Shrub, the party in Iraq is OVER. Senate Republicans are saying without fear that the war is a disaster. NYT:
Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said today that the Bush administration’s request to divert more than $3 billion from reconstruction work in Iraq to security measures was a sign that the American campaign in Iraq is in serious trouble.
“Although we recognize these funds must not be spent unwisely,” the committee chairman, Senator Richard G. Lugar, Republican of Indiana, said, “the slow pace of reconstruction spending means that we are failing to fully take advantage of one of our most potent tools to influence the direction of Iraq.”
…Another Republican committee member, Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, was blunter in his criticism. First, he praised the two State Department officials, Ronald Schlicher, the deputy assistant secretary for Iraq, and Joseph Bowab, the deputy assistant secretary for foreign assistance, for the “directness and the honesty” they were showing in asking for the fund diversion.
Mr. Hagel said the State Department request was “a clear acknowledgment that we are not holding ourselves hostage to some grand illusion that we’re winning.”
Mr. Hagel went on to say that the request for reprogramming the money “does not add up, in my opinion, to a pretty picture, to a picture that shows that we’re winning. But it does add up to this, an acknowledgment that we are in deep trouble.”
The body count continues to rise…
Are these Pentagon body count figures counting any contractors? Since Bush is increasingly outsourcing, I am sure the body count and number of injured is much higher. And deaths and injuries to civilian contractors is going to cost the government big time. Bush isn’t going to widely share that tidbit.
I recall a report on NPR that alluded to the fact that the military doesn’t count those troops fighting there that are not yet American citizens, either.
At present, there are over 37,000 non-citizens serving in the U.S. armed forces. Recruiters specifically target Latino communities — one of the first U.S. soldiers to die in Iraq, Jose Gutierrez, was an orphaned Guatemalan who at the time of his death was not even an U.S. citizen. Often, the youth who are lured into the military are those who cannot afford to pay for education or job training. This is the “economic draft” that ensures that the Pentagon will have a steady supply of cannon fodder, drawn largely from the poor and communities of color. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Latinos are over-represented in the most dangerous job fields, like the infantry.