It's called the MRAP, or "Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle." With a price-tag of as much as $1 million each, these new armored transports are designed with a wedge-shaped hull in order to deflect explosive blasts away from the cabin, therefore shielding the soldiers inside.
And much like the surge, it doesn't appear to be working.
On Tuesday, an American gunner was killed when his MRAP vehicle hit a roadside bomb south of Baghdad. His comrades inside were wounded despite the MRAP armor. Reports didn't say whether or not the bomb was what's called an "explosively formed penetrator" or EFP roadside bomb which critics have warned has the power to rip through an MRAP's armored hull.
We make better armor -- they make deadlier bombs. Don't be afraid, though. Six months from now we're going to win the shit out of this war. But wait! Don't nobody move! Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria, says the war has ended!
The Democrats are having the hardest time with the new reality. Every candidate is committed to "ending the war" and bringing our troops back home. The trouble is, the war has largely ended, and precisely because our troops are in the middle of it.
Okay. The war has largely ended because our troops are -- huh what? The war is over but if our combat soldiers come home, the war won't... be... over... anymore? The only thing I can make sense of here is that this is exactly the Bush Republican position on Iraq: The surge worked, the war is over, but no-one can come home because the surge worked and the war is over. Hooray for God's America!
And -- nyuck nyuck! -- this really has the Democrats flummoxed. Ya' think? I can't imagine why this Bush Logic would confuse people. It's not unlike being flummoxed by your roommate when he suddenly insists he's a reptilian Sleestak creature; then demands that you make linguistic sense of his constant Sleestak hissing. There's no sense to be made here other than the utter lack of common sense.
What's more disturbing is that The Very Serious Mr. Zakaria defined this as a "new reality." Maybe by "new" he meant "not a" or "I'm about to make shit up about [reality]."
Nevertheless, we can clearly gather that there are now two Iraqs.
There's Fareed Zakaria's awesomely successful "New Reality Iraq" which the traditional media and the Bush Republicans are observing -- mouths locked in frozen grins, and sweaty palms robotically smacking together in a deluded, drone-like round of applause. In the New Reality Iraq, nothing is ever achieved now; everything is achieved six months from now. Maybe. In the New Reality Iraq, Senator Graham bought a wicked-awesome rug for a dollar.
And then there's what I've been calling "Bizarro Iraq": an opposite, alternate Iraq in which the surge didn't work because the political benchmarks the increased troop levels were meant to facilitate... weren't achieved. In Bizarro Iraq, failing to meet those political benchmarks cost us the highest level of American military deaths in the war so far: 901 Americans killed in action and 6,071 wounded during 2007. In Bizarro Iraq, there's no such thing as victory because, in Bizarro Iraq, the president's illegal invasion and occupation, the president's torturing, the president's shock & awe, and the president's criminally botched reconstruction has fostered what are sure to be decades of catastrophic blowback against Americans and American interests.
In Bizarro Iraq, this is just a glimpse at January:
BAGHDAD -- The street battles between members of a messianic cult and Iraqi troops raged for a second day as the death toll from the fighting in two predominantly Shiite southern cities rose from 50 to at least 68. Iraqi authorities said at least 36 people were reported killed in Basra, Iraq's second largest city, and at least 32 in Nasiriyah, including Iraqi security forces, civilians and gunmen. At least 10 people were reported slain in Nasiriyah Friday. - JANUARY 20, 2008
BAGHDAD -- Nine American soldiers were killed in the first two days of a new American drive to kill al-Qaida in Iraq fighters holed up in districts north of the capital, the U.S. military said Wednesday. [...] Six soldiers were killed and four were wounded Wednesday in a booby-trapped house in Diyala province, where joint U.S.-Iraqi forces were driving through a difficult web of lush palm and citrus groves, farmland and fertile river bottoms. - JANUARY 9, 2008
BAGHDAD, Iraq CNN -- A well-respected Sunni leader who was key in helping reduce violence in his northern Baghdad neighborhood was among at least 15 people killed in three separate suicide bombings Monday, officials said. -JANUARY 7, 2008
And all of the following items were reported on January 6, 2008...
BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber wearing an explosives vest killed nine people and wounded 12 others in Baghdad's central Karrada district, a police official said. Another police source said nine people were killed and 17 wounded.
BAGHDAD - A parked car bomb killed three people and wounded 15 outside a restaurant in the Qahira district in northern Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD - Twelve bodies were found in various districts across Baghdad on Saturday, police said.
BAGHDAD - Three blasts killed one person and wounded four in Nahda district in central Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD - A roadside bomb wounded seven people travelling in a minibus in the southern Baghdad district of Doura on Saturday, police said.
MUQDADIYA - Four human heads were found on Saturday in Muqdadiya, 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Baghdad, police and hospital officials said.
DIYALA PROVINCE - One U.S. soldier died after a roadside bomb exploded near his vehicle in Diyala Province on Saturday, the U.S. military said.
BAGHDAD - Gunmen killed Ismail Abbas, the leader of the Awakening Council in Shaab district, outside his home in northern Baghdad, police said.
Does this litany of death and violence indicate to you that the war has "largely ended" or does it indicate to you that the people telling us the war has "largely ended" are "largely nuts"? The answer to that question determines whether you're observing Bizarro Iraq or Zakaria's New Reality Iraq. On second thought, don't worry about it -- six months from now we'll reach a turning point in the war which we've already won because the surge worked but the troops will have to stay there or else we won't win.
I can't imagine why Senators Clinton, Obama and Edwards would want to end this goddamn thing.