On the one hand, there's the reality of, you know, being there:
GIs' morale dips as Iraq war drags on
YOUSIFIYA, IRAQ -- In the dining hall of a U.S. Army post south of Baghdad, President Bush was on the wide-screen TV, giving a speech about the war in Iraq. The soldiers didn't look up from their chicken and mashed potatoes.
As military and political leaders prepare to deliver a progress report on the conflict to Congress next month, many soldiers are increasingly disdainful of the happy talk that they say commanders on the ground and White House officials are using in their discussions about the war.
And they're becoming vocal about their frustration over longer deployments and a taxing mission that keeps many living in dangerous and uncomfortably austere conditions. Some say two wars are being fought here: the one the enlisted men see, and the one that senior officers and politicians want the world to see.
"I don't see any progress. Just us getting killed," said Spc. Yvenson Tertulien, one of those in the dining hall in Yousifiya, 10 miles south of Baghdad, as Bush's speech aired last month. "I don't want to be here anymore."
On the other hand, there's the cheerily relentless perkiness of Blogging Tory and "Steno Boy" Jonathan Strong:
Today is the first day that the "surge" of troops in Iraq is at full force. Nevertheless, the results have already been apparent, even to a few Democrats!
Carl Levin of Michigan: "The military aspects of President Bush's new strategy in Iraq ... appear to have produced some credible and positive results." ...
Abandoning Iraq makes little strategic sense regardless of whether one supported the initial invasion or not. The fact is, America is there and Al Qaida is there, we might as well win.
Yes, America is there, and al-Qaeda is there. But you know who's not there? Jonathan Strong. Because Jonathan's comfortably ensconced in Florida, where he's free to blog on how terrific it is to be in Iraq. Where he's not.
Isn't it odd how often that happens?
The "Al Qaeda in Iraq" the USian propagandists are talking about is not some tightly-knit, centralised force; it's really just a diffuse amalgam of insurgents fighting American occupation. They can't be defeated in the way the USians think they can.
In fact, calling some of the insurgents "Al Qaeda" is probably entirely propaganda.
ti-gut, it's even dumber than that. It's like setting mouse traps while your house is ablaze. AQI is a minor problem in the big picture. Even if, by some miracle, AQI is forced out the situation will remain with the militias, the economy, the corrupt police, the inept military, the political impasse, the refugees, etc.
There is this strange mentality that there is some fixed number of enemies that are never replaced when they fall. By definition, a suicide bomber is used once, but there seem to always be more of these guys.
The term is "insurgents" is completely vague, and intentionally so. Does it include the militias who have allied with us and who oppose the Iraqi government? Is it the Shia who run death squads to ethnically cleanse the population? Or is it just the Al-Qaeda variants?
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