May was the deadliest month in Iraq for U.S. military personnel in 30 months of false promises, failed strategies and feckless stalling.

American military fatalities last month totaled 124. The only months with higher U.S. casualties in the 4-year-old war were November 2004 with 137 deaths and April 2004 with 135.

It’s time to get out of a war wrongly sold to the public wrapped with a flawed self-righteousness; a war that never passed the rigorous time-honored rules of a just war.

A just war has eight rules. One rule is a reasonable hope for success, a standard the Bush White House has refused to define.

Despite administration dodges, a majority of Americans understand that any reasonable definition of success is impossible to achieve. Americans see the war as a mistake.

Yet pro-war leaders and nervous politicians argue the American public needs to give “the surge” more time to work. They have made September the deadline for defining the U.S. future direction in Iraq.

In September, America’s top military commander in Iraq will report to Congress on the success of the surge, setting the stage for another debate over war funding.

September is also the date when our government will unveil the sparkling and spacious new symbol of the American empire in the Islamic world: the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the colossus of Baghdad.

The embassy is a grandiose project befitting Bush’s grandiose vision of remaking the Islamic world, as if he could remake human nature to its pristine form before the expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

America is putting the final touches on the largest and most expensive embassy in the world, located inside the heavily fortified Green Zone.

Before the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the Green Zone was Saddam Hussein’s Republican Palace and gardens, seven square miles of real estate along the Tigris River.

The new embassy compound covers 104 acres. It is two-thirds the size of Washington’s National Mall.

It cost $592 million to build, far more than the second most expensive and smaller embassy being built in Beijing at a price tag of $434 million.

The Baghdad embassy has blast-proof walls and will require $1.2 billion annually to operate.

Want to see the architectural drawings? Click here. [Computer-generated plans appeared briefly online Thursday, before the State Department asked the architectural firm designing the facility to take them down for security reasons.] Scroll across the rendering of the embassy pool house, surrounded by palm trees with twin tennis courts in the background. Scroll across to the Marine basketball and tennis courts. Notice the two-story recreational center.

Imagine such luxury in a city with 5.6 hours of electricity daily, in a nation with an estimated 20,000 fewer doctors than before the occupation. Consider the security of high and fortified walls in a country where multiple fatality targeted bombings killed over 600 civilians in April.

What is the likelihood that the Bush administration will abandon its symbol of imperial power in Baghdad, not to mention the many other newly constructed military bases? What is the likelihood that they will admit that the surge did not work, that their project to transform the Middle East failed?

The answer is not very likely to either rhetorical question.

Bush said on Wednesday that South Korea was a model for the U.S. presence in Iraq.

The U.S. military has been stationed in South Korea for over 50 years with some 30,000 troops there now.

Pride perpetuates this war, the self-righteousness about our transformative goodness through force, the stubbornness to admit failure, the misreading of the public willingness to staying in Iraq for another half century.

Pride runs before a fall. A fall is heading Bush’s way and that of politicians who collude with his unmitigated arrogance.

Robert Parham is executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics.

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