So good ol’ General Petraeus–who I am sure is an excellent general, as well as clearly being a sharp man–is explaining to us why we should remain in Iraq basically indefinitely. Let’s review a few facts–just facts–about Iraq. Just for perspective, y’know.

  • Since the Iraq war began, the U.N. estimates that 2.2 million people have fled Iraq. The population of Iraq prior to the war was 26.7 million people. For perspective, 2.2 million people is more than the entire population of Houston, TX, the fourth largest city in the country. Imagine the entire city of Houston leaving the country. Imagine everyone in San Francisco and San Jose packing up and leaving those cities empty. But it’s worse. If the same percentage left the U.S., it would mean 24.8 million people leaving the country. That would empty out the entire state of Texas and New Hampshire and Vermont.
  • Estimates of Iraqi deaths since the war began range from 426,369 to 793,663. Again for perspective, the population of San Francisco is 744,000.
  • We are spending two billion dollars a week on this war. Just today on the radio I heard that the Austin Independent School District received a grant for 330 million dollars over the next five years for drug prevention. So five years of an entire school district’s drug prevention money is less than 20% of one week’s worth of funding for the Iraq war.
  • President Bush and General Petraeus have both trumpeted Anbar province as a success story recently because they have been working with Sunni sheiks. On Septeber 3, President Bush met with Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha. Yesterday, Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha was killed by a roadside bomb.
  • On August 19, seven U.S. soldiers in Iraq had an Op-Ed published in the New York times in which they were highly critical of our mission there. On Monday, two of them died. Another of them is currently terribly injured from a gunshot wound to the head.

(If these last two items aren’t as eloquent an indictment of a failed policy as anything I have ever heard, I don’t know what could be.)

These are facts about the Iraq war. This is raw data. This is not spin. This is just data about the war that Bush and his enablers (such as the folks at National Review Online, The Weekly Standard, and so on) want to keep going indefinitely. This is the war that the Washington political establishment and the “mainstream media” have collectively decided is going to go on unchanged until there is a new President 16 months from now.

Can someone please explain to me why we–and by “we” I mean the 2/3 of this country that doesn’t want us to be involved in this war–are still in Iraq? What madness is this?