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Sunday, March 19, 2006

3 Years of War

2318 dead
March 19, 2003-March 19, 2006

As I ate breakfast yesterday morning, eggs, bacon, french toast, I sipped from a glass of iced tea, the new york kind which always comes unsweetened, I was looking through the Daily News. I usually leave the Times for the internets.

So as I ate, and watched a three year old tell her grandmother about her "breasteses", I read the paper.

Not too far in the paper was a story about an incident in a Queens school. It seems a parent ran into a kid who was bullying his son. He grabbed him up and told him to leave the kid alone. Nothing too weird for New York.

Until.....he pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot the child if he messed with his son again.

Which even in New York, is insane.

The man ran off and then turned himself in at the local precinct.

OK. So why am I telling you about this story? I normally post these things on my blog, but this isn't a local interest story.

The man was an ICE criminal investigator who had spent a year in Iraq with the 69th Infantry as a staff sergeant. The NY Post reported today that he'd had nightmares and looked for help for months. They lost 19 dead, eight in one week.

The Oregonian is running a series on vets with PTSD. A national guardsman flipped out and was arrested in front of his children. He needed his gun and his wife wouldn't give it to him. He also needed help, and he didn't get that either.

His life after Iraq went from bad to worse to jail.

One out of every six Iraq war veterans will suffer some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of it may not show for years.

From the day we crossed the Iraqi frontier, the war has been ongoing. There has never been a day of peace. All of the progress, elections, an Iraqi Army has been illusory. Because the fact is that the day we entered Baghdad, we undid a century's worth of work.

Between the Ottomans, the British and various Iraqi dictators, their twin goals have been to control the Kurds and supress the Shia.

Well, George Bush undid that.

He guaranteed, from the first Humvee which crossed the frontier, that a civil war would eventually result. Ken Pollack, who's godawful dung pile of a book, the Threatening Storm, ramped up support for the war among people who should have known better, never once, ever, considered the strategic issues of Iraq.

Saddam had a 12,000 man personal bodyguard for a reason. There wasn't a day where he couldn't have been killed.

The Kurds had fought the Iraqi government since the mid-1960's, the Shia rose in 1991. Why did the neocons think these people wanted a unified Iraq?

Dick Cheney said his statement about the US being greeted as liberators was true. Sure, if you argue the French liberated Mexico in 1863. Otherwise, we have unleashed an apocalypse on Iraq, maybe up to 250,000 dead.

Bush is still blathering about democracy, like it's magic or something. Well, Iraqi "democracy" has unleashed death squads, and created a parliment which cannot work with each other. After centuries of oppression, the Kurds want a country and the Shia want to run Iraq. Bit of a problem there. Except that the Shia have a friend in Iran and the Kurds have nothing but enemies.

The ability of the US Army, ground down by years of constant deployments and combat, to fight has been degraded to the point that there is real worry that the Army could collapse like it did in the 1970's. The equipment has already been ground down to the point of major refitting.

When Bush is talking about victory, if that victory is an orderly, low violence Iraq, he's dreaming. That isn't going to happen. The only victory which we might get is most of the Army escaping to Kuwait. All this talk of years of occupation and permanent bases is nonsense. Our end in Iraq will come quickly, completely and without much warning.