Sunday, July 08, 2007

Making progress in Iraq


iraq
Originally uploaded by soldiersmediacenter.
When I saw this picture a couple of days ago, I had two thoughts. First, Sergeant Whitworth reminded me of RoboCop. Second, I was pretty sure that with all his equipment, he wasn't going to be playing soccer for all that long in the heat.

While pictures like this are uplifting, I know it doesn't tell the whole story. Indeed, the whole story is much more complicated than one picture can show. Perhaps we will never have the whole story.

Part of the story is benchmarks and conditions on the ground. Today we learned Administration Shaving Yardstick for Iraq Gains: Goals Unmet; Smaller Strides to Be Promoted. That's good: when things aren't going well, just re-rack the benchmarks. What would we think if our local schools did the same thing? "Hey, I know we were shooting for a 90% graduation rate for incoming freshmen, but things aren't going all that well. Let's shoot for 60%. And, hey, our basketball team had a winning season this year; that ought to count for something."

I ask for one thing and one thing only: Let Sergeant Whitworth's commitment, and service by hundreds of thousands of other Americans (including sacrifices too huge to even be ones that most of us can fathom to understand), not be in vain.

I'm afraid, however, that we are well past that point. Once we start re-racking benchmarks, we are, indeed, losing.

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