December arrived with news that the Bush Administration was sending more troops to Iraq, to an estimated total of 150,000. Roughly 20,000 are currently stationed in Afghanistan, with escalating insurgent violence there despite the recent elections. Families across America have now been thrust into a new state of anxiety as their loved ones have deployments extended or are being newly pushed into harm's way just before the Christmas holidays. The Administration continues its silence on the issue of whether U.S. troops will be permanently deployed in Iraq, enlarging international suspicions that their primary motivation for invading Iraq was for the extended economic exploitation of the country. Elections are supposedly scheduled for less than eight weeks from now, but there is no free press and apparently only one presidential candidate--a former CIA employee reasonably characterized as a one-time "terrorist," given his history of killing in Iraq as a political expatriot during the Hussein era.
Catholic Democrats calls on Congress to embrace new legislation compelling the Administration to scientifically track how many people are dying in Iraq. With the conclusive demonstration that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and represented no imminent threat to the United States, the war justification evolved to 'Saddam was a bad guy who killed lots of his own people.' But now that the U.S. is responsible, under the Geneva Conventions, for the safety of the Iraqi people, American concern for the unjust deaths of these people seems to have evaporated. The latest casualty estimates from the Lancet study in October suggest that Mr. Bush and his father are now collectively responsible for upward of 400,000 deaths in Iraq, which puts them well beyond Saddam Hussein in terms of culpability for numbers of Iraqis killed.
Last month's assault on the 300,000 people of Falluja, postponed until after the American election so as not to tarnish the so-called "pro-life" message of the Bush Campaign, claimed at least 1000 lives of Iraqis and more than 54 US military personnel (with 425 American wounded). How many civilians were killed will never be known, because the Administration again refuses to assess the "collateral damage" of their war operations in Iraq. A city the size of St. Louis has now been virtually destroyed by the US taxpayers. When Senator Kerry intoned that a Bush win would be "more of the same" in Iraq, his words acquired new prescience as Iraqi rebels launched new offensives in Mosul and Ramadi while Falluja was being leveled. The painful lesson Jesus taught us 2000 years ago, that violence begets more violence, continues to be ignored by a Republican Administration that basked in the flagrantly false perception that they were somehow more faithful to Christ than their Democratic opponent.