Monday, September 04, 2006

NYT: Iraqi army may not have squeezed out Number Two

On the subject of "Iraqi army boasts they squeezed out Number Two -- but did they remember to wipe?" (The Third Estate Sunday Review), we'll note Richard A. Oppel's "Iraqi Official Reports Capture of Top Insurgent Leader Linked to Shrine Bombing" from this morning's New York Times:

However, a United States military official was more cautious in describing Mr. Saeedi's place in the organization’s pecking order. While he was a "top-tier guy" who supervised those who carried out the Samarra bombing, "I'm not sure we are ready to put a number on him," said the American official, who agreed to speak only without being named because Iraqi officials had been designated to announce the capture. "It's a very decentralized operation."
The news came as the United States military reported the deaths of four servicemen. Two marines were killed in attacks on Friday and Sunday in Anbar Province, the military said, and two soldiers were killed Sunday morning when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle in eastern Baghdad.

[. . .]
Even the Pentagon acknowledged last week that Iraqi casualties have risen by more than 50 percent in recent months and that the Baghdad coroner's office reported that 9 out of every 10 bodies it took in during July -- more than 1,800 in total -- were thought to be victims of executions.
Many of those killings have been attributed to violence between Iraq's Shiite majority and Sunni minority. Summary executions and other sectarian killings have been common for well more than a year, but they intensified after Feb. 22 when insurgents bombed the golden-domed Askariya shrine in Samarra.

On the topic of war, Keesha notes Howard Zinn's "War is Not a Solution for Terrorism" (Boston Globe via Common Dreams):

I remember John Hersey's novel, "The War Lover," in which a macho American pilot, who loves to drop bombs on people and also to boast about his sexual conquests, turns out to be impotent. President Bush, strutting in his flight jacket on an aircraft carrier and announcing victory in Iraq, has turned out to be much like the Hersey character, his words equally boastful, his military machine impotent.
The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations -- the United States in Vietnam, the Soviet Union in Afghanistan -- and were forced to withdraw.
Even the "victories" of great military powers turn out to be elusive. Presumably, after attacking and invading Afghanistan, the president was able to declare that the Taliban were defeated. But more than four years later, Afghanistan is rife with violence, and the Taliban are active in much of the country.
The two most powerful nations after World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union, with all their military might, have not been able to control events in countries that they considered to be in their sphere of influence -- the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe and the United States in Latin America.
Beyond the futility of armed force, and ultimately more important, is the fact that war in our time inevitably results in the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people. To put it more bluntly, war is terrorism. That is why a "war on terrorism" is a contradiction in terms. Wars waged by nations, whether by the United States or Israel, are a hundred times more deadly for innocent people than the attacks by terrorists, vicious as they are.

And that's really it, I've been trying to find a word in Sunday's entries. A visitor and a member both pointed out that s**t was up here in full. It was in the roundtable and it took forever for me to find it (I've been looking since doing the "And the war drags on" entry). I'd caught all my uses of the word in the roundtable but I'd missed one by Rebecca. My apologies that it made it up here to members (and only to members). Thanks to Gail (who stated she wasn't offended) for tipping me off. I use the word (look at the roundtable), I use that word and much more. But the reason we use "*" and "_" here is to make sure members can access it from any computer without fear of reprimands. (The mirror site does not have the same policy, only the main site.) (And obviously, other sites in the community do as the person running them sees fit.) Hopefully it didn't cause for a problem for anyone. (Most who would get in trouble at work for language aren't working today. If someone was working and got in trouble, e-mail me. Again, members only. I'm not responsible for what a visitor landed on and don't really care.)

I'm getting some sleep. Two more entries will go up later today.

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