''We're never going to back down, we're never going to give in, we'll never accept anything less than total victory,'' was President Bush's message to U.S. troops in Iraq from the White House in a video conference produced this week for the media. Before Bush made his appearance for the cameras, the troops were rehearsed by Allison Barber, a Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary. Paul Rieckhoff, an Iraq war veteran and director of an advocacy group for U.S. veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, said the event was a "carefully scripted publicity stunt. If he wants the real opinions of the troops,...he needs to be talking to the boots on the ground and that's not a bunch of captains."
What could be a total victory in at war staged and waged on lies and deceit?
In the run-up to the war, Mr. Bush and his administration told us repeatedly that we must invade Iraq because they had weapons of mass destruction, including an imminent nuclear capability that would be used against us because Iraq was involved in the 9/11 attacks and would attack us again. The unspoken objectives were control of Iraq's vast oil reserves, permanent U.S. military bases, oil and war profits, and a distraction from corporate scandals like Enron. Bush's fear-fraught excuses to attack Iraq have proven to be as bogus as Adolph Hitler's charade when he declared that Poland had invaded Germany to justify launching the horror and holocaust of World War II.
The cost of Bush's Iraq war is outrageous and unsustainable!
The Institute for Policy Studies researched the price of Bush's folly in Iraq, and the comparison to Vietnam is revealing. The cost of the Iraq War could exceed $700 billion according to current estimates and the Vietnam War cost about $600 billion in current dollars. Operations costs in Iraq are estimated at $5.6 billion per month in 2005. By comparison, the average cost of U.S. operations in Vietnam over the eight-year war was $5.1 billion per month, adjusting for inflation.
Staying in Iraq and Afghanistan at current levels would nearly double the projected federal budget deficit over the next decade. Since 2001, the U.S. has deployed more than 1 million troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. The cost is $727 per person in the United States and is the most expensive military effort in the last 60 years. 66 journalists have been killed reporting the Iraq War. 63 were killed covering the Vietnam War.
More than 210,000 of the National Guard's 330,000 soldiers have served in Iraq and Afghanistan for an average of 460 days. 341,000 men and women have served two or more overseas tours.
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The Veterans Affairs Department projected that 23,553 veterans would return from Iraq and Afghanistan in 2005 and seek medical care, but the estimate has been revised to 103,000. The miscalculation has led to a shortfall of $273 million in the VA budget for 2005.
The State Department reported that the number of "significant" terrorist attacks reached a record 655 in 2004, up from 175 in 2003. Terrorist incidents in Iraq also increased by a factor of nine -- from 22 attacks in 2003 to 198 in 2004, and 2005 is now being called a civil war.
The latest CBS News poll found that 64% of U.S. adults disapprove of Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq and only 32% approve. Only 32% thought the result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq. After such delusional declarations as mission accomplished and total victory, Bush's neo-con handlers will soon have him demanding unconditional surrender to remind us of Roosevelt's WWII imagery.
A recent AP-Ipsos poll found sentiment about the nation's direction has plummeted at a time people are anxious about Iraq, the economy, gas prices and the management of billions of dollars being spent for recovery from hurricane Katrina. 66% said the country is on the wrong track, while only 28 % said the country is headed in the right direction.
The Wall Street Journal-NBC News Poll found that the biggest problem for Bush is the Iraq War with 58% saying that U.S. troop levels should be reduced in Iraq. With 65% feeling that GOP House Leader Tom DeLay's indictment indicates "potential illegal activity" and 57% believing the same about Senate Republican leader Bill Frist's questionable stock sales, the poll also found that by a 48% to 39% margin the people prefer a Democratic Congress to replace Republican control in the 2006 elections. The poll also revealed that people felt Mr. Bush emphasized personal friendships and party loyalty over competence and qualifications in making appointments by a 54% to 37%. Only 29% of those surveyed felt that Harriet Miers was qualified to be a Supreme Court justice.
Total victory has a hollow ring as casualties mount. Karl Rove appeared before the grand jury again and possible criminal conspiracy indictments threaten White House figures over the destructive Wilson/Plame smear campaign in retaliation for Wilson's exposure of the Niger/Iraq/uranium lie in the run-up to war. With public opinion favoring a new Congress that could bring impeachment charges against Bush and Cheney, Bush might sense a foreboding legal necessity for a loyal friend like Ms. Miers on the Supreme Court.