Outside Baghdad's al Hamra hotel, after Thursday's suicide bombing. Photo by Bill Putnam who lives there.
So yesterday, the Republicans in Congress treated that institution as a sandbox, suitable for a kindergarten brawl over the right of opponents to question Prez. Nincompoop's war. Democrats demonstrated, more than in a long time, enough fight to show the Reps up for the mean, whining incompetents that they are.
All very cute. But meanwhile, Iraqis and our unfortunate cannon fodder keep dying.
Riverbend speculates from Baghdad about why world media act so surprised about the recently uncovered "torture houses."
All this is very reminiscent of the 1980s when the US conducted "secret wars" in Central America -- wars that were certainly not "secret" to the unfortunate Nicaraguan and Salvadoran peasants who found themselves on the wrong end of them -- wars hidden only from inattentive US residents.
The forces fighting the US in Iraq are doing their best to remind the US that there is a war on; last week they got the journalists' attention by attacking the al-Hamra Hotel where many live. Chris Albritton of Back to Iraq and Time magazine is on R&R in Beirut, but he links to his friends' articles about what it is like to be the target of a suicide bomber. Catherine Philip describes "the moment when a suicide bomb is suddenly aimed at you" in the Sunday London Times.
Well, the bombers certainly got the reporters' attention. It is hard to imagine that journalists will continue to try to report from these conditions. Who is served by a hidden war? The guys with the guns, on every side? Not really even them. Meanwhile, meaningless killing goes on for everyone else.
Congressman Murtha was right: he "concluded the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is impeding … progress…. it's time to bring the troops home. …It's the right thing to do. … There's times you just got to -- you got to change your mind about this thing, you got to change your direction. "
Journalists have started a collection for the families of Iraqis who had the misfortune to live next to the Al Hamra, according to Albritton.