No progress defining “progress” in Iraq

May 12, 2007 | By | 2 Replies More

Four years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, politicians are still working hard to define success in Iraq as . . . well . . . nothing in particular.  

According to many (though not all) Republicans, many thousands of deaths and injuries, lack of basic infrastructure, massive displacement of Iraqis and many billions of lost dollars add up to only one thing:  progress.  That’s because no one dares to define progress.  In the absence of any definition, any desperately sad situation in Iraq is compatible with “progress” or “success.”  With regard to the civilian casualties, how do you substantiate progress?  It’s simple.  You refuse to release any statistics regarding those deaths and injuries.  How do U.S. bureacrats characterize the lack of any statistics regarding these civilian deaths?  Progress, I suppose.  Nothing to explain away!

Here’s one Republican’s take on the lack of any meaningful metric:

“No one knows how to define progress in such a mixed-up situation,” said Representative Jack Kingston, Republican of Georgia and a member of the subcommittee that overseas military spending. “We’re having trouble measuring it. Imagine building a house without a ruler.”

Yes, imagine building a house without a ruler.   But also imagine that house being declared a “success” even though no one ever checks for cracks in the foundation or leaks in the roof.  And no one ever checks for radon or asbestos or leaking gas pipes.  Iraq is a house where dangerous is “safe” and condemned is the same thing as “ready-for-occupancy.”  

Just give us more billions, the Administration says.  Let us “finish the job.”  For a recent example of this disconnect from reality, watch this surreal interview of Condolezza Rice by Charlie Rose.   And why did we invade Iraq?  Rice: “The United States is in Iraq because the Iraqi Government asked us to be there.”

And, Madam Secretary, what are we looking for in Iraq?   Her answer:  “I think that the American People are looking for progress and so are we.”

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Category: American Culture, Corruption, Iraq, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    "Just give us more billions, the Administration says. Let us 'finish the job.'"

    This the exact same thing scam artists do when they rip-off homeowners. They quote a low price to replace a driveway or a roof; then, after they've torn up the homeowner's property, they demand more money to "finish the job."

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    There is allegedly some progress in Iraq now, but there is a highly disturbing reason for the apparent progress: we're cutting down on violence in some areas only by cutting deals with Saddam's old pals–the Sunnis. This strategy is grotesque in that the Sunnis are committed to bringing down the current government. Read about it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-durang/war-co

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