Progressive Programmer

Progressive Politics or idle geek banter. What's on my mind when I'm irked, intrigued, bored or up too late.

Location: Michigan, United States


Will any Iraqis be left to vote?

Holy shit. I swear a lot. Too often, really. But believe me when I tell you that the article I just finished reading deserves more.

Baghdad. Ancient capital city of Iraq. Home of the fortified Green Zone from which Americans rarely venture. Baghdad is being abandoned. Can you imagine?

Ali phoned me on Tuesday night, about 10.30pm. There were cars full of gunmen prowling his mixed neighbourhood, he said. He and his neighbours were frantically exchanging information, trying to identify the gunmen.

Were they the Mahdi Army, the Shia militia blamed for drilling holes in their victims’ eyes and limbs before executing them by the dozen? Or were they Sunni insurgents hunting down Shias to avenge last Sunday’s massacre, when Shia gunmen rampaged through an area called Jihad, pulling people from their cars and homes and shooting them in the streets?
Our troops can only do so much. The Iraqis do need to get on board with saving their country from ruin. But it appears the sectarian divides are so wide that they would prefer to kill each other than unite.

Can't they call the Americans?
In fact the US military generally responds only to request for support from Iraqi security forces. But as many of those forces are at best turning a blind eye to the Shia death squads, and at worst colluding with them, calling the Americans is literally the last thing they do.

And what of the new Iraqi government?
In just 24 hours before noon yesterday, as parliament convened for another emergency session, 87 bodies were brought to Baghdad city morgue, 63 of them unidentified. Since Sunday’s massacre in Jihad, more than 160 people have been killed, making a total of at least 1,600 since Iraq’s Government of national unity came to power six weeks ago. Another 2,500 have been wounded.

What are the innocent people to do?
A local journalist told me bitterly this week that Iraqis find it ironic that Saddam Hussein is on trial for killing 148 people 24 years ago, while militias loyal to political parties now in government kill that many people every few days. But it is not an irony that anyone here has time to laugh about. They are too busy packing their bags and wondering how they can get out alive.

Planes, trains and automobiles
Despite the huge risks of driving through the Sunni Triangle, the number of buses to Jordan has mushroomed from 2 a day to as many as 40 or 50.

God bless and protect our troops that are there. Even if you wanted this war (I was convinced by the hype but later conquered my fear and tried to sell the symbolism). Even if you love Bush and his "doctrine". Even if you think we can and should force democracy on other countries. You still have to wonder... If only Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld had fucking listened.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


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