Congressional Democrats discovered their collective backbone this week, passing a bill to withdraw from Iraq. Bush vetoed it, of course. Stuart Carlson had a brilliant cartoon Friday in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that showed Bush rejecting the Dems' timetable because "that would have been setting a date for failure. I prefer my plan: failure with no end in sight!"
The front page of The New York Times Friday morning also talked about how things are going in Iraq. Or Jordan, rather. It seems that Jordanian young people are lining up to learn how to become suicide bombers against the U.S. occupation in Iraq. The article notes that these are self-starters who have bypassed traditional adult teachers and, through small study groups, are radicalizing each other's interpretations of Islam and world politics. "Today, you don't need anyone to tell the young men that they should go to jihad. They themselves want to be martyrs," says one local leader in the reportedly radical hotbed of Zarqa.
Nobody even has to ask. It sounds like a mom's dream come true: "My son took out the garbage this morning, and I didn't even have to ask." In Zarqa, it's more like: "My son took out a Baghdad bus this morning, and I didn't even have to ask." (Actually, the moms quoted in the article weren't so hot on the idea of their kids blowing themselves up.)
The Iraq Body Count project (www.iraqbodycount.org) is keeping track of civilian deaths resulting directly or indirectly from the U.S. occupation. The victims of these youthful suicide attackers have added to the count, which is now somewhere between 63,000 and 69,000. The IBC counts civilian victims of military, paramilitary, and terrorist attacks, as well as "excess civilian deaths caused by criminal action resulting from the breakdown in law and order which followed the coalition invasion [in 2003]."
IBC, by the way, has just launched a "No IRAN Body Count Project" initiative, taking an easy bet on Bush's next move.
Reading all this, I figured out a way that we can withdraw from Iraq (the Dems' expressed goal) while still saving face (Bush's expressed goal). Here's our exit PR strategy: The U.S. needs to get out of Iraq because our presence there is encouraging a whole generation of young suicide attackers who are slaughtering Iraqi civilians. And weren't we supposed to be going to Iraq to liberate and protect those same civilians? Turns out we can protect them best by getting out of their country. Well, I'll be ...
Once we leave, the Jordanian teenagers can go back to playing pool and listening to pop music. They can grow up, get married, have a bunch of kids, and take on a mortgage. As we Americans know, nothing takes the zing out of radical zeal like a bunch of kids and a mortgage.
Jennifer Morales is an elected member of the Milwaukee Board of School Directors, the first person of Latino descent to hold that position. She was first elected in 2001 and was unopposed for re-election in 2005. In 2004, she ran for a seat in the Wisconsin state senate, earning 43% of the vote against a 12-year incumbent.
Previously, she served as the editorial assistant at the educational journal Rethinking Schools; as assistant director of two education policy research centers at UW-Milwaukee; and as the development director for 9to5, National Association of Working Women.
She became the first person in her immediate family to graduate from college, earning a B.A. in Modern Languages and Literatures from Beloit College in 1991.
In addition to her work on the school board, she is a freelance editorial consultant and a mother.