3rd id update
The other day, I noted the pleasing development that the Pentagon has decided to rotate the 3rd Infantry Division, which has borne the brunt of the fighting in the Iraq war, home. Well, no such luck.
In an abrupt about-face, the U.S. military said Monday thousands of troops from the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) would stay in Iraq until further notice instead of returning by September in line with an announcement only last week.
The division has already had a protracted stay in Iraq since it was the first American unit to enter Baghdad during the war.
A U.S. soldier was killed in a Baghdad ambush Monday, bringing the death toll of U.S. troops killed in hostile action since U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq on March 20 to 146, one less than the 1991 war over Kuwait.
Thirty-two U.S. soldiers have been killed in Iraq since Bush declared major combat over on May 1. [Ed: I believe that figure indicates killed by hostile fire.]
The announcement comes directly after India shunned a US plea for troops, citing the lack of UN mandate in the Iraq situation.
This situation is another shameful example of the Bush Administration's incompetence over Iraq. As Bush's insistence that Iraq posed an immediate threat seems more tawdry with each passing day, it becomes clear that the Administration need not have alienated the UN and longtime allies in its inexorable insistence on immediate war. Yet that inflexible march to war is having direct and detrimental consequences in the aftermath. And sadly, it's our troops and their families who suffer. This "now you're going home, now you're not" reversal raises serious questions not only of the Administration's competence but of its presumed commitment to US troops and a strong military. And it is sure to create a shameful amount of suffering among the families of soldiers.
With more guerilla attacks expected, one wonders how many American soldiers will bleed to death with their final thought being how they were almost -- almost -- rotated home. For the present, though, it seems the battle-weary 3rd ID isn't going to beshort any time soon.