General Casey gave the line in Baghdad yesterday.
Today, in preparation for a talk about the trip I took to Jordan and Syria last summer, I performed a depressing experiment. I read through the main articles loosely covering the Iraq war offered in some of our most authoritative newspapers collecting interesting tidbits. I won't repeat the headline drumbeat from U.S. authorities, military and civilian, trying to sping the emerging disaster as something more positive, especially until November 7. But here are some telling oddments, often from lower ends of long recitations of the official story.
Who's in charge here?
Have we got a "timetable" for you...
Now where's that light at the end of the tunnel?
Oh, so that's why they don't "stand up"...
Where have all the jihadis gone?
None of this touches on the critical human story, a tale of unremitting carnage and displacement of Iraqis as that society collapses. These were the stories we heard from Iraqis in Jordan and Syria.
This week the United Nation's relief agency (UNHCR) confirmed that 3 million Iraqis have been driven from their homes by the war. This is ten percent of the population, many without homes or work. About half are within the country and half in neighboring states, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, which are not economically or politically able to assimilate such a movement of people. Yet the funds available to the UNHCR to help Iraqi refugees have been cut from $150 million in 2003 to just $29 million in 2006. More than all the U.S. newspaper accounts, this Iraqi man's cry for help speaks the truth of what the U.S. has wrought:
The head of the UNHCR office in Damascus reports that he has a budget of one dollar to spend on each Iraqi refugee in the country.
I think the peace movement needs to move into demanding reparations.