the battle, but losing the war
strategists have long known that it is possible
to win battles while not achieving overall objectives.
Bush originally proposed the war in Iraq as
necessary due to the threat of weapons of mass
destruction. His advisors promised him a quick
and easy victory as he ordered the combined
U.S. forces into battle.
experts on the Middle East - both military and
civilian - cautioned him against this course
of action declaring that such a war would be
costly and outside normal conventions. They
pointed out that while a swift military victory
was possible, winning the "hearts and minds"
of Iraqis was unlikely to be achieved by their
objections did not dissuade the President, Congress,
or their allies. We entered into war confounded
by incorrect assumptions and vague objectives.
new goal is for Iraq to "deny
terrorists a base of operations, discredit their
narrow ideology, and give momentum to reformers
across the (Middle East) region." With
an agenda this broad it will be a long time
before victory can be declared. The Pentagon
expects to have hundreds of thousands of troops
in Iraq for months, if not years. There is questioning
over whether we are even winning the battles,
much less the war.
has almost ground to a halt due to increasing
violence and daily attacks on soldiers and Iraqis.
Security spending is eating into rebuilding
budgets and many contractors are afraid to continue
their work. Congress has ordered more heavy
troops to Iraq to bolster the forces already
there, further aggravating already strained
and battered bodies lie tangled in the streets
of Iraq while hospitals groan under the burden
of healing the injured. An
estimated 10,000 Iraqis have died since
the war began and as many as ten times that
number have been injured. Almost 1,000 coalition
troops have died in battles large and small.
billion per month the Pentagon indicates
these battles costs shows no sign of decrease
and is approaching that of the Vietnam War.
The U.S. Defense budget, already accounting
for almost one-half of the total world expenditures,
is expected to increase next year as well.
all of that money, energy, and lives, we should
win this war, right?
apparently don't think the U.S. is winning.
The most recent poll commissioned by the Coalition
Provisional Authority (CPA) has found that the
majority of Iraqis have lost confidence in the
US-led occupation and would feel safer if foreign
troops just left their country. The
results stunned CPA officials. "If you
are sitting here as part of the coalition, it
[the poll] is pretty grim," said Donald
Hamilton, a career diplomat who helps oversee
the CPA's polling of Iraqis.
Iraqi mother of three sums up popular opinion
in Baghdad, "they are angry -- angry --
angry! Angry at the Americans who are, in fact,
the root of the chaos in Iraq. The Americans
continue to believe that they are do-gooders
and that everyone should love them. They don't
get it! They want the Iraqi people to throw
flowers and kisses at the invaders and the occupiers."
in the U.S. the debate rages over an increasingly
unpopular war. At
the recent Democratic State Convention in Houston,
delegates from around Texas cheered loudly as
activist wearing "End
The War in Iraq" t-shirts marched through
the convention center with signs touting peace
two weeks Iraq will achieve pseudo-sovereignty
with the handoff from the CPA to the newly appointed
Interim Iraqi government led by Prime
Minister Ayad Allawi. Ostensibly this means
Iraqis will be able to make their own decisions
regarding national elections, rebuilding, security,
and law. But the situation is expected to remain
continue and the war in Iraq remains far from
Charlie Jackson, founder
of Texans for Peace, recently returned from
his second trip to Iraq, undertaken through
the Christian Peacemaker Teams organization
of Chicago. He is a high-tech CEO and lives
with his two sons in San Antonio.