Tuesday, December 05, 2006

feeding the meat grinder

One week ago, Dafna Linzer and Thomas Ricks of the Washington Post published details of a classified Marine Corps intelligence report that concludes that in Western Iraq

“The social and political situation has deteriorated to a point” that U.S. and Iraqi troops “are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar.”

This report, though brought out in the open in late November, has been circulating amongst war planners since August.

Monday saw the death toll from a Marine helicopter crash in Anbar province raised to four. Add to those, six other US soldiers killed on the ground in al-Anbar since December 1st, and the 90 other service personnel killed in that province from the start of September through the end of November, and you have 100 Americans killed fighting in a battle for a province that had already been determined to be militarily un-winnable.

That’s one hundred dead men and women—100 mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters killed—and for what, exactly? If the United States is “no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency in al-Anbar,” then why are they still fighting in al-Anbar? Why are soldiers being put in harm’s way if they can’t do anything but lose?

Of course, Anbar province is just one section of countrywide failure of policy and strategy, but it is a stunning example of the senseless carnage this war has wrought. Whether inept, callous, or cynical in conceptualization, it is wholly disgusting in its execution.

There is the now famous John Kerry quote, “How do you ask a man to be the last man die for a mistake?” I ask, how do continue to ask men and women to die for an already well understood disaster?

(hat tip to Think Progress for the WaPo story)


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