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Mission Accomplished Said Bush, Obviously Not

Mission Accomplished Said Bush, Obviously Not

by Jim Peron

One year ago George Bush, Jr. stood on the deck of a US aircraft carrier with a huge banner behind him so that his photo could be taken with it. It said, in massive letters "Mission Accomplished" and was meant to celebrate the American "victory" in Iraq.

He announced that day that "major combat operations" were over in Iraq. Thye weren't and they won't be for a very long time.

Not only is the conflict not over but the pile of dead Americans continues is growing at a faster pace. During 2003 the average number of American dead was 48 per month. So far for 2004 it's 64 per month. April, 2004 was the worst month so far in the conflict with 138 US personnel dying‹almost one every five hours.

In last year's fit of hubris Bush announced that the US invasion meant "there are no longer torture chambers" in Iraq. Now the American military says that six members of the Army Reserve military police are facing charges of "assault, cruelty, indecent acts and maltreatment of detainees."

The New York Times report on the incident says that photographs show "naked Iraqi men are stacked in a human pyramid, one with a slur in English written on his skin. In another, a prisoner stands on a box, with his head covered and wires attached to his body. ...the detainee was told that he would be electrocuted if he fell. Other photographs show male prisoners simulating having sex."

Attorneys for the accused have said they will prove in court that the actions were in line with orders to break the morale of prisoners.

Of course the photos have only enraged the Arab world even more. And only a tiny percentage of Iraqis, according to recent polls, see the US troops mainly as liberators. Instead a five to one majority considers the troops to be occupiers. If the poll is right, and it probably is, then a further escalation of US deaths should be expected.

Bush apparently thought he'd have a sanitary war. The pro war faction in the United States is clearly on the defensive. And there are only so many times that Bush can wave the 9/11 attacks in the faces of the public to demand support for his policies.

The administration tried to prevent the showing of flag-drapped caskets from reaching the American public. They failed. They've tried to present the idea that US troops are in Iraq to "free" the Iraqi people. While some Americans still believe that line very few Iraqis do.

Pro war groups are now livid that Ted Koppel, on his Nightline news show, intends to read the names of each American soldier killed in Iraq. Along with Koppel reading their name the program will show a photo of the soldier.

Bush's supporters argue this is propaganda. Yet the reality of the deaths have been hidden from the public intentionally by the Bush administration. Koppel is not commenting on the deaths. He's not urging Americas to stage anti-war protests. What he's doing is pure news. He's merely listing American victims of Bush's interventionist foreign policy.

The Bush league is trying to pressure television stations to withdraw the show. Only a handful have. But the end of result of this effort, like most attempts to restrict access to information, is to increase curiosity and secure a larger audience for Koppel. In the meantime war advocates make themselves appear more desperate.

The politicians are unwilling to admit they made a mistake. Congressman Norm Dicks (Democrat) wants increased funding for the war to "to have security for our troops".

Is this what the Iraq invasion has come to?

When this started a year ago it was about 9/11. It was about bin Laden, al Qaeda, weapons of mass destruction and bringing liberty to Iraq. Now we have politicians merely hoping to have security for the troops.

Those troops could be secure tomorrow. Let them go home.

Jim Peron is the executive director of the Institute for Liberal Values.

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