Sunday, January 28, 2007

Done Crossed Over

*75 American military dead in Iraq since 1/27/07

One of our favorite sayings at the Sheriff's Department, which we probably swiped from Dallas originally, was: "that boy's done crossed over". Usually, when we said it, it was meant as a humorous response to a statement we found totally unbelievable or an action we thought of as extremely foolish. Crossing over meant you'd entered a realm of unreality.

As I listened to the President's State of the Union address, I couldn't help shaking my head and thinking to myself, "that boy's done crossed over." It seems to me that both Bush and Vice-president Cheney have invested so much of themselves into the Iraq War that they have actually become delusional. You have to have crossed over to believe that Nuri Al Maliki is a strong leader on whom you can rely when the bullets start flying. We already know that he didn't want more American troops in Bagdhad. He wanted us on the outskirts of town, probably so that he and the Shiite militias could proceed to wipe out the Sunnis without American interference. The president presents his Iraq plan as something the two leaders seriously discussed and agreed upon but it simply isn't true. Bush rejected Maliki's plan.

You have to have crossed over to say, as Cheney did in an interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, that: "bottom line is we've had enormous successes and we will continue to have enormous successes." What are these enormous successes that Cheney sees that almost no one else does? There is not one single thing that we predicted or hoped for that has come about in Iraq. Americans are dying by the hundreds; Iraqis are dying by the thousands. Instead of becoming an ally to America, Iraq is dominated by the Shiite majority that favors Iran.

You have to have crossed over to believe that 21,500 more American soldiers will make a difference in Iraq. Even those who promoted a surge, such as John McCain, thought 21,500 was way too few. The surge true believers initially called for 50,000 more troops, at least, but the fact is, we don't have 50,000 more troops. Even to get the 21,500, we have to extend tours of duty and send soldiers back sooner than was planned. Sending the same people into harm's way over and over again is a disgraceful way for America to treat its soldiers, as anyone who hadn't crossed over would understand.

You have to have crossed over to believe that embedding a small group of American troops with Iraqi units won't be deadly to our people. Recently in Karbala, five white SUVs carrying insurgents dressed in American-type uniforms and with American type weapons carried out an assault which a military statement said was "well-rehearsed". They made it through the checkpoints and entered the compound, launching grenades that damaged several American vehicles. One U.S. soldier was killed during the attack and four more were kidnapped. The insurgents left via the same checkpoint that let them in! The SUVs were later found with two soldiers shot dead in the backseat of one of them, another dead on the ground and a fourth dying of gunshot wounds to the head. He died before he made it to the hospital. "Well-rehearsed" is just another way of saying "inside job". Our guys were meeting with the Iraqis to plan security but obviously, at least some of the Iraqis were plotting against them at the same time. This is how much we can trust the safety of our troops to the Iraqis. We are putting them in the position of being sitting ducks for people who do not have the same goals for Iraq that we do.

George Bush says that anyone who doesn't agree with his plan should come up with one of their own. But Bush is up to his neck in alternative plans. The Democrats have put forth plans; the Republicans have put forth plans; the Iraq Study Group put forth a plan. The only problem for the president is that he believes his plan is the only one that counts. "I'm the decision-maker," he has said - but this is America. We have no single decision-maker. No one person, even a president, gets to dictate to everyone else. Any president who doesn't understand this has done crossed over.