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3,500 American Men And Women Killed In Iraq
And for what? In what way have our fortunes as a country and/or our safety been improved by this war? Kim Gamel writes for the AP about the dead, about how radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr is using the Iraq attack to foment "cultural resistance" against the U.S. (let's all translate that together, shall we?), and about the American commander in Iraq who stresses that it's "too early" to see results because the buildup of 30,000 more U.S. troops won't be complete for nearly two more weeks:

"We do have some aggressive plans to ... go after al-Qaida and some of the sanctuaries they've been able to build and dispatch car bombs from for some time. That won't be without a fight, but it is something that we must do in the areas around Baghdad to provide better security for the people in Baghdad," he said.

The day's deadliest attack was a simultaneous suicide bombing of a bus and a truck in the town of Rabia, near the Syrian border.

The truck exploded at a police station, killing at least five policemen and five civilians and wounding 22 other people, including 14 policemen, according to army Capt. Mohammed Ahmed.

A guard shot the driver as he approached the building, but the truck still penetrated its blast walls and exploded, destroying the one-story structure, said Ahmed, an officer with the army's Third Division, which oversees the area.

Another bomber driving a minibus struck a building about 500 yards away at the same time, according to police officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution. They said five Britons working in the building were wounded. British officials could not immediately be reached to confirm that report.

In Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, three policemen were killed and four others wounded when a suicide driver blew up his automobile at their checkpoint, police said.

The post was just 50 yards from the traffic police headquarters, said a police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity since he wasn't authorized to talk to the media.

In Baghdad, a bomb beneath a parked car exploded at lunchtime outside a falafel restaurant, killing at least seven people and wounding 14, police reported. The teeming slum, which is a Mahdi Army stronghold, has repeatedly been targeted by Sunni extremists seeking to terrorize the Shiite majority and inflame hostilities between the Muslim sects.

Friday morning, two parked cars exploded simultaneously at a bus terminal in the southern Iraqi town of Qurna, killing at least 15 and wounding 20 others, police reported. The casualty toll was expected to rise, said a Qurna police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to deal with the media.

Iraqi journalist Sahar al-Haidari, 45, was shot to death while she was waiting for a taxi Thursday in a predominantly Sunni area in the northern city of Mosul. Al-Haidari covered political and cultural news for the independent Voices of Iraq news agency and was the second employee of the organization to be killed in little more than a week.

Please. Is sending more of our men and women off to be cannon fodder really the answer here? Will it ever be the answer? Was it ever the answer? Too bad we have a president who spent much of his years leading up to The White House too drunk or high to give much thought to the war he dodged in Vietnam.

Posted by aalkon at June 8, 2007 10:46 AM

Comments

This seems important, yet America is largely fixated on Paris getting out of jail after a few days.... the whole situation has become status quo, and I think most Americans now accept the situation won't change until the resident in the White House is changed.

Posted by: eric at June 8, 2007 7:43 AM

PS- if then.

Posted by: eric at June 8, 2007 8:07 AM

Bring 'em home NOW! What is there to discuss?

If we need to intervene in Iraq, bomb them back to the Stone Age. Shouldn’t take much ‘cause they’re almost there today.

Posted by: Roger at June 8, 2007 10:34 AM

'go after al-Qaida and some of the sanctuaries they've been able to build and dispatch car bombs from for some time'

So they know where they are hiding and manufacturing bombs, why havnt they raided the place and killed them yet?

And why hasn't the white house denounce this guy for giving away national security secrets by admiting that we know where the terrorist cells are hiding? Or the reporter, or the news service - like they did with the new york times and its report on the finacial trasfer spying program, even though the directives for the program were a part of the patriot act that anyone could read


But again - if they know where the terrorists are why havent they kiled them yet?????

Posted by: lujlp at June 8, 2007 11:56 AM

> Is sending more of our men and women off to be cannon fodder really the answer here? Will it ever be the answer? Was it ever the answer?

It's the essence of insanity: doing the same thing, over and over, and expecting a different result.

Posted by: Doobie at June 8, 2007 4:11 PM

> And for what?

Have we never covered this in these comments? I believe we have, more times than we can count. Our invasion brought an end to Iraqs-

- Abject rule by Saddam
- Mundane political intrigues
and killing
- State-sponsored torture
- Mass graves
- Threat of war with Iran
- Threats to millions of Kurds
- Psychotic, raping, murderous sons
- Threats to other neighbors,
such as Kuwait
- Burning of the oil fields
- Draining of the marshes
- Massacres such as the '91 death of
100,000 shiites by helicopter
- State harbor and sponsorship
of terrorists

Did I mention the marshes? Yes? OK.

It's fun for assholes to pretend this war was a mistake, but war is like marriage, and I'm not kidding: It's not pleasant, and you don't always get what you wanted. I'm tired of white-wine snark artists who stroke their own balls and pretend our troops died for nothing. I think the human project has been kicked forward in a pivotal and essential way.

Can we talk about Paris Hilton now? I think she's getting a raw deal.

Posted by: Crid at June 8, 2007 8:55 PM

I was at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis earlier today, where I saw a computerized animation/artificial intelligence-driven piece called the "Dolphin Oracle." There was a great big projection of a dolphin floating around in space, and a keyboard where you can type in any question you want it to answer for you. This kid was sitting there, not knowing what to ask, so I suggested "when will the war end?" So he typed it in, and a minute or so later, the dolphin said, "in your lifetime." Big groans from the art crowd. Next question: "can you be more specific?" Dolphin: "how specific are you talking about?" Art groupie: "exactly."

And then the dolphin said something so philosophical, I can't even remember it. Anyway. Good art in that place. I went for a nice stroll through the sculpture garden with German mathematician named Otto.

Posted by: Lena at June 8, 2007 10:53 PM

Is the Walker the Gehry?

Posted by: Crid at June 9, 2007 12:37 AM

- Abject rule by Saddam
more people have died under US occupation then Saddams rule
- Mundane political intrigues and killing
still going on, just not as much killing
- State-sponsored torture
US sponsored torture
- Mass graves
red herring, sounds dire - easier to bury multiple bodies, we would have mas graves there now if the bombs werent blowing bodies to bits
- Threat of war with Iran
its still there
- Threats to millions of Kurds
srill there, Saddam wasnt the threat to kurds, it was other relgious sects
- Psychotic, raping, murderous sons
good point
- Threats to other neighbors, such as Kuwait
Why are we the worlds security force?
- Burning of the oil fields
their oil feilds
- Draining of the marshes
why so concered with their enviornment ad ecolgy and not the world at large- like global warming
- Massacres such as the '91 death of 100,000 shiites by helicopter
werent those helicopters US military surplus, and werent those massacred encourged to fight Saddams governmnet by the US with the promise of help and a return of the military to finish off Saddam?
- State harbor and sponsorship of terrorists
Saudi Arabia and the UAE do more on that front than Saddam ever did - but then they are allies, arent they?

Posted by: lujlp at June 9, 2007 1:04 AM

> more people have died
> under US occupation then
> Saddams rule

That's no more true now than when Molly Ivins said it a few years ago, and had to retract it in humiliation the next day. She was bitter and terminally sickly; what's your excuse?

What I hate about you saying that is that it's a fantasy of misery. To believe such a thing, you either have to be peeling potatoes in some Scientology-type compound somewhere or just working really, really hard to be a turtleneck nihilist. Neither condition is admirable.

> US sponsored torture

Our hands aren't perfectly clean and I wish they were, but it's infantilizing to pretend our practices are the same.

> just not as much killing

That's the point, isn't it?

> easier to bury multiple bodies

> if the bombs werent blowing
> bodies to bits

Whose bombs?

> its still there

There will be no more million+ casualty wars between those nations. It's just not gonna happen.

> Saddam wasnt the threat
> to kurds,

I'd pay ten thousand dollars to watch you tell that to someone from Qala Dizeh in person.

> good point

You're goddamn right it is.

> Why are we the worlds
> security force?

Because we have the historical responsibility, resources, horse sense and courage.

> their oil feilds

The whole world has an interest in that oil. When you say "their," do you mean that Saddam took a referendum about whether it would be a good idea to pour the oil inot the gulf and set it on fire?

> not the world at large-
> like global warming

I think GW isn't the terror that a lot people want to pretend it was. The draining of the marshes was an incontrovertably devastating to one of the few such areas in the region, and was done to torture and uproot hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

> werent those helicopters US
> military surplus, and werent
> those massacred encourged
> to fight Saddams governmnet
> by the US with the promise of
> help

Essentially true. Aren't you glad we're finally fulfilling our promises? Or should we cut the Kurds loose for the --what, fourth time in thirty years?

> then they are allies,
> arent they?

They're feeling heat as never before, and it's from their own fires. You got a problem with that?

lujlp, why you gotta be such a dark spirit?

Posted by: Crid at June 9, 2007 5:18 AM

Sorry, are we going to be the world's policeman? George Bush said he was against that sort of thing as one of his election platforms. And good to have you back, Crid. I was actually worried about you this morning, with no comments from you yesterday at all!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at June 9, 2007 5:18 AM

(thanx -working for a living is apita)

Listen, if some godforsaken rat sneaks into your house and starts scratching at Muffins, your little dog, do you mutter something about "not being police" and let it get scratched to death, or are you the one responsible adult? OK, bad example, because that never happens. But you know what I mean. It's a little late to pretend we don't have planetary responsibilities.

When icebergs calve and their fragments threaten international waters, nobody calls Namibia, or Burundi, or Poland or Brazil. They call the United States of America, because they know we have the information and will share it with anyone for free. We track those mothers as a global courtesy. And that goes on in all sorts of realms... Edjumication, communications, medicine, aviation and on and on. You can call it policing if you want, but we got a sandbox to run.

And never, never, forget: We get 15%-20% of our oil from the Middle East. Europe gets 80% from there. Who do you think we're fighting for?

Posted by: Crid at June 9, 2007 6:36 AM

Hey, I'm still steamed at lujlp for this one:

> easier to bury multiple bodies

That's the point! Mass graves are wonderfully efficient.

People get so upset that the logic fails them.

Posted by: Crid at June 9, 2007 6:41 AM

"Is the Walker the Gehry?"

The Weisman is the Gehry. I didn't have time to do both, unfortunately.

Posted by: Lena at June 9, 2007 7:55 AM

Crid, I don’t have a dark sprit. I am, at heart, a pragmatist. When I was a practicing Christian I believed in a world after this one and therefore felt no loyalty to any temporal government, or any set country defined solely by imaginary lines set up by people long dead and that failed to take into account the realities of ecology (example Colorado citizens proprietary attitude towards the water that flows into the Colorado river, even though it is essential to the survival of 5 states)

These days as I see the ideals this country was founded on being tossed aside in the name of security, and as people with political and economic power abuse it while the stuptified masses huddle in manufactured fear, I cant help but feel even more cynical.

Given that we are paying private companies to perform combat support operations, such as cooking and vehicle maintenance, even though the military has spent billions on training their own personel to do so,

Also did you fail to notice the slip in the interveiw? "We do have some aggressive plans to ... go after al-Qaida and some of the sanctuaries they've been able to build and dispatch car bombs from for some time.”
Why aren’t we rooting them out instead of letting them continue to manufacture bombs?

Why was there no plan to prevent looting except at the office of the oil ministry?
Why was security sighted as the reason for delaying the creation of a government?
Why was the military able to completely lock down all violence on election day but no other?
And how were they able to do so when the security situation by that time was worse than when they announced the delay?
How is it possible that with more power being produced now than before the invasion, there is only enough for people to have a few hours a day - yet with even less power Saddam was able to run multiple weapons programs and then managed to hide the complexes where no one has ever found them?
How is it every time issues of real substance comes up the media winds up doing a story of Ramsey’s fake killer or Paris going back to jail or one pretty girl going missing on vacation even thought the same thing happens thousands of times a year?
How is it the that hundreds of thousands of weapons given to the Iraqi government wind up in the hands of the insurgents???

You might see it as dark, but I don’t, I see it as reality - I have no real expectations so I am not surprised when something goes horribly wrong - I am slightly upset - but its more along the line of being upset that my resources are being wasted on something frivols and wont be there when I really need them as opposed to being upset that thousands of people are dying

Sound callous I know - but then how many people who support the war really care for those labeled as our enemies?

Here is an analogy I am sure you can appreciate

Conservatives often say of welfare - If they are not willing to help themselves why should we give them a free ride

I ask the same thing of the Iraqis - If they are not willing to fight for themselves, why should we fight for them?

Posted by: lujlp at June 9, 2007 8:03 PM

> we are paying private
> companies

You're right to worry about that. It's likely to bite us on the ass, soon and hard.

> no plan to prevent looting

If memory serves (and perhaps it doesn't) much of the looting talk was exaggerated. It was said that the museum stuff had in fact been tucked away under the mattresses of "docents" (or whomever) until the air was a little clearer. But I'll take your point and ask, exactly how big did you want us to be going in? Were we supposed send 900,000 troops in to direct traffic at every neighborhood corner? Did anyone make that case as the invasion was underway?

We're shitty at invasion. But I fear we're going to have to get better at it.

> security sighted as the
> reason for delaying the
> creation of a government?

As opposed to what? I'm not sure what your point is. Responsible government isn't a tradition there, so it's not gelling. Tell me again what you mean.

> to completely lock down all
> violence on election day
> but no other?

The election was some time ago, and the sitch is deteriorating. We don't get to choose the chess moves of opponents.

> how were they able to do so

We're Americans; we kick ass.

> with even less power Saddam
> was able to

Saddam never hesitated to throw his opponent's children into wood chippers. Abu Gharib notwithstanding, we're not mean enough to do that.

> every time issues of real
> substance comes up the media
> winds up doing a story of
> Ramsey’s fake killer

Matt Welch used to call this "laser beaming." That's when a blog commenter gets all pissed because the whole world isn't fanatically engaged with whatever issue the commenter thinks is important right now this very second, dammit! You're right; it would be better if more people were thinking about this. But they can't relate.

Look at Elle's comment on the next-earlier blog post, and the absolute certainty with which she offers advice to a much wealthier person who she's never met. People can relate to Paris Hilton. They have no idea what to make of a strongman culture like Iraq, so Paris Hilton gets more attention. We can't cluck at people for thinking about what they want to think about. I think the best way to deal with this is by offering a quiet example. If you don't care about Paris Hilton or the Stanley Cup or country music, just ignore it... It'll pretty much go away.

> hundreds of thousands of
> weapons given to the Iraqi
> government wind up in the
> hands of the insurgents???

Just as with the WMDs that we (in the west) had sold to Saddam; his control of the nation was dwindling, and distant commanders were scraping off assets to hoard as their own.

> I ask the same thing of the
> Iraqis - If they are not
> willing to fight for themselves,
> why should we fight for them?

That's a sincerely great question. I'd argue that because they're sitting on a resource of global importance, we can no longer sit around and wait for them to get their shit together... We needed to do something to kickstart the process. Bush fucked it up, but there's much to admire in his post-9/11 impulse to change our approach to them. Remember, his father's generation (and his father personally) was the author of all the stupidity that gave us these crises.

Posted by: Crid at June 10, 2007 4:25 AM

My point on the elecetions was that they were delayed from their original timeline and security concerns were cited as the reason for that delay.
Yet somehow we were able to lock down all the violence on election day a year later even though by the time it came around the security situation was worse then when the first elections had been cancled.

Posted by: lujlp at June 10, 2007 11:40 AM

My point on the elecetions was that they were delayed from their original timeline and security concerns were cited as the reason for that delay.
Yet somehow we were able to lock down all the violence on election day a year later even though by the time it came around the security situation was worse then when the first elections had been cancled.

Posted by: lujlp at June 10, 2007 11:52 AM

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