Tuesday, May 01, 2007

From Mission Accomplished To Mission Impossible

"My fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.) And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country."

President George W. Bush
May 1, 2003

It was aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln with a sign behind him that read, "Mission Accomplished," that Mr. Bush uttered these famous words four years ago. True, Baghdad had been taken, the Iraqi army was in shambles, and Saddam Hussein was in hiding. True, also as he said, that the transition from "dictatorship to democracy" would "take time." He cited the success in Afghanistan where, "we destroyed the Taliban, many terrorists, and the camps where they trained." Nineteen months after the 9/11 attacks, it seemed he had reason to be optimistic.

A lot can change in four years.

There are damn few in the United States or the world who look at the situation in Iraq and see success.

  • Since Mission Accomplished, 3,213 American soldiers have lost their lives, with April 2007 having the highest casualty rate in four years.

  • Violence between Sunnis and Shiites occurs on an almost daily basis.

  • The opening of the Iraqi oil pipeline that was expected to lower energy prices, failed to do so. Instead gas and oil prices in the United States are at an all time high, as oil company profits soar!

  • The State Department reports that terrorist attacks on non-combatants have doubled in the last year. Iraq and Afghanistan account for nearly a third of these (29%)!

  • In February, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Peter Pace, reported that US military readiness from a year ago has worsened. Last year it was rated at moderate. This means that US ability to respond to an additional threat, say, Iran or North Korea is severely compromised.

  • The pace of rebuilding in Iraq is so bad that Inspector General Stuart Bowen Jr. issued a report detailing the many ways that the Bush administration failed to understand what would be required for post-Saddam Iraq to succeed and failed at every juncture to adjust course when given the opportunity to do so.

    In short . . .

    Iraq from the beginning has been a myopic adventure with far reaching and disastrous consequences. Enough is enough.

    It's time to hold the President and his administration fully accountable.

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