Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"Something approaching normal" - another McCain Moment

Now granted, over the past few weeks, things at Chez Clammy have been far from “normal”. Tax season, wife about to give birth, new baby, lack of sleep, frequent trips to the store for stuff I didn’t even know existed a few days ago and a number of other things turned upside down make me think about what “approaching normal” would be here. Maybe not ordering take out as much, maybe having the baby sleep through the night, maybe a regular work schedule....

So I did some double checking when I read about the latest McCain Moment when he said that things in Iraq over the past year brought a glimmer of “something approaching normal”, just to make sure that I haven’t been so far out of the loop.

But maybe for someone that wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years, and someone who obviously thinks it is normal to call his wife (and financier) “the ‘c’ word” thinks it is normal to be surrounded by bombings, attacks, IEDs, civil war, thousands of dead, tens of thousands wounded, a country that has gotten progressively worse in all respects and more humanitarian crises than one can count is “approaching normal”.

Is it “approaching normal” when Army Vice Chief of Staff Richard Cody says that

Overall, our readiness is being consumed as fast as we build it. If unaddressed, this lack of balance poses a significant risk to the all-volunteer force and degrades the Army’s ability to make a timely response to other contingencies.

Is it “approaching normal” when that very same market that you visited one year ago (while over 20 Iraqis were being massacred at a market) isn’t even safe enough to walk near one year later - the same amount of time that McSame said was showing that “approach to normalcy”?

Is a country where there are now an estimated 1 million - 1.3 million orphans and widows “approaching normal”? Especially when this is a result of the “liberation and greeting with flowers” that McCain and the republican Congress enabled? Or maybe the more normal part of this is the fact that they are basically being ignored - just like this administration has done with orphans, widows and displaced Americans after Katrina or whose spouses have been killed or maimed in Iraq?

Or maybe the fact that the United States Institute of Peace has recently reported that the lack of political progress in Iraq is leading to “serious consequences” for US interests around the world:

’the U.S. risks getting bogged down in Iraq for a long time to come, with serious consequences for its interests in other parts of the world,’’ according to a new assessment by the same group of experts who advised the bipartisan blue-ribbon Iraq Study Group (ISG) in 2006.

The assessment, which was released on the eve of a critical Congressional testimony this week by Washington’s ambassador and chief military officer in Iraq, concludes that the decline in violence has resulted in very little progress toward achieving national reconciliation and that gains in security remain ‘’fragile and dependent on the presence of U.S. forces.’’

‘’Political progress is so slow, halting and superficial, and social and political fragmentation so pronounced that the U.S. is no closer to being able to leave Iraq than it was a year ago,’’ according to the report released by the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and entitled ‘Iraq After the Surge: Options and Questions’.

‘’Lasting political development could take five to ten years of full, unconditional U.S. commitment to Iraq,’’ it concluded, noting that such a commitment already ‘’carries a massive cost, both human and financial, in addition to the global interests the U.S. is sacrificing to its commitment in Iraq. Even if progress in Iraq continues, the results may not be worth the cost,’’ it warned.

Or maybe it is something on a more basic humanitarian level that is “approaching normal” for Senator “100 Years” - the little fact that there is major fighting in Sadr City, with emergency medical supplies being blocked from coming into the city, added to the severe water shortage:
Throughout the country by 21:30 the GZG authorities admitted to 25 dead and 57 wounded. There is very heavy fighting going on in Sadr city. The Americans have it under siege and are refusing all access to the city. American helicopters have bombed the city repeatedly. American snipers are being deployed on the roof tops. Imam Ali spokesmen say they are now desperately short of medical supplies. The Red Crescent attempts to get emergency medical supplies to the city which we reported yesterday have failed because the Americans will not let them through.

There are reports that the fires caused by the American bombing of the Jameela market are spreading and that there is no water being pumped to the city.

But I guess when you continue to misunderstand the very basics about al Qaeda being Sunni and not Shiite, the term “normal” is well....not quite so normal.

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