During the past month, as the attention of the United States has been focused on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, it has diverted attention from more of the same bad news in Iraq.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Focused on its own troubles, America might have turned away for a while, but the situation in Iraq has not improved. In fact, there has been a surge in violence.
In the month since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, at least 55 U.S. soldiers have been killed. The Iraqi death toll is many times greater, though much harder to calculate. Sunni insurgents have terrorized many parts of Iraq, especially those occupied by majority Shiites, with a relentless series of suicide attacks, roadside bombs and shootings. Attacks on Thursday and Friday of this week alone have left more than 100 Iraqis dead.
And what is the news from that part of the world today? Well, there is a new US-Iraqi offensive in Western Iraq, at least the third such offensive in just the past couple of months, while attacks against US troops were reported in Baghdad, Taji and Beiji-- areas that had previously supposed to have been 'cleared.' There was a report out that Iraq prisoner abuse has continued, ironically in the same week that Lynndie England was sentenced. Aside from the obvious conclusion that prosecuting a few low level perpetrators hasn't solved the problem, so we need to look higher up the chain of command for the root of it, it makes the same point as the rest of the news:
There is a good reason why people are paying less attention to Iraq. It's because the news is just a repeat of old news. What this shows is that we are going around in circles and getting nowhere.
I have made the analogy before that, according to the Bush administration, we had 'turned the corner' on the insurgency with the capture of Saddam, then we had 'turned the corner' on the insurgency with the transfer of sovereignty on June 28 of last year (note that we have lost more troops since then than we had before then). Then, we had supposedly 'turned the corner' with the offensive last year in Fallujah (although we still have been attacked in Fallujah). Then we had supposedly 'turned the corner' in January with the elections. But the fact is, if you keep 'turning the corner' then all you are doing is driving around the block, wasting fuel and going nowhere significant, which is about what we are doing now in Iraq.