Here’s an illustration of the difference between change and the mere potential for change: In the first nine days of November, this country has seen a shift in the control of both houses of Congress and the departure of the Secretary of Defense. Meanwhile, in Iraq—even after bloody October—the bleeding continued: So far this month 23 Americans have been killed. The tremors from the political earthquake here on Tuesday don’t seem to have been felt in Anbar province.
Luckily, the Armed Forces Information Service tells us that “this week’s elections sent a signal that America, just like Iraq, is in a period of transition, but in no way diminish the two countries’ mutual commitment to success in Iraq.” (Another AFIS offering today reveals: “Asked during the days leading up to this week’s elections how he copes in the face of adversity, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he finds inspiration in meeting with and thanking the troops, particularly those wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.”)
The Pentagon has named most of those lost this month. They are: Sgt. Lucas T. White, 28; Lance Cpl. Ryan T. McCaughn, 19; Chief Warrant Officer John R. Priestner, 42; Chief Warrant Officer Miles P. Henderson, 24; Pfc. Kevin J. Ellenburg, 20; 2nd Lt. Mark C. Gelina, 33; Lance Cpl. James E. Brown, 20; Staff Sgt. Jason D. Whitehouse, 27; Spc. Douglas C. Desjardins, 24; Cpl. Kyle W. Powell, 21; Cpl. Jose A. Galvan, 22; Spc. James L. Bridges, 22; Lt. Col. Paul J. Finken, 40; Lt. Col. Eric J. Kruger, 40; Staff Sgt. Joseph A. Gage, 28; Spc. James L. Bridges, 22; Lance Cpl. Luke B. Holler, 21; Cpl. Michael H. Lasky, 22; Pvt. Michael P. Bridges, 23; Lance Cpl. Minhee Kim, 20; Cpl. Gary A. Koehler, 21.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi health minister is splitting the difference between the White House and Johns Hopkins on the number of Iraqis who’ve died in the war. Last month, a Johns Hopkins study put the figure at 600,000. No, no, no, said the president: It’s only 30,000. Health Minister Ali al-Shemari cut it closer to the president’s figure: “Since 31/2 years, since the change of the Saddam regime, some people say we have 600,000 are killed. This is an exaggerated number. I think 150 is OK.“