According to a CNN report, “more than three-quarters of those killed, 756 of them, have died in combat, and 647 of those have been killed since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq on May 1, 2003.”
Speaking from the Pentagon yesterday, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld brushed aside the milestone by linking once again, in unambiguous terms, Iraq to 9/11 by stating,
It should be noted that the civilized world passed the thousandth casualty mark a long time ago... [H]undreds were killed in Russia last week. And this week, of course, on September 11, 2004, we remember the 3,000 citizens of dozens of countries who were killed on September 11 in 2001."
This callous and calculated statement from a member of the Bush cabinet despite the fact that the 9/11 Commission clearly debunked any plausible or creditable connection between Saddam and the 9/11 terrorist plot, and terrorism in general. More lessons unlearned and yet another Commissions’ findings consigned to the wastebasket of lies, deceit, and business as usual.
And as Sadr City becomes the next center of open urban warfare in Iraq and American soldiers and Marines continue to die at an alarming rate with 18 dead since the beginning of the week, isn’t it time we ALL threw off the masks of American ignorance and pride and asked as a nation why we are in Iraq? As citizens of a democracy isn’t it our duty to ask, no, to demand accountability from our elected officials and not fall prey to idol worship and swoon at the President’s every word just because he might share some of our same views?
The continued carnage in Iraq begs to be debated in open forum and this is not an issue the American people can agree to disagree on, not when human beings (Americans and Iraqis) continue to die at a rapid pace for no discernable reason. It is easy to forget that each life extinguished in this dirty little war affects other lives as well. How many lives have been touched for ill, altered, torn asunder because G.W. Bush took this country to war against a sovereign nation that presented no CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER to the security of the United States?
Those who would use the argument that Iraq was a growing threat as a basis for the attack, were clearly wrong; there were no WMD, no WMD programs, nothing. So why are we there? The other two countries of the now infamous “Axis of Evil,” Iran and North Korea pose more of a threat to the United States then Iraq ever did. Both have announced—let me say it again—announced that they have ongoing nuclear weapons programs. Yet we will use “quiet, sustained diplomacy” to deal with them, going so far as to remove troops from the Korean peninsula thereby weakening our military stance if we ever did need to deter North Korean aggression. Not only that, but Iran has proven ties to terrorism; it was (and more than likely still is) for years the chief supporter of Hamas (a known terrorist group), and allowed Al Queda free rein of its territory. Add to this caustic mixture Syria, which openly supports Hezbollah (a known terrorist group) in Southern Lebanon. I ask with concern knitting my brow: where are the battle plans for those three countries? Surely they are a threat! Can you smell the hypocrisy in the air as thick as maggots on a dead carcass on the streets of Sadr City?
Make no mistake I harbor no illusions about the nature of Saddam’s character. I know he is an evil man capable of mass murder, torture, betrayal, and other vile acts. But he was contained, and at the time we (almost) unilaterally attacked him and his sovereign country, we as a nation had far great concerns to deal with several hundred miles to the east in Afghanistan where the real terrorists live. And while we fiddle-fart around in Iraq causing more death and destruction, the terrorists are reconstituting themselves in Afghanistan.
How ironic and pathetic is it for the Vice President to call into question the Democrats fitness to defend the nation when it was under a Republican watch that 9/11 took place. Shouldn’t we, the American people be calling into question the Bush Administration’s ability to keeps us safe? I know I do! Hasn’t terrorism around the world increased under their stewardship of the War on Terror? And for those who would point to fact that America has not been attacked since 9/11, aren’t you operating under the same blind illusion that America is a fortress, that kept the Bush Administration from taking the terrorist threat seriously before 9/11, despite the many, many warning signs?
1000 American dead in Iraq, and more than 7000 wounded, and still the chief architect of 9/11, the man whose name was not even mentioned during the Republican Convention, remains free. Free to plot more terror, and kill more Americans…wait is that laugher I hear, laced with derision wafting through the late summer air?