Thursday, January 17, 2008

Quick Hits and Fazed Cookies

Where's the Iraq War?
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the much ballyhooed "troop surge" in Iraq, news from our ongoing five-year long misadventure in the desert is hard to come by. Has the national press simply forgotten the more than 30,000 dead and wounded American soldiers lost to this fiasco--or the two billion dollars-a-week in much-needed tax revenue we continue to flush down the Iraqi toilet?

One of the reasons for this topical amnesia appears to be the collective acceptance by most major media outlets that the surge has worked. Republican presidential candidates have even stopped avoiding talk of the war and it's prosecution and have begun singing the praises of Bush's wisdom and strategy-- touting lower casualty totals among both American soldiers and Iraqi civilians over the past few months.

But is the strategy really working? Is the country any closer to a political resolution that will solve its bitter sectarian divisions? Are the Iraqi security forces or army anywhere near where they need to be to allow American troops to at least consider drawing down their forces? Have the agents of chaos and violence been defeated or have they just slipped back into the woodwork-- simply avoiding the areas where the troop surge has been focused?

Author and New York Observer columnist Joe Conason takes a critical and in-depth look at what is passing for "progress" in Iraq in a great piece for Truthdig.com. Read it here.

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Take Two Aspirin and Head to Iraq
In an effort to reach Pentagon-instituted troop strength goals for war zone areas, the US military is now sending ailing soldiers deemed "not medically fit for battle" back overseas before they have even recovered from earlier injuries.

Most of the soldiers were dispatched from Fort Carson, Colorado--the same Fort Carson that was at the heart of a congressional investigation last year after reports revealed soldiers were not receiving quality medical care after returning from Iraq. Some soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder said they were punished, rather than treated, or thrown out of the Army for "personality" problems.
SC
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