Monday, September 27, 2004

Forgetting our Most Important Ally 

John Kerry is swift to decry our allies. When he's not calling them the "coerced and bribed" or when his surrogates aren't telling them they're better off not being out allies, he likes to point out that we provide "[n]early 90 percent of the troops – and [suffer] nearly 90 percent of the casualties." A Washington Post opinion column by Lt Gen Petraeus brought home to me, though, that there was direct contradictory evidence if one but looked to our most important ally in Iraq.

Detractors of the Iraqi campaign rally around the 1000 deaths as evidence not only that we are loosing, but also that we are disproportionately paying the price for the liberation of Iraq. While the first claim might conceivable be stretched as to be a difference in interpretation, the second is demonstrably false as it is made with complete disregard to the 700 Iraqi police and security forces that have also paid the ultimate price since Jan 1. And this does not even include the additional hundreds that have been killed just trying to sign up. While our losses are greater than other countries, including Iraq, the proportional casualty rate for the Iraqis is much higher. If we assume 250,000 individual Americans have rotated through Iraq, the KIA rate comes to 1 in 250, or 0.4%. The Iraqis, however, with about 100,000 forces in the field have sustained a KIA rate of 0.7%. (I know this is very simplified, as the Iraqis have not had 100,000 forces steady-state throughout the sample period and casualty rates earlier in their operations were most likely higher, but I think it is still a reasonable estimate and accurately demonstrates the magnitude of our relative sacrifices)

A more telling question, though, is why the Kerry campaign seems to completely disregard the price Iraqis are paying in securing their own country's freedom. While one potential answer is that this oversight is intentional in order to avoid having to concede the point made above, another answer, and one I feel is more likely, is that the thought of any country other than us "world powers" trying to do anything is seen as irrelevant and unimportant. This sentiment matches the 1971 John Kerry, who seemed to believe that American withdrawal from Vietnam was solely a concern for us, without regard for the millions of South Vietnamese who were fighting with us for the freedom and independence of their country.

I believe the oversight of our Iraqi allies to be a continuation of the demonstrated pattern of gross arrogance and parochialism that characterizes John Kerry. In 1971 he took the ARVN, men he carried on his boat and fought alongside, a people he lived with and, I assume, spoke with and talked to, and he took them and their hopes and dreams and willingly threw them under the bus as unimportant and irrelevant. How can anyone have confidence that he will not do the same to a people he has never seen? He couldn't even be troubled to interrupt his busy campaign schedule in order to talk to the Iraqi Prime Minister, so how can he be expected to recognize that in realizing our hopes and futures, not only in Iraq but through out the region, our best and most important ally is Iraq itself. His silence on them is a political Freudian slip betraying his true disregard.

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