"And though the State Department accounts for some 13,000 deaths in Iraq from terrorist incidents, the United Nations estimated that nearly 35,000 civilians died in the country from violence.infuriating as ever.
Absent any other narrative to understand what is going on in Iraq, the body count serves as the surrogate marker to measure success and failure. For most, the numbers merely bolster preconceived views regarding the war, and the administration. War supporters on the other hand argue that the sacrifices are "worth it," as if the outcome is going to be influenced by some corollary of the U.S. military and noncombatant civilian body count: how many terrorists the United States can kill.
Do all of these numbers mean that the Bush administration's basic "magnet" strategy is working, that terrorists are being attracted to Iraq and Afghanistan, or is it merely the case that the presence of U.S. military forces in these countries has provoked terrorism?
And when the Iraq war ends, will terrorism shift to the United States and Europe proper, or will most of those who have taken up arms fade away or engage in the Iraq civil war?
That's the big question."
* arkin, arguably making at least *some* sense:
"One has to wonder whether the war wouldn't have gone differently, and whether we wouldn't be having a different debate today, if the U.S. military and the administration themselves had a more clear understanding of who they were fighting and what they were fighting for.* darksyde:
Because they didn't, there's little reason to believe they can develop that understanding now."
"The neocons want us to stay in Iraq, Al Qaeda wants us to stay, most conservatives want us to stay. But the majority of the American people agree with the Democrats, progressives, independents, and want out. It's pretty simple: You're either with us or you're with the terrorists."