Friday, February 16, 2007

It all looks so peaceful (Borzou Daragahi, Damien Cave)

Streams of unmarked white SUVs filled with masked security officers pointing assault rifles at motorists passed by. Blue-and-white police pickups with makeshift plates of armor slapped to the sides kicked up dust and exhaust as they sped past motorists.
The heavy police and army presence, as well as the advance publicity, may have scared off many of the gunmen. Few shops were open, and traffic was scant along the once-glittery 14th Ramadan Street in the Mansour district of west Baghdad, the site of frequent battles over checkpoints between insurgents and security forces.

The above is from Borzou Daragahi's "Baghdad crackdown underway" (Los Angeles Times) which we'll pair with this from Damien Cave's "Dispute Over Iraqi Cleric, Said to Have Gone to Iran" (New York Times):

For the second day of their sweep, American troops found almost no resistance, instead mostly encountering compliant residents and children begging for attention. In the afternoon, some troops decided to cruise through nearby Sadr City. From the hatch of a 19-ton Stryker armored vehicle, the district appeared far less friendly than the three nearby neighborhoods had. There were lots of antagonistic hand gestures, hard stares and grimaces from young men.

And we'll note that no one's gone, they're just melting in, only to resurface. "Pirate Jenny" come to life, if anyone wants to pay attention. A repeat of the same thing that happened in 2003. And, in fact, right on time with the schedule the US military has already charted where attacks intensify and then appear to stop of slow down. Soon, we'll all be expected to play shocked. At some point, someone may want to ask Willie Caldwell about that. But apparently, we're still not there press wise. And the ebb and flow is always supposed to come as a surprise.

Along with the long maintained claim that the US military wasn't keeping a count of Iraqi deaths, the fact that the patterns of violence weren't long ago charted is something we're all supposed to ignore.

Repeating, today on KPFA, The Morning Show will feature Matthew Rothschild and Kris Welch's Living Room will feature Ralph Nader. Zach passed both of those on.

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