That casualties indicate progress is hogwash

Last week’s simultaneous attacks on police stations and a Red Cross facility in Baghdad killed 35 people and wounded another 200. The Bush administration’s response, which both the president himself and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice articulated, was that increased violence indicates U.S. progress in Iraq because progress causes opposition groups to become more desperate. These statements’ absurdity is surpassed only by the administration’s delusion that the public would actually believe Bush’s analysis.

Administration statements centered on progress in Iraq in areas such as electricity, running water, schools and the Iraqi economy in general. We hope the United States is making such progress, because if not, the $166 billion we are spending is a total waste. However, to assert this progress causes the attacks is simply preposterous. To quote Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., “Does the president really believe that suicide bombers are willing to strap explosives to their bodies because we’re restoring electricity and creating jobs for Iraqis?”

The second prong of administration doublespeak is the claim that the groups responsible for the violence have become more desperate. Four separate, but synchronized, bombings comprised the brutal attack last week that induced the administration’s reaction. It is obvious the attacks have become more sophisticated, as U.S. military officials have admitted. This would seem to be in direct contradiction to the administration spin, as increased sophistication is rarely the mark of desperation.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, gave a poignant, if not eerie, articulation of the problem: “This is the first time that I have seen a parallel (in Iraq) to Vietnam, in terms of information that the administration is putting out versus the actual situation on the ground … “

Whatever the policy in Iraq will be, the public and its legislators have a right to receive a fair analysis in good faith from the administration. President George W. Bush and his staff must recognize this and act accordingly.