Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Accountability by the numbers

By Carol Gee

The U.S. military is just ten short of 4000 fatalities in the war in Iraq, as of March 17, 2008. George W. Bush has 306 days left in office. This president has never been held accountable for that casualty number, and probably never will. Nothing else during the Bush years, except the lives lost on 9/11/01, matters as much as this number. It did not have to be this way.

Poll: Most Americans Say War Not Worth It: 64 Percent Say Results Of War Not Worth American Lives Lost. To quote from the CBS story, continued *below:

One the eve of the five-year anniversary of the start of the war with Iraq, Americans continue to think the results of the war have not been worth the loss of American lives and the other costs of attacking Iraq, according to a new CBS News poll.

Today 29 percent of Americans say the results of the war were worth it; 64 percent say they were not.

Vice President Cheney's trip to the Middle East will likely wrap up the Bush administration's plan to finalize a permanent agreement between Iraq and the U.S. that will go into effect when the current U.N. Security Council agreement expires in December. The administration refuses to be held accountable to 100 senators who under the Constitution are supposed to ratify such treaties. To quote further from the CBS story*above:

Meanwhile, in Iraq on Tuesday, Vice President Dick Cheney played the part of backroom power broker for two days and came away with pledges from Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds to firm up a new blueprint for U.S.-Iraq relations that will stretch beyond the Bush presidency.

. . . The deal would take the place of a U.N. Security Council resolution that expires in December, the same time Bush will be packing up to leave office. The administration says the deal will not seek permanent U.S. bases in Iraq or codify troop levels, nor tie the hands of a future commander in chief as some Democrats fear.

Administration officials say they probably will not seek Senate approval of the plan because the agreement will not be a treaty that provides Iraq with specific security guarantees. This position has prompted a backlash in Congress, where Democrats have proposed legislation that would render the agreement null and void without the Senate's blessing.

Democrats and some Republicans have questioned whether the 2002 authorization of force in Iraq still applies legally because it referred to the need to get rid of Saddam Hussein and eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction. Since the 2003 invasion, Hussein has been captured and executed, and no weapons of mass destruction were ever found.

This is the Fifth Year Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It is not something anyone celebrates. We mark the date for many reasons. It was a war of aggression, illegal under the U.N. charter. And it was an invasion that was based on 935 lies. It is a very long war that Senator McCain said might go on a hundred years. Juan Cole's Informed Comment says today, March 19, 2008: "5 Years, 5 Lies: (Cole in Salon: My fortnightly column for is now up, commemorating the 5th anniversary of Bush's invasion of Iraq)." To quote:

"Five years of Iraq lies:" How President Bush and his advisors have spent each year of the war peddling mendacious tales about a mission accomplished.

I posit that each year of the war has been characterized by a central lie by the Bush propaganda machine.

Year 1: "There is no guerrilla war."
Year 2: "Iraq is a model democracy."
Year 3: "Zarqawi is causing all the trouble."
Year 4: "There is no Civil War."
Year 5: "Everything is calm now."

I also suggest that John McCain is pushing for:

Year 6: "Total victory is around the corner."

From Memeorandum -- "Estimates of Iraq War Cost Were Not Close to Ballpark" By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN. Published: March 19, 2008. The war in Iraq is draining our nation of its " blood and treasure," to use a cliche. Crumbling schools and infrastructure; an under-regulated Wall Street-centric economy, propped up by government largess to greedy corporations and very rich individuals; 47 million people without health care coverage; a shrinking Middle Class and millions in prison -- this is the dirty spread sheet of Bush administration priorities. To quote from the New York Times article:

At the outset of the Iraq war, the Bush administration predicted that it would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, restore order and install a new government.

Five years in, the Pentagon tags the cost of the Iraq war at roughly $600 billion and counting. Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and critic of the war, pegs the long-term cost at more than $4 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office and other analysts say that $1 trillion to $2 trillion is more realistic, depending on troop levels and on how long the American occupation continues.

Among economists and policymakers, the question of how to tally the cost of the war is a matter of hot dispute. And the costs continue to climb.

Accountability by the numbers if fully at play in the political races of 2008. Florida and Michigan Democrats knew the DNC rules before they changed the primary dates. Presidential candidates rise and fall by the numbers of votes cast, month after month. Democrats will pay an awful price if they mess up the contest between Clinton and Obama; McCain will win by default and we can start all over again in January 2009. We can begin again to amass these horrific numbers. Think about it when you get too caught up in the current MSM spin.

And I, too am accountable. I watch my little blog's SiteMeter statistics. I strive to get more readers-- to be heard, because serious blogging is hard and time-consuming. The writing I do is almost entirely public, except for my real name. I have wrestled as many of my fellow bloggers with this authenticity dilemma. But there is an additional type of accountability of which I have become increasingly aware. I am accountable for my words as they go different countries around the world. Little bits of SiteMeter information catch my eye and give me pause. On the 16th a reader in Pakistan searched and found my post on "leadership qualities." A similar report turned up yesterday as a result of my series post on the tactics of jihadi terrorists, "Sageman and Leaderless Jihad -- Wrap-up". A person 7,820 miles away in Islamabad, Pakistan, wanted to know more about my featured author Marc Sageman's research. I must ask myself whether I have been helpful to a Pakistani lawyer activist, to a member of Benazir Bhuto's political party, to someone who sees himself as a jihadi, or someone I cannot visualize from so far away. Quote from SiteMeter:

Country : Pakistan (Facts)
City : Islamabad
Distance : 7,820 miles
Language English (U.S.)

Referring URL Marc Sageman&meta=
Search Engine -
Search Words - leaderless jihad by marc sageman
Visit Entry Page http://carol-sandy1....derless-jihad-2.html
Visitor's Time Mar 19 2008
Visit Number 17,664

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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