Iraq is imploding right before our eyes

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

Despite the fact that the corporate media is baffled by the fact that once they stopped reporting about Iraq, people had a “better” feeling about how things were going, the fruits of arming both sides, bribing Sunnis to not kill us but then not paying the bribe money, an end to al Sadr’s ceasefire and a lack of any positive movement on nearly every benchmark set at the beginning of “the surge” are all coming together in a perfect storm.

In short, things have gone from horrible to miserable over the past couple of days (even since I wrote about the rapidly devolving situation a few short weeks ago).

Of course, to Bush, the decreased violence (despite average daily troop casualties being nearly the same for over three years) was a sign that “the surge is working”.  And now, Bush says that this increase in violence is a byproduct of the “success of the surge”.  And John W. McSame, who is just as stubbornly ignoring the reality and facts as Bush is, had another “McCain moment” when he said that the surge is working and he doesn’t care what anyone says, except for the tiny fact that his latest speech was interrupted by reports of major violence in Iraq.

But that is the least of it – although it does show just how unqualified McCain is when it comes to being Commander in Chief.  The other night, I asked what happens if the Iraqi forces can’t beat back the militia in Basra, and it looks like we may soon find out, as an oil pipeline was blown up in Basra, and there is a rapid devolvement in a number of areas in Iraq as Shiite on Shiite violence is continuing (not to mention the “other” civil war that has been raging for months between Sunnis and Shiites, or Sunni insurgents against Sunni “al Qaeda in Iraq”, and everyone against the US troops:

The violence in Basra — which has spread to Shiite areas throughout the country, including Baghdad — is a kind of fighting Americans are unaccustomed to seeing, said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Donald Sheppard, CNN’s senior military analyst.

“This is intra-Shia. This is not Sunni vs. Shia, this is not civil war, this is not sectarian violence, it’s intra-Shia politics for control of the government,” he said.

On top of this, a spokesman for the Baghdad security plan was kidnapped from his Baghdad home, there are tens of thousands of protesters in the streets of Baghdad and the ultra super safe Green Zone is being pelted with mortars and rockets for pretty much every day over the past week.

Down in Basra, British military officials are indicating that the Iraqi police force is almost part and parcel with some of the militias they are supposed to be fighting, and offered a very ominous message:

“During a briefing in Baghdad on Wednesday, a British military official said that of the nearly 30,000 Iraqi security forces involved in the assault, almost 16,000 were Basra police forces, which have long been suspected of being infiltrated by the same militias the assault was intended to root out. . . .

“[I]f the Mahdi Army breaks completely with the cease-fire that has helped to tamp down attacks in Iraq during the past year, there is a risk of replaying 2004, when the militia fought intense battles with American forces that destabilized the entire country and ushered in years of escalating violence.”

According to Juan Cole, the Mahdi Army still controls parts of Basra, the Iraqi Army has possibly committed mass executions in Basra and Kut (where the Mahdi Army has taken control of), and there is already a shortage of food and water for residents of Basra.  And McClatchy is reporting many dozens dead, hundreds injured, tortured bodies showing up in hospitals and violence in at least a half dozen cities on Wednesday alone.

Here is one of many issues with this – this is not just “Shiite on Shiite violence”, and it is not just “Iraqi forces against al Sadr” – this is a new round in the struggle for power and a fight against what many view as the US puppet regime (in Maliki) trying to maintain control of a central government that many feel is illegitimate to begin with.

And it was very easy to see coming.  

When the “surge is working – just look at Anbar” was exposed for the farce that it was, and that it was more because of giving up control to the local sheikhs, it was quite logical to see that while this is something that quelled some violence for a while, it was a very short term fix.  When the decision was made to arm and pay Sunni insurgents to not kill US troops, it was pretty evident that this was not a good long term (or even medium term) strategic decision.  And it was painfully obvious that once they were not paid anymore, they wouldn’t be too happy.

From the decision to invade and occupy Iraq, there has not been any real consideration given to a strategic vision.  Decisions were made on the fly and with the sole purpose of passing this quickly and violently devolving disaster to the next administration.  But the convergence of angry unpaid Sunni insurgents with weapons we gave them, a weak and ineffective central government that wasn’t held to any level of accountability, the backing of Shiites over Sunnis until Bush, Cheney and their partners in crime realized that Iran was also Shiite and we couldn’t support “people like them” (even though it was the Sunni al Qaeda and Taliban who we are supposed to be fighting) and the end of a ceasefire that was also foreseen by those who wondered why the same logic that applied to setting a withdrawal timeline and “waiting us out” didn’t also  apply to al Sadr waiting out the “surge” is now coming home to roost.

Things have gotten a lot worse lately – and there is no other way to spin this.  This is not the time to pretend that things are just peachy.  It is time to act like adults.  It is long past time to face reality.  It is time to make tough decisions and realize the very precarious position our troops have been put in.  To bury your head in the sand or to cover your ears and say that everything is just a-ok is unacceptable.  And if John W. McCain wants to continue doing that, he is showing a lack of fitness for office that many will soon see.

We can only hope and pray that our troops and the Iraqi people don’t suffer as much as they are likely to suffer from bad decision after worse decision.  If the Iraqi troops were supposed to be as ready as we were told last year, then this is their time to stand up.  It is their civil war.  It is their country.  It is their future.

It is their primary responsibility.  Our troops can’t do anything at this point on any meaningful level.  Not unless there are another 400,000 of them in Iraq.  Therefore, it is time for the international community to take over.  It is time to get our troops out of harm’s way – from a situation that they have no place being part of.

Iraq is imploding, and as Petraeus said, there is no military solution here.  If they don’t want to make any political progress, then we can’t do it for them.  If they want a central government, then so be it.  If they don’t, then so be it.  

But ignoring reality and using empty rhetoric that means absolutely nothing and shows the world that we don’t know or we don’t care about the very complex and rapidly declining situation in Iraq.

The surge didn’t work.  It isn’t working now.  And it won’t work.  To quote McCain, I say that, and I really don’t care what anyone thinks.


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    • clammyc on March 27, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    writing about the atrocities going on in Iraq.

    • Viet71 on March 27, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    Imagine you’re running for president.  Your goal, your only goal, is to get elected.  Not to be a good person.  Not to try to tell the truth.  Not to appeal to 49.98% of the U.S. voters.

    What do you say to the American People about Iraq?

    • Pluto on March 27, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    …another oil pipeline blew, crude jumped a whole dollar at the speed of light, and the entire Green Zone has been ordered into concrete bunkers overnight.

    The entire world is smiling. I can see it in the markets. They’re robbing the American peasants blind — and figure they deserve it because they are deliberately uninformed and docile.

    • OPOL on March 27, 2008 at 11:14 pm
    • Edger on March 27, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Attack oil pipelines and reduce the supply of oil from Iraq by almost a quarter?

    What the hell is their problem anyway? Why aren’t they cheering and throwing flowers and begging Bush and Cheney and Pelosi and Reid for even more freedom and democracy instead of being so goddamned intent on taking back their country from their liberators?

    Such ingrates…

    Dr. Maryam, Iraqi Pediatric Oncologist

    Stop telling lies to yourself American. We know that your racist brutal murdering war criminal troops came from your society and reflect its values. we know that because we see how they behave and have to bury their victims. If you are stupid enough to think we feel anything but hatred and contempt for your soldiers and the country that sent them to make war on my people then you are a fool.

    As to Saddam bad though he was your country is far worse.

    Saba Ali Ihsaan, Baghdad, Irak

    The American “surge” as with everything else they have done is a failure. It’s the American way. It makes no difference to me as an Iraki whether you are one of the “nice” racists who call themselves “Democrats” or one of the nasty ones who call themselves “Republicans”. All I care about is that your country has its troops in my land raping its people, raping its resources, slaughtering our children, and defiling our Holy Places. The puppet government that rode in behind American tanks cannot pass the laws their American masters so desperately desire passed and is close to collapse. Now would be a good time to “make nice”. But that is not the American way either. Not when sand niggers are involved. The Americans in Irak are reflecting their culture. Racist, callow, shallow, and seemingly unable read a map, it’s just that they are a little more honest, a little bit more openly barbaric about it.

    There is only one measure of progress that matters in Irak and that is the progress in chewing the invader forces into pieces and then spitting them out. Progress on that is excellent.

    They came here as predators and now they are prey. The only thing an American understands is force, we sand niggers know a thing or two about that.

    They obviously just don’t know what’s good for them. They’re biting the hand that kills feeds them.

    Christ, if they’d just have a little more patience they’ll have a McDonald’s on every corner any day now, and Iraq will be a consumer paradise. These things take time. What don’t they get?

    At least after the past 5 years they have a million or so children they no longer have to worry about feeding.

    Jesus! What more could they ask for?! :-/

  1.  And now, Bush says that this increase in violence is a byproduct of the “success of the surge”.

    Bush also said 911 brought the nation together…that good things come from bad…

    Here’s the translation”

    Bush like it when bad things happen. He’s suicidal.

    Moqtada Al Sadr is a Iraqi hero a nationalist. He;s the Che Guevara, the Thomas Jefferson, the Ho Chi Minh, of Iraq.

    I’m all for what he’s about compared to anyone else in Iraq…that’s why they are all attacking him…..

  2. sorry to sound so callous but the horrendous truth cannot be buried. The candidates ignore, the media ignores yet the truth will out. Looks like no matter how both sides D or R portray this the so called surge did not nor could it work. It’s bullshit from both sides. The situation has never been manageable as it’s founded on BS, the kind that portrays this occupation and puppet government as real. As anything other then what it is an sadistic occupation for oil and geopolitics. Get a grip the people who fight us are not the enemy, not terrorists, they are us, a people who have been assaulted by sheer greed.  

    Political progress? What would that be other then the Iraqis totally bending over? Why put our insanity on the Iraqis? what the Fuck did they do? In the words of Mohamed Ali, ‘I ain’t got nothing against the Viet Cong’ nor do I have anything against the Iraq people who are portrayed as everything and anything except what they are people who want us out! and so do I!


    • Edger on March 28, 2008 at 12:19 am

    The corporate media is baffled???

    In response to the blatantly and sickeningly supportive pandering propaganda and cheerleading spewed out of your television screen trying once more to justify George W. Bush’s Iraq and Mid-East Debacle by Kyra Phillips and the “liberally biased” CNN the other day telling everyone how wonderfully things are going in Iraq since Bush’s Surge-ery: “Things are looking better in Iraaaaaaaq. The surge is woooorrrrking…”, Harvard Alumni David Allen has produced a short video he’s asked me to share with you that asks:

    “What journalistic standards for integrity? A few choice lines set the question.”:

    David feels that the Phillips ‘reporting’ was one of the more egregious, and that it needs a response in kind, in the medium.

    I agree completely with David’s assessment. I knew there was a reason I rarely turn the TV on anymore.

    I hope Kyra Phillips and CNN are proud of themselves. I don’t imagine too many others are.

    In the words of Bob Cesca:

    I can hardly think of anything else that’s more brazenly homicidal than encouraging the deliberate killing of more soldiers and civilians just so President George W. Bush can leave office without having to change his mind. It’s like Rove grabbing a small animal and saying, “You know, I went through the trouble of capturing this small animal, I might as well rip its head off. No turning back now, yo! Whee!”

    Maybe Kyra is too young to be familiar with it, but she might want to start reading some of Hunter Thompson’s work:

    “The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.”

    –Hunter Thompson, San Francisco Examiner, November 4, 1985

    ‘The Surge Is Working!’ Isn’t Working

    April 2nd, 2007

    Bob Cesca, at Huffington Post

    Throughout the land of pundits, you can hear the sound faintly but it’s clear. It goes, “Things are looking better in Iraaaaaaaq. The surge is woooorrrrking…” That other noise you hear – that faint rhythmic clomping sound – that’s the sound of goose-stepping from Michelle Malkin’s I Am Actor James Woods cult.

    We all know about Senator McCain’s completely debunked observations this past week. As Crooks & Liars noted, he even walked the streets of Baghdad on Sunday whilst flanked by more firepower than the goddamn Death Star.

    I can hardly think of anything else that’s more brazenly homicidal than encouraging the deliberate killing of more soldiers and civilians just so President George W. Bush can leave office without having to change his mind. It’s like Rove grabbing a small animal and saying, “You know, I went through the trouble of capturing this small animal, I might as well rip its head off. No turning back now, yo! Whee!”

    And we’re not winning – nor will we ever defeat the insurgency in Iraq using military forces. Seriously, it’s bordering on psychotic to believe that President Bush, a man who couldn’t describe the difference between Shi’ites and Sunnis before the war, could somehow be the first commander-in-chief in the history of warfare to overcome a guerrilla insurgency without a 10-to-1 advantage and nearly four years after losing the initiative on the battlefield.

    But I suppose if enough people are eventually led to believe that we’re winning, then we won. Reality is perception. So why can’t we just say we’ve won now? I think I can go along with that. We won! Wow, it’s actually kind of fun to lie to yourself. I can see why it’s so popular with Bush, Cheney, Malkin, Gibson, Kristol and Senator McCain

    • KrisC on March 28, 2008 at 1:19 am

    I was doing some research today, and do you know what I found?

    Iraq Mercury Poisoning

    In the early 1970’s a major methyl mercury poisoning catastrophe occurred in which an estimated 10,000 people died and 100,000 were severely and permanently brain damaged.

    Wheat seeds dressed with methyl mercury were sent to Basra in Iraq’s south. Because the shipment arrived late, trucks and trains that had been at hand were reassigned. So it took another couple of months before the grain reached the farmers. By then the sowing season was over. Farmers were left with a pink grain that they were told not to eat, only to plant. But recent harvests had been lousy and farmers had little or nothing to feed their animals and themselves.

    Like many farmers of the world, Iraqi farmers mistrust their government and began feeding the grain to chickens or sheep and watched to see if there were any bad side effects. Nothing happened for weeks. At that point, most farmers began giving the grain to their livestock and eating it themselves. Children got to like the pink bread.

    However, bad things started to happen a few months later and hospitals were flooded with patients showing symptoms of damage to the central nervous system. At first, doctors initially had no idea as to the cause. Some suspected an epidemic of “brain fever” of some sort. Others more accurately pointed to methyl mercury.

    A small group of international experts on mercury were called in and methyl mercury poisoning was confirmed through contaminated food. When the imported grain was identified as the cause of the poisoning, Iraq’s government acted decisively. Farmers were ordered to hand over all remaining supplies within a fortnight. To stress the urgency, a death penalty for possessing pink grain after that date was declared.

    At that point, most farmers began giving the grain to their livestock and eating it themselves. Children got to like the pink bread.

    But most farmers had no access to radio, television, or daily newspapers. By the time most learned about the order and the penalty, the two weeks were gone and the army had started to execute those found still to be in possession of the grain. So the farmers dumped grain wherever they could: along roadsides, in irrigation canals, in rivers.

    Fish soon became contaminated, as did migratory birds. One father of a family with several poisoned members and without any traditional food left stood in his doorway praising Allah for having made these migratory birds easy to catch when they had nothing else to eat. At hospitals throughout the country, doctors concluded that there was nothing they could do. There is no real treatment for methyl mercury poisoning.

    In rural Iraq the tradition is that a person preferably should die at home with his or her family around. Thus, when they saw and heard that doctors couldn’t help, people brought their sick family member home. Consequently, the official figures that put the number of deaths from methyl mercury poisoning at 6,500 people only cover those who died in hospital. The real number is certainly far higher.

    So of course I wondered where the shipment came from….


    The Basra poison grain disaster was a mass methylmercury poisoning incident that originated in September 1971 in the Iraqi port of Basra. A shipment of 90,000 metric tons of American barley and Mexican wheat that was intended as seed grain arrived that had been treated with antifungal methylmercury to prevent rot. The grain was intended to be delivered to farmers and had been marked as poisonous both by dying the grain pink and with warnings printed on the bags. The warnings were printed only in English and Spanish, however, and before the grain could be delivered a large quantity was stolen from the docks and sold as food to the local population.

    The poisoning incident was kept quiet by the Iraqi government and it wasn’t until 1973 that an American reporter uncovered evidence of 6,530 cases of mercury poisoning treated in the local hospitals. Iraqi officials eventually admitted 459 deaths, but it is thought that there may have been significantly more.

    Wasn’t that about the time of the oil shortages started?

    From The Atlantic Monthly Oct, 1971

    Plainly, any effort to limit economic growth violates our historic belief in progress. The President (Nixon) and his advisers have largely ignored this great and difficult issue, although, in his 1971 message to Congress, the President rightly called for the formation of a single agency to oversee the nation’s energy policies. The stress of his message, however, fell not on limiting demand for energy but on developing new technology to meet growing energy “needs.” Despite his expressed concern over energy shortage and air pollution, the President has chosen to shore up the economy by stimulating the production of automobiles. Too often the voice of government is the voice of industry. Hollis M. Dole, Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior, recently outlined the alarming facts of oil scarcity-only to urge that we avert the crisis by freshly aggressive efforts to discover and extract our remaining oil. Dole has predicted that there are, in the United States, “172 billion barrels of oil remaining to be discovered,” and has pointed out that that figure is more than thirty times what the nation consumed in 1970, a fact that would seem to argue the case for restraint, not development, assuming we care about the oil needs of future generations.

    Or am I just ‘paranoid’????  Probably! But we seem to have a pretty good history of messing up Iraq.  

    Excellent essay, I might add…

    Is there a baby clam yet?

    • Edger on March 28, 2008 at 3:09 am

    Why did US green light Iraq gov. attack in Basra?

    • RUKind on March 28, 2008 at 3:56 am



  3. People are asking me the significance of the fighting going on in Basra and elsewhere. My reading is that the US faced a dilemma in Iraq. It needed to have new provincial elections in an attempt to mollify the Sunni Arabs, especially in Sunni-majority provinces like Diyala, which has nevertheless been ruled by the Shiite Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. But if they have provincial elections, their chief ally, the Islamic Supreme Council, might well lose southern provinces to the Sadr Movement. In turn, the Sadrists are demanding a timetable for US withdrawal, whereas ISCI wants US troops to remain. So the setting of October, 2008, as the date for provincial elections provoked this crisis. I think Cheney probably told ISCI and Prime Minister al-Maliki that the way to fix this problem and forestall the Sadrists oming to power in Iraq, was to destroy the Mahdi Army, the Sadrists’ paramilitary. Without that coercive power, the Sadrists might not remain so important, is probably their thinking. I believe them to be wrong, and suspect that if the elections are fair, the Sadrists will sweep to power and may even get a sympathy vote. It is admittedly a big ‘if.’

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