Monday, July 21, 2008

Another high-profile butchery

Iraqi police said American forces broke into a home in Baiji district north of Tikrit in Salahaddin province, opened direct fire on the residents, shooting dead the 17-year-old son of the governor of the province and another relative, and wounding three other people who were sleeping. The official spokesperson for the province described this as a "criminal operation by any standard" and demanded an investigation and punishment of the killers. The governor told his office to suspend its administrative activities and any cooperation with the American forces.

The above is from AlHayat, which adds the American boilerplate about having fired only after "having perceived hostile intent" on the part of the people whose house they had broken into, and that they were hunting for a person suspected of being an AlQaeda financier based on "intelligence". The piece in AlHayat, which is by no stretch of the imagination "anti-American," adds this:
A resident of Baiji condemned the killings and the butchery that are committed from time to time by the American forces. Yunis Martada, owner of a shop selling refreshments near the house (in question) said this was not the first time the American forces have committed a butchery: "Every day there is a new butchery".
Xinhuanet says a statement issued by the provincial council included this:
The Council of the Province of Salahaddin condemned the killing by the American forces of the Governor's son. In a statement, the council described the incident as an indication of the contempt on the part of the Americans for the lives of innocent Iraqis and their lack of verification of intelligence that comes to them, before acting on it".
According to the NYT, the council's statement said the operation shows how the Americans "disregard the souls of Iraqi citizens", and instead of talking to people like the store owner who regards American atrocities as notorious, the NYT merely quotes an official to the effect "there have been at least two similar attacks by the Americans in the area," painting for Americans, as usual, a picture of the ephemeral and somewhat abstract nature of this kind of Iraqi complaints. Not that the netroots (with one or two exception) has been terrifically better in this.


Blogger Cugel said...

This is a pretty good indication of why any Iraqi government would want the withdrawal of American combat troops, and as an interim step, their being limited to bases in the countryside, and having to be ordered into action by the Iraqi government.

Any occupying army that acts this brutally and on such faulty intelligence is completely counter-productive.

Forget American policy, this simply can't end well for Maliki personally or his government.

Of course, he doesn't want the Americans to actually all leave, which would leave him defenseless in the midst of a sea of enemies.

But, the option of total American withdrawal has never been proposed by anybody (except Dennis Kuchinich and we know what happened to him).

When Jim Baker formed his commission to save the Bush Presidency from Bush's blundering, they basically rehashed all the old Vietnam strategies and decided to push Vietnamization.

Bush rejected their advice, and found a general who would play Gen. Westmoreland to his Lyndon Johnson.

In the current election, Obama is playing the role of Richard Nixon (down to the "plan to end the war" -- just not a "secret plan") and McCain is running for Johnson's second term ("escalate to victory").

So, Obama will probably win, which means the next 4 years will be an attempt to withdraw the troops and implement "Iraqization." In fact, the policies won't be that dissimilar even if McCain is elected since we have an all-volunteer Army now.

Given that the Iraqi government is not facing an insurgency and popular opposition that is remotely as united and well supported as the Viet-Cong/NVA, they have to think they might win, that a stable tyranny under U.S. auspices might be established.

I honestly don't know why America didn't go straight for an Iraqi military dictatorship, rather like Gen. Thieu to begin with, other than it being too difficult for his advisers to explain Iraqi reality to Bush.

8:09 AM  

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