American Soldiers in IraqDavid Brooks today takes a break from reality for a trip to Never-Never Land (notably not to Iraq) in writing rapturously about how courageous President Bush was to defy his generals, and the will of the American people after the November 2006 Elections, by sending thousands more of our brave, young people down into the rathole of Iraq for The Surge. And what a success Mr. Brooks sees there. To quote our Mr. Brooks,
Bush, who made such bad calls early in the war, made a courageous and astute decision in 2006. More than a year on, the surge has produced large, if tenuous, gains. Violence is down sharply. Daily life has improved. Iraqi security forces have been given time to become a more effective fighting force. The Iraqi government is showing signs of strength and even glimmers of impartiality. Iraq has moved from being a failed state to, as Vali Nasr of the Council on Foreign Relations has put it, merely a fragile one.Well. That all sure does sound pretty good. Doesn't it? This Surge has really helped America, right? It's really all been worth it, right? We Americans are a lot better off because of all of this, because . . . well, why exactly?
Guess Which One David Brooks Calls Courageous?How does this help America? Exactly?
Q: The Iraq War (II) and The Surge has helped America by (fill in the blanks):
Coincidently, Bob Herbert also appeared in the NYT today writing about a RAND Corporation study on our returning Veterans. Here's Bob referencing that study,
The study found that approximately 300,000 individuals who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are currently suffering from P.T.S.D. or depression, and that 320,000 have most likely experienced a traumatic brain injury.
Add to that burden the mental torture of depression or P.T.S.D. or the debilitating effects of traumatic brain injury, and you have the stuff that leads to alcoholism, drug abuse, family dissolution, homelessness, trouble with the law and sometimes suicide.
Bob HerbertObviously Bob is choosing to be a Negative Nelly about how courageous President Bush is in this time of war. If only Bob and the other Debby Downers out there would open their eyes and see all the good that war has done for us.
Oops. Don't look at this chart.
Crude Oil PricesAnswers To Pop Quiz:
1. Makes huge profits for Cheney's bosses at Halliburton
2. Disrupts oil production for 5 years and counting, spurring interest in alternate energy sources
3. High oil prices keep oil industry profits and oil stock prices high, saving the US stock market, and our 401-K's, from complete collapse in otherwise crappy economy (TX is doing fine btw)
4. US weapons industry gets to field test all their products, helping sales
5. Neocon nerds get to pretend they're tough by talking about fighting
OK, those could be construed as actual benefits. But what about the cost? Mr. Brooks?