Outside Baghdad we drove past the huge area where cargo is passed between trucks as Sunni and Shiite Muslim drivers help one another avoid the fierce sectarianism that's killed thousands. At Fallujah we saw the enormous parking lot where residents now must leave their cars before entering the city, a restriction intended to deter car bombs.
At al Sicher near Fallujah, a string of gutted buildings once held shops whose owners were accused of helping al Qaida in Iraq. We passed the home of Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the Anbar tribal leader who'd allied with the United States last year and died when his car was bombed last month. A U.S. tank and four Humvees were parked in front of the house.
After miles in the desert we stopped at a small restaurant in al Rutba where the name Bush was painted in white in three different spots in the parking lot, so customers could step on it. All along the route, the burned bodies of trucks and cars littered the roadside. Not seen were the hundreds of thousands of Sunnis who've fled here from Baghdad to escape Shiite militias.
The above is from Leila Fadel's "Change in Iraqi province obvious in rare drive" (McClatchy Newspapers) in which she's able to drive to the Jordan border after she's "secured my hair in a scarf and sat in the front seat with the driver, posing as an Iraqi family" and the family included "McClatchy Newspapers special correspondent Mohammed al Dulaimy and McClatchy staff driver Hussein Ali."
With news on the realities of the Iraqi 'government,' Martha notes Joshusa Partlow's "Top Iraqis Pull Back From Key U.S. Goal" (Washington Post):
For much of this year, the U.S. military strategy in Iraq has sought to reduce violence so that politicians could bring about national reconciliation, but several top Iraqi leaders say they have lost faith in that broad goal.
Iraqi leaders argue that sectarian animosity is entrenched in the structure of their government. Instead of reconciliation, they now stress alternative and perhaps more attainable goals: streamlining the government bureaucracy, placing experienced technocrats in positions of authority and improving the dismal record of providing basic services.
"I don't think there is something called reconciliation, and there will be no reconciliation as such," said Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, a Kurd. "To me, it is a very inaccurate term. This is a struggle about power."
Today on WBAI's Law and Disorder, among the topics are CCR's lawsuit against Catepillar, Inc. and Shane Kadidal and Jesse Berman address the nomination of Michael Mukasey to Attorney General. That broadcasts at ten a.m. EST and archived at both links. CORRECTION: Program available at website not broadcast over WBAI today which is in fun draising (the hour will be used with Amy Goodman broadcasting a speech by John Pilger)
In Iraq today, Reuters reports a Baghdad car bombing ("near the Techonology University") has claimed 4 lives (ten wounded "including four women and three children"), explosions not far from the Polish embassy in Baghdad, another Baghdad car bombing claimed 1 life (six injured) a Baghdad roadside bombing leaves four injured and a Tikrit truck bombing claims 3 lives (thirteen more inured).
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