Fighting Them There

In what can only be considered a mistimed release, an interim report on the progress of the surge will be coming out today. (I mean, couldn’t they wait until tomorrow afternoon? Rove seems to be losing his grip.)

The coverage in the various national papers is not encouraging. While the majority of the Benchmarks the administration set for the surge have stalled or failed, the While House will point to satisfactory progress in 8 of 18 points. Reference the handy, dandy chart provided by the New York Times.

This, and Bush’s collapsing popularity, will make it even more difficult for Republicans to continue to back any policy in Iraq except a precipitate withdrawal. I suspect the “fight them there, so we don’t fight them here” mantra will be droned across the right wing media and blogs this weekend.

As it has already been noted, in an effort to increase public support for the war, the President, the administration and the media have shifted from saying “insurgents” to using the term Al Quaeda to describe as the American opponents in Iraq. According a McClatchy article, Al Quaeda, the “insurgents”, the bad guys, the “them” also included a large number of civilians in 2006.

U.S. soldiers have killed or wounded 429 Iraqi civilians at checkpoints or near patrols and convoys during the past year, according to military statistics compiled in Iraq and obtained by McClatchy Newspapers.

he statistics are the first official accounting of civilian shootings since the war began, and while they seem small compared with the thousands who’ve died in Iraq’s violence, they show the difficulty that the U.S. has in fulfilling its vow to protect civilians.

The numbers cover what the military calls escalation-of-force incidents, in which American troops fire at civilians who’ve come too close or have approached checkpoints too quickly. In the months since U.S. commanders have dispatched more troops to the field — ostensibly to secure Iraqi communities — the number of Iraqis killed and injured in such incidents has spiked, the statistics show.

Pentagon officials have declined repeatedly to reveal the numbers of civilian deaths and injuries caused by American troops. The escalation-of-force statistics, however, were part of a recent briefing given to Army Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of coalition forces in Iraq. A person familiar with the briefing provided the statistics to McClatchy.

And Bush wonders why Americans are war weary? I somehow don’t think it has much to do with terminology. I wonder what the right wing would say if the American military killed 430 innocent American civilians?

Oh! Darn – I remember. That’s why we don’t fight them here.


2 comments so far

  1. ChenZhen on

    I’ll be hiding under my desk. Someone will let me know when it’s safe to come out. I hope.

  2. blc303 on

    It probably won’t help.

    And you’ll have to occasionally come out and eat. 😉

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