Today is the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Though President Bush declared "mission accomplished" in May of 2003, over 3000 U.S. troops have died since. 24,000 have been wounded and we are failing to take care of them. Our military readiness is substandard. At least 60,000 Iraqis have died, with some estimates much higher. The damage to the United States' credibility and standing in the world is, sadly, even greater. And there's no end in sight, as currently policy is indefinite committment.
Despite the fact that opposition Democrats won both chambers of Congress in last year's election mainly on a platform of change in Iraq, President Bush has committed nearly 30,000 more U.S. troops to Iraq in a "surge" that is scheduled to last through early next year, at least. And how well is this escalation going?
Take a look for yourself. While Shiite militias are laying low, Sunni insurgents are adapting their tactics and attacking outside of Baghdad (those horrible chlorine bomb attacks committed in Al-Anbar province, for example). But what are you going to do when they are in the government?
Perhaps more telling, a new poll shows only 18% of Iraqis have confidence in U.S. forces and 51% now believe violent attacks against our troops are acceptable - including 90% of Sunnis.
Despite these facts, Senate Republicans are blocking a vote on legislation that would set a withdrawal date from combat troops in Iraq for next year while leaving behind some for training and counterterrorism operations. House Democrats expect to pass similar legislation this week, but President Bush will ignore it. The only Bush can be forced to change course is if more Republicans jump ship and Democrats push stronger measures. Hopefully, as we enter year five, and they see the continual lack of progress, they will.
Until then, even after four years, expect each new day of the Iraq War to bring the same as all the others did.