerns that the war is undermining the party’s political position. A majority of Republicans who were interviewed for a New York Times/CBS News poll this month said that things were going badly in Iraq and that Congress should allow financing only on the condition that the Iraqi government met benchmarks for progress.

In a poll in March, a majority of Republicans said that a candidate who backed Mr. Bush’s war policies would be at a decided disadvantage in 2008. They also suggested that they were open to supporting a candidate who broke with the president on the war.

You can bet that all the wheedling, cajoling and threatening that Karl Rove, Josh Bolten and the other Bush people can do to keep Repubs on board with the preznut's war policy is going to be a lot harder if June, July, and August are as bloody as May or bloodier.

It's unfortunate that we have to go through the sham of making believe we're giving the surge a chance to work wonders on conditions in Iraq when everybody pretty much knows it's not working and it's not going to work given the numbers of additional troops that were added.

It's even more unfortunate that the only reason politicians aren't pulling the plug on the war funding is political - Repubs want to stick with their preznut as near to the end as they can while Dems don't want to be tarred by Rove and Company as "surrender monkeys" and the "reason why the Iraq war was lost" (because you know that an American public dumb enough to buy the b.s. reasons for this stupid war in the first place and fickled enough to turn against it are also dumb enough to want Dems to cut off the war funding so the war can end but also fickled enough to blame Dems for doing it and then vote Republican for the next generation or two.)

And the truth of the matter is that whether we pull out tomorrow or 5 years from now, Iraq is coming apart in a horrific explosion of violence.

Which is the most unfortunate part of all of this - that all of the lives we spent on this war and all of the money and American prestige - will mean nothing when we pull out and Iraq devolves into an unrefereed civil war.

POSTSCRIPT: According to this Daily Kos diary, NY Times reporter told Anderson Cooper last night on CNN that the the American people should be prepared to see as many as a million Iraqis die in the aftermath of an American military drawdown.

That will make this bloody May look like a vacation in Disneyland.

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