130 Killed in Wave of Sectarian Attacks
Bush called Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Monday to reassure him that it was not true that the US planned to dump him if he had not produced better results in two months.
Bush hasn’t dumped Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who has not produced better results for 3 years, so al-Maliki need not have worried.
Shiite militia reprisal killings against Sunni Arabs in the largely Shiite town of Balad north of Baghdad continued on Monday. 91 Sunnis have been randomly killed by Shiite death squads since Saturday. Other Sunni families have been ethnically cleansed and forced to take refuge in Dhuluiyyah. The rampage was provoked by the murder of 17 Shiite laborers at nearby Dhuluiyah on Friday. What is amazing is that Iraqi police and military forces seem to just be standing aside and letting the bloodletting and attacks go on. Either they are collaborating or afraid, and either way they are not doing their jobs. As long as they don’t, the bloodletting in Iraq, which is killing 200,000 a year, will go on.
In addition to the further killings in Balad, of some 20 or 30 persons, Reuters reports another 50 deaths from political violence throughout the country, including 20 (some reports say 30) dead from two major bombings in the capital. Also, police found 63 bodies in the capital on Monday. Some 40 of them were found in the Sunni Arab districts and were presumably Shiites, while about 20 were found in Shiite districts and were probably Sunni Arabs. Monday’s war of the corpses in the capital appears to be a response to the murders of Sunnis by Shiite death squads at Balad.
A transcript of my appearance on the Lehrer News Hour Monday evening is here. I called for a phased withdrawal of US troops because I despair of getting Shiites and Kurds to compromise with Sunni Arabs in any other way. I realize that they still might not compromise, but at least there is a chance they would come to their senses if they couldn’t have the Marines keep their enemies down for them.
Iraq at home:
Iraq vet Tammy Duckworth has a fighting chance of occupying Henry Hyde’s seat in Congress.
Michigan media ignored Jim Marcinkowski, the Democratic candidate for congress facing Republican Congressman Mike Rogers. Marcinkowski, a career intelligence officer with a background in law, is passionate about what the Bush administration has done to the US Constitution. But he could not get a hearing unless he bought one. But that is a chicken and an egg proposition; if he had a hearing, he could have perhaps raised more money. The lazy US media, most often owned by Republicans or lacking in public spirit, shouldn’t be permitted just to ignore a whole congressional race to the benefit of a well-heeled incumbent.