News Timelines and Deadlines
posted by December 6 at 11:30 AMon
The Iraq Study Group report is now in, but the debate about timelines and deadlines for various changes of course continues.
Meanwhile, there’s another deadline approaching, along a timeline that no one can quite predict, although this deadline now seems certain to arrive in the next few months.
The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, whose memory was used to frighten and confuse the American people into supporting the unrelated adventure in Iraq, killed 2,973 people (2,997 if you count the missing, and a bit over 3,000 if you count the hijackers).
Sad particulars aside, the number of Sept. 11 deaths is fixed in the mind of the average American at “around 3,000.” When the body count in Iraq comes to include more than 3,000 dead American soldiers, as it will relatively soon, the cold (and generally silent) cost-benefit analysis that most people make when thinking about the war in Iraq will cease to produce an acceptable result, even for those who still think Iraq is a rational response to Sept. 11, or to the threat of terrorism in general.
When American deaths in Iraq pass 3,000 we will no longer be talking about the relative merits of “stay the course” or parsing the various definitions of “victory.” We will be talking about a project that has killed more Americans than the event whose reoccurence it was supposed to prevent.
At that point, all the lines the Bush administration has used to justify the Iraq war will be, politically speaking, dead.