Many more Americans will die in Iraq

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday US forces face more tough fighting in Iraq and his top military adviser said the rising level of violence was the “wrong metric” for judging the surge.

The comments by Gates and General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came as the US military reported 14 US soldiers killed in three days of fighting in Iraq.

Pace acknowledged that levels of violence are now higher than they were before the start of a surge in US forces in January, but both he and Gates said it was because more troops are moving against insurgent sanctuaries.

“We certainly hope and pray that that level of casualties will not be sustained, it will not continue,” Gates said. “But they are in the middle of a battle and we just will have to deal with that.”

On Thursday alone, six US soldiers were killed, five of them by a roadside bomb in northeast Baghdad that also killed an Iraqi interpreter and three Iraqi civilians.

The latest deaths raised the US death toll for the month to 59. In May, 120 US troops were killed in fighting, the most in a single month since US and Iraqi troops stormed the insurgent-held city of Fallujah in November 2004.

Pace said “our enemy is going to want to impact the psyche here in the United States with regard to the number of significant incidents that they’re able to pull off and the total numbers of the casualties that they will produce.

“So it is an expectation that this surge is going to result in more contact and, therefore, more casualties,” he said.

Levels of violence are “up a little bit” in June compared to May, he said.

US combat brigades individually are encountering roughly the same number of attacks as before the surge, between five and seven a day, he said. but with five additional brigades in Iraq the overall numbers are up.

But, when asked if commanders expect that the offensive now underway will reduce the violence before a September progress report to Congress, Pace said, “if you try to define this in terms of level of violence, you’ve really put yourself on the wrong metric.”

“It isn’t about X number today, Y number tomorrow, because the enemy gets a chance to vote in that. And he will take a look at what you’re measuring and try to defeat that measurement, so to speak,” he said.

“The metric really should be for Iraqi citizens: Do they feel better about their lives today than they did yesterday? And do they think they’re going to feel better about their lives tomorrow than they do today?”

Gates and Pace also defended alliances struck between US forces and members of Iraqi insurgent groups against Al-Qaeda, even though some of them may recently have fought US troops.

“After all, it’s a strategy that worked extraordinarily well in Al Anbar province, in terms of working with the local tribes and so on,” Gates said.

“And so I think this is trying to get more of the people who have been shooting to stop shooting and work with us,” he said.

He said it was “really the pathway forward, in terms of accomplishing our objective and getting them to work with the Iraqi government.”

Pace disclosed that in addition to tribal leaders in the western al-Anbar province, about 130 Sunni sheiks in the Tikrit area have banded together to fight Al-Qaeda.

He acknowledged the risks of arming such groups.

“But I think the greater risk is in not seizing the opportunities, as they become available,” he said.

In comments published Saturday by Newsweek magazine, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned that the US tactic was “dangerous because this will create new militias.”

“I believe that the coalition forces do not know the backgrounds of the tribes,” he said, adding that arming such groups “should be under the control of the (Iraqi) state and we should have guarantees that it will not turn into a militia.”

The press conference was the first time Pace and Gates have appeared together since the secretary’s surprise announcement that the general would not be nominated for a second term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Asked whether he had been treated fairly, Pace said it was “an honor and a privilege” to serve, adding, “I am going to be chairman until midnight on 30 September.”


  1. kent shaw

    Carl Nemo wrote: “The truth of the matter is we are there to simply steal oil reserves that are not ours to have and to establish military bases for the American Empire!”

    So far Bushco has spent nearly a half trillion dollars directly on the Iraq war and occupation. Several hundred billion will have to be spent on the war-injured and replenishment of war materiel such as Humvees, ammunition, and varied other equipment, and of course its impossible to place a dollar value on the human lives wasted. This little adventure of the Boy President will cost over a trillion dollars before its all said and done. How much oil could we simply have purchased from Iraq and Iran for that trillion dollars?

    I believe the oil is secondary and that the military bases are primary to the PNAC grand plan.

    I love your analyses Carl. Keep up the good work.


  2. Bill Robinson

    And for this they get paid the Big Bucks? It did not take a prophet, sage or genius to know that if we sent more troops there would be more targets for the partisans who are defending their Homeland against the Crusaders/Infidels. Bush will not be sated of his bloodlust until our casualty count exceeds that of Vietnam. We are fighting a war that we cannot possibly win, and we are losing it at the cost of wasting the lives of our brave young soldiers. The congress does not care. They are doing nothing. NOTHING!
    We need to leave Iraq now. There is nothing to accomplish there other than filling more of our body bags with our soldiers. Is that a noble purpose? Is that how these two twits think we will triumph?
    Come on folks. We lost. Let’s retreat now before one more soldier dies. We can and we should. There is nothing we are doing by staying that cannot be done diplomatically from the shores of America. And the lesson we should learn now, from these past few years is that we need to elect an entirely new Congress. Throw out each and every one of these do-nothing overstuffed blowhards who are feeding at our expense and giving nothing in return. Imagine if you only showed up at your job between 95 and 115 days of your workyear. Imagine the imprint of the bosses’ feet on your wide bottom. Imagine all the people living life in Peace…John Lennon did and put it into words far better than I ever can. Imagine, and then get out and march. They can’t fire us all and they can’t kill us all. Don’t let them beat us all.
    Bill Robinson

  3. gene

    How do you say “braindead”. Oil, oil, oil, oil, oil thats why these young soldiers are dieing. And do these leaders (joke) care? Why should they when (they) and all of their buddies will get filthy rich. Oh what a very sad world this is and will continue to be for a very long time…..unless!!!!!

  4. bryan mcclellan

    Veterans For Peace ,swarm on Congress,July 23-28..It’s worth a shot. See you there……..

  5. Carl Nemo

    If Gates and Pace were truly honorable men they’d turn in their resignations publicly at one of these hearings. It would momentous to have two guys simply look at their Congressional inquisitor’s and simply spout the truth on public record. It would be interesting to see if two of the highest level people in defense defected publicly what would happen…?!

    They are both well set and don’t need Bushista connections to make it. Hearings as follows: “In answer to your question Congressman this war is pure bullshit! The truth of the matter is we are there to simply steal oil reserves that are not ours to have and to establish military bases for the American Empire! It’s too much for us both to bear any longer and we’ve made a decision to resign our posts and to retire from government service as of “now” …! This is what these guys need to do sending the Bush juggernaut of “Tyranny” to the bottom with a double dose of MK48’s amidships…! Could anyone imagine what these phony-butt Congressional inquisitor’s would do with such a public defection. :))

    There’s a good chance that the tapes concerning this public defection would be rounded up. The media running-dogs would make tapes of the proceedings disappear and they’d maybe claim there was a local power outage, or some type of scare that caused the proceedings to be shut down. Anything that might have been witnessed as a live broadcast would be disowned as a “prank” or something to that effect, or simply put on ignore, never to be viewed again. This would be no different than the FBI consfiscating convenience store surveillance video tapes that were in close proximity to the 9/11 Pentagon attack…?! The reason “we the people” are captive to this ongoing Iraqi nightmare is that they are “all” facilitating this scam together; i.e, Bushco, the House, and the Senate. We the People cannot win at this game by playing in their “crooked casino”…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. Bill Robinson

    Very true comment Carl, but you forgot the main reason we’re in Iraq–it is so Bush and Cheney can steal as many American dollars as they can lay their greedy little hands on via “No-Bid” contracts with the likes of Halliburton and other uncontested grants worth billions of bucks to the grantee, of which B & C get their piece of the action. The flow of the money is always to the top, and the old expression “The buck stops here” was never more true when applied to the President and Vice (how appropriate THAT prenom)President. Remember in the beginning how pallets of dollars just happened to vanish in the sewer of Iraq? Well, they ended up washed in the blood of our troops, in the pieces of bodies blown up by car and truck bombs, and in the dust of destruction that we leave behind in the detritus of war, and once washed they flow upstream to the Oval Office.
    President Clinton was an amateur when it came to stealing. All he did was sell some bed space in the White House and then reap the “Honest” profits of the public speaking tours. He murdered noone in his pursuit of the holy buck. Bush and Cheney have bloodied their hands and are no better than the murderers that Cheney directed to plant explosives in the World Trade Towers.
    My source for this accusation is the movie “Loose Change.” I believe what I saw in that movie because the explanations and accusations are too logical not to be believed. Any of you can watch it by googleing it and then clicking on it when it offers a viewing.
    Another source of Bush’s greed can be found in a live video of Bush that was run in the “Octopus” Magazine, where he is heard saying that he needed to find a way to make some big bucks from the office of the President to supplement the meager $400,000 salary he was to be paid. He said that his Daddy made a lot of money from the War in Desert Storm. He said a lot more disgusting things which could all be considered his reasons for starting the Campaign in Iraq. All were about money. His greed was wide open for all to hear and see. He is a thoroughly disgusting specimen and deserves a trial and then the inevitable hanging when he will, as he must, be found guilty of treason and murder. Cheney should be put into one of those secret prisons he is trying to hide from the world. He deserves the same rights that we have been giving to the men in Guantanemo. None.
    Thanks Doug for this forum. It is a wonderful way to vent our anger and disgust and is much appreciated by this reader/writer.

  7. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Democrats enabled BushCo. If Dubya bombs Iran, it will be because Nancy Pelosi took out a provision in the last
    spending bill very early on to require Bush to go to Congress if he wanted to bomb Iran; Pelosi buckled under when she got booed by the AIPAC lobby when she mentioned this. The next day she took it out of the bill.
    So if BushCo starts bombing Iraq, Nancette has no one to
    blame but herself.

    Dems had a chance to excercise real power by insisting on a withdrawl date. They could have sent the spending bill over and over until Bush signed it.
    But the Spineless Dems buckled under the Rove Right Wing
    Echo machine’s constant fear threats that would lead you to believe that the troops would be caught without ammunition in the middle of a firefight, caught without food or replacement weapons and endanger their very lives; in reality, it would have forced Bush to sign the bill, this fear scenario of the troops having the rug pulled out from beneath their feet is just a TOTAL RED HERRING.

    So Congress was more afraid of the Right Wing Echo Machine then the people of the United States were, who clearly wanted a mandatory withdrawal date.

    The polls looked very good for the Democratic Congress when they stood up to Bush on the spending bill; when they caved in, its poll points went down precipitously.

    I have changed parties to ‘decline to state’, we have to show the Republikrats that they can’t go on with their limp noodle behavior without consequences.

    To those who say ‘If you believe not voting for Democrats will help any, then your giving into the Republicans’. My response: The Democratic Congress complained for over six years that they had no real power because they lacked enough seats in Congress to do anything.

    Well, now they had an opportunity to put a start to ending the war, and they failed. The reply I would expect from wimpy Democrats is ‘Well, the Congress did not have the votes to overide a veto by the president’ to which the answer is: It dosen’t matter, Congress holds the purse strings, they could just send the bill back over & over until Bush signed it.

    Congress didn’t need veto proof numbers, all they had to do was wait. Bush would be forced to sign the bill, but as usual, the Democrats let this fight be defined as the onus being on them for the bill to go through rather then playing a strategy of the onus being on Bush to sign a bill with a mandatory withdrawl date.

  8. Sandra Price

    It is always a pleasure when Carl speaks!

    But we all enabled Bush to get elected and then turn on American values for something he claimed was more important. I will never forget those months before the 2000 election when many of us tried to cut through the opinions of millions of voters who only wanted “anybody but Clinton” in the White House. The religious right came out of the closet and a force of voters not seen much in our history revolted against Adultery and marched in the streets for the born-again Bush.

    Many of us who saw a return to the Crusades under the leadership of a madman, tried to warn the public. I was thrown out of a dozen political sites (including this one) for speaking out against a man so firmly connected to the Robertson/Falwell team.

    I attended a Christian revival meeting and heard for myself the threats of the Evangelicals while stamping their feet chanting “Everything is justified if done in the name of Jesus Christ.”

    We put in a man who has no moral code of his own and everything he has done against our Constitution has been done in the name of Jesus Christ.

    We cannot fight this threat to our freedoms but we can firm up the Constitution with some Representatives who understand what the old document says. If the religious right wants to live under a dictator who will put them in chains, there is nothing we can do. If the American public wants to live in freedom then we have a lot of work to do to wake them up.

    This CHB/Reader Rant combination may be the only voice left to us. We know who the enemy is and it sits in many organizations like PNAC and the other neoconservative theoconservative groups who want their way with our freedoms.

    Every six months or so I decide to quit! America does not want my kind of freedoms. Then I read one of Doug’s Rants and Carl Nemos’s words and I am drawn back. Even on RR there are some truly original thinkers who should be heard by all of us but my reputation for total honesty and taking no prisoners has kept them from responding to my emails. I have them tucked back in my memory as cowards. They will only so far with their opinions and then pull back in their safe shells.

    This is exactly what is happening in our voting booths and until we can shake these people out of their apathy, we will continue to see the erosion in our Constitution.

    Gates and Pace owe it to America to stand up and be honest for once in their lives and demand that we stop this crap in Iraq from destroying our homeland laws and security.

  9. northwestgal

    Mary Weathers
    Bush video request
    I would like to ask Bill Robinson if you can direct me to the “Octopus” magazine video you mentioned in your post. In googling Octopus Magazine I got a poetry mag. which did not seem correct. I could not find any other. I would like to find the video you mentioned about Bush saying he wanted to make more than his salary, etc. Thanks in advance.

  10. Will Write

    Wrong Metric? Thanks to General Pace for putting Iraq in perspective. Focusing on the escalating violence and the proportionately increasing US casualties would leave us bummed about this war. As Secretary Gates says, when you have contact in a war, soldiers die, and we just have to live with that.

    Better to focus on the good news for the Iraqi people. They’re dying at what – 20, 30, 40? – times the rate our soldiers are. Who gets blown up in the markets? Who are our guys shooting? Aren’t they all Iraqis? Millions of Iraqis have fled, and those that can’t live in a devastated land without services or infrastructure embroiled in a religious civil war. Peter Pace thinks they feel good about their future. Maybe he should retire to Iraq if its so great. We’re thinking we want to keep this up for maybe 50 years. At the rate we’re going, there may not be any Iraqis left by then to have an opinion. There’s a metric.

    These guys need to get a grip. What I am reading is that by any measure the Iraq War was lost a long time ago, and no one in charge is smart enough to see it. Shock and Awe, Iraqi Freedom, The Surge…these guys think up more ways to reframe the same disaster they created and now work to proliferate. There is no good news and no positive metric. Americans are dying, Iraqis are dying. It can only get worse. Let’s just end it.