Iraqi military commanders signaled Monday that they would soon remove some roadblocks and other restrictions that had been imposed over the past nine months as part of the effort to reduce violence here in the capital.
The above worthless tidbit constitutes an opening paragraph in this morning's New York Times. The byline is Stephen Farrell's and the title the paper prints is "Some Restrictions to Be Lifted in Baghdad" but it should come with a bad Tears For Fears parody band singing "Sewing the seeds of the war, the seeds of war, the seeds of war . . ."
The past nine months? What is that lie, a p.r. attempt to sell the birth of 'democracy'?
Baghdad went under 'crackdown' for one reason and one reason only: the Green Zone was stormed and almost breached. That wasn't nine months ago. That was June 2006.
Granted, All Things Media Big and Small was bored to death with Iraq as a topic and would drop it shortly after the initial 'crackdown' began but that doesn't give anyone the right to lie about when or why the 'crackdown' started when writing about it today. It was beefed up and jazzed up and juiced up repeatedly. But it started in June 2006, after a Friday assault on the Green Zone. That's reality and it wasn't nine months ago.
Leila Fadel walks you through some of the realities of the 'crackdown' in "Green Zone Blues" (Baghdad Observer, McClatchy Newspapers):
I left the office at 9:30 a.m. and returned a little before 7 p.m. You'd think I'd have accomplished a full day of work. But this was for just two appointments. Here's a rundown:
Forty minutes of traffic to the Green Zone is followed by four pedestrian checkpoints. Two are body searches, two are just badge checks. At one checkpoint pedestrians are asked to walk through a spaceship looking X-ray machine. The elderly Iraqi woman in front of me starts to cry when she is asked to spread her legs and arms and step inside the machine.
"I'm scared," she says between sobs.
When I'm done there a dog sniffs my camera, cell phone and recorder for explosive substances.
Finally at 10:45 I'm inside so I can get bussed from one part of the Green Zone to another for a lunch with General Rick Lynch. He tells us attacks and deaths are dramatically down in his area of operation and two hours later we're done. Once again we're loaded onto a bus and taken back to the Combined Press Information Center.
From there I walk over to the gate that leads to two office buildings. I go into the women's search area where a woman gropes for anything illegal under my clothes and searches through my bag. I forgot to empty my large tote. It's full of notebooks and pens, makeup, a glasses case among other useless items. It takes forever. I turn in my phone, they're not allowed inside the office buildings, and get a visitor's badge. Now I'm on the grounds and I head to the entrance of the building. Once again I have to be searched, my bag is rifled through and I hold up my arms so another woman can check if I have any illicit items under my clothes. This time they take my camera and recorder.
Fadel just returned back to Iraq -- one of the few 'returns' which can actually be documented and verified.
In today's Hilda's Mix is a comic by Isaiah on the political race for president that would have run here if it had been possible to log into Flickr and upload it Sunday. Instead, Isaiah's done a new comic based on a news topic yesterday and it was loaded up to Flickr last night and will go up here after the next entry.
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
the new york times