Wednesday, March 15, 2006

NYT: They're calling the current situation in Iraq "strife"

The above is from Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts, January 1, 2006 and we'll get back to it later in the entry. First, news from Iraq.

The bodies of more than 85 executed men have surfaced across Baghdad in the past two days, in Sunni and Shiite neighborhoods, providing graphic proof, yet again, of sectarian mayhem.
Many bodies bore marks of torture -- badly beaten faces, gagged mouths and rope burns around the neck -- though it remains unclear who is responsible.
The wave of unchecked killings comes at a time when the American government is insisting that Iraqi security forces can reverse the slide toward chaos. But less than a month after an assault on a Shiite shrine nearly plunged Iraq into all-out civil war, the blood continues to flow, just as freely.

Jeffrey Gettleman's "85 Bodies Found in Baghdad in Sectarian Strife" in this morning's New York Times. "Strife" -- what an incredibly mild word for what's going on. As for the number of bodies, the Washington Post's headline writer's a little sharper, "At Least 86 Found Shot Or Strangled In Baghdad" is the title given to Ellen Knickmeyer and Naseer Nouri's article:

Daylight Tuesday brought the discovery of at least 86 shot or strangled men across the city, most of them with hands tied and many of them tortured, according to police. They included 27 corpses in one of the first mass graves to be found in the capital since the U.S. invasion three years ago.
The day's high toll -- of execution-style killings involving large numbers of victims, rather than the bombing deaths that have characterized insurgent attacks and dominated violence in Iraq for more than two years -- appeared linked to escalating cycles of sectarian slaughter since the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in the city of Samarra. The toll since the bombing is nearing 1,000, according to government figures; four Iraqi and international officials tracking the toll say it topped that figure in the first week after the Samarra bombing.

As Kat noted, yesterday's KPFA Evening News was citing at least 87 bodies so the Times apparently put their story to bed early.

Meanwhile the San Jose Mercury News carries an Associated Press article, Ziad Khalaf's "11 killed in U.S. raid north of Baghdad:"

Eleven people -- most women and children -- were killed when a house was bombed during a U.S. raid north of Baghdad early Wednesday, police and relatives said.
The U.S. military acknowledged four deaths -- a man, two women and a child -- in the raid that they said netted an insurgent suspect in the rural Isahaqi area, about 50 miles north of the capital.
The victims, some wrapped in blankets, were driven in the back of three pickup trucks to the Tikrit General Hospital, about 45 miles to the north, relatives said.
Associated Press photographs showed the bodies of two men, five children and four other covered figures arriving at the hospital.

Ruth phoned to note that on WBAI's Wakeup Call this morning, Mitch Jesserich referred to a Knight-Ridder report on the increase in air bombings by American forces with more bombings in the last five months than in the same period last year.

And while the AP reports that England is cutting their troops in Iraq by 10%, the Times' Thom Shankar notes in "Rumsfeld Hints at Troop Increase During Pilgrimage Surge:"

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld gave a strong hint on Tuesday that American troop levels in Iraq might be increased in coming days, perhaps only slightly and temporarily.

"Only slightly and temporarily." Well, this is the man who saw roses strewn in American troops' paths, so why should we doubt him? (Rhetorical and sarcastic.) It's the third year anniversary as The Nation notes in their editorial "Three Years and Counting:"

On March 19, 2003, without the approval of the United Nations Security Council and against the advice of many of America's closest allies, the Bush Administration launched what has become one of the longest-running wars in US history. Now, on the third anniversary of the start of the war, we are just beginning to feel the full effects of the greatest catastrophe in American foreign policy since the Vietnam War. We are all familiar with the staggering costs in lives and money of the Iraq War: 2,300 Americans killed, more than 16,000 wounded or maimed; about 30,000 direct Iraqi deaths and more than 100,000 attributable to the war; upward of $300 billion in direct war expenditures and close to $1 trillion in estimated total costs.
We are also painfully aware of the longer-term damage to US foreign policy and to our standing in the world. The war has bred a new generation of religious extremists, dangerously heightened sectarian tensions in the Islamic world, strengthened Iran's hand in Iraq and in matters of nuclear diplomacy, and created the most serious threat to the world's oil supply since the OPEC embargo--all the while undermining American authority in the region and straining the US military to the breaking point.
But these facts and figures do not capture the full tragedy that Iraq has become or the horror that may yet befall that country and indeed the region. As recent events make clear, Iraq is now on the verge of a full-scale civil war, which US forces are helpless to prevent and for which they are increasingly blamed by all sides. The blood bath following the bombing of the golden-domed Shiite mosque in Samarra claimed more than 1,400 lives, as angry Shiite mobs attacked Sunni mosques and killed their Sunni neighbors. This outbreak followed months of low-intensity ethnic cleansing in many Iraqi neighborhoods and increasing targeting of Sunnis by Shiite militias, many of them operating under cover of the Interior Ministry and the Iraqi army the United States has been training.

The violence continues, the deaths continue. Norman Solomon, among others, has been attempting to draw attention the air bombing. Not a lot of traction on that issue in big media. At the three year point, we should be able to ask questions. (Though Bill Frist will probably clutch the pearls and moan, "How dare you!" It's the same sort of reality avoidance that probably allowed him to 'experiment' on cats and kittens.) One question we should be asking is when will there be accountability for the lies that have led to so many lies, the lies that sold us into war?

The accountability dodge is aided by big media silence. Want to help break the silence? If you're in the NYC area today, here's one way you can do your part:

New York, March 14, 2006: To kick off a week of activities and protests marking the third anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, the anti-war coalition United For Peace And Justice, joined by top media reform organizations, are protesting at media outlets throughout the county including the headquarters of TV networks and outlets in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. "Many media outlets aided and abetted the war, not only in its run-up but for the past three years, by selective coverage and un-critical reporting," says former network producer (ABC, CNN) and Editor Danny Schechter, author of two books and an independent film (WMD) on the subject. "Just as media companies aspire to hold the government accountable, the media itself has to be held account for jingoism posing as journalism."
Here are the plans:
NYC Media March planned for March 15th - Noon - 2pm
We will take a tour to the headquarters of major media outlets with signs calling upon them to "Tell the Truth About the War!" There will be a silent vigil later that evening during the evening newscasts.
The March:
At noon we will assemble at CBS (51 West 52nd) and then walk down 6th Avenue to NBC HQ (1230 Rock plaza), cross the street in front of CNN and TIME, walk downtown to Fox (48th and 6th), make a right on West 45th with a quick stop at Bertelsmann Headquarters, make a left down Broadway in front of ABC News, cross over to the Military Recruiters in the center of Times Square and then across 7th Avenue to Reuters (43 and 7th), make a left down 43rd Street to the NY Times, and then, return to Broadway and end at MTV/Viacom Headquarters (1515 Broadway).
At each stop, speakers will appeal to the public and the media executives inside. At 6pm we will have groups hold silent vigils during evening newscasts at CNN (West 58th St), CBS Broadcast Center (West 57th and l0th), NBC (outside where the Today Show broadcasts) and Fox (48th and 6th).
* Planned meetings with media executives were cancelled when no network agreed to hear from delegations of anti-war activists.
For more information visit:

Weapons of Mass Deceptions? Sidebar, special edition of the gina & krista round-robin in your inboxes already this morning. It includes a discussion of the documentary WMD.

So it's three years on. Kat noted during the discussion of the film last night that she'd used Isaiah's illustration capturing the year 2005 (comic at the top of this entry). That does sum up 2005. Bully Boy satisfies his blood lust and people die. Is that going to be one of the ways 2006 is remembered or are we all going to do our part to end the occupation?

We can make our voices heard, if we use them. It's the third anniversary of the invasion, make yourself heard.

And remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) of Democracy Now! today.

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