Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.
A U.S. military spokesman in Iraq sure picked a weird day to put a smiley face on the situation over there.
“All indications now are that the acts of violence—ethnosectarian violence is decreasing,” said Major General Rick Lynch from Baghdad on Thursday, according to the New York Times.
I’m not sure what all those indications are that Major General Lynch was referring to.
I doubt he was referring to the fact that on that very day, the sister of Iraq’s vice president was gunned down in a drive-by killing.
Or the fact that in the previous 10 weeks, casualties have gone up 90 percent.
Or the fact that over the past 12 months, more than 8,100 Iraqis have been killed, according to the AP, and “there are increasing cases of civilians being kidnapped, killed, and dumped in public places.”
Or the fact that in March alone, more than 1,000 Iraqis were killed.
Or the fact that the insurgency shows no sign of abating.
The U.S. Government Accounting Office acknowledged that “in some Sunni areas, support the for the insurgents has increased.”
As if to prove this point, the day after Major General Lynch spoke, there was a huge battle in Baquba, with hundreds of insurgents engaged in the fight. Thirty Iraqis died, according to the BBC.
This drip, drip, drip shows how “unsustainable” the U.S. occupation is, as Russ Feingold has put it.
Feingold just introduced an amendment to redeploy U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of December.
Others in Congress are also speaking up, like Lynn Woolsey, and Barbara Lee, and Maxine Waters, and Dennis Kucinich, and Tom Allen, and Jim McGovern, and John Conyers, and Peter DeFazio, and John Olver.
They all participated in an end-the-war forum on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
One person who testified there was a former Marine named Charlie Anderson, who is now with Iraq Veterans Against the War. After he fired his weapon during an ambush, Anderson says he was told by his platoon sergeant, “Do not shoot unless your death is imminent.” The reason? The platoon was running out of ammunition.
“Can you imagine that?” Anderson said. “The mighty U.S. military, the greatest fighting force in the world, essentially rationing bullets.”
And now Major General Lynch is rationing the truth, as well.