Let's just call Thursday's edition of Bushed! the "Bush Legacy Edition," for I know that this is exactly what I will remember about the Bush administration for decades to come.
Our first shameful part comes from the single most underreported fact of Operation Enduring Freedom: the Iraqi casualties. The number of Iraqis killed daily has nearly doubled, from an average of 20 in January to 39 in the first two weeks of March. The total death count of Iraqis is now well over 1 million, a staggering number. But sadly a number that too few people are aware of, as a recent Pew study suggest. In fact, only 28% of those surveyed knew that our own American casualties is just under 4,000, while nearly half believed it to be 3,000 or fewer.
Next up is the story that we've brought you earlier, of the Pentagon decision to not make available online their report (.pdf) that acknowledges no link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. The ridiculous aspect is that while this is not news (the Iraq Study Group said the same exact thing), the Pentagon felt that early coverage of the report's release made it too "politically sensitive."
And finally, making a return appearance in the scandals of the Bush Administration, the Halliburton subsidiary KBR and the semi-treated wastewater they have been supplying the troops in Iraq for washing needs, which may have contributed to the complaints of skin abscesses, diarrhea and cellulitis amongst the troops. In a press conference yesterday. DoD spokesperson Geoff Morrell blamed the troops for not listening to warnings to drink only bottled water.
Q And with regards to the Pentagon IG report on the dirty water that was supplied to troops in Iraq by KBR, what is the secretary's comment? What is your comment?
MR. MORRELL: I haven't spoken to the secretary about it. You know, we've all been to Iraq several times. Everywhere you go they make it perfectly clear that you don't want to drink the water, so I'm a little surprised myself that this is an issue. As I understand it, the bottled water, which is what you're supposed to be drinking in Iraq, had no issues whatsoever in the testing that was done. Evidently, there was some issue with some of the other water that was, I guess, primarily meant for washing.
And -- but still, based upon this IG report, which I think is over 14 months old or something by now, the period in question, that there's no evidence that any of the illnesses were related to the water. So as far as we can tell, there was no widespread health risk or illness associated with the few problems that were discovered with the water system. But I think our encouragement is always -- for journalists and warfighters alike is read the signs and just drink the bottled water.
Mr. Morrell apparently doesn't read the reports his department prepares, since it specified that this dirty water was used for showers and laundry. But hey, let's hear the Bush administration talk about how much they appreciate the troops now. Will Sen. McSame continue these kinds of policies if he wins?