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March 18, 2007

March 19, 2003 - March 19, 2007. Who Won?

Tomorrow marks a grievous anniversary. It will be four years since this president, who swaggers all the harder at the mention of the phrase "commander in chief", began the debacle in which Washington State has lost more than five dozen soldiers. George Bush and his chickenhawk chums intended to Shock 'n Awe the Iraqis into quick, devastating submission. Even more insane thinking led them to believe our troops and our various viceroys would be showered with chocolate and flowers and kisses. Sadly, the president's dangerous misadventure has created a far different scenario -- one replete with IEDs, car bombs, snipers, explosives packed with chlorine gas and a fully formed civil war between Iraqi citizens who hadn't paid much attention to which sect of Islam, or Christianity, their neighbors belonged until the Americans showed up to invade their cradle of civilization. 

Heckuva job, George. Really.

The Sunday Seattle Times honors Washington's fallen and the nation's fallen, now 3,200 and counting. Our state's losses began on May 9, 2003 with the death of Marine Lance Cpl. Cedric E. Bruns, forever 22 years old, from Vancouver. Washington's most recent casualty was Army Specialist Ryan M. Bell, forever 21, from Colville, who died less than two weeks ago on March 5, 2007. The two oldest were 51 and 53, and the two youngest were 19. Two of our lost soldiers were women.

Have a look at their photos, think good thoughts for their loved ones and ask yourself if there's anything, even a small thing, that you can do to help stop the madness the cowboy president has unleashed, not only in Iraq, but all over the globe, where the post 9/11 goodwill has turned uniformly sour. Big efforts start with small steps. "Think globally, act locally" if you will.

We know how many "our side" has lost. When you read through the list of our nation's fallen you'll find it takes some time out of your day to actually say each name aloud and picture them in your mind. God only knows how many Iraqis have been killed because our government refuses to do an honest tally. If just for one day we can be honest and acknowledge that clever soundbites like "turning a corner in Iraq" and "freedom's on the march" simply don't honor the reality of what this war has truly cost in human lives and in hope. And then do the one little thing you can do, to help rectify what's been done to justice.

If you smile at me I will understand,

'cause that is something everybody everywhere does

in the same language.

I can see by your coat, my friend,

you're from the other side.

There's just one thing I've got to know

can you tell me please,

who won?

("Wooden Ships" - David Crosby/Stephen Stills, 1969)

Posted by shoephone on March 18, 2007 at 01:52 AM in Iraq, National and International Politics, Washington Culture | Permalink


Meanwhile, on one of the saddest anniversaries in our history, the President will be entertaining the college football team that won the BCS Championship. It would not surprise me to learn that he also plans to go shopping; I hear Payless has a greeat buy-one, get-one-free sale going.

How can it be that after four years and over 3,200 deaths (my paper puts the toll at 3,211), this president has yet to set foot at Arlington, has yet to make an appearance at even one funeral or burial service for any of the fallen. Yes, we know you "can't" go to all of them, George, but how about just one - you know, as a symbolic gesture?

There are no words.

Posted by: Anne | Mar 18, 2007 7:24:46 AM

I always put everything down and watch when the NewsHour has the photos a bit of information about the latest batch of soldiers who have died. It feels like the least I can do is watch and honor their lives and deaths.

I sometimes think that the entire Congress should watch a compilation of all those photos, maybe once a month until these terrible conflicts are done with.

Posted by: Lynn | Mar 18, 2007 9:02:15 AM

At the end of the BBC series World At War, they asked the question "Who won?" of a number of historians and military experts. The universal answer was "The United States". We were on the winning side, of course, but more importantly, our influence increased as the influence of the other powers decreased. We were the only major power that didn't fight battles on its own territory (after Pearl Harbor, at least) and we had the strongest military and the strongest economy.

If you use those criteria, then I think it's clear that Iran won this Iraq War. They weren't involved much, if at all, but they now have the most capable military in the Middle East outside of Israel, Iraq is no longer a threat to them, and they have more influence over events than they did before. We clearly have considerably less influence in the region, and probably have less influence elsewhere, as well.

It's hard to know at this point, but I suspect that someday historians will look back at the Iraq War as being our most ruinous foreign adventure.

Posted by: Cujo359 | Mar 18, 2007 2:43:55 PM

Not ruinous for anyone, whatever his/her political stripe, who has been reaping profits from the defense industry or oil industry.
One of my fantasies involves the Bush family "escaping" to their South American proeprty, then having that country nationalize all private holdings. I want to see these greedy fucks pay for all the blood that's been spilled for NOTHING.

Posted by: isabelita | Mar 18, 2007 3:37:15 PM

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