Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the 2000 Vice Presidential Candidate, made a surprise visit to Iraq this week. As usual for these unannounced visits (claim that things are overblown all you want-- visits by Americans to other countries are generally announced for weeks in advance), Lieberman mugged for the cameras and painted a rosy picture, saying “what I see here today is progress, significant progress.”
That wasn't the picture a few hours later, when he actually met some of the troops.
McClatchy reports tonight on Spc. David Williams, who collected questions for Lieberman from 30 other troops.
At the top of his note card was the question he got from nearly every one of his fellow soldiers:
“When are we going to get out of here?”
The rest was a laundry list. When would they have upgraded Humvees that could withstand the armor-penetrating weapons that U.S. officials claim are from Iran? When could they have body armor that was better in hot weather?...
Next to him, Spc. Will Hedin, 21, of Chester, Conn., thought about what he was going to say.
“We’re not making any progress,” Hedin said, as he recalled a comrade who was shot by a sniper last week. “It just seems like we drive around and wait to get shot at. … It’s just more troops, more targets.”
As for the 'troop surge' itself, it appears not to be stanching the violence. The number of unidentified corpses in Baghdad, after falling in April jumped up by seventy percent in May as militias returned to the streets.
In fact, the only real 'surge' is in the number of U.S. troop deaths. April and May were the first two consecutive months since the start of the war in 2003 in which the total number of U.S. troop deaths was over a hundred in both months, and in fact it has broken 100 in four of the past eight months-- as opposed to only reaching that level three times in a calendar month, in the first 3 and a half years of the war.
I find that particularly depressing because I predicted thsi would happen. I'd have much rather been proven wrong, but instead, the Administration's new war policy has simply produced more dead Americans, and apparently (based on the above numbers from the street) no let up in the rate of Iraqis murdering other Iraqis.