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Are you one of the millions of delusional Americans who believe things are "getting better" in Iraq? You can hardly be blamed. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and your own president, George W. Bush, tell you nearly every day that it's so.

Our forces captured Saddam Hussein, killed his evil sons, turned the government over to the Iraqi people and oversaw successful elections, right? Things couldn't be going more swimmingly. Unless, of course, you happen to be a U.S. soldier on the ground over there.

In February, 58 brave Americans came home from Iraq in body bags. Compare that to February last year, when 20 were killed. January was even worse, with 107 dead GIs compared to 47 in January 2004. For December, the numbers were 72 dead in 2004 and 40 in 2003.

There has also been a sharp increase in the number of wounded and maimed. In the three months just passed, 1,398 have been awarded Purple Hearts, as opposed to 595 a year ago. These are Department of Defense numbers. You can look them up.

Increases of well over 100 percent in the number of dead and maimed emphatically do not point to things "getting better."

In business, there are things known as quarterly reports, issued every three months to give executives and investors a sense of where a company is headed. And a quarterly report like this one, written in the blood of our young men and women, would stop the heart of even the most hardened corporate CEO.

Many of you voted for George Bush. Not once but twice. Hook, line and sinker, you bought the song and dance about Weapons of Mass Destruction. In equal measure, you were certain that Saddam had something to do with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. So firmly did you believe this that a lot of you still think these things to be true, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Thus far, your misguided beliefs have cost this country 1,502 dead and 11,220 maimed, many of those now armless, legless, blind or insane.

Additionally, as many as 100,000 Iraqis -- civilians, for the most part -- have been killed and 173 members of Bush's vaunted "coalition" have died.

By enabling the president to lie the country into this war, and by not holding him accountable once the nature of his lies became apparent, you are to a great degree responsible for the carnage that has been wrought in Iraq.

Things aren't getting better, they are getting worse, and your culpability grows with each passing day.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com March 8 2005