(This Story of the Day was originally posted on August 16, 2006. Since that time, 109 more of our troops have been killed in Iraq; the U.S. death toll reached 2,711 today. Sectarian violence continues unabated. And more suicide attacks occurred this week than at any other time during the war. Concurrently, television coverage, as well as the prominence and frequency of stories in national newspapers, has waned, mirroring the same pattern that took place as the 2004 presidential election drew near. It's back to all terror, all the time. Meanwhile, the slaughterhouse rages on. Our troops have been abandoned by leaders who view death as a means to an end, even if that end isn't feasible.)
It's time to all join hands and say it together: Iraq is in the midst of a
civil war. It's not "in danger" of one, not "slipping into"
or "sliding toward" one. It's not even gazing longingly at one. It
has arrived. And the mainstream media must end its parsing of words.
Bush's unnecessary war has blown up in his face and, according to July's death toll, is now killing more than 110 Iraqi civilians a day. This carnage marks a 9% increase over June's tally, doubling the toll of January. The Chicago Tribune reports:
The rising numbers indicate that sectarian violence is spiraling out of control, and seemed to bolster an assertion many senior Iraqi officials and American military analysts have been making in recent months: The country is already embroiled in a civil war, not just slipping into one, and the American-led forces are caught between Sunni Arab guerrillas and Shiite militias.
It's official. Our troops, sent to fight under false pretenses by this extremist White House, are now slogging through a human abattoir. There is no end in sight. And no reason to believe another dead or disfigured or mentally shattered American soldier will serve any purpose but to broaden the scope of this senseless tragedy.
When the tally for civilian deaths in July is added to the Iraqi government numbers for earlier months obtained by the United Nations, the total indicates that at least 17,776 Iraqi civilians died violently in the first seven months of this year, or an average of 2,539 per month.
The death toll for U.S. troops now stands at 2,602; 19,511 of our young men and women have been wounded. Make no mistake about it: Iraq is their Vietnam. Another blind death march. Our soldiers aren't making a sacrifice; they are being sacrificed. Left adrift by an administration undeterred by facts on the ground, military advisors, political forebears, historians or even their own conscience.
A recent Washington Post report revealed the growing frustration among our troops. Spec. Tim Ivey, 28, of San Antonio, said, “It sucks. Honestly, it just feels like we're driving around waiting to get blown up. That's the most honest answer I could give you.” Summing up the seeming senselessness of their mission, Spec. David Fulcher, 22, a medic from Lynchburg, Va., said, "At this point, it seems like the war on drugs in America. It's like this never-ending battle, like, we find one IED, if we do find it before it hits us, so what? You know it's just like if the cops make a big bust, next week the next higher-up puts more back out there."
Nevertheless, the slaughterhouse continues to churn.
Iraqi Deaths Hit Record in July