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The news from Iraq, our new colony, upkeep of which will have cost Americans $300 billion after the next round of funding goes through (that's a lot of money), has not been good this month. After the White House's "pictures of people smiling and holding up purple fingers" public relations coup, my sense is that everyone, taking their cues from the media, just turned off news from there--"OK they have a democracy now, good, Bush is looking after us and will get us cheap oil, now let's get back to Michael and the boys." (I say "my sense" because I turn on the TV and as soon as I see someone with a suit and poofy hair sitting behind a desk--which is always--I say "I have nothing in common with these people" and testily switch off.) I get my Iraq news from omnibus sites such as Juan Cole, Today in Iraq, and Steve Gilliard's News Blog, which are combing sources other than the US media, which largely dispenses happy talk and administration spin (however, a lot of those sites' material also comes from the back pages of US newspapers). The news is, it's a goddamn slaughterhouse over there.* The Sunni Arabs held power for some 60 years and they're not going to give it up easily to a Shiite-Kurd government. And they have tons of arms and ammo because the US didn't destroy the dumps after the invasion. Evidently Rumsfeld, et al, wanted our pet exiles (Chalabi, et al) to have access to the ordnance to police the country after we handed it over to them. Bush will not give a straight answer to the question: Are we building permanent bases in Iraq or not? I think we have to assume they are. Meanwhile, our volunteer army is being ground down by too much combat without a break. Are these costs worth it so we can control Iraq's oil? Is that the "real world" Cheney and the Neocons say we're living in? Those are the questions we should be discussing.
*" Dozens of bodies found floating in the Tigris river, a nearly successful assassination attempt on interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, yet another lethal car bomb attack (there've been more than 20 in the past week in Baghdad alone), and a civilian helicopter shot down, reportedly culminating in an execution." --per Salon