Saturday, May 07, 2011

The continued violence

Reuters reports a Baquba robbery in which 5 people were killed. Al Rafidayn notes the robbers "stole four billion dinars ($3.4 million) from the Office of Exchange". In addition to the money exchange robbery, Reuters notes 2 police officers injured while attempting to defuse a Baghdad bomb (one other person was also injured), and, dropping back to Friday night for both, a Baghdad roadside bombing which injured five people, a Baghdad shooting which claimed the life of 1 police officer. Aswat al-Iraq reports a member of the Islamic State of Iraq was shot dead in Mosul today, a Mosul bombing injured one person and 2 corpses were discovered in Mosul, and a Baquba bombing left ten police officers wounded.

Still on violence, Tim Arango (New York Times) profiles Samar Hassan:

The image of Samar, then 5 years old, screaming and splattered in blood after American soldiers opened fire on her family’s car in the northern town of Tal Afar in January 2005, illuminated the horror of civilian casualties and has been one of the few images from this conflict to rise to the pantheon of classic war photography. The picture has gained renewed attention as part of a large body of work by Chris Hondros, the Getty Images photographer recently killed on the front lines in Misurata, Libya.

The following community sites -- plus and Military Families Speak Out -- updated last night and today:

And we'll close with this from Justin Raimondo's "Empire or Solvency" (

As this sense of urgency gains traction and spreads, from the libertarian and "paleoconservative" precincts in which it has previously flourished, the GOP establishment will be forced to deal with the rising insurgency in their own ranks. A recent CNN poll shows that of the declared Republican candidates for President, Ron Paul – an anti-interventionist of a sort who often makes me look moderate – unveils the new political reality:

"Who does best against Obama? Paul. The congressman from Texas, who also ran as a libertarian candidate for president in 1988 and who is well liked by many in the tea party movement, trails the president by only seven points (52 to 45 percent) in a hypothetical general election showdown. Huckabee trails by eight points, with Romney down 11 points to Obama."

Paul appeals to both hardcore Tea Party types and independents who viscerally distrust the GOP, and this is in large part due to his emphasis – even when he’s talking about economic matters – on the foreign policy factor, what he calls "the Empire" with a quintessentially American hint of disdain for all things imperial. He has spent the last decade or so telling Americans we’re a bankrupt empire, and now that the reality of this has dawned Paul is getting a Strange New Respect. The neocons and professional Paul-haters (or do I repeat myself?) will no doubt focus on the Strangeness aspect of this, but they are living in the past.

It was easy to ignore Paul’s jeremiads against the Empire in the heyday of the financial bubble, and the concomitant bubble of American supremacy. Now that the bubble has burst – as Paul said it would – Americans are coming face to face with something they’ve so far assiduously evaded: reality. The economic and social reality of a bloated, over-extended colossus, an empire rotting at its metropolitan core and besieged on every far-flung frontier.

The capture and summary execution of bin Laden has ushered in a new awareness when it comes to foreign policy matters, one that will almost certainly doom the very policy the terrorist leader’s executioner insists on maintaining, virtually unchanged. With bin Laden’s death, the rationale for the occupation of Afghanistan, and even the escalating war in Pakistan, has been pulled out from under this administration. Obama’s wars have always been wildly unpopular: now they will exact a political cost that may become unsustainable.

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