Much of what is so terribly wrong about the U.S. incursion in Iraq has been on display in the last seven days, a misbegotten war writ small.Someone actually stood up on the floor of Congress and said, "Is it al-Qaida, or is it America?". This actually happened.
— On Friday night, three young U.S. soldiers -- a Latino kid and two small-town white kids -- were left to guard a vehicle checkpoint on a canal bridge in the heart of the Sunni-dominated "triangle of death" south of Baghdad. Seven masked insurgents surrounded them, killed one and took the other two captive. Eight thousand troops spent the weekend searching for them. Their mutilated and decapitated bodies were found Monday.
— Friday was the same day the House voted to approve a non-binding resolution expressing "solidarity" with the troops fighting the war on terror. Ignoring reality, the Republican-sponsored resolution linked the war in Iraq with the attacks of 9/11. The breathtaking stupidity of the resolution was best captured by Rep. Charlie Norwood, R-Ga.: "It is time to stand up and vote. Is it al-Qaida, or is it America?"
— Not to be outdone, the Senate Friday briefly toyed with an amendment calling for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of the year. Democrats promised to get back to the amendment this week, once their political backsides are properly covered. Republicans, sneering at what they call the "cut and run" amendment, promised to defeat it.
— Monday, the same day that the bodies of the two kidnapped soldiers were found, Vice President Dick Cheney was asked at the National Press Club whether he still believed his remarks from a year ago that the Iraq insurgency was in "its last throes."
Mr. Cheney, ignoring the inconvenient facts that 835 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since he made his "last throes" remark; and more than 6,000 others have been wounded; and nearly 3,000 Iraqi soldiers and police officers have been killed; and nearly 15,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed, answered, "I do."
Say "I do" to the family of Khamis al-Obeidi, one of Saddam Hussein's defense lawyers. Mr. Obeidi was kidnapped and killed Wednesday morning by men posing as police officers. He was the third member of Mr. Hussein's defense team to be killed. How is an Iraqi government so incompetent that it can't protect someone so vulnerable ever going to stand on its own?
Say "I do" to the families of Spec. David Babineau of Springfield, Mass., Pfc. Thomas Tucker of Madras, Ore., and Pfc. Kristian Menchaca of Houston. For all the "solidarity" that the House expressed, they were hung out to dry at their checkpoint Friday night. Spec. Babineau was killed in the attack, his comrades kidnapped and brutalized.
The war is being fought by kids like these, kids with high school diplomas or GEDs, taking risks for a better future. There were never enough of them to do the job they wound up doing or enough armor to protect them. The risks they have faced and still face have been grossly underestimated by President George W. Bush and his cadre of ideological zealots.
Last Wednesday, a few hours after returning from his surprise photo-op in Baghdad's Green Zone, Mr. Bush appeared in the White House Rose Garden to tell the American people that while he'd been impressed with the new Iraqi government, "The challenges that remain are serious and they will require more sacrifice and patience."
More sacrifice? Unless you or a loved one are in the military, this war hasn't cost you anything, except maybe a couple of bucks for a "support the troops" car magnet. The trillion-dollar cost of the war will be handed to our children and grandchildren, the worst of it paid in blood by kids like David Babineau, Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker.
You know, I don't read a lot of US news anymore (though still probably more than many Americans). Every time I do, I find some bit of lunacy like this, and a tremendous feeling of relief washes over me.