CBS News leads its 10 a.m. hourly radio news with Bush giving a speech to military wives. He’s got a comforting message for them: The road to “total victory” — his recently declared goal in Iraq — will be paved by “more sacrifice.” Let’s not dwell too long on who will make the sacrifice. The military wives already know.
The sacrifice talk — Bush sounded the same theme in his weekly radio talk last Saturday — is prompted by the U.S. military death toll in Operation Mission Accomplished reaching 2,000 (along with 15,220 wounded).
The other side to Bush’s talk about the need to stay the course, shed as much blood and spend as much money as it takes, is that each passing day shows the war in Iraq to be a more and more fabulous success.
If, like me, you’ve missed that story — OK, yes, Iraq did just have the best election our money could buy, and that’s sure a change from the reign of Saddam Hussein — here are a few examples:
Unseen Enemy Is at Its Fiercest in a Sunni City
New York Times, October 23, 2005
RAMADI, Iraq, Oct. 22 – The Bradley fighting vehicles moved slowly down this city’s main boulevard. Suddenly, a homemade bomb exploded, punching into one vehicle. Then another explosion hit, briefly lifting a second vehicle up onto its side before it dropped back down again.
Two American soldiers climbed out of a hatch, the first with his pant leg on fire, and the other completely in flames. The first rolled over to help the other man, but when they touched, the first man also burst into flames. Insurgent gunfire began to pop.
Several blocks away, Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Rosener, 20, from Minneapolis, watched the two men die from a lookout post at a Marine encampment. His heart reached out to them, but he could not. In Ramadi, Iraq’s most violent city, two blocks may as well be 10 miles.
“I couldn’t do anything,” he said of the incident, which he saw on Oct. 10. He spoke quietly, sitting in the post and looking straight ahead. “It’s bad down there. You hear all the rumors. We didn’t know it was going to be like this.” …
US troops fighting losing battle for Sunni triangle
London Telegraph, October 22, 2005
The mob grew more frenzied as the gunmen dragged the two surviving Americans from the cab of their bullet-ridden lorry and forced them to kneel on the street.
Killing one of the men with a rifle round fired into the back of his head, they doused the other with petrol and set him alight. Barefoot children, yelping in delight, piled straw on to the screaming man’s body to stoke the flames.
It had taken just one wrong turn for disaster to unfold. Less than a mile from the base it was heading to, the convoy turned left instead of right and lumbered down one of the most anti-American streets in Iraq, a narrow bottleneck in Duluiya town, on a peninsular jutting into the Tigris river named after the Jibouri tribe that lives there. …
… Within minutes, four American contractors, all employees of the Halliburton subsidiary Kellog, Brown & Root, were dead. The jubilant crowd dragged their corpses through the street, chanting anti-US slogans. An investigation has been launched into why the contractors were not better protected.
Perhaps fearful of public reaction in America, where support for the war is falling, US officials suppressed details of the Sept 20 attack, which bore a striking resemblance to the murder of four other contractors in Fallujah last year.
Secret MoD poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops
London Telegraph, October 23, 2005
Millions of Iraqis believe that suicide attacks against British troops are justified, a secret military poll commissioned by senior officers has revealed. …
…The survey was conducted by an Iraqi university research team that, for security reasons, was not told the data it compiled would be used by coalition forces. It reveals:
• Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified – rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province;
• 82 per cent are “strongly opposed” to the presence of coalition troops;
• less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;
• 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;
• 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;
• 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.