Al Quaeda hit their target. The death toll in Iraq for the month was 1773 (mostly civilian as they are the easiest to kill). This will be good news for the left as it will make for some beautiful Bush bashing material. It might even be enough to finally to provoke the US into surrendering.
Interestingly, Al Qaeada had to resort to detonating WMDs in Yazidi communities to make their death target. It is ironic that a war started over the threat of WMDs would be lost because the WMDs are finally in play.
The 1773 casualties is horrible and unacceptable. The numbers, however, aren't really that outlandlish. This Report tells us to expect around 500 driving fatalities this Labor Day Weekend, and 3500 in September.
When you look at the history of thuggery and war, the fact that Al Qaeda has been able to effectively destroy the US with so few murders stands out as amazing.
The fact that so many Americans are hip on handing a nation over to its most brutal thugs simply because those brutal thugs were able to hit a death quota for August is quite absurd. Albeit, the opening for this absurdity was created because GW Bush cut corners on diplomatic efforts so that he could finish his daddy's war.
Bush really put us in an absurd and chaotic situation.
Absurdity and chaos are part of life.
I hope that the left is wise enough to realize that emphasizing the death toll plays into the hands of the worst elements of society. It is absurd for us to deliver a country into the hands of Al Qaeda or Iran simply because they are willing to kill large numbers of civilians.
The fact that the terrorists reached their death quota for August should not be a rallying cry of the left. For that matter, I believe that if the left plays up the death toll at this point in the debate, they will drive people back to the radical right.
I've been in a state of dispair since the day that Bush decided to invade Iraq. He had won the diplomatic effort. Diplomatic wins are so scarce that they should not be squandered. The troop surge worked put us into a place where we really can talk about the future of Iraq. The American public has realized that Bush style militarism is a recipe for disaster. I hope that the upcoming debate moves beyond the current left/right political squabbling about how to best capitalize on defeat, and turns the pressing issue of what is best for the Iraqis.
Both the US and Iraqi governments are broken at the moment.
Just as our nations is focussed on the 2008 elections, I think the best hope for Iraq is to get the country focussed on their January 2009 elections. Perhaps the best approach from this point is to commit to providing security through the 2009 elections with a complete troop withdrawl planned after the inauguration of the next Iraqi government.
It is a scary time. We saw Yazidi villages wiped out with the first WMD attack since 9/11. If the shrill left/right debate continues to dominate discourse about the region we probably will start seeing an escalation in the WMD usage the war was supposed to prevent.