Friday, August 06, 2004
Iraq? Oh, yeah... I Kinda Remember
U.S. Troops Claim to Have Killed 300 Militiamen in Two Days of Fighting in Najaf
The death toll among the anti-coalition fighters was among the largest in a single continuing engagement since the end of the war to oust Saddam Hussein last year.Are they, uh, bragging about it? I thought these were our friends? I thought we were liberating them from Saddam, not liberating their souls from their bodies.
Two U.S. Marines and an American soldier were killed in Najaf on Thursday, and 12 troops were wounded, the military said. Fifteen U.S. soldiers were wounded in Baghdad.
These aren't weird militias, people. This is a full-fledged war that's arisen against us, which the US must take credit for and must provide leadership for, not just hope it will go away if it isn't covered in the press. At the same time we've unleashed a major civil war amongst them. Are we good at this stuff, or what?
Paul Krugman has a wonderful column about the memory hole that is suddenly Iraq. Must read.
Incredibly, the same thing happened to Iraq after June 28. Iraq stories moved to the inside pages of newspapers, and largely off TV screens. Many people got the impression that things had improved. Even journalists were taken in: a number of newspaper stories asserted that the rate of U.S. losses there fell after the handoff. (Actual figures: 42 American soldiers died in June, and 54 in July.)But I must away, now, and register voters like there's no tomorrow. Because, uh, there may not be if Bush stays in office.
The trouble with this shift of attention is that if we don't have a clear picture of what's actually happening in Iraq, we can't have a serious discussion of the options that remain for making the best of a very bad situation.
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