Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, said Sunday that Iraq had descended into a civil war that was even deadlier and more anarchic than the 15-year sectarian bloodshed that tore Lebanon apart.
"When we had the strife in Lebanon and other places, we called that a civil war; this is much worse," Mr. Annan said in an interview with the BBC.
Meanwhile, the American military announced on Sunday the deaths of 10 service members, an unusually high toll.
The above is from Edward Wong's "Annan Adds His Voice to a Growing Chorus That Is Calling the Situation in Iraq a 'Civil War'" in this morning's New York Times. On the last sentence, as noted yesterday, ICCC has announced the 2900 mark has been passed -- 2900 US troops have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. ICCC's current count is 2901. The US military announced on Monday: "Two Task Force Lightning Soldiers, assigned to 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, were killed and two others were wounded from an explosion near their vehicle that occurred while they were conducting operations in Multi-National Division -- North, Dec. 3." (This was noted last night -- when it was already Monday in Iraq.)
And Reuters reports:
One Marine was killed and three servicemen were missing after a U.S. helicopter with 16 people on board made an emergency landing in a lake in western Iraq on Sunday, the U.S. military said on Monday.
The US military says of the above incident: "Thirteen passengers were accounted for yesterday. During search and rescueoperations, one Marine was recovered from the water but attempts to resuscitate himwere unsuccessful."
Returning to the topic of civil war, two opinions -- one reality based, the other from the land of spin and sunny. Starting with the latter, the US military releases the following statement by Zalmay Khalilzad and George Casey (the US ambassador and the general):
On behalf of the U.S. Mission and the Multi-National Force in Iraq, we condemn in the strongest language the recent car bombings attacks and retribution killings by extremists against peaceful Iraqis in Baghdad. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families who have lost loved ones in these vicious attacks and to all the Iraqi people who suffer at the merciless hands of these criminals. The true enemies of all Iraqis are the murderers who carry out these senseless and cowardly attacks, regardless of sect, tribe or ethnicity. They are terrified of progress in this country and are determined to sow sectarian discord for their own selfish agenda.
"We implore all Iraqis not to become pawns of those who seek to destroy you and your country. Do not allow yourself to be drawn down the road of senseless brutality by striking back.
"Together we will bring peace to all Iraqis and restore dignity and security to this great nation.
Who's the "we"? Zalmay and Casey? The ones who can't even admit that it's civil war? Probably Zalmay will admit it as soon as he leaves Iraq (rumored to be any day now) and writes his (self-serving) book on the region a la Paul Bremer. Back on planet Earth, Heather notes
Amy Goodman's "U.S. can no longer shroud the Iraq civil war" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer):
The debate now in vogue is whether Iraq is in a civil war. Sectarian violence on a mass scale is acknowledged all around -- gone are the harangues that the media are not covering the "positive stories" or the "good news" -- there simply is no good news in Iraq.
The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has now lasted longer than the U.S. involvement in World War II. Iraqis suffered the most violent day in the entire war while Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving.
The Iraqi Ministry of Health estimated that 150,000 Iraqis have died since the invasion. In an October 2006 article in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health estimated the total number of Iraqi civilians who have died from violent causes since the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom as somewhere near 655,000.
Iraq, like Spain in the 1930s, is definitely in a civil war. A civil war started by the U.S. invasion and fueled by the U.S. occupation. The shroud over the U.N.'s "Guernica" tapestry is gone. Now the only shrouds worth noting are those that wrap the victims of the daily slaughter in Iraq.
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