But the security plan, in place since the summer, hasn't produced evidence of significant improvements. Securing Baghdad is the linchpin of sustaining the Iraqi government and allowing American forces to leave, many experts say.
The plan also has exposed some of the weaknesses of handing over operations to Iraqi security forces. So far they haven't appeared prepared to tackle the burgeoning sectarian violence.
On Wednesday, at least another 29 Iraqis' bodies were found throughout the capital, including three in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Dora and two in Shaab, in eastern Baghdad, two of the areas that U.S forces targeted in the security sweeps.
The above is from Nancy A. Youssef's "11 more U.S. troops reported killed in Iraq" (San Jose Mercury News) and the title refers to one more death announced by the military in addition to the ten we've already noted today. Note the analysis in the article, the 'crackdown' has not produced results. It can't. The situation was already tense with a sub-section of Baghdad having everything and the majority of the capital having little. The tensions were there and waiting to be exposed. How do you fight an illegal war? That's really the question.
Possibly if you fight it quickly, you can get away with it? But if you stay long enough to have your lies exposed, not by the press, by the realities in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. For all the lofty/phoney words, the reality couldn't be escaped. 'Perception managament' by Karen Hughes or anyone else can't cover up realities.
US forces never controlled the country and more Balad's won't be surprising if the US continues to stay. On Balad, we'll note Aparism Ghosh's "Baghdad Bulletin: Balad Goes Bad" (Time magazine):
One of my Iraqi colleagues moved his family to Balad barely a week ago, because that town -- an hour's drive north of here -- had seemed a safe haven compared to their neighborhood in Baghdad. He figured that in Balad, his kids would be able to go to school without fear of bombs going off in the street, or kidnapping gangs lurking at every corner. They are a Shi'ite family, and would be among the majority in Balad. It didn't seem to matter that the town is ringed by Sunni districts. Just seven days ago, Balad had seemed so much safer than Baghdad.
Then the killings began. A couple of Sunnis were killed in a neighboring town. In retaliation, Sunnis killed about a dozen Shi'ite laborers. The Shi'ites then called in their militias from Baghdad, and set off an orgy of violence. At least 100 have been killed, and you can be sure there will be more attacks and counterattacks in the days and weeks ahead. The peace of Balad has forever been shattered.
Please note, Ghosh deals with reality in the article. There's no, "Uh, well there's an official statement now so I better forget what is known and what is reported and pretend like none of that happened." It's a real shame Time shows more bravery than the New York Times.
More reality can be found in Demetri Sevastopulo's "Death toll mounts for US forces in Iraq" (Financial Times of London):
Aside from deaths, the US has suffered more than 21,077 casualties in Iraq, with more than 9,500 of those troops injured so badly that they did not return to action.
President George W. Bush has repeatedly argued that Iraq is making political progress and that the US will stay the course.
But his administration is becoming increasingly frustrated at the apparent inability of the Iraqi government to stem the rise in bloodshed, particularly in Baghdad where up to 10,000 US troops are working with 44,000 Iraqi forces. Senior Republicans have recently been more vocal in questioning the administration's strategy.
General John Abizaid, the top US commander in the Middle East, in July told Congress that reducing violence in Baghdad was key to avoiding civil war. But since his testimony, the number of military deaths in Iraq has greatly accelerated.
Sevastopulo also notes that Bully Boy made his first comparison between Iraq and Vietnam when being interviewed by ABC: ". . . he said Thomas Friedman, a New York Times writer, 'could be right' in saying the violence in Iraq was the 'jihadist equivalent of the Tet offensive'."
In news of those accused of killing and raping "Abeer" (and killing her father, mother and five-year-old sister), Kristin Roberts (Reuters) reports:
According to U.S. military prosecutors, former private Steven Green, who faces charges in a U.S. civilian court, shot dead 14-year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi's father, mother and six-year-old sister in Mahmudiya, near Baghdad, in March.
Green then raped the teenager and killed her, and tried to burn the bodies and house to conceal evidence of the crime.
At least two other soldiers raped or tried to rape the girl before she was murdered, prosecutors say.
Pfc. Jesse Spielman and Sgt. Paul Cortez face the possibility of death if found guilty. Sheldon's client, Spc. James Barker, and Pfc. Bryan Howard do not.
"Barker has agreed to cooperate in the prosecution that the military and the United States have brought against the soldiers and Mr. Green. He is deeply remorseful for what happened and will take responsibility for his actions," Sheldon said.
The court-martial will be held at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the military said. No date has been set, but Sheldon said it should occur in late November or early December.
This is a link-fest and up mainly because Dona just reminded me of the problems with Blogger/Blogspot this morning. In case there are similar problems tomorrow morning, this is up. The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
nancy a. youssef
the third estate sunday review