Friday, August 31, 2007


I read an odd statistic this week, then forgot where I had seen it. For every 100 Americans, men, women and children, there are now 90 guns. One more category in which we're now number one in the world. I can't remember who's number two, but they're way back at around 60 per 100 people. Iraq's in the top five, no doubt due to the 100,000 or so weapons given out by General Petreus which happened to get lost along the way to protecting us here, 6000 miles away. But that's OK. They can always make (and charge for) more guns. And the Iraqis can now take pride in something other than their powerhouse national soccer team. They got guns, too, baby.

September's coming. That's the month we were told to wait for when that same General Petreus is obliged to give us a report on the status of the "Troop Surge". Here, using my powers of prediction, is what it's liable to say, keeping in mind that the only version most Americans will see is a TV screen summary of under 100 words. It will use phrases like "on the ground", but also technical phrases meant to be understood only if you speak the kind of language they know in the Pentagon.
"Our men have done an excellent job of penetrating enemy perimeters in certain sectors, and new alliances with previous protagonists promise petulant progress." The report, besides this kind of blather will correctly finger the Iraqis for not measuring up to our "benchmark" standards which are supposed to measure political progress. At the same time, everyone from the President to the Secretary of Defense to the individual bigshots still there will chirp in unison that we cannot risk leaving Iraq, and that doing so would only mean more violence with Iraqis as victims.
Friends, you can read all this when it hits the fan, or you can simply believe me now - we're not going anywhere until the president says so, and that will probably be when the president's first name ain't George. We thought the guy was stubborn in his first term? We didn't know the half of it. The chances of leaving, reports, casualties, deficits and even GOP ruin notwithstanding, are less than the chances of Bush phoning Al Gore to congratulate him on his Oscar win.
See how democracy works? All the countries we used to call allies want us to leave. Most Americans no longer can see a free, democratic Iraq on the horizon, and want us to leave and redeploy troops for what is supposed to be their real job - fighting terrorism. And Iraqis, who Bush keeps declaring are grateful to us, want us out in even larger numbers. They promise not to even pretend to want to attack us any more if we'll just leave.
But our commander in chief says we're staying, and until Congress works up the nerve to cut off and defeat funding requests that will have our kids paying the war bills to Halliburton until the Second Coming, that's where it sits. And the sign we're not staying will be this: all the road graders pushing tons of Iraqi sand and dirt around to make the world's largest embassy. the world's largest military bases for the world's largest military occupation will stop and drive onto ships which will then, finally, head home. Until that day comes, keep your sons in training for desert war.


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