In the past four years, we've seen:
- 3,217 American troops deaths
- 258 Coalition troop deaths
- 59,000+ Iraqi civilian deaths
- 73,000 mental disorders, 61,000 diseases of the nervous system, 87,000 diseases of the musculoskeletal system, and 7,000 "signs of ill-defined conditions" in American troops lucky enough to make it home
- $400 billion+ spent
- $95.5 billion more on the way
- $8.8 billion lost or misplaced
- 29,984 chemical munitions never found in Iraq
- 6.6 hours of electricity per day
- 38 percent of Iraqis who think Iraq is better off than before the war
- 26 percent of Iraqis who feel safe in their own neighborhoods
- 140,000 American troops currently in Iraq
- 21,500 more troops promised in Bush's "surge"
- 28,700 troops actually being sent into the line of fire
- Countless al-Qaeda "number twos" captured
- Countless detainees in Gitmo held without charges, evidence, or legal representation
- Little to no sacrifice on the part of the American people
- Zero sign of Osama bin Laden
- Zero government accountability
- Zero plans for success from the Bush administration
- Zero respect for the lives of American troops or Iraqi civilians
Doug has said it far better than I could:
Look, I know that September 11 changed a lot of things about this country and how we perceived our need to act in the world, and I'm not saying that all war has to be dismissed out of hand; the invasion of Afghanistan, for instance, was immediately needed to oust a regime that had directly assisted al-Qaeda and aided in carrying out their terrorist attacks. But war is something that should be wielded only as a last resort, and it's clear that that's not how it was viewed with respect to Iraq. Bush continues to claim to this day that all diplomatic avenues had been exhausted with Iraq and that the country presented an imminent threat, but the example he uses to prove this point -- Saddam Hussein supposedly kicking out the UN weapons inspectors -- isn't even true, because it was the Bush administration who ordered the inspectors out so that they could start bombing. We could've pulled up short of an all-out invasion of Iraq; we just didn't want to. Why?
Now the target du jour is Iran, and we have people both in the blogosphere and in the government insisting that "all options remain on the table" with regard to attacking that country -- all options, evidently, except negotiation. There may yet come a time when relations with Iran deteriorate to the point where war becomes the only option, but how can anyone say that we're at that point already? And how can anyone who says that be considered "serious" about national defense when we're already overextended by major military operations in two other Middle Eastern countries?
Just think about what war means is all I'm asking, people. War is never an easy thing. War means thousands of people getting killed; war means billions, if not trillions, of dollars getting thrown into the fire; war means entire societies getting scarred for generations. As Sadly, No! so succinctly put it three years ago, War never doesn't hurt. If we've learned nothing else after four years of agony in Iraq, I hope we've learned that. But I wouldn't even be bothering to repeat this if I thought everybody had.
Right now, the Senate is debating legislation that would insist on evidence of progress in return for all of the lives and money that have been invested in this war, and that would keep the war from lasting another four years if that progress isn't being made. Bush has promised to veto that legislation because he needs this war, because it's the only legacy he'll have, because this war, he insists, "will be won if we have the courage and resolve to see it through."
Resolve. That's the ticket. And money. And blood. And miles and miles and miles of heart. We've got plenty of it all.