Monday, July 10, 2006

Bush and his Iraq war tar baby descend into hell

Facts on the ground have overtaken delusions and lies. Here's a quick round-up from media and blogosphere, painting a picture of Iraq descending into anarchy and chaos amid increased incidents of mass murder, rape and other war crimes by an illegal US occupation.
Iraq is continuing to deteriorate. The bloody curse of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice fiasco is reaching a pure descent into Hell, yet the mainstream corporate media is still providing a veneer of credibility to Bush, when all around the world is crumbling.

Buzzflash Editorial

Maureen O'Dowd writes:

Baghdad Erupts in Mob Violence

BAGHDAD, July 9 — A mob of gunmen went on a brazen daytime rampage through a predominantly Sunni Arab district of western Baghdad on Sunday, pulling people from their cars and homes and killing them in what officials and residents called a spasm of revenge by Shiite militias for the bombing of a Shiite mosque on Saturday. Hours later, two car bombs exploded beside a Shiite mosque in another Baghdad neighborhood in a deadly act of what appeared to be retaliation.

While Baghdad has been ravaged by Sunni-Shiite bloodletting in recent months, even by recent standards the violence here on Sunday was frightening, delivered with impunity by gun-wielding vigilantes on the street. In the culture of revenge that has seized Iraq, residents all over the city braced for an escalation in the cycle of retributive mayhem between the Shiites and Sunnis that has threatened to expand into civil war.

The violence coincided with an announcement by American military officials that they had formally accused four more American soldiers of rape and murder, and a fifth soldier of "dereliction of duty" for failing to report the crimes, in connection with the deaths of a teenage Iraqi girl and three members of her family. ...

Former US soldier charged with killings, rape in Iraq

A former US soldier discharged from the Army with a personality disorder has been accused in court of raping an Iraqi woman and killing her and her family in March, US officials have said.

Former Private first class Steven Green, 21, who was stationed in Iraq with the 101st Airborne Division, appeared in court in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is expected to be sent to Kentucky where he has been charged with the attacks that took place in Iraq.

Green faces a possible death penalty if convicted. He has been charged as a civilian, but could be brought back on military duty and charged as a soldier, a defence official said.

According to a statement by the US attorney in Kentucky, Green is charged with going to a house near Mahmudiya with three others to rape a woman living in the house. ...

Another bleak report, this one from the Rubicon:
That criminal negligence starts at the top, negligence of Iraqi civilians and American soldiers alike. George Bush is the commander who first set the tone, notably in his juvenile challenge three years ago:

Anybody who wants to harm American troops will be found and brought to justice. There are some that feel like if they attack us that we may decide to leave prematurely. They don't understand what they are talking about if that is the case. Let me finish. There are some who feel like the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on.

"Let me finish," he whines. It's well past time to interrupt his swaggering speeches—and his feckless military adventures. Bring the American militia home now. It's the only way to bring the killing to an end.

As of today, these are the numbers of the dead:
  • 2,543 American military personnel
  • 226 other coalition military personnel
  • at least 341 coalition contractors
  • more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians—at least 38,901 deaths have been fully documented in online media reports
  • about 9,000 Iraqi military (during the invasion)
  • at least 91 journalists
And in Afghanistan, 317 American soldiers and 91 other coalition soldiers have died.
The bloodshed and chaos in Iraq is beyond description. Making the task harder for working journalists on the scene is the fact that travel and access are restricted. Bush, meanwhile, wages another war on any media that dares to tell the truth about his quagmire.

Seven Questions: Covering Iraq

Reporting from Iraq has become one of journalism’s most difficult and dangerous jobs. FP spoke recently with Rod Nordland, who served as Newsweek’s Baghdad bureau chief for two years, about the challenge of getting out of the Green Zone to get the scoop.


Are Americans getting an accurate picture of what’s going on in Iraq?

Rod Nordland: It’s a lot worse over here [in Iraq] than is reported. The administration does a great job of managing the news. Just an example: There was a press conference here about [Abu Musab al] Zarqawi’s death, and somebody asked what role [U.S.] Special Forces played in finding Zarqawi. [The official] either denied any role or didn’t answer the question. Somebody pointed out that the president, half an hour earlier, had already acknowledged and thanked the Special Forces for their involvement. They are just not giving very much information here.

FP: The Bush administration often complains that the reporting out of Iraq is too negative, yet you say they are managing the news. What’s the real story?

RN: You can only manage the news to a certain degree. It is certainly hard to hide the fact that in the third year of this war, Iraqis are only getting electricity for about 5 to 10 percent of the day. Living conditions have gotten so much worse, violence is at an even higher tempo, and the country is on the verge of civil war. The administration has been successful to the extent that most Americans are not aware of just how dire it is and how little progress has been made. They keep talking about how the Iraqi army is doing much better and taking over responsibilities, but for the most part that’s not true.

FP: How often do you travel outside of the Green Zone?

RN: The restrictions on [journalists’] movements are very severe. It is extremely dangerous to move around anywhere in Iraq, but we do. We all have Iraqi staff who get around, and we go on trips arranged by the U.S. State Department as frequently as we can.

Clearly —Bush, his Neocon gang, the war hawks of both parties in Congress, and Bush supporters throughout the nation were wrong about Iraq amid a cacophony of jingoistic crowing, boycotts of French fries and Dixie Chicks. Dead wrong!

As Iraq fell apart, Thom Friedman still had the nerve to ask: "What does being right have to do with anything?" Let him go to Iraq! He will at least learn what being wrong has to do with everything!

The Existentialist Cowboy
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