3,500 US Troops Killed in Iraq...

This post, written by Juan Cole, originally appeared on Informed Comment

On Thursday US military spokesmen announced that Iraqi guerrillas had killed another US GI, bringing the troop death toll over 3500.

A British soldier was also killed, and three wounded, by a roadside bomb in Basra, bringing the death toll for UK troops to 150 and prompting impassioned calls for a withdrawal of British troops from southern Iraq.

There were major car bombings in Sadr City, Rabia (Syrian border) and Ramadi that left dozens wounded and killed. Shiite militiamen attacked Sunni mosques in the Bayaa district of Baghdad, Sunni sources said.

John Edwards disputed the notion that the US is safer since 9/11. He pointed out that Iraq has become a recruiting ground for a new generation of anti-American terrorists and that the US is less able to depend on some allies in the past because of the way Bush has alienated him. The press is saying that this is a shot across the bow of Hilary Clinton, who said in Sunday's debate that we are safer than before 9/11 but not yet safe enough.

Edwards also shot back at Mayor Rudi Giuliani on the issue of the propaganda uses to which Bush has put September 11 and 'the war on terror', which Edwards calls a 'bumper sticker.' He accused Giuliani of wanting to be a George W. Bush clone and predicted that it was a losing strategy.

A majority of Americans rejects the idea that the Iraq War, at least, has made us safer. 51% say it has not. Some 44% think it has, amazingly enough. I suspect this is just Dems and Independents versus Republicans. Anyway, I don't think Senator Clinton was saying the Iraq War has made us safer (that isn't my implication); she was probably thinking of the increased FBI/CIA coopeeration, etc.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Thursday that the US goal in Iraq should not be a Korea-style 50,000-man military presence for 50 years. He said the US should turn security quickly over to Iraqis and withdraw to other bases in the region (presumably Kuwait and Qatar). His understanding that the people of Iraq and of the Arab world just won't put up with such a big, long-term US military presence is praiseworthy. In fact, correct me if I am wrong but this is one of the few references any leading presidential candidate from either party has made to the aspirations and feelings of the people of Iraq and of the region! (I know Denis Kucinich and maybe Ron Paul have done so. I was dismayed on Sunday night, however, when Senator Clinton tried to blame the Iraqis for the current quagmire. If someone invaded the US, dissolved the US army, fired all the capable government bureaucrats, instituted ethnic quota hiring, rounded up thousands of people and tortured them, etc., the people of the US might not respond calmly, either.) Romney's critics complain, however, that he still hasn't said when exactly the US presence would be wound down. If it isn't 50 years, is it 20? 10?

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