Who’s really winning the war?

A curious sequence of events:

November 2000: Oilman and former Texas governor George Bush is elected to his first term as president of the United States.

Nov. 26, 2002: President Bush says in a Rose Garden speech: “The Iraqi regime possesses biological and chemical weapons.” These “weapons of mass destruction” form the impetus for war with the country.

March 19, 2003: The United States invades Iraq.

Oct. 7, 2004: No WMDs found. A CIA report concludes that Saddam Hussein did not have stockpiles of illicit weapons when the United States invaded in 2003 and hadn’t begun any program to produce them.

February 2008: The United States is in what economists call a “recession” and Bush calls a “slowdown.” Many people lose their homes, jobs and health insurance.

June 2008: Gas has gone from $2.50 in 2005 to $3 in 2007 to its current price of over $4. Oil companies continue to report record profits, as they have each year since 2002.

June 18, 2008: President Bush calls on Congress to end a longstanding federal ban on drilling off most of the U.S. coast and to open the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge for oil exploration. He says those measures are needed to lower gas prices and increase national security.

June 19, 2008: The New York Times reports that four western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest oil fields.

June 2008: Number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq: 4,088.

June 2008: Documented civilian deaths in Iraq: 84,723-92,414. (Other reports, notably by the British medical journal Lancet, put the actual number in the hundreds of thousands.)