Better off dead?

So, that is the question being asked by doctors attending to the high rates of wounded soldiers. We brought this up back in September.
"We're saving more people than should be saved, probably," Lt. Col. Robert Carroll said. "We're saving severely injured people. Legs. Eyes. Part of the brain."
It's not clear if these doctors thinking it would be better for the soldiers if they died, or for the Army.

Either way keeping the casualty count (deaths) down is important enough to the people running this war (think how hard they want to avoid the comparison to vietnam). Like the overall war, its a story of mortgaging the future for a failed policy. Think of what casualties like these cost the taxpayers! I mean, Im all for saving lives, but most people really don't understand how bad things are because of the accounting standards.

Anyway, right now it looks like the US is invading all these cities. The main point though, strategically, is that Americans are finding they have less and less mobility in Iraq. Whenever they try to move, they get popped. They are being held outside certain cities (they wanted to leave anyway, but now leaving means losing key transport routes and creating safe bases for insurgents). This is extraordinarily significant militarily. [Also, ironically, mobility is what Rumsfelds "new" military transformation was supposed to be all about, so these resistance successes hurt the US all the more].

The US is losing this one militarily, and the saddest thing is that Kerry, who is going to win the election hands down, isn't positioning himself to get out. Even Nixon positioned himself to get out of Vietnam, and it took years... Perhaps it was foolish to take comfort in the fact that the media was beginning to report actual news from Iraq. The power elites are so spineless, ineffective, and soft that they cannot be relied on to do anything, even when inaction counters their own interests.


Hagel: Military draft will be "fairer"

Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel (not to be confused with German Philosopher Georg Hegel) wants a draft to supply cannon fodder "citizen soldiers" to help occupy Iraq. Hagel's motivating concern? It's not that there are too few soldiers right now for the job; no, it's that a draft will be more socially just:
"There's not an American... that doesn't understand what we are engaged in today and what the prospects are for the future," Senator Chuck Hagel told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on post-occupation Iraq.

"If that's the case, why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?" Hagel said, arguing that restoring compulsory military service would force "our citizens to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face."

The Nebraska Republican added that a draft, which was ended in the early 1970s, would spread the burden of mililitary service in Iraq more equitably among various social strata.

"Those who are serving today and dying today are the middle class and lower middle class," he observed.
When it comes to taxation for things like universal health care or infrastructure improvement, people like Hagel would never suggest that "all of our citizens" - like the wealthy - should suck it up and "bear some responsibility" and "pay some price". But when it comes to supplying people to stand in the way of a bullet - a situation Hagel likes to term "understand[ing] the intensity and depth of challenges we face" - then we see a concern for spreading the burden and social responsibility.

If you believe that proponents of a draft are motivated by a concern for social justice, then you'll believe anything - things like, oh, I don't know, Third World countries have balsa-wood drones capable of flying thousands of miles across entire oceans and spraying pesticides on New York City. And the Easter Bunny.

Israeli army kills 7 Palestinians

The Israeli army has killed 7 Palestinians in Gaza, including a 13-year-old.

You know, when you kill 200 people in a day, that's a massacre*. When you stretch it over a few days or weeks, though, that's a period of "relative calm". I suppose this is the difference between "terrorism" and "purity of arms".

(* The term "massacre" does not apply to any event involving the deaths of large numbers of Palestinians.)


Why Bush Can't Remember Any Mistakes Since 9-11

So some of the wags in Blogistan and elsewhere are commenting on the fact that our president, George W. Bush, can't remember any mistakes he's made since the September 11 attacks.

It's not so surprising. As we learned from details coming out of the abortive "road map" phase of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Bush thinks that Jesus talks directly to him:
Bush said: "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them".
We may perform a fundamentalist Protestant analysis of the situation regarding Bush, speaking gods, and making mistakes as follows:

1) God/Jesus/Jeebus speaks directly to Bush and tells him what to do;
2) God/Jesus/Jeebus is always right, never lies, and always gives perfect geo-political advice;
3) Bush follows this direct and secret advice, which only he can hear, unwaveringly;
4) Therefore, Bush can never be wrong or make mistakes.

Thus, the reason why Bush can't remember any mistakes is because, in his mind, he hasn't made any.

Praise our supply-side, civilizing lord.


Brooks on NewsHour

Did anyone else catch David Brooks' performance on the PBS NewsHour? A classic of unintentional comedy - the guy couldn't put together more than 3 words on the situation in Iraq without sputtering about the "brownshirts" and "Nazis" currently running around in Iraq. The best part, though, was when Brooks suggested that Sadr was looking to lead a "beer-hall putsch" against the "established Shia leadership".

A Shia religious leader storming out of an Iraq "beer hall" and heading groups of "brownshirts" to depose the Weimar established Shia leadership? I think Brooks forgot the part where Napoleon rides up on his horse at the head of Garibaldi's Thousands and tries to conquer Fallujah and put down this rebellion, but is defeated by a bunch of Texans under the leadership of George Washington at a place called the Alamo.

Brooks is what happens when third-rate books fall into the hands of fourth-rate minds.


Marines choke on Falluja

Watch as the marines adopt the terminology of the vietnam war (and its success). At first, they seemed to be really intent on getting this one right (meaning there were careers -- and egos -- tied up in the success or failure of the strategy being shifted to west of Baghdad), but it also seemed certain that it would gonna cost the Marines in terms of casualties if they wanted to put "boots on the ground" and develop ties with locals. They started out strong, but then it wasnt long before the shit hit the fan:
"Conway: Over an 11-day period, we had three of our convoys hit and one serious incident happen in the same general vicinity east and northeast of Fallujah. ... We said enough of that. We're going to control that stretch of bad road. ... We went in to occupy that stretch of ground where we have been having trouble, and they attacked us. We started taking fire from some of the buildings adjacent to that roadway. So we had to clear a row of buildings on the northeast side of Fallujah so we could stop receiving fire. That we killed a number of Iraqis, there is no doubt, but we certainly can't allow Iraqis to think they can control a section of vital roadway like that and ambush our convoys at their discretion."
Hmm. And this interview took place one day before the security contractors were hit on what we have to assume was that same stretch of road. If news reports are any indication, you have to wonder how the Marines can pacify Falluja when they still cant get inside without shooting their way in.

So you have to wonder where the Marines' plans are now. They may have gone up in smoke, especially with the recent blockade of Falluja... which is more like the tactics lessons they are getting from Israeli on occupation. Meanwhile, to ease the political pressure, the marines have stopped reporting any details of casualties, just as the casualty rate is going way up in Falluja.


Say what?

"One of the trademarks of this war against terror has been the underestimation by the terrorists of our ability to seek them out and destroy them,'' Representative Duncan Hunter, a California Republican who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters today in Washington after an intelligence briefing by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, according to a transcript"
Damn straight. And the reason these terrorists haven't been sought out and killed by now, it being more than a year since the war started? Because we need them around to remind us that we are succeeding!

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