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Friday, March 25, 2005
 
Be honest. Are you really surprised?


Body counts were hugely popular during the Vietnam war. The daily total of enemy vs. friendly dead was reported on the evening news, usually just before the weather. The prevailing belief in the newsrooms and living rooms of America was that as long as the "them" number was bigger than the "us" number, then it was a good day for the war and we were winning.

Later, it turned out that the counts were at best innaccurate or falsified, and horrifyingly, often included civilian casualties as part or all of the "enemy" count. The phrase, "Kill them all and let God sort them out later" was considered inspirational when I went through basic training. Perhaps it still is.

Which brings me to my point. Remember that major victory that the nascent Iraqi security forces won over insurgents at Lake Tharthar the other day? You know, the one that was important enough to momentarily knock the Terri Schiavo tug 'o war out of the headlines?

Well, um, er, it probably didn't actually happen that way:
"...[T]wo U.S. military officials said Thursday that no bodies were found by American troops who arrived at the scene after the fighting.... "I wouldn't call it a major incident," said [Iraqi spokesman] Sabah Kadhim..."
This "victory" didn't smell right when I first read about it; now it turns out that there are significant questions about exactly what happened. This "insurgent camp" was located on a lakeside resort (remember the 30 boats that were "captured"? Why would the insurgents need boats to conduct attacks on a landlocked resort lake?).

So, who would be more likely to be at this lakeside resort? Insurgents? Vacationers? Both? Neither? In this case, I have no idea.

But I have a bad feeling about it. And all the bodies have disappeared.

 
Shouting into the closet to inform and entertain the 10 people who actually read this thing. In our new format as an online magazine, we take pride in our reporting and opinions. Please leave reader feedback on our online magazine message board so that we can better serve you.

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” -Paul Wolfowitz

Cost of the War in Iraq
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