In these dangerous times, the United States is blessed to have extraordinary and selfless men and women willing to step forward and defend us. These young Americans understand that our cause in Iraq is noble and necessary -- and that the advance of freedom is the calling of our time. They serve far from their families, who make the quiet sacrifices of lonely holidays and empty chairs at the dinner table. They have watched their comrades give their lives to ensure our liberty. We mourn the loss of every fallen American -- and we owe it to them to build a future worthy of their sacrifice.
-- George W. Bush, announcing troops escalation
Everything we do here is on the defense. Any troops increase over here - they will just be more sitting ducks, more targets.
-- Sgt. Ronn Cantu, interviewed from Iraq by Amy Goodman
Bush's big troop escalation has been widely criticized as putting the military at the breaking point. Bush chose the number of troops -- 21,500 -- not because that number is enough, but because they were all that was available. This is Bush's last chance to turn things around. If it fails -- and most people believe it will -- Bush has no more options. We're done. Bush just bought a lottery ticket with his last dollar.
Except it isn't exactly his dollar. People fight this war and people die in it. Lives and minds are destroyed, limbs are lost, families stressed beyond the breaking point.
"The first two times it wasn't bad," Joseph O'Marrah [who's son, Jeffrey O'Marrah, 33, has been on three tours to Iraq] said. "But the last time he was in Baghdad, a lot of people in his battalion got killed or wounded. My son is more afraid of being wounded than killed. If he's wounded, who's going to take care of him the rest of his life?"
The job the president is asking of his military, O'Marrah believes, "is impossible. How are they going to control 8 million people? He's just sending these kids in there to show that America is powerful."
Of course, it'll have the opposite effect -- in the end, it'll prove Bush weak.
Personally, I don't think that Bush believes this will work. Bush is obsessed with how history will view him and, by all accounts, believes that it will view him well -- he will be vindicated. It's being surrounded by neocons that makes that possible -- a cult of simpleminded visionaries who believe you can rebuild the world with guns. Having been thoroughly proven wrong, the Cheney's in the White House still believe they're right.
But history will not remember the brilliance of the neocons if the war in iraq is lost. At least, not if it's lost on their watch. So the war must go on until Bush term is over.
It's Bush's legacy that's at stake here, not the middle east and certainly not the lives of the people who fight. This isn't about freedom, it isn't about security, it's about Bush's ego. The war will continue until Bush is out. It has to be someone else's fault.
So, while the bodies pile up and the blood flows, Bush believes he can be proactive in historical revisionism, writing history before the fact. So we'll fight on, until he doesn't need the war any more -- then it's someone else's problem.