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Iraq: "Staying the course" for and to what?

".... the Bush administration and its mouthpieces insist that we must "stay the course" in Iraq -- either to bring stability to the war-torn country or out of some misguided belief that we can salvage America's dignity from an embarrassing Vietnam-style defeat.

Underlying the "stay the course" argument is a fundamentally flawed assumption that U.S. troops are at least keeping havoc in check. But every year of the occupation has brought about worsening violence, peaking during a summer that saw thousands of Iraqi civilians killed each month. The Washington Post reported that last month "the number of U.S. troops wounded in Iraq has surged to its highest monthly level in nearly two years," and Reuters added that "bomb attacks in Baghdad have hit an all-time high ..." Studies by the Saudi government and a respected (and hawkish) Israeli think tank found that most of the insurgents in Iraq had never engaged in political violence but were radicalized by the occupation itself. The recently leaked National Intelligence Estimate predicts that with American troops on the ground, the insurgency in Iraq will grow and fester over the next two years."

"Staying the course" in Iraq is the John Howard mantra. Someone should send this piece on AlterNet to Howard. Perhaps then he might just wake up to what is happening in the real world outside Canberra and his cosy chats with George Bush.

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