By MARC McDONALD
At long last, the U.S. is preparing to heed the wishes of the rest of the world (not to mention the Iraqi people) and begin the process of winding down the disastrous occupation of Iraq. In order to save face from this whole fiasco, U.S. leaders and the Pentagon have decided to declare the war a "success."
But there's only one problem for the Pentagon. Violent deaths in Iraqi are sharply up. In fact, 535 civilians were killed by bomb blasts or other attacks last month, an increase of 50 percent from the previous month, according to Iraqi government figures.
This inconvenient fact has posed a problem for the Pentagon.
So what's the solution? The Pentagon has bizarrely begun disputing the Iraqi government figures as unreliable.
This is truly surreal, not to mention hypocritical.
After all, throughout this whole 7-year fiasco of a war, the Pentagon has never cared about the stats of Iraqi civilian deaths. The Pentagon's stock, glib answer to the whole question of Iraqi civilian deaths has always been the same: "We don't do body counts."
Now, the "We-don't-do-body-counts" people are attacking the Iraqi government's own official civilian death statistics. The whole thing stinks of hypocrisy--the same sort of hypocrisy that has defined this war from the beginning.
I can't imagine why the Pentagon would think that the Iraqi government was exaggerating the death count. Or, for that matter, why the Pentagon would think it has more accurate statistics than the Iraqi government.
The fact is, the Pentagon has never cared about how many Iraqi civilians have died in this war. And when you don't care, you don't do body counts. (For the record, over 1.3 million Iraqi men, women and children have died in this war).
On countless occasions since 2003, the Pentagon brass have proven themselves to be liars, over and over. They lied about Jessica Lynch. They lied when they stage-managed the phony photo-op that showed the toppling of Saddam's statue. They lied when they initially claimed that they hadn't used horrific, flesh-melting white phosphorus chemical weapons in Fallujah.
In reality, the Pentagon's only real role is to secure Iraq's oil for the multi-national oil corporations that ultimately will be the only beneficiaries of this war. Clearly, the wishes of the Iraqi people don't enter the picture.