Press Blackout? Suicides Up in Iraq

Why isn't the mainstream media all over this? Editor and Publisher has the details on the increase of troop suicides in Iraq.

Twenty-two U.S. soldiers in Iraq took their lives in 2005, a rate of 19.9 per 100,000 soldiers, just over the rate in 2003 (the year of the U.S. invasion). In 2004, the rate had slid to 10.5 per 100,000, which the military said was due to efforts at prevention.

....A survey of the morale and mental health of U.S. soldiers in Iraq in late 2005 found 13.6 percent of the soldiers reporting symptoms of acute stress and another 16.5 percent describing a combination of depression, anxiety and acute stress. These numbers, about 30% total, were also up from 2004.

Other findings:

Troops involved in training Iraqi security forces reported higher morale than those serving on combat teams, partly because they felt their work was part of the solution in Iraq.

....Troops sent a second time to Iraq reported greater stress rates than first-timers. Some 12 percent serving their initial deployment reported acute stress, compared to 18.4 percent of those serving a repeat deployment.

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    And their heartache has only just begun... (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Bill Arnett on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 01:17:44 PM EST
    ...as they return from service to find out how many VA programs for which funding has been scarce or non-existent under the "we support the troops" rethuglican liars will not be available to them.

    They are, in fact, looking for ways to play semantics with PTSD and change the definition of it so that they won't have to treat the vets who suffer from serving their country. Making your own "reality" dontcha know?

    They have already begun by sending troops clearly displaying symptoms of PTSD back into combat, which I would wager is a primary cause of the increase in suicides.

    Tell me those lies again about how much John Warner, Lindsey Graham, St. John McCain, bush/cheney and the entire maladministration "support our troops".

    Fifteen minutes of research. (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Bill Arnett on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 04:41:01 PM EST
    To define the problem:

    Readjustment symptoms include hypervigilance, insomnia, irritability, exaggerated startle response, withdrawal, isolation, depression and anger. An act-first-think-later approach to problem solving may keep one alive in combat, but it's not helpful to family harmony.

    The biggest problem is simply not enough qualified counselors and not enough government funding to meet current needs. Those needs have grown exponentially, as the number of vets seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues doubled from 4,467 to 9,103 between October 2005 and June 2006, according to a report last month by a House subcommittee. That's just the beginning of the wave building now.


    "But rather than viewing its shortfalls as a resource problem, the Administration is choosing instead to ration health care and dissuade eligible, deserving veterans who might not have other options from seeking VA assistance," said Evans.
    VA insists that it does not need emergency supplemental funds to provide timely quality service, with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs claiming in correspondence to Congress, " . . . I do not foresee any challenges that are not solvable within our own management decision capability."  His words were cited on the floor of the Senate to defeat a Democratic effort to provide emergency funding for veterans' health care, one in a series of such attempts undermined by the Administration's stance.
    "There is more than a little irony in the fact that as we now mark 30 years since we left Saigon and 60 years since the end of World War II, we are fighting for adequate funding for veterans' health care and responsive benefits for returning and former servicemen and women," said Evans, adding that "VA's suppression of information certainly brings into question the integrity of what this Administration has to say about the budget for veterans' benefits and services."

    House Appropriations
    Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation funding veterans programs at $68.1 billion for the coming fiscal year. The DAV is extremely disappointed that the funding level passed by the House for veterans medical care is grossly inadequate, falling $2.7 billion short of what is needed according to the Independent Budget recommendations. The House passed measure provides a meager 3 percent increase over this year?s funding level. This is far below the 13 to14 percent annual funding increase VA says it needs just to maintain current services.
    Since VA's disclosure of the budget shortfall, the House Veterans? Affairs Committee held a hearing regarding the weaknesses in the processes used by the VA to forecast health care demand and shape its budget. The Administration has requested, and the House passed, a $975 million fiscal 2005 supplemental spending bill to address the shortfall.

    Senate Appropriations
    The Senate Appropriations Committee has postponed considering the funding levels for VA medical care in light of the recent disclosure of VA's funding shortfall. In light of the April 2005 defeat of the amendments offered by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Daniel Akaka (D-HI) to add $1.9 billion for veterans? medical care and the pending VA budget shortfall this fiscal year, the Senate voted on two amendments to provide VA with additional funds.
    Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Robert Byrd (D-WV) offered an amendment to add $1.42 billion in fiscal 2005 VA funding to the bill. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison, Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Larry Craig (R-ID) offered a second-degree amendment boosting the total to $1.5 billion, which was approved. Murray?s provision was then approved, as amended, by an identical vote.


    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan along with the aging of our World War II, Korea and Vietnam War veterans have increased demand for VA services.  However, year after year you request inadequate funding for veterans' health care.  Each year your budget submission includes proposals to increase veterans' co-payments and fees, essentially taxing certain veterans for their health care.  Each year your VA budget fails to request what is needed and relies on accounting gimmicks such as "management efficiencies" and inaccurate health care projections.  Such efforts are transparent as the true consequences of your administration's budget flaws are being realized by current and future veterans. Indeed, recently VA officials themselves acknowledged that greater funding was needed to care for our servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffering from mental health disorders and traumatic brain injuries.
    Mr. President, during your tenure, health care waiting lines have increased, appointments and medical procedures delayed, more than 250,000 veterans have been turned away from entering the VA health care system, and disability and education claims backlogs have grown to unreasonable rates.  Moreover, Congress has been forced to add billions of dollars in supplemental VA funding due to embarrassing funding shortfalls.

    Reyes votes against the fiscal year 2007 budget resolution, which cuts $6 billion from the Veterans Administration, freezes Pell Grants, underfunds educational programs, and cuts homeland security funding.
    The fiscal year 2007 budget resolution, which cuts $6 billion from the Veterans Administration, freezes Pell Grants, underfunds educational programs, and cuts homeland security funding, passed the House of Representatives late last night. Congressman Silvestre Reyes, D-El Paso, voted against the measure.

    "As in previous years, the Administration's budget request includes legislative proposals that would impose additional fees on our nation's veterans. Implementing a $250 enrollment fee and increase in pharmaceutical co-payments from $8 to $15 for veterans that are deemed as having a "higher income." In El Paso County a Priority eight veteran who is considered "higher income" would be making as little as $26,902. I am dismayed that the VA expects to achieve savings almost entirely from retirees dropping out of the VA healthcare system. I find this absolutely unacceptable and will assure you that I will work with the Committee to remove this language in a bipartisan fashion as we have done in the past.

    "I am also concerned about an article published in the Washington Post dated January 9, 2006, concerning the Department of Veterans Affairs regional offices. The article brought to light an internal memo which indicates that only 19 percent of callers into the regional offices were given accurate information on disability claims. This is to say that 81 percent of incoming calls were give inaccurate information. In addition, the article stated that incoming callers were received by unhelpful and rude VA workers. I am sure that all of my colleagues will find this information extremely disturbing and look forward to hearing how the VA is addressing this issue.

    So, as I stated above:  Tell me those lies again about how much John Warner, Lindsey Graham, St. John McCain, bush/cheney and the entire maladministration "support our troops".

    I apologize for the length of this comment, but I grow weary being questioned by people too lazy to do research and that want to talk out their a** about me.


    It's going to get worse (5.00 / 3) (#31)
    by Sailor on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 06:09:41 PM EST
    from May 2006:
    Despite a congressional order that the military assess the mental health of all deploying troops, fewer than 1 in 300 service members see a mental health professional before shipping out.
    Col. Elspeth Ritchie [...] said the mental health of troops remains a priority as the war enters its fourth year. But she also acknowledged that some practices, such as sending service members diagnosed with PTSD back into combat, have been driven in part by a troop shortage.

    Oh, and here are some key facts about what bush's VA 'increase' has resulted in (it helps to keep in mind bush has created 22,057 wounded vets):  June 29, 2005 -

    The Bush administration disclosed yesterday that it had vastly underestimated the number of service personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan seeking medical treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and warned that the health care programs will be short at least $2.6 billion next year unless Congress approves additional funds.
    Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway, the republican congress did not approve any more funds for the VA.

    You want more? Just google VA budget shortfall.

    Support the Troops (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by Ernesto Del Mundo on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 08:13:15 PM EST
    By ignoring stories like this and by letting their coffins get snuck back home under cover of darkness. That's your Big Media, folks...no wonder they don't have much of a problem with the First Amendment being shredded.

    Bill's confusions (1.00 / 2) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 01:58:59 PM EST
    Maybe someone should consider that being stressed is natural if you are in a war zone.

    Bill - Could you show us some proof?? The last time we went through this, large increases were shown.

    Or is this another one of your confusions??

    I just can't resist pointing out how wrong you are. TalkLeft Wed 12/20 at 11:04:30PM EST

    Shorter Jim (none / 0) (#3)
    by scarshapedstar on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 02:14:39 PM EST

    Non sequitur.

    Apparently unrelated link without explanation.


    if you wanted to demonstrate (1.00 / 1) (#21)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:22:00 PM EST
    Well, it was addressed to Bill, so why do you assume you are supposed to understand?

    Of course you could, if you wanted to demonstrate a small bit of logic, note that I was requesting proof from Bill and the link references him being confused..

    But that would be hard, I guess.


    The link leads nowhere. (none / 0) (#36)
    by Bill Arnett on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 03:56:53 PM EST
    No response forthcoming. (none / 0) (#8)
    by Bill Arnett on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 02:33:15 PM EST
    So I'll just mark it down (1.00 / 2) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:27:07 PM EST
    as another rant with no proof.

    I mean we've been there before.


    I just can't resist... (1.00 / 2) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 05:02:39 PM EST
    as I did yesterday, here's a Link that goes against your proof free claim.

    In Bush's first three years funding for the Veterans Administration increased 27%. And if Bush's 2005 budget is approved, funding for his full four-year term will amount to an increase of 37.6%.

    Those figures include mandatory spending for such things as payments to veterans for service-connected disabilities, over which Congress and presidents have little control. But Bush has increased the discretionary portion of veterans funding even more than the mandatory portion has increased. Discretionary funding under Bush is up 30.2%.

    By any measure, veterans funding is going up faster under Bush than under Clinton.

    Bill, if you want to argue that we should be spending MORE, I'll join you. But making inaccurate claims only defeats the purpose.


    Keep going (none / 0) (#28)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 05:14:19 PM EST
    and come back when you have the expense half of the ledger.

    Or is that how you balance your own books.

    Baked or stir fried, Jim?


    lol (none / 0) (#29)
    by squeaky on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 05:35:12 PM EST
    PTSD has been extensively reported... (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 02:20:57 PM EST
    ...as early as July 2004 by The New England Journal Of Medicine, and by many others sources  like the VA and others for a long time, and has been discussed here at Talkleft before now also.

    Combat Duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mental Health Problems, and Barriers to Care (N.E.J.M.):
    Background The current combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have involved U.S. military personnel in major ground combat and hazardous security duty. Studies are needed to systematically assess the mental health of members of the armed services who have participated in these operations and to inform policy with regard to the optimal delivery of mental health care to returning veterans.

    Methods We studied members of four U.S. combat infantry units (three Army units and one Marine Corps unit) using an anonymous survey that was administered to the subjects either before their deployment to Iraq (n=2530) or three to four months after their return from combat duty in Iraq or Afghanistan (n=3671). The outcomes included major depression, generalized anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which were evaluated on the basis of standardized, self-administered screening instruments.

    Results Exposure to combat was significantly greater among those who were deployed to Iraq than among those deployed to Afghanistan. The percentage of study subjects whose responses met the screening criteria for major depression, generalized anxiety, or PTSD was significantly higher after duty in Iraq (15.6 to 17.1 percent) than after duty in Afghanistan (11.2 percent) or before deployment to Iraq (9.3 percent); the largest difference was in the rate of PTSD. Of those whose responses were positive for a mental disorder, only 23 to 40 percent sought mental health care. Those whose responses were positive for a mental disorder were twice as likely as those whose responses were negative to report concern about possible stigmatization and other barriers to seeking mental health care.

    It is a very serious problem.

    Not surprising also that ppj would lapse again into usual denial and put it down "being stressed is natural if you are in a war zone", as his way of showing his concern and support for the troops.

    btw, what are the death and casualty counts today, ppj??? Apart from the suicide rates?

    Repeat Iraq Tours Raise Risk of PTSD, Army Finds
    Washington Post, Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    People not speaking from personal... (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Bill Arnett on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 02:44:57 PM EST
    ...experience often buy into government propaganda.

    PTSD, been there, done that, not pleasant.

    Make fun if you like, unnamed one, if you are ever stricken by serious health problems, near death experiences, years of recovery, endless doctors, medication regimens that would kill a horse, and a lifetime of endless neurological pain that never goes away, ever, well, I hope you find someone with more compassion than yourself to help you.

    Great article post, Edger, but some people can't be distracted by facts or the personal experiences of those that have been there and done that.

    If I could ask for ONE THING from our government it would be, "Where do I go to get my life and health, as I had always known them, back?"


    My best to you and yours Bill... (none / 0) (#11)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 02:49:36 PM EST
    ...this Christmas Season. Thanks for being you.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family (none / 0) (#14)
    by Bill Arnett on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 03:35:22 PM EST
    as well, Edger, and a Happy New Year - although I'm sure we'll be speaking again before then!

    I just wish we could promise all the fine men and women of our military that they will return safe and sound whenever the CinC decides to bring 'em home.

    I know that many, many of them will never again have or celebrate or even look upon "holidays" as happy times ever again and that distresses me greatly. I never celebrate them anymore because the memories of the way things used to be can be very painful; easier by far to just avoid them.

    Military service alone is difficult, the training, the hours, the rotations, separation from families, and the duty can all be very detrimental to the health of military personnel. The exposure to chemical agents, depleted uranium, bases thoroughly inundated with toxic substances and solvents that work their way into the water table, all take a great enough toll on our forces, but with this tin-horn, two-bit, impostor of a human being, bush, compounding all these elements and exacerbating them by forcing them to face multiple tours in Iraq when many of them should already be discharged and safe at home with their families is an abomination.

    I hope that each of us will write or call our representatives and encourage them to pass all the measures necessary to care for our troops which the republicans either refused to allow on the floor or turned aside by party-line votes.

    This suicide problem is real, it is serious, and it is being made worse by the day by rethugs and neocons.

    Everyone write their representatives, please.


    Hey, Bill Arnet... (none / 0) (#12)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 03:16:53 PM EST
    Make fun if you like, unnamed one,

    ...you talkin' to me?! I just walked in the door, haven't posted anything today...nor yesterday I think.

    Maybe someone else posted something that's been deleted by TL that you're mistaking with me...?


    OH, NO! That was NOT directed at you! (none / 0) (#35)
    by Bill Arnett on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 03:37:55 PM EST
    edger (1.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:16:22 PM EST
    Are you okay??? PTSD has been known about, etc., for years....

    Don't be obtuse. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:18:30 PM EST
    Obtuse? Check the mirror. (1.00 / 2) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:34:33 PM EST
    Look, folks of the Leftside of the road, Bill made a claim, but he provides no proof. He's good at that.

    ..as they return from service to find out how many VA programs for which funding has been scarce or non-existent under the "we support the troops" rethuglican liars will not be available to them.

    Once upon a time it was considered that the claimer had to provide the proof.

    That really hasn't changed. So I just ask Bill to provide some. Shouldn't be hard, now should it??

    Yet he won't respond. Perhaps this signifies that there is none??? Would Bill kid us???


    Obtuse (none / 0) (#26)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:58:27 PM EST

    It's alright, Edger, I went ahead and... (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Bill Arnett on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 05:19:51 PM EST
    ...spent fifteen minutes of research time to repeat what has been in the public domain for quite awhile now.

    I am not confused, but I obviously have a better memory (despite PTSD and more morphine than you can shake a stick at) than many people.

    The link ppj cited goes nowhere, but I think he may have been referring to a comment I made (to you or SUO?) that when I grow too weary, or my meds just bring me down to the point where I misspell or lose grammatical exactitude, I recognize that it is time to call it a day.

    If he's making fun of my disabilities to show his "superiority", it is my considered opinion that people of this nature also enjoyed pulling wings off flies or blowing up frogs with firecrackers as children and never progressed beyond that stage intellectually.

    Sure, I have a whole raft of problems from serving my country, but I don't use them as an excuse. Instead, when I find myself "fading" in and out I will acknowledge it or just sign off. Everyone has problems, some just more severe than others and, alas, I find myself, through no fault of my own, in the latter category.

    Too much for today so I will respectfully bid everyone adieu.


    Into consideration. (1.00 / 1) (#42)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 10:17:56 AM EST
    Bill - You made two claims, refused to show proof on either. I showed you wrong on both.

    You either are confused and refuse to look at facts.
    Or you know you are wrong and refuse to acknowledge.

    That has nothing to do with your physical condition, unless you are saying that your physical condition is effecting your mental condition. In which case I will take that into consideration when I read your comments.


    GFY (none / 0) (#43)
    by Sailor on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 11:24:18 AM EST
    Edger and I both showed how your arguments were specious, Bill had no need to. And franky as constantly dishonest as you are you have no right to ask anyone to prove their credibility.

    A person who calls for the murder of American political figures shouldn't even be allowed to comment here.


    Well ppj's comment has ... (none / 0) (#44)
    by Sailor on Wed Dec 27, 2006 at 11:58:36 AM EST
    ... been disappeared, but I happen to have a cached copy:"These are the same people who pissed away his father's presodentancy.. If I were him I'd send their name to the CIA with "Extreme Prejudice" stamped on the front of the report. "

    G,night Bill. (none / 0) (#39)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 05:39:16 PM EST
    BTW, thanks for posting here. I know your involvement brings you some more pain, but I also hope it helps you. I know it helps me to see your posts.

    Thanx for the kind words. Merry Christmas (none / 0) (#41)
    by Bill Arnett on Sun Dec 24, 2006 at 02:32:58 PM EST
    AND Happy Holidays to you and yours and all the friends and fellow commenters I have met here at TL, a great bunch of of people with a wide view of the world and many diverse opinions.

    Off topic troll post paperhead... (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 02:21:45 PM EST

    Although (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 02:28:31 PM EST
    If Wilson's findings were taken seriously by the chimp in chief we wouldn't be reading about our soldiers suicide rate in Iraq, would we.

    Well yes (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 02:37:27 PM EST
    ...but have anyones findings that don't agree with the daily revelations and orders bush receives from god ever been taken seriously by him?

    wait a minute jim................ (none / 0) (#13)
    by cpinva on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 03:19:48 PM EST
    i thought iraq was "mission accomplished", so it can't possibly be a war zone, right?

    i wonder how this rate compares to that of vietnam, after the guys realized the only "goal" was to get back home in, more or less, one piece?

    i don't know if there've been any studies done on this, but i'm betting that the stress of merely surviving, vs that resulting from combat where there are clearly articulated, attainable goals (the defeat of nazi germany), with the full support of your country and its citizens, is much different.

    when you fear you may die for............what?, i submit the stress is worse. asking people to sacrifice, when the leadership seems to not have a clue, is criminal.

    something tells me this isn't going to make recruitment any easier.

    Combat (1.00 / 2) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:16:54 PM EST
    cpinva - You are correct. Make that combat zone.

    Demo leaders and cut and run (1.00 / 2) (#24)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:36:36 PM EST
    I would also think that watching our esteemed Demo leaders yelling cut and run would be a bit discouraging. Not to mention the anti-war demos, etc.

    He thinks folks asking that troops come home ... (none / 0) (#40)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 23, 2006 at 05:51:43 PM EST
    ... is discouraging.

    OF course he completely ignores the fact that asking Nat'l Guard and reg army to do multiple tours in a war based on lies about WMDs, 9/11-iraq connection and a never ending WOT might be just a bit depressing.

    Especially when they are losing their jobs at home, their families are on welfare, the VA system can't handle the influx of physically and mentally wounded patients needing care, long or short term ... yeah, right. It's the Dems fault.

    BTW, when ppj didn't agree with the ISG's report, he thought the CIA should kill all of them.


    How would you know, (none / 0) (#15)
    by jondee on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:07:40 PM EST

    Gee, you'll have to ask someone else, Jondee. (1.00 / 1) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:18:07 PM EST
    I would assume that getting shot at is a clue.

    The means justify the ends (none / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:12:16 PM EST
    It's amazing with all the young men blithely thrown in the fire by sexually, spiritually, frustrated old men, that no Freud ever came up with an Abraham complex to supplement the Oedipus complex.

    Press blackout? (none / 0) (#25)
    by squeaky on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 04:50:09 PM EST
    What blackout? Jay Rosen talks about Ron Suskind's article Without a Doubt :
    Now here's what Glenn Kessler and Thomas E. Ricks reported in the Dec. 7 Washington Post: "The Iraq Study Group report released yesterday might well be titled `The Realist Manifesto.'" And I suppose it might. But what if our problems in Iraq are due not to a lack of realism, but to the total breakdown of reality-based policy making, a deliberate withdrawal from an empirical mindset in order to conduct abroad a war of choice and expand at home executive power?....

    ....There's another story almost as iconic as Suskind's senior adviser: "we make our own reality."[*] When Jay Garner returns to the White House from running the American effort in Iraq, Bush, Cheney, Condi Rice and Rumsfeld are there to greet him. Not only does he know to give a falsely upbeat assessment in his written report and stick to cheerful banter during the meeting, but he finds that no one asks him a single question about the situation on the ground in Iraq. Here you have the best possible reporter, but there is no report. The scene (as described by George Packer) is highly ritualized. A message is being sent about who gets to define what's happening on the ground, and it isn't the people on the ground. Garner told Packer that "Bush knew only what Cheney let into his office."

    A blackout suggests that the lights have been on. We have been in the dark for years now:


    "That's not the way the world really works anymore,"[a Bush senior advisor] continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

    Read the rest and weep for reality.

    and this: (none / 0) (#30)
    by squeaky on Thu Dec 21, 2006 at 06:08:25 PM EST
    Mark Danner writes a book review in the NYRB:

    Iraq: The War of the Imagination

    It bears noticing that Kennan himself, having predicted that we will never know where we are going to end in Iraq, lived to see disproved, before his death at the age of 101 last March, what even he, no innocent, had taken as a given: that "you know where you begin." For as the war's presumed ending--constructed from carefully crafted images of triumph, of dictators' statues cast down and presidents striding forcefully across aircraft carrier decks--has flickered and vanished, receding into the just-out-of-grasp future ("a decision for the next president," the pre-election President Bush had said), the war's beginning has likewise melted away, the original rationale obscured in a darkening welter of shifting intelligence, ideological controversy, and conflicting claims, all of it hemmed in now on all sides by the mounting dead.

    Today, if we went into Iraq, like the president would like us to do, you know where you begin. You never know where you are going to end.
     --George F. Kennan,September 26, 2002

    via Laura Rozen "Worth reading:"