This poses significant problems to the US public, and to the public relations branch of the government. First, it is election time. The Republicans need to keep their control in Congress in order to continue to support the president. People cannot blindly support their government for too long, as demonstrated in Nazi Germany. The people of America have been asking for real information. They want to know what is going on in Iraq. The news reporting seems to be smoke and mirrors aimed towards public relations. Over the past 4 years of this conflict, the American public has been led on an emotional roller-coaster that makes it difficult to stand on any facts. The facts seem to be hidden amidst the spin of emotion.
At this point, it is difficult for the administration to acknowledge that American Troops will need to remain at their current levels for the next year, especially after making promises to bring the troops home. This acknowledgement has a greater meaning as well. It is not simply that more American troops will die, but also that America is setting up a lasting presence in Iraq.
The Iraqis do not want American forces there, and their fear is a permanent American presence. Despite saying that most American forces will be pulled out in 12-18 months, the military also acknowledges that the Iraqi army will continue to be supported by the United States soldiers. Perhaps the Iraqi fear that the US is setting up a permanent base in Iraq is well-founded. Perhaps their attacks on the United States military are an expression of their anger and resentment towards the US.
It seems as though the United States policy in Iraq is creating the situation for greater troop presence and greater casualties. It is a classic Catch-22. First of all, the Iraqi people are hostile to the American forces. Second, the Iraqi troops are being trained by the US. As such, they are receiving much of the anger and hate from the people as well. There were 91 American deaths in October, 2006, and 119 Iraqi policemen were killed in the same month. 1,272 Iraqi civilians died in the same period. It is beyond doubt that the reason there were less US casualties is related to superior equipment.
This is a high rate of casualties when the American Army is trying to build the number of trained Iraqis on the ground. For every 200 trained in a month, if 119 are killed, only 81 are really adding value! This is a very low rate of return! The Iraqi people themselves say that the level of violence is so high due to the very fact of the presence of American troops. At this point, 61% of Iraqis approve of the attacks on American troops, up from 47% in January, according to USA Today, Iraqis Support Attacks on U.S. Troops, September 27, 2006.
This is where the vicious cycle exists. The US does not feel comfortable leaving Iraq until its interests are secured (is this ever possible?). The United States proposes to secure its interests through the Iraqi military and police, with the US remaining present and overseeing the military operations of Iraq. However, the Iraqi people do not want an American military presence in any form. How can the US possibly secure its interests with no military presence? The United States is caught. It cannot make both groups happy. It cannot secure its interests without a military presence, yet it cannot make the Iraqi people happy unless they remove the military presence.
What can the country do? What can the administration say? They can only say what they think people will want to hear, until the truth becomes self-evident. More and more Americans are becoming very disillusioned with this war. The media can only report what they have access to. At this point, no one is willing to make the difficult decision to get out of the Catch-22, no one is willing to say either Yes, we will give up our interests in Iraq and allow the Iraqi people to govern themselves. or Yes, we will defend our interests in Iraq at all costs.