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What About Iraq Isn't Sobering?
Published on Tuesday, February 13, 2007 by Minneapolis-St Paul Star Tribune (Minnesota)
What About Iraq Isn't Sobering?
by Susan Lenfestey

This month's National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), strategically released on Super Bowl weekend, had every news "analyst" referring to it as "sobering." The report spells out the two roads to hell we can choose to travel in Iraq: A.) Get out now and leave it in chaos or B.) Get out later and leave it in chaos.

Well, we won't be traveling them, exactly, just sending our younguns to pave the road with one more sealer coat of American blood, to blend with the Iraqi blood spilled now and for years to come. Yeah, sobering.

Even the "surge," it seems, is being bungled by the side formerly known as ours. In preparation for the arrival of the additional troops into Baghdad, the militias pulled back from checkpoints around the city -- thus, Iraqi leaders say, allowing the massive truck bomb easy access to the market where it exploded and killed 140 people. Daily attacks continue and nearly 1,000 people have been killed in the last week alone. Sobering.

The Iraqi leaders, those who came around to support the surge, are astonished that the plan was announced so far in advance of the arrival of troops. I'm no warrior, and I'm sure those vaunted generals have a plan, but imagine Roosevelt and Churchill announcing D-day months before the troops or equipment were ready to hit the beach at Normandy, not to mention without the support of the American and British people. Well, that was when the bad guys wore uniforms and lived in Germany, and the good guys lived in the White House and No. 10 Downing Street and we hadn't plummeted down Karl Rove's rabbit hole where night really means day.

Those crashing American helicopters are also -- sobering. The Pentagon at first said they just crashed. Later we learned that at least some of them were shot down, most likely by Sunni militants, who boasted that they have received new stocks of anti-aircraft weapons and that "God has granted them new ways" to take down U.S. aircraft. Funny, God was thanked for his part in the Super Bowl victory as well.

Well, it's sobering all right -- the report, the news, the death, the dissembling, the disgusting Republican die-hards who won't even allow debate on the Senate floor of the most catastrophic blunder in our nation's history. But as all the sobering talk prattled on, I was wondering: Sobering compared to what? Were we all soaring along on the good news until now? Usually the sobering part follows the fun part, like coming down after a giddy night on the town. What part did I miss? Where was the fun?

I suppose for some it was the mission-accomplished strut across the deck of the aircraft carrier. And despite numerous interventions, the Decider and his funny Uncle Dick are the only ones who still can't quit. And that's not just sobering; it's deadly.

Susan Lenfestey ( lives in Minneapolis and writes at the

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