Monday, November 06, 2006

So then, what did they die for?

US casualties in Iraq as of today stand at 2,835 dead and 21,077 wounded. Iraqi casualties are off the chart, estimated at 300,000-600,000 -- 2% of the population as of March 19, 2003. Iraq's infrastructure is in ruins, with only intermittent electricity and shortages of food, gas and water. The country has completely collapsed into a civil war between at least 12 different factions. But at least Saddam's regime is gone -- not.

"A day after Saddam Hussein was sentenced to hang, the country’s Shiite-dominated government declared a major concession to his Sunni Muslim backers that could see thousands of purged Baath Party members reinstated to their jobs."

I must be misunderstanding this, because it sounds like all those people were killed and injured to remove a government that, save for two or three guys at the top, will soon be reinstated. 2,835 dead troops, for two or three guys. 600,000 dead Iraqis. Two or three guys. It doesn't make any sense, but...

...But the Iraqis are finally free, so maybe that makes it all worthwhile. Except they're anything but free, as Riverbend of Baghdad Burning aptly describes. TV stations shut down at the behest of the government because they didn't want the Iraqi people to see the pro-Saddam demonstrations? Women unable to go out without wearing headscarves? Religious extremists running the government?

If unending violence, censorship, sexism and theocracy were the goals of the war in Iraq, then Mission Accomplished. But if I had a son or daughter who died there, I'd be crushed by what their death actually helped to achieve.