From the HBO documentary Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq, to be aired on Sunday, Sept. 9th at 10:30 pm ET.

George Bush’s occupation of Iraq is a failure

Iraq’s Interior Ministry is “dysfunctional,” filled with sectarianism and corruption….The report said that Iraq’s national police force, controlled by that ministry, is “operationally ineffective” and should be disbanded and reorganized….Logistical self-sufficiency, which it describes as key to independent Iraqi operations, is at least two years away, the report says….violence will not end without political reconciliation….

Even worse: we are training the very people who are attacking our soldiers, we have known that for quite some time, and yet we continue down this violent, failed path.  How many more burdens from George Bush’s failures will America’s military have to shoulder? How much more strain can innocent civilians in Iraq — and all those who have been forced to flee — withstand?  The cost of occupying Iraq is all too high:

Ms. Halfaker, whose right arm and shoulder are gone, blasted away by a rocket-propelled grenade, says she has wondered whether her child, if she ever has one, will be able truly to love her. And then a look of intense emotion clouds her face. Ms. Halfaker’s eyes flutter, seemingly looking at some image far, far away. Finally, after a long pause, Mr. Gandolfini asks quietly, “What were you just thinking about?”

And Ms. Halfaker tells him: “The reality of, will I be able to raise a kid? I won’t be able to pick up my son or daughter with two arms.”

Any leader who sends the nation’s troops in to wage war, to lose their lives and limbs, to see their comrades shattered…to survive only to relive those battles in their waking nightmares…had better be damn sure that the cause is just and that every effort is made to prevent a war from happening at all costs.  As we all know, that wasn’t the case with Iraq, not even close.  Our nation’s soldiers deserve far better than this.  Far better.  And so do their families.

A president who repeats the same failures, stalling to offload his self-made mess into the next presidential lap? That person is no leader.  How many more soldiers have to die or be wounded for George Bush’s ego?

I was on a media Q&A call with John Edwards yesterday.  He was rolling out a new initiative on Iraq, and he said something that hit me square in the gut:

President Bush wants everyone to keep playing the Beltway game. But this isn’t a game – lives are at stake. Young men and women are dying almost every day and Iraq is descending further into civil war. It’s time to end the game – we can’t wait. Congress must tell the president something very simple: No timetable, no funding. No excuses.

Straightforward and so simple even a shrub can understand it (or a shrub-like reporter, for that matter).  The Edwards campaign plans on taking ads out to that effect in Roll Call as a means to pressure Congress to adopt that tack as well.  Edwards also said that without a political solution to the sectarian infighting in Iraq, there can be no serious progress.   Good on him.   We simply cannot afford to keep paying the heavy price for George Bush’s failures.

More like this, please…before President Short Attention Span picks up some new toys.

(I’m searching for statements made by other Presidential candidates on this issue, and am trying to sit in on media calls when I can do so to hear exactly what the candidates are saying and how they are saying it for myself.  If you know of statements from other candidates on Iraq, where to find text and/or video, please link them up in the comments.)

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com