Friday, June 26, 2009

Iraqis and US troops at risk

Hurt Locker

"The Hurt Locker" has the killer impact of the explosive devices that are the heart of its plot: It simply blows you apart and doesn't bother putting you back together again. Overwhelmingly tense, overflowing with crackling verisimilitude, it's both the film about the war in Iraq that we've been waiting for and the kind of unqualified triumph that's been long expected from director Kathryn Bigelow.

That's the opening to Kenneth Turan's rave review of The Hurt Locker which opens in Los Angeles and New York today and opens July 10th in San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Austin, Oahu, Portland, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Minneapolis, Denver, Toronto and DC. Turan's review is entitled "The Hurt Locker" (Los Angeles Times) and, again, it's a rave. If you're able to catch the film today, make a point to, it's amazing. (Disclosure, as noted before I know Kathryn. And that's reason enough to open with a plug for her film.)

In the New York Times this morning, Steven Lee Myers and Marc Santora's "Premier Casting U.S. Withdrawal as Victory for Iraq" runs on the front page and continues inside the paper and continues the paper's long history of informing you of less than you actually need to know. The only thing worth noting from the article is Ali al-Adeeb's comment, "They will be invisible for the people. They will turn into genies." (he's "a senior leader in Mr. Maliki's Dawa Party").

If they were genies, they could blink themselves back to the US and that's something that should happen and will most likely only become more clear as time passes. The military has certain roles. Baby sitting isn't one of them. And some roles the military shouldn't play can force them into being targets. Ernesto Londono grasps what the Times can't. From his "U.S. Troops, Civilians to Become Less Protected on July 1" (Washington Post):

Thousands of U.S. combat troops will remain at a handful of bases in Baghdad and on the outskirts of other restive cities, such as Mosul and Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, past the June 30 deadline. But U.S. troops say their ability to respond quickly to thwart attacks could erode significantly because Iraqi officials will have unprecedented authority over their mobility and missions in urban areas.
"We won't be providing the same level of security for ourselves and Iraqis," said 2nd Lt. Jason Henke, a military police platoon leader who will remain at one of the few inner-city bases in Baghdad. "With only a small window of time that we are allowed to operate in, it's going to be easier to target U.S. forces when we are outside the wire."

The entire article is a must-read and will only become more so after July 1st. Make time to read it.

The New York Times has three articles on Iraq this morning. The strongest of the three is Alissa J. Rubin and Campbell Robertson's "7 Bombs Strike in Iraq as Violence Spreads" and that's really not fair to them because it's not just the strongest, it's actually worth reading, without any contextual comparisons such as 'compared to the other two.' They cover the increase in violence including yesterday's and also provide this update: "Meanwhile, the death toll from a bombing at a crowded market in the Sadr City section of Baghdad on Wednesday night continued to rise. Hospital officials said Thursday that 76 people had been killed and 158 wounded."

We'll address the third Times article in the next entry. But staying on something worth reading, Jack Dolan and Sahar Issa's "Iraqi's sweet sorrow: Bomb sniffers detect his perfume" (McClatchy Newspapers) documents what it's like to be a perfume distributor in Iraq when perfumes (and colognes) set off the wands Iraqi security uses to detect explosives.

The following community sites updated last night:

The e-mail address for this site is

the new york times
alissa j. rubin

the washington post

mcclatchy newspapers
mike tharp
sahar issa

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends