Cruel Thanksgiving in Iraq
Over 50 Dead
Over 50 Iraqis were killed and 47 wounded in separate attacks on Thursday.
In Mahmudiyah just south of Baghdad, a bomber detonated his payload outside a hospital, killing some 30 persons and wounding 27. Among the wounded were 4 US GIs.
AFP reports, “Also, the US military reported the deaths of two servicemen in a roadside bombing southwest of Baghdad, while four American soldiers were killed in a series of incidents on Wednesday.”
Shootings and bombings in Hilla, Baghdad, Baiji and Hawijah accounted for the rest of the day’s death toll.
Former National Security Council staffer Daniel Benjamin, among the more knowledgeable observers of al-Qaeda in the US, argues that VP Richard Bruce Cheney’s nightmare of an al-Qaeda-dominated Sunni Arab heartland in Iraq is just not plausible. All I would add is that the longer US ground troops occupy Sunni Arab territory, the slightly more likely Cheney’s scenario becomes. That is, Cheney is making the argument as a reason to keep ground troops in Iraq. It is the other way around, Dick.
Cheney’s hard line speeches are no longer playing well in the hustings, in any case. His approval numbers in polls are even lower than Bush’s, and Bush’s are very low for a president at this stage of his second term.
The Guardian explains more of the background of Bush’s plot to bomb the Aljazeera offices in Doha. It was at the height of the fighting in Iraq, both in Fallujah and the Shiite south, in April of 2004, and the Pentagon and Bush were probably afraid of losing Iraq altogether. Aljazeera was getting out the word of high civilian casualties in Fallujah, creating an outcry and prompting threats to resign among the US-appointed Interim Governing Council politicians. The plot is, of course, odious, if the evidence for it stands up, and I would argue that it was criminal. The FBI has busted mafiosi for plotting out murders over spaghetti in restaurants in Queens. How is this different?
Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV has charged that UK PM Tony Blair was duped by the war party in Washington. They promised him a push to disarm Iraq via the United Nations, he argues, but all along intended to have a war into which they would drag the UK, UNSC resolution or no. Wilson is a Washington insider, and his account undoubtedly reflects conversations with officials or former officials in the know.
With kidnappings and killings of foreign workers in Afghanistan on the rise, some observers are worried about it going the way of Iraq.