Ambassador Marc Ginsburg is astonished that John McCain could win in Florida on a platform of a Hundred Years War in Iraq and phony slogans about “victory” that McCain is careful never to define. In my view, McCain’s mantra about “victory” in Iraq is the 2008 equivalent of Nixon having a “secret plan” to end the Vietnam War in 1968. Somebody should please ask McCain what “victory” would look like exactly and how he would get there. Intensively patrolling some neighborhoods and cutting them off from traffic with blast walls are not measures that can be kept up for very long. Then what?
Besides, someone please do me a favor and actually read the list of bombings and killings appended at the end of this post, occuring in downtown Baghdad and elsewhere, and tell me why John McCain thinks things are just hunky dory there. Is it a racist thing where it doesn’t matter how many Iraqis are killed as long as US troops aren’t? Even then, 5 US troops were blown up on Monday. Yeah, that’s real calm.
A new professional poll carried out by a British firm in Iraq concludes that excess deaths from violence since March 19, 2003 through summer 2007 came to just over 1 million. Note that excess deaths from violence do not necessarily imply that they are directly war-related. Thus, murders of a criminal sort, tribal feuding, and so forth would be included. Since Bush interfered with the establishment of a strong new government after his invasion, he promoted the sort of insecurity that permitted high rates of violence, whether political, criminal or war-related. This poll tracks with the findings of the studies of Gilbert Burnham and Les Roberts, published in the Lancet and disputes lower numbers found by a recent WHO study (which, however, only ran through June 2006 and was limited solely to civilians–this British study goes to 2007 and seems to include everyone.)
The British findings are also consistent with estimates of between 1 million and 2 million widows in Iraq. These widows, many of them young, face extreme poverty without a breadwinner. As the Iraqi street has been captured by religious parties and militias, gender segregation and female seclusion have increased, which prevents single young women from going out to work in mixed-gender settings like stores and workshops. In short, Iraq is being Talibanized by Bush’s war.
Reuters points out that almost none of the widows are getting any welfare payments from the Iraqi government. It adds: “A report by aid groups found that 43 percent of Iraqis lived in “absolute poverty”. Four million people needed food assistance and only one in three children under five had access to safe drinking water.”
A new poll finds that the percentage of Americans who think the war to overthrow Saddam Hussein was worth it to the US declined from 35% to only 32% between December and January. The percentage who thought it was not worth it rose from 56% to 59% according to the same poll. It turns out that the American public is not impressed with a mere reduction in violence nowadays from apocalyptic levels last year this time. They want to know why we went there in the first place, and why their sacrifice of blood and treasure was worthwhile. No one, including McCain really has an answer for that.
Bush signed a law forbidding him from spending money to make permanent bases in Iraq but at the same time issued a signing statement making clear he had no intention of paying any attention to that or several other provisions in the legislation. What do you call a leader unconstrained by his legislature? An absolute monarch. I thought we had a revolution to get rid of that sort of thing.
McClatchy reports political violence for Wednesday:
A member of the national police was killed and another four members were injured in an IED explosion that targeted their patrol near al Mustansiriyah University in Waziriyah neighborhood east Baghdad around 7:00 am.
Two civilians were injured in 2 IEDs explosion in al Nidhal Street downtown Baghdad around 7:15 am.
Five members of the national police were injured in 2 IEDs explosion that targeted their patrol underneath Ghadeer bridge in Ghadeer neighborhood east Baghdad around 7:30 am.
Three civilians were injured when a mortar shell hit al Mansour neighborhood west Baghdad around 8:00
A joint force (Iraqi and US army) raided the office of Atheer cell phone network in Mansour neighborhood west Baghdad today afternoon and arrested 8 employees
Police found three anonymous bodies in Baghdad . . .
A police source said that a police patrol found two head of men near one of the factories in Doz town south of Kirkuk today morning. The source said that the two heads were [of] two Turkmen men called Sabah Fadel and Mohannad Jum’a who were kidnapped a week ago.
A member of Abo Zakarya Sahwa office (Abo Zakarya awakening office ) was killed and three others were wounded in a suicide car bomb that targeted the office in Thiraa’ Dijla area northwest of Baghdad on Tuesday afternoon.
Gunmen killed Dr. Khaleel Ibraheem, the head of the Sharia in the college of the Islamic sciences in Musol University and one of his students in al Mishraq neighborhood east Mosul city today afternoon.
Gunmen attacked a house in Bardaniyah village, 7 Kms north of Baquba city killing the father and injuring his two sons and his daughter.
Gunmen attacked abdul Hameed village, 10 Kms north of Baquba kidnapping three civilians.’