Saturday, May 30, 2009

US to stay in Mosul and 'trend' stories

In today's New York Times, Campbell Robertson offers "U.S. Soldier And 11 Iraqis Die in Attacks" which covers yesterday's violence including in Mosul where violence claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers, 1 US soldier and others on Friday. Of the June 30th 'deadline,' Robertson notes:

But Mosul is in many ways an exception to that deadline. An enormous American base on the edge of Mosul -- a city that has remained a redoubt for the insurgency even as attacks have decreased substantially around the rest of Iraq -- will remain open.

So the Mosul base will remain open. And Baghdad won't be clear of US service members either. And, for the record, Mosul's overtook Baghadad in violence last summer.

Also in the paper today is Rod Nordland's "Lovelorn Iraqi Men Call on a Wartime Skill" which finds Nordland exploring territory Deborah Haynes has been down before but with less explanation. The text messaging, this is an important point, takes place because due to the violence and due to the 'crackdowns,' texting took off like crazy in Iraq as a way for singles to communicate.

From that background we can now turn to Nordland's article where a texting relationship led to a marriage proposal and the father of the woman said no so the would-be groom blew up the family's home.

Nordland explains unnamed "authorities" have dubbed this "love I.E.D." -- always be skeptical of trend stories period and more so when they aren't tied down to named people -- which may have taken place six times already in Baghdad. Strangely, no one -- including police Capt Nabil Abdul Hussein can point to one time when it's actually happened. But they 'know' -- they just 'know' -- that it is happening.

Nordland writes, "After six years of war, Iraq is a society with a serious anger management problem. That, along with a lot of men with a lot of experience fashioning bombs and setting ambushes, makes for a lethal mix." And that's when most readers may recall another 'trend' story. Female bombers 'raped' into becoming bombers.

If you do recall that mythical trend story, you might also remember how it was alarming and shocking and clutch the pearls time that a woman -- in a war zone -- would utilize violence. But notice that Nordland's not at all trubled that an alleged denial of marriage leads to a family's home being bombed. It's only when women resort to violence that it's a 'sickness' and we need to cluck over it. Nordland takes it as a normal product of the Iraq War that a young man would blow up a family's home.

Or maybe he can manage to cluck over it because he gets that the whole thing is not tied down and, therefore, likely not even happening.

Meanwhile Alsumaria reminds, "After the US administration agreed to publish photos of Iraqi detainees’ torture in US prisons, US President Barack Obama reversed the decision and asked a federal appeals court to block the publication of images showing detainee abuse, citing concern it could incite violence in Iraq and Afghanistan." On the torture photos, Diane Bartz and Philip Barbara (Reuters) report that Antonio Taguba states he did not tell the Telegraph that he had seen the photos that Barack is refusing to release.

Alsumaria notes that Jalal Talabani, the president of Iraq, met the US Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill for the first time yesterday. For the first time. Remember Hill's Senate hearing? Refer to 3/26 and 3/29 snapshots. Chris Hill, as soon as he was confirmed, was getting on the next flight to Iraq and getting down to work! Now the next flight ended up being the next one he wanted to catch, and that ended up three days after he was confirmed. April 21st he was confirmed. May 30th, over thirty days later, he finally meets face-to-face with the president of Iraq.

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