Thursday, February 03, 2005

A Pyrrhic Victory

A battle won is a battle which we will not acknowledge to be lost.
Ferdinand Foch (1851–1929), French general

In the absence of freedom and with U.S. troops on high alert, Republicans claim elections are a success. It is amazing how elections can look safe and successful when martial law has been instituted. When insurgents cannot move around easily to perform their cold-blooded murder of innocent people, then people are safe.

Unfortunately for the Republicans’ public relations campaign, martial law has been rescinded and the insurgents are again free to kill and maim. Thursday two civilians were singled out because they had voted. Also, 10 other voters were killed in a spate of attacks across the country. South of Baghdad, near the largely Shi'ite town of Hilla, gunmen drew up alongside the car of a local government official and shot him dead, according to the Associated Press.

Spinning Iraqi Forces (to their grave)
At a hearing about the status of the Iraq war after Sunday's election there, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told lawmakers that while Iraqi security forces have made an enormous contribution toward keeping the country safe, "much work clearly needs to be done."

Clearly, I would say the first step would be staying alive. Iraqi insurgents staged a major ambush on a road near Baghdad Thursday, killing two policemen, wounding 14 and leaving at least 16 missing on the worst day of violence since last Sunday's election. The attack came a day after guerrillas in the north dragged Iraqi soldiers off a bus and shot 12 of them dead, and suggests the country's 22-month-long insurgency is far from over, despite its failure to stop last weekend's vote.

Iraq's trained security forces number about 125,000 but only a third of those soldiers and police (approximately 41,000) have enough training to engage in combat with insurgents across the country, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers told lawmakers Thursday. “About 40,000 can go anywhere in the country and take on any threat. That does not mean the rest of them aren't useful.''

Does he mean useful as in cannon fodder?


shadowbox said...

Speaking of alerts, we sure don't hear much about orange alerts from Homeland any more. There were plenty before the November vote. I guess everything's safe and cozy again.

The Misanthrope said...

Good point. Maybe there is some confusion between the outgoing and the new incoming Homeland Security Chief. I suspect we'll see them again near the time Congress prepares to vote on Social Security, but most likely just before the mid-term elections.