Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The War Is Not Over

An editorial in today's San Francisco Chronicle.

THE GRIM milestone came Tuesday -- 1,000 U.S. military deaths in Iraq. The war is not over.

The Bush administration clearly wants to portray the invasion of Iraq as an important component of the war on terrorism provoked by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. There was no missing the mantra from last week's Republican convention: Iraq represented the shift from defense to offense against the terrorist threat. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld reiterated that theme at his news conference Tuesday.

Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic challenger, used the milestone to criticize President Bush. "He chose the date of the start of this war. He chose the moment, and he chose for America to go it alone," Kerry said. "Today, America is paying the price."

However, even Kerry is suggesting it will take a long-term commitment of U.S. troops and dollars to stabilize Iraq in the aftermath of the mess created by this pre-emptive war. The argument that the war on Iraq has made this a safer world is proving as illusory as those weapons of mass destruction.

This failed policy has now cost us the lives of 1,000 U.S. troops and an immeasurable loss of international standing and goodwill. It has also claimed the lives of an untold number of noncombatants in Iraq.

And the toll continues to rise.