Opinion (Joseph L. Galloway): The dying continues in Iraq while at home we bury our heads in the sand
Above: The president in Albania, while on the same day (left) U.S. honor guard members fire volleys during the funeral of a soldier who was killed in Iraq.
The war in Iraq grinds on without much regard for an American president's pipedreams of victory, a congressional majority's impotent attempts to stop it and most of the American people's wish that it would just go away.
We're now well into the fifth year of this war. All 30,000 of President Bush's surge reinforcements are on the ground, and we have more than 150,000 American soldiers and Marines in the cauldron. The only surge in sight is an inevitable surge in the numbers of those troops being killed and wounded.
More than 3,500 Americans have now been killed in action and more than 29,000 wounded, along with an additional 25,000-plus injured in accidents. That's close to 60,000 American casualties to date, and God alone knows how many Iraqis have been killed and wounded in the war and the civil war - certainly hundreds of thousands.
The central focus of George W. Bush's escalation was to make Baghdad more secure so that the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki could take control of its own capital. In truth, Baghdad seems no more secure now than it was - only a more target-rich environment - and even the president and his generals predict that things will get worse before they get better. If they get better.
A beleaguered president must travel to Albania, of all places, to find a little love. Will he now, as Richard Nixon before him, become an inveterate lame-duck globetrotter in search of a crowd that will cheer him? What's next? Kazakhstan? Tierra del Fuego? How about Baghdad?
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