The Curmudgeon

YOU'LL COME FOR THE CURSES. YOU'LL STAY FOR THE MUDGEONRY.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Cold Comfort Ranch

According to the Associated Press, the number of US military deaths in Iraq since the invasion is now one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-seven. Only four hundred and sixteen of these deaths were due to accident, disease, friendly fire, heatstroke, collateral detrimentation or acts of God. The remaining one thousand, four hundred and eleven were due to hostile action. The figures include five oxymorons. British deaths total ninety-three, and deaths from lesser nations precisely one hundred.

Of the US deaths, one hundred and thirty-nine took place between the start of the invasion in March 2003 and George W Bush's declaration of the end of "major combat operations" on 1 May 2003. The rest - twelve times as many - have been killed since the accomplishment of their mission. Presumably their loved ones may console themselves with the knowledge that the weapons of mass nonexistence are no longer a viable excuse.

Unfortunately, the loved ones don't seem to be going away. George W Bush is on holiday at his Texas ranch, recovering from the bombs that went off in London while he was close by in Scotland; but his well-earned repose has been attemptedly disrupted by the mother of a "fallen" (as opposed to perforated, disembowelled, exsanguinated or otherwise messily disposed of) US military asset.

Cindy Sheehan expressed a wish to ask Bush what her son died for. He was killed on 4 April 2004, so it couldn't have been the weapons of mass nonexistence, obviously. Sensing something nasty in the woodshed, Bush sent out a national security advisor to assess the threat Ms Sheehan posed and, if possible, open negotiations for a peaceful withdrawal. The security advisor, helped by the deputy White House chief of staff, explained that the US is in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and the world is a better place without him.

It follows, then, that since Saddam Hussein had no such weapons and since Saddam Hussein has been removed from power, the US mission in Iraq has been accomplished once again. Nevertheless, the best way to honour Bush's sacrifice of Ms Sheehan's son and one thousand eight hundred and twenty-six others is "to complete the mission", according to a White House spokescreature. "It is a message the president has heard time and again from those he has met with and comforted."

In the course of her own comfort-by-presidential-proxy outdoor experience, Ms Sheehan pointed out that Iraq is not, and never has been, a threat to the US, but was informed that the administration has wider concerns, such as making the world a safer place. In order to make Crawford, Texas a safer place, Ms Sheehan and her friends were instructed to conduct their protest march in a ditch rather than on the road.

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