Sunday, August 20, 2006

Iraq: This is what failure looks like

Iraq today. Three years after the illegal war began with the March 2003 invasion, this is what "success" looks like?

To zoom in on Baghdad, the capital's 'crackdown' means walled off sections, curfews and traffic bans. Only in the World of Bully Boy could it be hailed as a "success."

"I don't believe you can win it," Bully infamously once said of his so-called war on terror and he constantly pushes Iraq as one of the main fronts of that so-called war. I don't belive you can win it? Never is that more clear than in Baghdad.

It was a week that saw General Peter Pace quote a soldier who asked him, "Is the war coming to an end?" [Click here for excerpt when that story disappears from Yahoo -- AP tends to vanish after a few weeks.] Is the war coming to an end?

"Twenty-one former generals and high ranking national security officials" must have their doubts since, as Free Speech Radio News reported, they held a press conference Thursday urging Bully Boy "to reverse course" and embrace diplomacy with Iran, Iraq and North Korea.

Is the war coming to an end?

Last Sunday, James Glanz (New York Times) examined the local problems in some areas of Iraq. While it's true that local issues matter, it's equally true that Baghdad matters since that's where the national policy is supposed to be coming from. The nation's capital is under a vehicle ban until Monday morning. Baghdad is under yet another curfew. Snipers are on rooftops (US and Iraqi military snipers). Prime minister and puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki has made noises of heads-will-row and there is talk of new ministers being appointed (have their name plates for the desks of the 'old' ones even arrived yet), the largest Sunni group in the parliament is supposedly consider ditching their highest ranking member (Mahmoud al-Mashhadani). Iraq, an oil rich nation, can't meet the needs of their people and is importing oil products. Water 'conservation' efforts go on in northern Iraq with little media attention. The infrastructure has never been fixed (but al-Maliki can announce he's sending $35 million in aid to another nation).

What has happened is that in Baghdad, in the fortified Green Zone, officials (and reporters) have lived behind Bremer walls, heavy security and assured the world all was peachy-keen for years now. Electricity? We have it! (In the Green Zone.) Peace? We have it! (In the Green Zone.) It was an out of touch reality that had to come to an end at some point and did when a Friday in June saw an attack on the Green Zone (almost breaching it though it's largely forgotten and press reports now tend to overlook it) woke everyone up. Last Sunday, rockets were fired at the Green Zone and one landed in it.

This is during the so-called crackdown. The crackdown that's accomplished nothing under any version since it was established on June 14, 2006. US troops were pulled from all over Iraq (and, as a result, Alaska's 172nd Stryker Brigade had their return home orders cancelled as the year-long tour was extended by at least four months) to beef up the capital as crackdown moved into version 2.0. The violence didn't stop.

Currently, we must be on version 6.0. And even with a vehicle ban, a curfew, body searches at checkpoints, US and Iraqi military snipers on rooftops, and every preventative measure you can imagine, at least sixteen people were shot dead in Baghdad this morning and at least 230 were injured. This month 3,500 (or 7,500 if you go by John McCain's figures) American troops were added to the already heavily patroled capital. That didn't stop the violence.

All the 'beefed' up measures added Friday didn't stop the violence. This is the capital. Over three years later and this is life in the capital.

This is "success"?

This is what failure looks like. We've been lying to ourselves for so long, who would know?

[Nod to Gloria Steinem on the last sentence which utilizes her famous reply to the statement of, "You don't look like you're forty." Response: "This is what forty looks like. We've been lying for so long, who would know?"]
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