Eight More Died Yesterday
AP photo of Spc. Gregory N. Millard, 22, of San Diego, Calif., who was killed Saturday by a bomb while on patrol. His Democratic representative Susan Davis and his Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein voted to continue this mindless war without strings last week.
The Pentagon reports that eight Americans were killed yesterday on Memorial Day, making May 2007 the worst for American losses since last December, with three days still remaining this month. (Update: that figure is now ten.)
There was a flurry of reporting over the last several days about Pentagon planning for a drawdown of surged forces during 2008, perhaps a reduction to 100,000 troops by mid-2008. Initially, McClatchy’s crackerjack team of reporters broke the story, but it was the Times story that prompted an alleged outbreak of White House annoyance over the “leak”, if you want to believe anything that William Kristol says anymore. Nowhere in this alleged outburst from the White House was there a denial that the story was true.
Bush's reason for maintaining the war, namely “we must fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here” was discredited over there weekend when the Times reported that Bush’s toppling of Iraq has enabled Al Qaeda to spread and use Iraq as a training ground to destabilize the region, threatening all nations. The Times also reports that a consensus of Iraqi military and political leaders is that an American withdrawal before Iraqi security forces can take over would lead to chaos and a collapsed state. Yet those same Iraqis don’t explain why their government still isn’t getting its act together on the political reconciliation necessary to foster self-policing. Nor does anyone explain how we can plausibly reduce sectarian strife enough to even talk about a drawdown of the surged troops in 2008 when the additional troops have so far failed to affect the level of violence.
This country needs to engage Iraq’s neighbors in the security solution and invest in them some of the responsibility for that security, while redeploying the bulk of our active duty forces out of Iraq to refocus the battle away from the civil war and back on Al Qaeda. Condi deserves credit for the steps taken in that direction so far, although Cheney and Elliot Abrams loom in the shadows to derail any progress. But until those talks yield concrete commitments from the Saudis, the Jordanians, the Iranians, and the Syrians to overtly participate in Iraq’s security, any talk of a drawdown by this administration simply exposes them for being driven by the same domestic politics they decry in their critics.
A man who ignored specific warnings about starting a war he couldn’t contain doesn’t get any more blank checks, yet the Democrats who supported his funding demands last week still gave him one anyway.