The happy story administration salesmen peddle on Iraq reflects an inexcusable failure to confront war's grim realities
With less than seven weeks to go before the elections, it's not surprising that Iraq would turn into an all-purpose campaign punching bag over what's gone right and wrong in the war on terror. That does not give the George W. Bush administration carte blanche to waltz through this crucial phase of the war which has entailed the sacrifice of more than 1,025 U.S. military lives and more than 7,000 wounded as if nothing were wrong and U.S. forces were on course to achieving peace, democracy and prosperity for Iraqis.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
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Any objective assessment says the war has worsened and that a change of course that may be even more expensive in time, money and military personnel than the war so far is overdue.
Yet the president's Pollyannish pronouncements that "this country is headed toward democracy . . . this country is headed towards elections" continue.
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What is inexcusable is the administration's continuing failure to confront the grim reality and remold policies to make the best of this sow's ear. The delay in gearing up to get the trainers, uniforms, weapons and money that Iraqi security forces need has meant that not a single Iraqi police officer is fully trained and street-ready. The Iraqi army was disbanded with nary a thought to the security vacuum this would create. Our NATO "allies" still are haggling over a skeleton force of 300 military trainers that have yet to arrive in Iraq. Scores of willing police recruits continue to die unnecessarily because of the failure to build secure barriers around recruitment centers.
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