I’m guessing that tens of millions of people today know the name of the young woman Eliot Spitzer was paying for sex. I’m guessing that no one outside their circles of family, friends, and colleagues knows the names of Kevin S. Mowl and Christopher S. Frost. They are the last two named American servicemen to have been killed in Bush’s Iraq disaster. Mowl died in late February, from wounds suffered in an IED attack. Frost died last week, in a helicopter crash. Thirteen more American service personnel have been killed more recently, but their names have not been released to the public. Three were killed yesterday, in a rocket attack near An Nasiriyah.
We all know about Geraldine Ferraro. We found out about Samantha Power not because she’s an expert on one of the most important issues humanity faces, but because she made some stupid comments to a Scottish reporter. We’ve recently heard more about obscure Canadian embassy officials than we have about the people who are dying in Iraq. Little wonder, then, that support for the war is at the highest level since 2006. Little wonder that more Americans think the number of U.S. casualties is closer to 3,000 than the actual 4,000. The Iraqi people are a little more realistic. As reported by the Associated Press:
In just a week, Baghdad has seen a spate of suicide bombings that have killed scores of Iraqis and five U.S. soldiers – among 12 Americans who have fallen in the line of duty during the past three days in Iraq.
Suddenly, the city is feeling the unease of the period before violence eased partly as a result of the U.S. troop buildup, which is now coming to a close.
“Violence has increased dramatically” over the past few days, said Haitham Ismael, a 33-year-old father of three living in western Baghdad.
After five years of war, Iraqis interviewed said they were not necessarily changing their daily routines. But all said the growing bloodshed was present in their minds, clouding what had until recently been a more hopeful time.
Violent civilian deaths were up 36%, last month. American casualties are also again increasing, with the first two months of this year seeing more deaths than the last two months of last year. Total U.S. and Iraqi casualties are on pace for the highest monthly total in more than half a year. The cost estimate is now up to $12,000,000,000 a month. And then there’s that embassy. Not to mention Pentagon efforts to bury the latest report proving no pre-war links between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.
I mention all this because it matters. I also mention it because the Democratic candidates don’t mention it nearly often enough. We know that the corporate media won’t tell the truth about the war, but our candidates should. Every day. All day long. Everyone’s watching everything they do and say. The media are dishonestly dissecting every comment. The candidates should take advantage of all the attention. A lot of people whine about the potential pitfalls of a drawn out nomination fight, well the candidates ought to turn that around and make it a positive. Tell the truth about Iraq. Don’t make it but another talking point, recite the facts. Recite the statistics. Begin each stump speech by honoring the latest released named American service personnel to die for Bush’s folly. Tell the truth. No one else will. No one else can. There’s a war going on. The American people are being lulled into complacency. The Iraqi people and American service personnel are dying for it.