Thursday, February 23, 2012

At least 62 dead, hundreds injured

The greatest gift to reporters covering Iraq is al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Without it as the constant catch all, so many might be forced to do actual reporting. Instead they can make assertions and claims freely, in a manner that would result in liable or slander if they used it in another setting.

Iraq has yet again been hit with a series of spectacular attacks. Instead of addressing the attacks, the reporters hide behind garbage like "a hallmark of Al Qaeda in Iraq" (AP) and "Sunni insurgents affiliated to al Qaeda" (Reuters). One bombing attack after another. [Credit to to participate in this game. And, please note, the Ministry of Interior has proclaimed it was al Qaeda in Iraq on their website though AFP's the only outlet noting that in their coverage -- the only outlet mentioning al Qaeda in Mesopotamia that bothers to note they're repeating a charge of a ministry.] And the press continues to blame al Qaeda in Iraq. There was no al Qaeda in Iraq in 2003 prior to US invasion. The US invasion is said to have created/birthed it internally and also brought 'fighters' from surrounding countries into Iraq. The US government had a lot riding on the catch all. As long as the violence was blamed on al Qaeda in Mesopotamia -- which TV personalities usually shortened to "al Qaeda" so as not to overtax their delicate systems -- there was no push to explore US actions. "Oh, it's al Qaeda. Yeah, they attacked NYC and the Pentagon!" So no reason to consider what these attacks were really saying. Or what they meant.

Syria supposedly is draining would be 'fighters,' pulling them to their region. So if that press claim is true (always questionable), who's responsible for the attacks in Iraq? Could it be Iraqis?

Considering that very strong possibility would require acknowledging that for significant numbers of Iraqis (both those doing the attacks and those aiding or looking the other way in solidarity), the US-imposed government is illegitimate. Weighing that option would require acknowledging that years may have (I would say they were) wasted by keeping the US military on the ground to prop up a puppet government of exiles. And for those who find that controversial, these were concepts and ideas that then-Senator Joe Biden used to regularly float. Apparently what a US senator can consider in passing in public is far greater than what the mighty press is capable of.

I'm not saying al Qaeda in Iraq is responsible, was responsible, isn't responsible, wasn't responsible. I'm saying these cookie cutter 'reports' write themselves and fail to illuminate a damn thing but do a great deal to prevent any questions from being raised.

Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) quote Ministry of Education worker Ahmed al-Tamimi who states, "What is happening today are not simple security violations -- it is a huge security failure and disaster. We want to know: What were the thousands of policemen and soldiers in Baghdad doing today while the terrorists were roaming the city and spreading violence?" That's a question that deserves an answer. Most likely that's the exact sort of question that "al Qaeda in Iraq!" rolls right over.

The wave of bombings this morning are in ten locations across Iraq. Salam Faraj and Mohamad Ali Harissi (AFP) count 16 car bombings and 8 roadside bombings and note Baghdad, Babil, Diyala, Slaheddin, Kirkuk and Nineveh were all hit. Rick Dewsbury (Daily Mail) notes, "The coordinated bombings and shootings unfolded over four hours in the capital Baghdad -- where most deaths were -- and 11 other cities. They struck government offices, restaurants and one in the town of Musayyib hit close to a primary school." Adrian Blomfield (Telegraph of London) observes of Baghdad, "Witnesses spoke of seeing wrecked cars and blood stains on the floors and chains of an ice cream shop. One attack claimed six lives in Kadhimiya district, where bombs exploded along a restaurant lined street filled with people having breakfast and morning coffees." 50 dead and "hundreds injured" throughout the country.

Asaad Alazawi and Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) count 52 dead and add, "The majority of attacks, which were carried out with car bombs and small arms, appeared to target security forces in the capital and other cities, authorities said." The death toll will most likely rise throughout the day (due to the large number wounded). Kareem Raheem (Reuters) notes the death toll and insists that today's attacks follow "weeks of relative calm as Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Sunni leaders have sought to resolve a political crisis" -- implying Raheem slept all through Sunday (when an attack left at least 20 people dead) and that his idea of "relative calm" is different from others. Not to mention the push to not address the political crisis (Nouri and some factions are insisting the focus be on the Arab Summit scheduled for next month and that anything that might be addressed regarding the political crisis take place after the summit).

The following community sites -- plus Adam Kokesh, and On The Edge -- updated last night and this morning:

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