US Military Deaths reach 1500; 19 Iraqis Killed
Associated Press says that a US Marine killed by guerrillas in Babil province on Wednesday was number 1500 among US military deaths in Iraq. This number includes over 300 troops that have not died in action, though some proportion of those deaths may actually be war-related; and 4 military civilians. “Iraq Casualty Count” says that 207 civilian contractors have died, nearly 80 of them Americans.
“US army handed over authority in several areas of the capital, Baghdad, to the 40th Brigade of the Iraqi army last week, Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials said. The US military has already begun to transfer authority to Iraqi security forces in 14 of 18 provinces in the country. Coalition force officials told IRIN that they believed the Iraqi army had now reached advanced stages of training. Iraqi soldiers will now be responsible for patrolling the streets of the capital in order to reduce the US presence in the city.”
This is the best news I’ve heard for some time. But the subsequent events in Baghdad worried me as to whether this strategy is viable in the short term. See below.
Tom Engelhardt and Jonathan Schell ruminate over at Tomdispatch on the relative weakness of the US as a superpower, which is obvious in Iraq. This weakness, in my view, derives from the relative strength of European and East Asian economies, the indebtedness of the US to foreign creditors, and the mobilization of the masses in less developed countries, such that they can no longer be controlled in the old colonial ways (European colonialism depended crucially on the peasantry being isolated, illiterate and relatively apolitical). As for economic strength, Matthew Connelly at Columbia University has argued persuasively that the US used threats of denying France loans to get DeGaulle to accept the decolonization of Algeria. The US now cannot use such a tool, since we owe enormous sums to foreign governments.
Two suicide bombers targeted the Ministry of Interior Thursday morning, killing 5 policemen and wounding 7 others.
On Wednesday, guerrillas used car bombs to kill some 14 Iraqi soldiers and policemen and to wound 30 others.