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(DV) Sanders: Iraq -- Bush's Land of Make Believe







Iraq: Bush's Land of Make-Believe
by Ken Sanders
June 9, 2005

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In the world of the Bush Administration, nothing is as it seems. Facts are doctored, if not deleted or "disappeared" outright. Science is filtered through the prisms of religion and politics. Intelligence is tailored to support policy.

When it comes to Iraq and the interminable war on terrorism, for Bush & Co. black is white, up is down, and increased casualties and insurgent violence is a sign of progress.

Recent data compiled by the Brookings Institution reveal an Iraq that is becoming more chaotic and deadly by the day. For instance, as of May 2005, the average number of U.S. troops killed and wounded in Iraq was 77 and 615 per month, respectively. A year ago, those numbers were 42 and 584. As of May 2005, an average of 600 Iraqi civilians per month were killed by warfare. Last year, that average was only 350 per month. At this time last year, there were an average of 52 insurgent attacks per day. As of May 2005, there were 70 per day.

Nonetheless, despite the somber statistics, the Bush administration isn't convinced that things are all that bad in Iraq. Rather, Bush & Co. seem to think that the bloodier Iraq gets, the more progress is being made toward peace and stability.

While insurgent violence initially waned following Iraq's January elections, it began surging upward again in March. At a press conference on April 21, 2005, in the midst of the insurgency's resurgence, Scott McClellan declined to take a negative view of the increased violence. Instead, McClellan took it as a sign that "Iraq is moving forward to a democratic future." The increased violence was merely the result of "enemies of freedom," "desperately" trying to "stop the transition to democracy and freedom in Iraq."

On April 26, 2005, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held a joint press conference. At that press conference, Rumsfeld and Myers were asked whether the increased violence meant the U.S. was winning against the Iraqi insurgency. Rumsfeld attempted to dodge the question by obliquely explaining, that "winning or losing is not the issue for 'we,' in my view, in the traditional conventional context of using the word winning and losing and of war." (?)

Myers, on the other hand, declared, "I think we are winning," and "we've been winning for some time." According to General Myers, the number of insurgent attacks is "a poor measure of whether you're winning or losing" since half of the attacks "have no effect." However, on May 30, 2005, Myers tacitly admitted that the half of the attacks that were effective were doubly so when he conceded that the "lethality" of the insurgent attacks had increased.

Nonetheless, according to Myers, the increased "lethality" was caused by the insurgents' "realization that Iraq is marching inevitably towards democracy."

In his May 26 remarks at Fort Bragg, Rumsfeld, in a rare moment of coherence, compared Zarkawi and the Iraqi insurgency to Hitler in the final days of the Third Reich. According to Rumsfeld, Zarkawi "fail[ed] to achieve his military and political objectives," and was therefore reduced to "trying to destroy everything and everyone around him."

On Memorial Day, Dick Cheney explained to Larry King (the two of whom apparently "go back a ways") that the increased violence in Iraq meant "they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency."

The following day, Bush himself chimed in on the emboldened and efficiently lethal Iraqi insurgency and its implications. According to Bush, the insurgents were dealt "a serious blow" by the Iraqi elections because "what the insurgents fear is democracy." Hence, the increasingly internecine Iraqi insurgency is nothing more than "a group of frustrated and desperate people who kill innocent life."

Why do Bush & Co. so adamantly believe that things are improving in Iraq even as the insurgency's "lethality" improves and casualties continue to mount?

Maybe they hope to keep the American public on-board with the Bush administration's crusade for hegemony by convincing the country that an end is in sight and things aren't as bad as they appear. If so, judging from recent opinion polls and plummeting recruitment rates, they're failing miserably.

Maybe they think that if they keep saying, "We're winning in Iraq," it will come true. Well, Bush & Co. have been advertising victory in Iraq since before we invaded and yet here we are, over two years later.

Or maybe, just maybe, Bush and his cronies think that since lying got us into Iraq, lying will get us out.

Ken Sanders is a writer based in Tucson, Arizona. Visit his weblog at:

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* Smoking Gun Memo Appears, but Where's the Outrage?
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* What the Pre-War Intelligence Reports Won't Tell You About Iraq's Nukes
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