In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on November 28, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) put forward an argument for staying the course in Iraq. Of course, his argument in "Our Troops Must Stay" was filled with false information.
Lieberman describes "real progress" and "self-securing nationhood." What are the facts? Rep. Murtha laid them out clearly saying the "war in Iraq is not going as advertised" and, more specifically:
"Oil production and energy production are below pre-war levels. Our reconstruction efforts have been crippled by the security situation. Only $9 billion of the $18 billion appropriated for reconstruction has been spent. Unemployment remains at about 60 percent. Clean water is scarce. Only $500 million of the $2.2 billion appropriated for water projects has been spent. And most importantly, insurgent incidents have increased from about 150 per week to over 700 in the last year. Instead of attacks going down over time and with the addition of more troops, attacks have grown dramatically. Since the revelations at Abu Ghraib, American casualties have doubled. An annual State Department report in 2004 indicated a sharp increase in global terrorism."
And, on the same day as Lieberman’s column, United Press International reported that U.S. deaths in Iraq were on the rise saying: "The latest figures issued by the Department of Defense and other U.S. and Iraqi official sources reveal an insurgency still raging unabated in which the number of total casualties inflicted on U.S. troops is once again climbing, and where the insurgents appear to be switching resources from targeting Iraqi security forces to carrying out Multiple Fatality Bomb (MFB) attacks."
UPI went on to report that in the last 14 days 45 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. MFB attacks are rising, UPI reports: "In all, 40 of these attacks have been recorded so far in November up to Nov. 27, making this month the second worst so far in the whole insurgency. Only September was worse, with 46 of them. Up to Nov. 27, MFBs had killed 401 people and wounded 519 more in less than four weeks."
This does not sound like a self-securing nation! And, if Lieberman were right that Iraq was "self-securing" wouldn’t that mean U.S. troops were not needed and it was time to come home. Not only are his arguments based on false information but they make no sense.
And, Lieberman also makes the claim that Iraqi’s want the U.S. to stay. This after opinion polls showing over 80 percent want the U.S. to leave. And, a week after a statement issued in Cairo by Iraqi officials covering the political and ethnic spectrum of Iraq called for U.S. withdrawal. At the end of an Arab League Conference the Final Statement of the National Accord Conference said three times that the Iraqis called for a U.S. withdrawal expressing the sentiment of the Iraqi people saying: "The Iraqi people are looking forward to the day when the foreign forces would leave Iraq."
Time Magazine Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware showed the absurdity of Liberman’s comments when he said:
"I and some other journalists had lunch with Senator Joe Lieberman the other day and we listened to him talking about Iraq. Either Senator Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he’s completely lost the plot or he knows he’s spinning a line. Because one of my colleagues turned to me in the middle of this lunch and said he’s not talking about any country I’ve ever been to and yet he was talking about Iraq, the very country where we were sitting."
Sen. Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he can no longer be taken seriously. Yet, The Wall Street Journal published this nonsense. The Iraq War and occupation is too serious for any more arguments based on false information. The security of the world is at stake if the United States continues to handle this situation wrong. Not only are Americans and Iraqis dying, and billions being wasted but Iraq is becoming a destablizing force that attracts and trains terrorists. Elected officials like Sen. Lieberman are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
KEVIN ZEESE is director of Democracy Rising.