November 24, 2007

Juan Cole on the Iraq War, Chretien, Bush and Afghanistan

Juan Cole at Informed Comment has an important post today that bears repeating. The first half of the post reads:

Whoever is responsible for this disgusting travesty is an automatic candidate for Keith Olbermann's "Worst Person in the World." My guess is that the trail will lead back to Donald "its not a guerrilla war" Rumsfeld and Richard Bruce "most prominent traitor in American history" Cheney. Gregg Zoroya of USA Today reports that 20,000 US troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and suffered brain injuries were never classified as wounded by the Pentagon and are not included in the official statistics for the wounded issued by the Department of Defense. Although some of the under-reporting of this condition could be inadvertent, the scale of it strongly suggests an underlying policy.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien says that it was among the great victories in his life that he stood against US pressure to join in the Iraq War.

Uh, the purpose of a wise and mature US foreign policy is to avoid close allies ending up speaking like that. Bush has destroyed half a century of good will among NATO allies, most of whom now think they are better off not following Washington's lead. Leaders who threw in with Bush, like Aznar of Spain and Berlusconi of Italy, have been ushered off the political stage by enraged publics. As someone who grew up when the US (and its currency) was respected by most Europeans and other North Americans, I am sad to see the way W. has debased our position and humiliated our country.

Among the biggest irritants in NATO countries against the US now is the mission in Afghanistan, which seems both open-ended and ultimately fruitless. Canada did not dodge that bullet, and has lost dozens of soldiers there, though you would not know it from reading US newspapers. On Friday, Pushtun guerrillas killed an Australian soldier in Uruzgan province (Mulla Omar's birthplace), and others killed 3 civilians, attacked a police checkpoint and killed 7 officers and kidnapped 6 others. (What is the mission? If the mission is to get Pushtuns to stop worrying about Islam and start welcoming foreign troops in their country, I wouldn't hold my breath).

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