Tuesday, July 25, 2006

NYT: War made palitable . . . if you want it

Violence in the capital and the rest of Iraq remained at a relatively low level on Monday, though, compared with recent weeks, and two of the more than 30 hostages abducted from a national Olympic Committee meeting last week were freed.
Also on Monday, American military officials said two soldiers from the First Brigade, First Armored Division, had been killed by enemy fire in separate attacks in Anbar Province, a desert region west of Baghdad that is a Sunni Arab stronghold.

The above is from Paul von Zielbaurer's "With Hussein Still Boycotting Trial, a Relative Denies Guilt and Makes Speeches to the Judge" in this morning's New York Times. 19 dead on Monday reported yesterday plus the two American soldiers noting above comes to 21. 23 corpses discovered yesterday. Low level.

That's just what was reported by the press. Just what was covered. (And that's not even noting the wounded.) And in fact, take what was reported yesterday (plus the two noted by von Zielbauer) and to that add "two civilians" dead on Monday in Saqlawiya (which is only now being reported) and four dead in a gun battle/attack in Baghdad (that didn't make yesterday's snapshot). That's six to add to the 21. So 27 reported dead. Just another 'low level' day apparently. So what's the magic number? Do we need to hit 30, do we need to hit forty?

27 is apparently no big deal. It's "low level."

Already today, there are reports of bombs, kidnappings, gun battles . . . But maybe that's just another 'low level' day as well?

Betty addresses these sort of judgement calls in "Iraq (it's not 'calm') and thoughts on independent media."

"Low level" days and "relative calm" days don't require, noted by Martha, this from Andy Mosher and Naseer Mehdawi's "Shiite Party Leader Outlines 4 Steps for Iraq to Curb Violence" (Washington Post):

[The Associated Press reported that the United States and Iraq are moving thousands of troops into Baghdad. A senior Defense Department official said U.S. troops will move from elsewhere in Iraq and Kuwait. Also, U.S. military police companies involving 500 to 1,000 troops are being shifted to Baghdad, as well as a cavalry squadron and a battalion of field artillery troops. At least two Iraqi military brigades, or about 7,000 troops, will be brought into Baghdad from around the country.]
The current level of violence showed few signs that it would soon decrease. Two soldiers attached to the 1st Brigade of the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division were killed in separate incidents Monday in Anbar province, the military reported.
In Baghdad, seven mortar rounds fell on the Shiite neighborhood of Shula, killing a 6-year-old girl and wounding 12 people, police said. An hour later, in the city center, attackers ambushed six police cars on Haifa Street, detonating a bomb that killed three officers and injured two.

In the northern city of Tikrit, gunmen assassinated a prominent tribal leader known over decades for his connections with Hussein's government and with U.S. occupation authorities. Police said Sheik Mahmoud al-Nida, the head of the albu-Nasser tribe, was killed at about 8 p.m.

"The current level of violence showed few signs that it would soon decrease"? Well the Times calls it "low levels" and, before that, it was "relative calm." So why should we want it to decrease from "relative calm"? (That's sarcasm.) I understand the Times is attempting to provide some perspective. I'm not impressed with their attempt. It strikes me as -- war made palitable, if you want it [some sort of counterpoint song to John & Yoko's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"].

Lastly, someone at Atlantic Review e-mailed to note their latest edition. I haven't checked it out (and the way the day's shaping up, won't have time to). Go "newest entries" (if you visit the site) to check out the latest. Also e-mailing the public account, is Human Rights Tools which covers (obviously) human rights.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.