Leading from the Left

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Sobering Reminder

The UN reported today that 34,000 Iraqi's died in sectarian violence last year, an average of 94 per day. It's a mind-boggling number--34,000 men, women, and children. Today alone, 109 people died in a bombing incidents in Baghdad.

Can you imagine living in that kind of environment? Worried day in and day out about the safety of your children, your spouse, or whether or not you'd survive the bus ride to work?

And the killing continues. More than 3 years into the US occupation of Iraq, the situation spirals downward, worsening nearly every day. You have to assume that anti-American feelings will harden, that the occupying nation will be blamed by the people in the street for wastage of a city and of human life.

And to what end? While Bush got diverted by Iraq, we lost sight of our mission in Afghanistan. That nation is now experiencing a resurgence of the Taliban, funded in part by revenue from the expanding drug trade. As Afghanistan begins to slip backwards, we're in danger of losing both in Afghanistan and Iraq.

At this point, it's hard to imagine a good solution. We seem to be faced with a series of bad alternatives, and Bush's 'more of the same' isn't going to work. In the end we'll be stuck with a destabilized region, and an Iraq that is ripe for full-blown civil war.

We should pull out, in a manner that allows us to contain the fall-out in the region, and refocus our energies on Afghanistan and al-Queda. Can we afford to wait while another 34,000 people die this year?