Friday, September 14, 2007

Assessing the War: Columnist Peter Schrag Tallies the Damage to the Nation

AltTulsa's far-flung correspondent in the Volunteer State (for the geographically challenged, that's Tennessee) sent us a powerful column today from the Sept. 12 edition of the Sacramento Bee. The writer, who we do not know, is Peter Schrag.

Here are some of Schrag's observations on the U.S. and our on-going (and never-ending) Global War of Terror, six years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks:

Americans are killed at an average of 80 a month in Iraq. More come home forever damaged in body or spirit. But for most of us, daily life goes merrily on.

Iraqis are displaced by the millions and killed at a rate of 2,000 a month (down, it's said, from 4,000 a few months ago). It's not clear whether that's progress or just because of the growing number of neighborhoods that have been ethnically cleansed.

There is no draft. Taxes are cut for the wealthy -- our children will pay the cost -- and the rich get richer. Our ports remain porous; the administration bows to industry in its feeble enforcement of security at chemical plants, oil refineries and cargo shipments on airlines.

This week's congressional debate again demonstrates how the ultimate measure of the folly and hubris of the invasion of Iraq is the difficulty of extricating ourselves from it. Almost everyone wants to get out, but few responsible people know how and fewer still want to be responsible for whatever follows.

Despite the White House spin, Iraq never had any connection with the Sept. 11 attacks. Saddam Hussein didn't launch the terrorists. There were no WMDs, no yellow cake from Niger. The media were suckered, as they're being suckered again. Now, as the president says, Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. But we created that front.

For America it's a costly and crippling diversion. As Congress parses the various reports on "progress" in Iraq, the president prepares to ask for yet another $200 billion for the war. That's equal to nearly half of what America spends on schools or enough to provide basic health care for every uninsured American.


Tulsan said...

Your correspondent sums it up very economically. The clowns who got us into this mess deserve to be reviled. If we should need our military, it will be tied up in this quagmire. But then, they probably think that will provide a good reason to fire off a few nukes. Yee-ha.

Tulsan said...

Josh Marshall on Bush's speech last night:

"But with respect to the president's cartoonish babble, like I said, whatever. I know this reads like an expression of cynicism or disengagement. But while the president's chatter, with its brainlessness and brazenness, drives many to distraction, I think this is the only appropriate response. Anyone watching what's happening can see that what the president is talking about bears no relation to what's actually happening in Iraq -- a fact well confirmed by the fact that polls show no change in the public's take on what's happening in response to the president's speech."