Monday, March 17, 2008

A geographical expression, nothing more

John McCain and Dick Cheney "visited" this place yesterday. That is, they dropped in secretively, jumped around in helicopters under heavy guard meeting their dazed clients, and jumped out quick before catching a stray mortar. They say things are getting better.

An Iraqi employee of the New York Times, Khalid al-Ansary, thinks otherwise. He is stretched to his emotional limit, with no end in sight.

Iraqi security forces all over the country and specifically in Baghdad have done their best to crack down on violence. However, what they are doing is like a tug of war. They tighten their grip some of the time against the militias and Qaeda, but let it go or unleash it most of the time. ...

...The battle is much harder than Mr. Bush expected. His own army, the strongest in the world, could not cope with the situation. The Iraqi government doesn’t tell the real numbers of the dead.

In Baghdad, no one knows when he will die. It is like a line we are standing in. One day a friend dies, another day a relative, and so on.

I have started to ask myself, is this country cursed? ... God, are we all bad people here? If so, why do you not use your superior power to terminate this country. Or if not, why don’t you help people to stay alive, next to their beloved.

A veteran United Kingdom journalist sums up five years of invasion and occupation.

Five years of occupation have destroyed Iraq as a country. Baghdad is today a collection of hostile Sunni and Shia ghettoes divided by high concrete walls. Different districts even have different national flags. Sunni areas use the old Iraqi flag with the three stars of the Baath party, and the Shia wave a newer version, adopted by the Shia-Kurdish government. The Kurds have their own flag. ...

The Sunni defeat in the battle for Baghdad in 2006 and early 2007 was the motive for many guerrillas, previously anti-American, suddenly allying themselves with American forces. They concluded they could not fight the US, al-Qa'ida, the Iraqi army and police and the Mehdi Army at the same time.

There is now an 80,000 strong Sunni militia, paid for and allied to the US but hostile to the Iraqi government. Five years after the American and British armies crossed into Iraq, the country has become a geographical expression.

Patrick Cockburn,
The Independent

1 comment:

sfwillie said...

Thanks for continuing to beat this drum. Our effort in Iraq is an ongoing crime (mortal sin).

I demand complete, immediate, and unconditional withdrawal of all US and "coaliton" troops from Iraq.

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