Sunday, September 16, 2007

If Someone Dies In Iraq Are They Really Dead?

There seems to be some discussion as to what the meaning of death is in Iraq. It seems that the military has one definition and the media and the intelligence community has another. Because of these differing opinions progress in Iraq will be hard to gauge and for good reason, it provides cover for those Republicans and chickens**t Democrats who want to continue to feed the beast that is Iraq. According to many “experts” (I use the term loosely) the drop in violence in Iraq is not accurate, it reflects the military’s use of only positive data to create their trends. The military and the Bush administration fudging figures to build support for the Iraq war, I don’t believe it. I’m shocked! Just because they lied leading up to this war doesn’t mean they’ll continue to lie does it?

Others who have looked at the full range of U.S. government statistics on violence, however, accuse the military of cherry-picking positive indicators and caution that the numbers -- most of which are classified -- are often confusing and contradictory. "Let's just say that there are several different sources within the administration on violence, and those sources do not agree," Comptroller General David Walker told Congress on Tuesday in releasing a new Government Accountability Office report on Iraq.[1]

Whatever happened to the good ole body count figures? You know you drop some napalm in the jungle and then guesstimate how many enemy soldiers were there and claim progress. Life was so much simpler then, we knew the military was lying and responded appropriately. Today things aren’t quite as simple, we have a White House that has politicized every government department designed to watch it, a military command structure that will only tell the truth after they retire, and we have a Democratic Congress that is content to allow this war to continue to gain political hay in 2008. If there are never any accurate figures concerning the war, then there can be no honest debate concerning progress. This is the mission of those who want to keep us confused and bewildered, knowing that because of our empire mentality there are enough Americans who will “stay the course” with the slightest report of progress, so it doesn’t appear as a defeat. The more confusing the picture, the better the status quo appears to be.

It is important to remember that whoever develops the question frames the debate. Depending on the questions you ask, you determine the answers. Our government and media are experts at asking the wrong questions. Do you support America or terrorists? The question should be do you support equality and fairness. However, by limiting the question to such a specific response you are able to filter out all responsible dissent.

Finally, it’s bad enough that they hide the dead bodies of American service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Depriving our nation of the opportunity to witness the real cost of war, the flag draped coffins are unloaded under the cover of secrecy. Now because the American people “can’t handle” the truth, the military has stopped releasing the number of civilian casualties. I feel so secure with such a benevolent government looking out for my well-being. The thought of seeing all those dead soldiers is enough to change me from a chickenhawk to a peacenik.

The military stopped releasing statistics on civilian deaths in late 2005, saying the news media were taking them out of context. In an e-mailed response to questions last weekend, an MNF-I spokesman said that while trends were favorable, "exact monthly figures cannot be provided" for attacks against civilians or other categories of violence in 2006 or 2007, either in Baghdad or for the country overall. "MNF-I makes every attempt to ensure it captures the most comprehensive, accurate, and valid data on civilian and sectarian deaths," the spokesman wrote. "However, there is not one central place for data or information. . . . This means there can be variations when different organizations examine this information."[2]

Of course this makes it hard to track the number and level of civilian attacks, but using the military’s accounting system they aren’t counted anyway. Why let something as insignificant as facts stand in the way of a perfectly good strategy. The surge is working because we say it’s working. Who are you going to trust the Bush administration and the military or some Iraqis and your lying eyes? There has been significant progress to continue this policy.

The sad part is that the Dems will continue to behave as jellyfish believing that Bush is handing them the White House and a Congressional majority in 2008. They harbor the false belief that these things are theirs to lose and if they don’t do anything stupid they will win. The only problem with doing nothing in the presence of wrongdoing is that you did nothing. We stand up to tyranny not because it is popular or safe, but because it is the right thing to do.

[2] Ibid.

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