Monday, December 18, 2006

Iraq 'Success Story' Unraveling

The Bush Administration is good at hyping its minor successes while the world falls apart in other areas. The schools in Iraq were always part of that hype. There were definite successes rebuilding schools and replenishing their supplies in the first year of Bush's war, particularly through the volunteer efforts of our troops. But the many blunders of the Bush Administration have largely undone any of the minor good that was done in Iraq. Think of a reservoir that has a dam that is cracking. It does no good to fix the potholes of the town downstream from that reservoir if the dam itself isn't fixed. You can hype the public relations on fixing the potholes all you want, and it doesn't change the failure to repair the dam.

Here's a story by Solomon Moore from the Los Angeles Times about the schools in Iraq (hat tip to Think Progress):
President Bush has routinely talked about the refurbishment and construction of schools as a neglected story of progress in Iraq. The U.S. Agency for International Development has spent about $100 million on Iraq's education system and cites the rehabilitation of 2,962 school buildings as a signal accomplishment.

But today, across the country, campuses are being shuttered, students and teachers driven from their classrooms and parents left to worry that a generation of traumatized children will go without education.

Teachers tell of students kidnapped on their way to school, mortar rounds landing on or near campuses and educators shot in front of children.

Sending more soldiers to Iraq (or simply asking them to stay longer, which is the only way to increase troop levels) and asking them to do the same thing over and over while Bush and his advisers make the same arrogant mistakes over and over is not the route our nation should be pursuing.

In the late fall of 2006, in the fourth year of the war, it is at last becoming increasingly clear why we're still in Iraq: so Bush can save face instead of confronting his failures. That's a disgraceful reason for a war to continue.

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