More than 10,000 Iraqis - the vast majority in Baghdad - have been killed in the past four months alone, a figure that would send shockwaves through the international community were it in any other part of the world.
Is anybody paying attention? Let me tell you something - all of those armchair generals and pundits who keep saying there is no civil war are only telling people that because if they actually admitted it, US troops would have to leave. The administration has stated in the past that it would not keep its troops in Iraq if a civil war broke out. This is all pure politics, folks. 10,000 dead people in four months ought to be enough of a clue, don't you think?
Oh. It's just 'sectarian violence'. No big deal. And they're just Iraqis - ungrateful Iraqis, to boot - according to the talking heads and the military brass who have been secretly counting Iraqi casualties and lowballing the numbers since the war began. If 50% of Americans still believe that Saddam had WMDs and that he was connected to 9/11, it's not that difficult to get them to accept that tens of thousands of Iraqis haven't really died, despite documented evidence to the contrary. And, with the extreme levels of violence in Iraq this year, it's going to be awfully hard for the Pentagon to dispute these recent casualty figures. Denial of the actual numbers is an affront to all Iraqis.
But, according to US and UK military officials, apparently things are going swimmingly well - thank you very much - and Rumsfeld is on a speaking tour to convince Americans that if war with Iran just happens to suddenly
NAVAL AIR STATION FALLON, Nevada (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned potential adversaries on Monday that the United States remained capable of responding to military threats at home and abroad, despite its troop commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We are capable of dealing with other problems were they to occur," he told troops at an airfield in the Nevada desert.
"It would be unfortunate if other countries thought that because we have 136,000 troops in Iraq today, that we're not capable of defending our country or doing anything that we might need to do," he said in response to a question about military options for dealing with Iran.
Rumsfeld, however, said the U.S. military has already shown its ability to respond to new missions. He noted the military's evacuation of some 15,000 people from Lebanon during the war between Israel and Hizbollah as well as its role in responding to natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina last year.
Yes, he brought up the Hurricane Katrina disaster as a success for the US military. If that's the model, Iran doesn't have much to worry about.
As for Iraq:
Rumsfeld said there was no doubt the United States could win militarily in Iraq if it stayed the course.
"The important question is not whether we can win. Of course we can win. We won't lose a single battle," he said. "But do we have the will?"
How many times have experts said that this war will not be won militarily? But Rumsfeld keeps himself so cooped up in his own echo chamber that the only opinions that count anymore are his. I'd ask Rumsfeld this: do you have the will to continue to be responsible for the lives of the thousands of US and coalition soldiers who have died and been wounded along with those tens of thousands of Iraqis? More to the point: do you have the will to finally resign for this disgrace of a war you inflicted on Iraq? Do you have the will to slink away quietly into the history books so someone else can take over who actually has a realistic plan? Do you have the will to honour your country by admitting that you've failed? Do you have the will to face all of the relatives of those dead Iraqis and coalition soldiers so they can finally confront the man whose ego was much, much larger than his capacity to conduct a war ever was?
If not, sir, don't expect anyone else to have the will to follow you one more day as you blunder your way through one of the greatest military mistakes in modern US history.
Do you ever even think about the dead? The bloodied bodies, the mangles corpses of children, the endless funerals, the horror of family and friends, the anger on their faces, the betrayal they feel? Or are they just numbers on a spreadsheet in a daily report?
More than 10,000 Iraqis - the vast majority in Baghdad - have been killed in the past four months alone...
And yet all the neocons can say is 'stay the course' while too many Americans will go to the polls this fall and vote Republican just because that's what they've always done. You can be damn sure that the faces of these dead Iraqis won't be on the minds of those Republican supporters as they mark their ballots.
See also: When Killing Becomes Fun....