Iraq: The Good News Just Keeps Coming

Thursday, March 30, 2006 at 04:52 PM

The Iraq apologists, in their ever-dwindling numbers, insist that the media doesn't report "good news" from Iraq, and exaggerates the bad news it does report.  In fact, that seems to be the theme of the month for a White House desperate to stop their public opinion bleeding.  Sort of a "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes," except the administration doesn't want to tell people their eyes are lying; they want to tell them that their eyes are simply focused on a bunch of media lies.

So, with the same good faith employed by the White House in their campaign to smear the media, let me offer some good Iraq news.

1. If you're concerned that America has longer term intentions in Iraq, you're not alone.  In a piece dated March 25, Axis of Logic notes that:

Significantly, in an article published Friday, the Los Angeles Times noted that the latest emergency appropriation for the Iraq war includes $348 million to improve and expand the four military bases in Iraq which are central to US strategic purposes--Balad and Taji, north of Baghdad; Tallil, near Nasiriya in the south; and Al Asad in the western desert.

According to a report by the House Appropriations Committee, referring to the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, it "has become clear in recent years that these expeditionary operations can result in substantial military construction expenditures of a magnitude normally associated with permanent bases."

2. US deserter with Iraq combat experience describes that experience

Today's Toronto Globe & Mail reports on the testimony of a U.S. war deserter before a Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board hearing at which he's seeking refugee status. I have no idea how reliable the testimony is.

Joshua Key, the only one of five U.S. servicemen seeking asylum to have served in Iraq combat, as a member of the 43rd Combat Engineer Company, described numerous events that could certainly be called atrocities, including an officer shooting off part of an unarmed Iraqi's foot when the Iraqi gave an insulting gesture with the foot; members of the Florida National Guard kicking a severed Iraqi head "like a soccer ball"; and U.S. soldiers indiscriminately kicking and screaming at two hooded and naked detainees while escorting them to a grassy area to relieve themselves.

Key also claims to have been told by an officer that the Geneva Convention was just a guideline, and to have seen U.S. soldiers stealing jewelery and money while ransacking Iraqi homes on raids searching for insurgents.

Key said he joined the army for steady pay and medical coverage for his family, and initially went willingly to Iraq. After becoming disillusioned with the war, he deserted during a leave from Iraq in November 2003. Since then, he and his family had lived on the run in the U.S. until crossing the border to Canada at Niagara Falls on March 3, 2005.

You can just see the political divide in the US approaching the same chasm that opened up during the war in Viet Nam.  I have no doubt that many people who view themselves as patriots find the above story unpatriotic and a slander on the troops, while others, me included, see it as a necessary part of the story about what is rapidly becoming the defining event for America in the early part of this century.