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April 23, 2008

Please, Let’s Not Sleep


Well, I lost.

I had a bet with myself, dating back over a year now, that I wouldn’t come across a scrap of visual evidence of American bombing in Iraq.  On a roll, I was doubly-convinced about this since the Falloujah-inspired military recently trained its cross-hairs on Sadr City. (By the way, credit to the kid for protecting himself from having his head cut off by either our folks, or the Maliki brigades.)

And while I’m on the subject (vent alert), I should add that I’m disappointed with myself for having paid such short shrift to Iraq over the past couple weeks.  Even though The BAG has maintained a consistent eye on the war for at least the past four years, I have to confess that Iraq fatigue — having, yes, permeated down to the netroots — has lately sapped my motivation for tracking this blasphemy.  The omission is more noteworthy given the way the war has devolved, over this past month, into a desperately ugly post-surge phase, with the U.S. military fully engaged in a Shiite civil war, while laying siege to a large swath of poverty-stricken, civilian Baghdad under a steady stream of increasingly flimsy rationalizations and propaganda.

For all that, I recommend the Digby Post (Bring It On II) from yesterday noting how the thoroughly inept Condi Rice showed up in Baghdad with the remarkable capacity to make a bad situation that much worse.  I also direct you to Bob Hariman’s piece, or, more accurately, an Iraqi citizen’s appeal (“Have You No Sense of Decency?“), yesterday at No Caption Needed.  And, as a way to back-fill a little bit, I also refer you two revealing images over the past few weeks.  The first — showing Maliki as the two-bit puppet dictator he’s turned out to be — is paired with an article (“Secret Iraqi Deal Shows Problems in Arms Orders“) detailing how the Iraq government threw away billions on a secret, no-bid arms deal with Bosnia.  And, following that, take a look at the photo-documentation of Iraqi military (“Desertions in Sadr City“) refusing to fight in Sadr City, leaving the battle to Americans and more hard-core military factions loyal to the Shiite powers that be.

Please, let’s not sleep.

(image: Ahmad al-Rubaye/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.  caption: In Baghdad, an Iraqi held the remains of an American bomb dropped during an overnight airstrike on the Sadr City neighborhood. At least 328 people have been killed in the fighting that has rocked Sadr City since late March, when Prime Minister Maliki ordered his forces to disarm Shiite militiamen.

  • martin

    This might be a good point in time to remember that Iraq is not peripheral to the election. It is central to an American psyche and one that is being ‘waged’ daily.
    It has been this way for a long time now: trying to unravel how American’s view themselves with-in the war may well give strong clues as to how they will&can view themselves with-out the election. it is certainly part&parcel of how those electorally on the outside view the process.
    Make no mistake, we view the process. Sites such as the bag have elevated that ‘process’. there is little comfort contained – nor should there be – but sometimes the discomfort is heightened to incredible levels of the, ‘do not they not see..’ manifold. Xhaustion
    If any other country and people was involved, you could probably call me a stalinist: but your government has taken upon itself for a number of years now to obviate a number of other people – often to the point of killing them – in the belief that your needs and what you stand for is somehow not only in your best interests, but ironically mine/ours too.
    This is a debate that has reached a nadir in Iraq. what a sorry state of affairs.
    One of the ironies for those of us trapped on the outside of the debate going on is that you seem to be allowing the same people with blood on their hands to set the debate for going forward. there is little irony if you live in Sadr City. If you are exiled in Damascus. or are simply dead.
    The picture is good:
    it reminds me of the 90’s. A freelancing friend was working for NBC in Iraq. They had already been amazed at how $200,000 plus was paid on the ground at heathrow to get the excess baggage out to Iraq for crew to film.
    What was slightly more suprising was to arrive and be taken visiting by Sadaams minders to view unexploded ordinance launched by the US that had landed in Baghdad. Criuse missile as it happened: way past its expiry date (printed on the side). Perhaps the ultimate ‘use/diffuse by’ date.
    Second up was the fact that the manufacturers name was up there too. GE incidentally.
    Third up was the realisation that GE is parent company for NBC.
    The above shot reminded me of the s(h)ame.

  • KansasKowboy

    24/7/365 of the Democratic Primary. It is the governments way and the MSM’s way of putting Iraq on the back burner and keeping the heat off McCain.

  • jtfromBC

    Condi’s bring em on comment is crude, but as Secretary of State her beliefs are not all that much different from her predecessors.
    ‘As it did in Vietnam, the United States looks at Iraq though the lens of firepower and troop deployments. But war is not just about things that blow up, and occupiers always ignore the point of view of the occupied.’
    For starters, people don’t like losing control of their country. With the exceptions of the Kurds and Maliki and his allies, Iraqis are overwhelmingly opposed to the occupation. That disconnect between occupied and occupiers was summed up by Luu Doan Huynh, a Vietnamese veteran of the war against the Japanese, the French, and the Americans, and one of the key diplomats in the Vietnam peace talks. “The Americans thought that Vietnam was a war,” he said. “We knew that Vietnam was our country.”

  • gasho

    Your tax money at work.
    The texture of the scrap, with it’s rivets and torn sheet metal, is a reminder that someone somewhere built that bomb. In fact, my labor–transformed into taxes, flowed into an emergency war spending bill, paid for a government military contract, filled an order for this bomb which was shipped to Iraq, loaded on a plane flown by a US pilot and dropped into a populated area with the intent to kill people.
    The bomb in it’s current form is an electronic image on my computer screen, staring back at me and completing the cycle– a cycle that feels very different for the various players: the boy, the pilot, the military contractor, the ‘commander in chief’, the congressional politician and me. It’s amazing that after this whole cycle closes its loop, its name is printed clearly on the bomb and on the screen in yellow letters: WAR

  • chimproller

    Martin- Maybe I am misreading your comment, but I disagree that Americans care much about the war. In fact, just a few days ago, a poll indicated that Americans (at least Pennslyvanians) are much more concerned about the economy than Iraq.

  • lytom

    Extreme fatigue or futility?
    Both put a harsh judgment on the people who are “fortunate” enough not to feel the occupation’s brutal power!
    What is the evidence good for?
    Unless the masters are taken to world court and judged severely, the boys in the picture will be the avengers, but not in control of their country.
    Note: in the picture, the women turn away from the “evidence”…They seems to be indicating that the death, outrage, pain, tears and accusations do not seem to have an impact on the masters of the occupation forces or for that matter on media…. and the rest of the audience has a case of extreme fatigue!
    So what will?

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