With so much attention focused on the Foley scandal, there's another story that hasn't received enough notice: escalating violence in Iraq has resulted in the reported deaths of 24 U.S. soldiers since Saturday, and the Pentagon just reported that IED attacks in Iraq are at an all-time high.
Serious questions have been raised about Congressman Foley's outrageous conduct, and the actions of senior congressional leaders. Those questions need answers, but we also need to be focused on the tragic situation in Iraq, and what a mess this Administration has gotten us into. This rise in casualties is a tragedy for the families of these brave soldiers, and it's a reminder of the terrible price this country is paying because of the Administration's failed Iraq policy.
We all saw the recently declassified key findings of the National Intelligence Estimate. One thing those findings underscored is that our continued and indefinite presence in Iraq is benefiting global terrorist networks that threaten our country. The war has been a disaster, but the Administration refuses to admit its mistake. It refuses to do what's right for our national security. By "staying the course," this Administration is ignoring the conditions on the ground in Iraq and the growing threats we face around the world.
The American people aren't going along with the Administration's head-in-the-sand approach. In Wisconsin, and everywhere I go around the country, people want to get our troops out of Iraq. But, despite how much the American people want all this to end, we are still there and soldiers are still dying. Here's today's Washington Post report on the violence:
BAGHDAD, Oct. 4 -- Thirteen U.S. soldiers have been killed in Baghdad since Monday, the American military reported, registering the highest three-day death toll for U.S. forces in the capital since the start of the war.
The latest losses -- four soldiers who were killed at 9 a.m. Wednesday by small-arms fire -- are part of a recent spike in violent attacks against U.S. forces that have claimed the lives of at least 24 soldiers and Marines in Iraq since Saturday, the military said.
The number of planted bombs is "at an all-time high," said Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, a military spokesman, defying American efforts to stanch the vicious sectarian bloodshed in Baghdad that threatens to plunge the country into civil war.
These are the kind of stories we have seen too many times before, about increasing violence against U.S. forces and a spike in violence in Baghdad. And during a week when there are other big stories to cover, it's easy for those stories to be overlooked. But we shouldn't treat the bad news from Iraq as just more of the same. The decision to go to war in Iraq was one of the worst mistakes in the history of our country, and the bad news from Iraq won't go away until we change course.
We have to redeploy our troops from Iraq, and we have to hold this administration accountable for the tragic mistakes it has made. This Administration's misuse of pre-war intelligence and false rationale for invading Iraq are widely known. Now, the same Administration that sent our brave troops to Iraq under false pretenses is refusing to change the course. It's time to stop paying such a terrible price for this Administration's mistakes. As the Foley scandal continues, more brave U.S. soldiers will lose their lives. No matter how bad that scandal gets, or how much any other story gets covered, we can't lose sight of the most outrageous scandal of all - the Bush Administration's disastrous Iraq policy.