Wednesday, May 9, 2007

War boosters? idea of ?progress?


By PAT MURPHY

"Progress" in Iraq is merely the latest in President Bush's growing delusions. "Mission accomplished" was one of his early mirages, even as fighting was accelerating. When asked about an upsurge in terrorism, Bush postured into his best Texas cowboy High Noon swagger and dared them—"Bring 'em on," he cockily wisecracked. Sure enough, they came, killing hundreds of more American GIs.

Here are some other "progress" reports after four years of the Bush-Cheney strategies:

· Bush is trying to recruit a "war czar" to manage and coordinate the war's activities, apparently because the war has been mismanaged. The commander-in-chief apparently isn't up to his self-styled titles as "the decider" and "the command guy" as he's called himself?

· Republican House Minority leader John Boehner says if more military success isn't in the offing, GOP supporters will want to know what "Plan B" will be. Isn't President Bush already up to Plan G after changing generals and changing strategies and being given a half trillion dollars for this folly?

· Kept secret from the public for six months while Bush sold his troop "surge" to a struck-dumb Congress, the Pentagon released a new study last week of GIs in Iraq: 30 percent of the troops suffer "acute" mental stress; the suicide rate is 17.3 per 100,000 soldiers; more than 50 percent of troops said Iraqi civilians should not be treated with respect and dignity; more than 30 percent endorsed some form of torture of Iraqis; divorces in military families are up.

· Tours in Iraq for Army troops have been extended from one year to 15 months, and rest time between tours has been reduced, which adds to stress and potential mental illness.

· National Guard units at home are now down to an average of 50 percent of equipment available for domestic disasters—their vehicles are in Iraq and Afghanistan and haven't been replaced.

· The White House tells Americans to brace for increased GI casualties as "surge" forces attack insurgent strongholds. How long would the "progress" myth survive if photos were allowed of GIs' caskets being unloaded at Dover Air Force Base?

With defeat and failure in the Bush strategies everywhere, how ironic that a description of Saddam Hussein by the hero of the first Gulf War, Gen. Norman "Stormin'" Schwarzkopf, perfectly describes President Bush's command of the war:

"He is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the operational arts, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier. Other than that, he's a great military man."




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