Saturday, May 12, 2007


By Ivan G. Goldman
Apparently insurgents have taken three more Americans soldiers prisoners in an ambush south of Baghdad. First order of business: How do we get our missing soldiers back? Keep reading.
For starters, let's see if this time we can prevent the administration from waiting out the fifteen minutes and sending these victims into the purgatory of the forgotten.
The new prisoners were part of a weekend patrol of seven soldiers and one Iraqi translator, five of whom were killed. Anyone who’s been following this blog knows two other U.S. soldiers were already believed held by Iraqis. Army Reservist Ahmed Qusai al-Taie, 42, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, was abducted October 23, 2006, and PFC (since promoted to Sergeant) Keith Maupin, 23, of Batavia, Ohio, disappeared in April 2004 after his convoy was attacked near Baghdad International Airport. Al-Jazeera later showed a videotape of Maupin held captive by insurgents. Few Americans are aware of these POWs because the Bush Administration, not eager to advertise the costs of its crimes and misdemeanors, never includes them in the casualty lists, even though in all previous wars the U.S. listed dead, wounded and missing. The mass media, either purposefully or through ignorance, have cooperated in the subterfuge. In a world with the attention span of a mosquito, it's no difficult trick.
Regarding the latest tragic incident, one might ask why so small a contingent was out patrolling hostile territory in the dead of night? But conditions in Iraq are so egregious that only two days earlier U.S. Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon flatly told the press he doesn’t have enough soldiers in his sector to do the job they’ve been assigned. These kinds of candid statements are becoming more and more frequent from our military commanders. They’re a cry for help, a declaration that lunatics, fools, or a combination of the two are calling the shots.
Rifle squads consist of nine soldiers, so even if one agrees the job called for only one squad, this patrol was short two men. That’s the way it is throughout the war theater, and it costs lives. Commanders are so short-handed that they send their troops out day after day, sometimes two patrols a day. This steals sleep and alertness, causing mistakes, casualties, and more frequent and severe battle fatigue. But chicken hawks like Prince George and Shotgun Cheney don’t know or care about such details. They have their own agenda. By announcing their refusal to abide by the Geneva Accords on prisoners they’ve made it impossible for the U.S. to stand on the moral high ground. They've also earned the world’s revulsion and made our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan infinitely less safe.
Of course we can hope the five men now missing and presumed captured will return home soon alive and well. But hope isn’t enough. We need to start talking to intermediaries such as Iran and Syria to get our prisoners back. Our uniquely inhuman leaders George and Dick, living in splendorous bubbles of leisure, show their courage by not even worrying about casualties or POWs. It’s worth wondering how their courage would measure up if they had to switch places with al-Taie or Maupin.
This administration will never get back our soldiers or call a halt to their pointless war. Our best hope of freeing our troops is to remove Bush and Cheney from office so our government can go back to caring about Americans like them. Free ourselves so we can free them.

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