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Monday, January 01, 2007

We've Lost More People in Iraq than We did on 9/11

Dustin Donica of Spring, Texas, was officially the three thousandth american military fatality in Iraq. You don't have to be especially insightful to know he won't be the last. December of 2006 has been the third deadliest month for americans in Iraq as attacks increased by a 22% compared to the last three months.

President Bush is considering sending in more troops, but that really would only increase the number of targets and increase the violence. The various insurgents aren't a force that will be overwhelmed on the battlefield. They're more like criminal gangs -- rival mafia families in a gang war. It ends when it's over, not when it's stopped. It isn't something like a house on fire that can be put out, it's an explosion in slow motion. You can watch it grow, you can get the hell out of the way, but stopping it isn't an option.

There are very few who wouldn't trace the war in Iraq back to September 11, 2001. 2,973 people died that day. We've now lost more people in this war than in the event that sparked it. For the people of Iraq, the war has been 9/11 after 9/11 after 9/11. It's impossible to say how many people have died. Reports disagree drastically. Iraq Body Count has the lowest estimate with more than 52,000. The highest estimate is from the medical journal The Lancet -- about 600,000. In either case, a horrific number of people have died with more dying every day.

In his message for New Years Day, President Bush said:

Last year, America continued its mission to fight and win the war on terror and promote liberty as an alternative to tyranny and despair. In the New Year, we will remain on the offensive against the enemies of freedom, advance the security of our country, and work toward a free and unified Iraq. Defeating terrorists and extremists is the challenge of our time, and we will answer history's call with confidence and fight for liberty without wavering.

We get a lot of talk about liberty, but very little of the actual thing. Bush's legacy will be as much about restricting freedom as it will be one of death and disaster and incompetence. Literally tens of thousands -- perhaps hundreds of thousands -- of people have been freed from nothing but their lives. In the US, we're losing rights, not gaining them. While we say we fight for freedom and liberty around the world, we're busy throwing freedom and liberty away at home.

We say we're fighting a 'war on terror,' but if you ask the average iraqi, we are terror.


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