Thursday, May 04, 2006

NYT: Covering some of the violence in Iraq (Richard A. Oppel, Jr.)

More than 50 Iraqis were killed or found dead on Wednesday, as Iraqi leaders struggled to fashion a unified government that they hope can diminish the insurgency and ease violence between Sunnis and Shiites.
One day after the governor of restive Anbar Province escaped an assassination attempt that killed 10 people, a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest attacked a police recruiting depot on Wednesday morning in Falluja, the province's second largest city, killing at least 16 young men waiting to be interviewed, Iraqi officials said.
In Baghdad, Iraqi officials said that the bodies of 34 men who all appeared to have been tortured before being killed were discovered strewn about Baghdad, apparently the latest victims of the sectarian violence that has flared in Iraq since the Feb. 22 bombing of the hallowed Askariya Shrine in Samarra.

The above is from Richard A. Oppell Jr.'s "16 Police Recruits Killed in Iraq; 34 Other Bodies Found" in this morning's New York Times. The chaos and violence continues. End in sight? (All chuckle darkly.)

As David Enders, on Free Speech Radio News and The KPFA Evening News, reported yesterday the proposal from the slightest war hawk of them all (Joe Biden) to split Iraq into three parts isn't a plan that's supported by Sunnis and some Shi'ites. Translation, Biden's "fix" is just the thing to further enrage the tensions all the more (especially since it's coming from outside of Iraq as opposed to from the 'ruling government'). Six months after a constitution was 'adopted' (October, 2005), discussions are still focused on changes. (Oppell notes this as well.) Enders interviewed a professor in Baghdad who stated: ""A national unity government should have occurred in the earliest days of the occupation. . . . It should have been achieved by those who were opposed to the occupation and those who supported the occupation. . . "

Marcia notes Dahr Jamail's "Reason for Their Death Is Known" (Truthout via Iraq Dispatches):

Death in Iraq. It is relentless and incessant.
Know what it is like when scores of your fellow citizens are being killed every single day while the world proceeds unheedingly on? As a journalist I've had but a taste of that poison during my eight months in Iraq. Try it out: be an Iraqi for a day, into your fourth year of being occupied, humiliated, tortured and killed, doing all you can just to survive.
All communication with my Iraqi friends is punctuated by and smattered with their use of the words "praying," "God," and "Insha'allah" (God willing). Perhaps there is need to invoke something else altogether?
And all the dead air is alive. With the smell of America's God.- Harold Pinter, "War With Iraq"
On one of the days when multiple car bombs drained the blood and souls of scores in Baghdad, my closest friend wrote from there: "Dahr, This is a very sad letter I'm writing you as a friend. My tears are coming down due to the humiliation, suffering, frustration, thwarting defeat and discomfiture we the Iraqi are living in. Please let people know some of the news of what is happening to my country, my people and my religion."
Death lurks everywhere in Iraq today. Keeping up with the numbers of dead is impossible. A doctor working at one of the larger hospitals in Baghdad recently called it a "camp" because the courtyard of the hospital is constantly filled with members of the Shia Badr militia, who continue to carry out their death squad activities of killing Sunnis and rival Shia. "The Badr are all over the hospital, looking for people," said the doctor. "The injured brought here sometimes die before even reaching the ward, because the Badr are being obstacles for us. One of the men running our morgue was killed by the Badr. My friends are warning me to be careful, to keep my mouth shut."
The numbers are being hidden ... and the Badr, operating out of the Ministry of Interior, which is funded by the US, are making sure the numbers remain shrouded.
Yet on Tuesday of this week, a spokesman at that same hospital, speaking on condition of anonymity of course, announced that in the last 48 hours alone Yarmouk Hospital had received 65 bodies, most of them slaughtered by death squads in execution-style murders. That day they had received 40 bodies, and Monday, 25.

And the war drags on. (Reminder, indymedia roundup tonight.) How do we stop it? Mass protest, mass mobilization. On last Saturday's protest, Kevin notes Kim Gandy's "It Isn't Enough to Talk About Peace" ("Below the Belt," NOW):

At the March for Peace, Justice and Democracy in New York on Saturday, I saw parents pushing strollers and babies wearing anti-war slogans. I marched beside veterans protesting a war they had courageously fought--and were even more courageously dissenting against. I saw grandmothers--the well-known "Raging Grannies"--wearing pictures of grandchildren around their necks while they sang and chanted, demanding a better world for their little ones.
I saw hundreds of thousands of you, fed up with this war and no longer willing to stand by and watch it on television. You stretched for miles down Broadway, as far as the eye could see.
It was a beautiful sight.
The outrage was palpable, as we called for an end to this war of greed and revenge. Women joined civil rights and religious leaders, labor and environmental groups, veterans, and people who had traveled from far and near to demand an end to the fighting, because we have seen the costs. We, as soldiers, mothers, grandmothers, peacekeepers, know what is sacrificed during war.

Remember that Gandy's "Below the Belt" is a bi-weekly column. She's also discussing Monday's rallies. And remember to listen, watch or read (transcripts) of today's Democracy Now!

The e-mail address for this site is