Sunday, July 29, 2012


Peter Beinart's "The U.S. Started the War in Iraq. It's Time to Finish It" went up at The Daily Beast a little while ago.  Excerpt.

So why should we still care about Iraq? First, because although al Qaeda terrorists detonated this week’s bombs, it was our invasion that created the chaos that has allowed them sanctuary; the blood is partly on our hands. Hours after the bombs hit, President Obama addressed the National Convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars, where he bragged that “I pledged to end the war in Iraq honorably, and that’s what we’ve done ... We brought our troops home responsibly. They left with their heads held high, knowing they gave Iraqis a chance to forge their own future.” The crowd applauded. Imagine yourself as an Iraqi, hearing Obama’s banal, self-congratulatory words on CNN while living the blood-stained future that America’s invasion helped you forge. Or imagine you heard Mitt Romney’s speech the following day that barely mentioned Iraq but declared that “throughout history our power has brought justice where there was tyranny, peace where there was conflict, and hope where there was affliction and despair ... Our country is the greatest force for good the world has ever known.” Think how you’d feel about the United States.

It's an important piece and one you wouldn't expect from Beinart who even acknowledges his own error in judgment (he was among the press boosters of the Iraq War) in the column.  He offers a suggestion in his column that when politicians who supported the Iraq War talk about the need for other wars, they should be asked what they learned from the Iraq War.  Most of all he notes the Iraq War has not ended. 

And it hasn't. 


Through Saturday, Iraq Body Counts counts at least 385 people killed in violence.

AP notes 2 Falluja bombing and a Falluja shooting have left 7 Iraqi police officers dead.  In addition, Alsumaria notes a Baquba car bombing claimed 4 lives and left thirteen people injured. That's 11 reported deaths.  I'm sure there were more.  That's 396 dead -- at least -- going into Monday.  The UN counted 401 deaths in June.  July ends Tuesday.  It's very likely that the death toll for July will match or exceed the UN figure for June.

It'll be interesting to see what the press does on Wednesday and Thursday.  The Iraqi ministries -- controlled by Nouri -- have been undercounting the deaths.  That's clear if you compare the 'official' totals with the death toll the UN keeps or the one Iraq Body Count keeps.

That's something the press has refused to do. 

They've instead treated the Iraqi government figures as gospel.  Even when they were obviously 200 or so short.

As we've noted many times, it wasn't always this way.  The press used to treat IBC as gospel.  All the outlets cited it.  Even Bully Boy Bush cited it in a speech.  But these days, it's as though their editors have blocked Iraq Body Count from their computers.

The war hasn't ended and some may argue we should be grateful for the little US coverage that exists.  But bad press coverage helped start this war and bad coverage will never help end it.

I'm traveling in some vehicle
I'm sitting in some cafe
A defector from the petty wars
That shell shock love away
-- "Hejira," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her album of the same name

 The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

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