Now let's get down to what good that's really done.
This from BBC News yesterday:
Iraqis shot 'for wearing shorts'
The coach of Iraq's tennis team and two players were shot dead in Baghdad on Thursday, said Iraqi Olympic officials…
…Witnesses said the three were dressed in shorts and were killed days after militants issued a warning forbidding the wearing of shorts…
…Two of the athletes stepped out of the car and were shot in the head, said one witness. The third was shot dead in the vehicle.
"The gunman took the body out of the car and threw it on top of the other two bodies before stealing the car," said the witness, who requested anonymity.
He said leaflets had been recently distributed in the area warning residents not to wear shorts…
After all this time and all this talk about "standing down as they stand up," Baghdad is still under control of militias that declare their own capital crimes through pamphlet and judge and execute them on the streets.
Last Tuesday, 40 people were killed in attacks across Iraq. Also on Tuesday, the Bush administration began playing down prospects of reducing U.S. troop levels in Iraq any time soon.
Mister Bush said that Iraq's government will assess its security needs and its security forces and work with U.S. commanders. "We haven't gotten to the point yet where [Iraq's] new government is sitting down with our commanders to come up with a joint way forward,'' he said.
If they haven't sat down with U.S. commanders to "find a way forward" yet, they're sitting down on the job. They've had enough time in their busy schedules to publicly back Iran's right to pursuit of peaceful nuclear energy. I happen to agree with that sentiment, but it sure seems like Iraq's new government has a lot more immediate things on its plate than worrying about the internal affairs of another country. And it doesn't seem like anything could require the more immediate attention of Iraq's government than getting its own security situation under control.
White House press secretary Tony Snow said, "We're not going to sort of look at our watches and say, 'Oop, time to go.' The conditions on the ground tell us that our job's not done.''
And Brigadier General Carter Ham, deputy Joint Chiefs of Staff operations director, said of reducing troop levels, "We want to do it as soon as we can, but you can't do it too fast,'' and cautioned against "rushing to failure.''
No, General, no need to rush. Failure has all the patience in the world. It will wait until you're ready for it.
The excuses for "staying the course" in Iraq are wearing so thin you can see through them on a cloudy day. Back in October, I wrote "Ten Bad Reasons for 'Staying the Course' in Iraq" for the ePluribus Media Journal. Since then, the Bush administration and its echo chamberlains have sprung several more bad reasons.
-- If we leave now, Iraq will turn into chaos.
Iraq is already in chaos. Our military presence created it. Our continued military presence sustains it.
-- If we leave now, the chaos in Iraq will spread throughout the Middle East.
We can't control the chaos in Iraq. If it spreads throughout the Middle East, our troops in Iraq won't able to do anything about it.
-- If we leave now, Iraq will be vulnerable to invasion from its neighbors.
After watching what happened to the mightiest nation in world history when it invaded Iraq, who would want to repeat the experience?
Last March, on the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion, Mister Bush promised to "finish the mission" in Iraq with "complete victory." He made no mention of when this complete victory might be achieved. More importantly, though, he didn't bother to describe what complete victory might consist of.
The stark truth is that there is no such thing as "complete victory" in a situation like the Iraq scenario. Bush and his high-powered advisers either know that or they're utterly incompetent.
In the latter case, they need to be handcuffed, either literally through impeachment proceedings or figuratively through election of a Congress that can put them in a cage.
In the former case, they're determined to maintain their regime's power by insisting, in Orwellian fashion, on pursuing victory in a war that can't be won. If that's what's going on, and enough of the electorate continues to support their policies, then we are in for a long war indeed.
An adage of military art says that wars aren't over until the losers decide they are.
And if the losers who presently run this country continue to have their way, their war will go on until the sun blinks out.