The U.S. military dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives southeast of Baghdad on Thursday in a series of airstrikes that underscored the tenuousness of U.S. progress against Islamic extremists in Iraq.
The targets were near the town of Arab Jabour, a Sunni Muslim-dominated district on Baghdad's outskirts that American officials recently held up as a security success and an example of how local Sunni tribesmen known as "concerned local citizens" had turned against al Qaida in Iraq.
But Thursday's air attack indicated that the area still has a considerable Sunni militant presence. The statement said that more than 40 targets in three large areas were hit during two passes by two supersonic B-1 bombers and four F-16 fighter jets. A U.S. military official in the area said the targets were al Qaida in Iraq weapons caches and bomb-making materials.
The blitz dropped 38 bombs in its first 10 minutes, the statement said.
[. . .]
In a November speech, President Bush hailed the progress, talking about a butcher from Arab Jabour reopening his shop.
"Slowly but surely the people of Iraq are reclaiming a normal society. You see, when Iraqis don't have to fear the terrorists, they have a chance to build better lives for themselves," Bush said.
The above is from Jamie Gumbrcht and Nancy A. Youssef's "In Iraq, U.S. airstrikes target insurgents near supposedly safe zone" (McClatchy Newspapers). Oh that 'turned corner' that turned into . . . another corner. The same thing done over and over and hailed as 'progress.' In the New York Times, Solomon Moore is either still looking for his own voice or has decided to be the paper's new Dexy, hence his really bad 'report' that we'll note this from:
Iraqi Army officials said they were certain that the airstrikes had killed many insurgents but added that they were unable to conduct an official body count by nightfall. Dozens of suspected insurgents were detained during the assault, Iraqi Army officials said.
Is that the new "witch" test inverted? "It's a corpse. They must have been 'insurgents'." 40,000 pounds in only ten minutes and no one's really sure who got killed. That's targeting civilian populations with collective punishment and it is illegal.
In other news of War Crimes, Polly notes this from BBC:
The only US army officer to be charged over the Iraq jail abuse scandal has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the US military authorities.
Lt-Col Steven Jordan was in charge of the Abu Ghraib prison's interrogation unit when pictures of US soldiers abusing prisoners were taken in 2003.
He was cleared of mistreatment charges in August, but convicted of disobeying orders not to discuss the inquiry.
That conviction has now been thrown out, angering human rights campaigners.
At Inside Iraq (McClatchy Newspapers), an Iraqi correspondent post "e-mail to a friend:"
The latest in Baghdad is a more suttle, but a more important story to tell. Because all the deliberate chaos and violence was like a curtain, keeping everyone so distressed there're incapable of seeing the real issues - the ones for which the war was faught in the first place.
Now, people may have the energy, I hope - and the heart, to look up and start taking stock of the situation. They should begin to ask questions and demand answers of those whom they elected. Have many lost faith in their religious leaders? Have they had enough of being manipulated by them in the name of their brand of Islam? Have they had enough?
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nancy a. youssef
the new york times