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Iraq on the Brink

The question of whether we will permit ourselves to win in Iraq looms large these days. We already know where the newsmedia stands. I made note yesterday of an AP article which moved on the wire with the headline, €œU.S. Involved in Iraq Longer Than WWII.”

This, to the wire service whose primary product drives the mental gears of every journalist in the country, is an apt analogy. Strangely, AP did not see fit to compare WWII and Iraq death counts in its story. (Although in months past, the AP has, without a historical frame of reference, reported on “grim milestones” of 2,000 deaths and such.) But a Power Line Forum poster did. In the event, the average number of American deaths per year of warfare in Iraq is about 747. WWII? 80,000.

Those numbers tell two stories. One about the differing scales of war and another about the ever-increasing efficacy of our military.

But will we be permitted to win? Dafydd ab Hugh has a good round up of sentiment surrounding James Baker’s Iraq Study committee, which could recommend withdrawal. (A draft copy of the report was sent to reporters this morning; it did not contain withdrawal language.) And Baker is George W. Bush’s man, so his recommendation will be the benchmark. Democrats will move to a position one or two clicks more anti-war than Baker.


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