These figures come to you courtesy of the Associated Press (7/20/2004),
– 890 American military personnel have died in Iraq since March 2003, when military operations began.
– 752 American military personnel have died in Iraq since “combat operations” ended on May 1, 2003.
I hear that the current administration is now interested in pursuing a possible al-Qaeda / Iran / 9-11 link. Personally, I think this is just groovy. Why, this could be the beginning of a foreign policy not seen since World War II. First, we blame all of our domestic problems on terrorism. (“Why have your wages, adjusted for inflation, fallen or at best remained stagnant over the last ten years? Terrorism is to blame!”) Next, find a group of people, preferably a country, to pin it on. Once you’ve picked a country all you have to do is invade – and waaah lah! You’re taking charge! You’re the man with the plan! You’re taking the bull by the horns and shoving a grenade up its keester! What you leave behind won’t matter; your problem is the next election cycle – not more long term problems like global stability. So what if there are more terrorists in Iraq now than before the invasion. With the current education system, your average citizen can’t say “self-fulfilling prophecy” three times fast, let alone define it. Casualty reports and allegations of prisoner mistreatment may be a problem, but remember that you have an advantage: the control of information. If you know it’s bound to come out, control its release. You’d be amazed what presentation can do for a message. For example: what ever you do, don’t allow pictures of flag draped coffins coming off of the plane. Let them eat numbers. Numbers may be upsetting, but a picture is worth a thousand numbers. Pictures were an absolute disaster in Viet Nam. (Who says we don’t learn from history’s mistakes?)
Ah, but in all seriousness, I have to fess up. In my own uneducated, relatively uninformed way, I kind of thought Iran was a better “harborer of W.M.D. / link to terrorism” candidate than Iraq all along. It’s too bad we used up all of our credibility on the wrong side of Mesopotamia.
All of this would be a fantastic entry, if only more people weren’t upset about foreign policy after all. Oh well, I had fun writing it anyway. Sometimes flexing a little cynicism can be fun, if not a little cathartic. You are now free to return to a more moderate message, already in progress in a media outlet (not owned by Uncle Rupert) near you.