Togetherness In Baghdad
A surreal facet of the Iraq fiasco is the lag between when a fact becomes obvious and when the fiasco's architects acknowledge it.
By George F. Will
................To finish the job......of installing Moqtada Sadr as President of Iraq.
A surreal and ultimately disgusting facet of the Iraq fiasco is the lag between when a fact becomes obvious and when the fiasco's architects acknowledge that fact. Iraq's civil war has been raging for more than a year; so has the Washington debate about whether it is what it is.
In a recent interview with Vice President Cheney, Time magazine asked, "If you had to take back any one thing you'd said about Iraq, what would it be?" Selecting from what one hopes is a very long list, Cheney replied: "I thought that the elections that we went through in '05 would have had a bigger impact on the level of violence than they have ... I thought we were over the hump in terms of violence. I think that was premature."
He thinks so? Clearly, and weirdly, he implies that the elections had some positive impact on the level of violence. Worse, in the full transcript of the interview posted online he said the big impact he expected from the elections "hasn't happened yet." "Yet"? Doggedness can be admirable, but this is clinical.
Which brings us back to Iraq, which Patrick J. McDonnell of the Los Angeles Times covered for two years following the 2003 invasion. He recently returned. His Oct. 23 report ( "Into the Abyss of Baghdad") begins:
"I keep seeing his face. He appears to be in his mid-20s, bespectacled, slightly bearded, and somehow his smile conveys a sense of prosperity to come. Perhaps he is set to marry, or enroll in graduate school, or launch a business—all these flights of ambition seem possible. In the next few images he is encased in plastic: His face is frozen in a ghoulish grimace. Blackened lesions blemish his neck. 'Drill holes,' says Col. Khaled Rasheed, an Iraqi commander who is showing me the set of photographs."
Electric drills are the death squads' preferred instruments of torture. McDonnell:
"One evening I accompanied a three-Humvee convoy of MPs through largely Shiite east Baghdad ... The objective that evening was to patrol with Iraqi police, but the Iraqi lawmen are hesitant to be seen with Americans, whom they regard as IED [improvised explosive device] magnets. The joint patrol never worked out ... The next night, an armor-piercing bomb hit the same squad, Gator 1-2. A sergeant with whom I had ridden the previous evening lost a leg; the gunner and driver suffered severe shrapnel wounds."
posted by Steve @ 12:10:00 AM