Wed. 8/15: Iraq by the Numbers

Sometimes numbers can tell a story in ways nothing else can. TOM ENGELHARDT added up some key numbers at Number of American troops stationed in Iraq: 162,000, an all-time high. Estimated monthly cost of the Iraq War: $10 billion/month. Number of Iraqis estimated to have fled their country: 2 million. Estimated number of Iraqi deaths from the invasion of 2003 through June 2007: Just over one million. Tom’s new book is Mission Unaccomplished, where he interviews American iconoclasts and dissenters.

Plus: The presidential races: “Democrats Say Leaving Iraq May Take Years” (New York Times) — JOHN NICHOLS of The Nation explains what’s going on with Hillary, Barak Obama and John Edwards; also, why that weekend Iowa Republican straw poll matters.

Also: Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of Elvis’s death in Memphis in 1976. PETER GURALNICK will take up the question of “cultural theft” — did Elvis rip off black music? We’ll listen to Arthur Big Boy Crudup’s “That’s All Right Mama” and Little Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train” and compare them to Elvis’s. Peter is the author of the definitive bio Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley; his-op-ed, “How did Elvis get turned into a racist?“, ran in the New York Times on Saturday.

More stuff to read: my piece in the LA Times Book Review about The Argument, Matt Bai’s book about progressive Democrats.