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Explain This…


(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Hmmmm…this whole "last throes" concept sure is confusing.  But at least there is no civil war in Iraq, right?  As the Iraqis stand up, we’ll stand down…isn’t that still the talking point du jour?

So, why is it that the last 24-hours has seen headlines like this:

Group of Iraqi Soldiers Refuses to Go to Baghdad

Radical Militia and Iraqi Army in Fierce Battle

Iraqi Troops Battle Shiite Militiamen in Southern City

Dozens Killed in Iraq Clashes

In Iraq, Fewer Killed, More Are Wounded

At Least 100 Die as Militia Force Iraqi Troops Out of Town

But what’s a few headlines among friends, eh?  Especially when they end like this (for the moment):

Calm returned to a southern city Tuesday after a deal between Shiite militiamen loyal to a powerful cleric and Iraqi government forces ended a fierce 12-hour street battle that killed 40 people.

In Baghdad, police said they found the bodies of 24 people who had apparently been tortured and shot before being dumped in two locations.

Eleven of the bullet-riddled corpses, their hands and legs bound, were found near a school in the Shiite dominated Maalif neighborhood in southern Baghdad, police said.

The bodies of another 13 people, believed to have been aged between 25 and 35, were found dumped behind a Shiite mosque in the Turath neighborhood in western Baghdad. All were handcuffed, showed signs of torture and had been shot in the head, said police 1st Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq.

Oh sure, no civil war, things are fabulous, and the Green Lantern Theory of Iraq is alive and well.  (h/t to Atrios)

And, by the way, it’s no wonder that the brass at the Pentagon have started grumbling about Rummy around the edges.  I’m not certain that he can see reality through his goofy rose-colored glasses.  Although to be completely fair, maybe he’s a glass half full kinda guy who is just excited that the Baghdad morgue will be receiving less than last month’s 1800 body total, if the numbers stay on the track they are this month.

The troops, many redeployed from hot spots around Iraq, have patrolled the capital, searched houses and made arrests since Aug. 7. Similar sweeps in Baghdad and elsewhere since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 have reduced violence. But the bloodshed would increase when U.S. forces moved on.

Though the U.S. military has not issued a timetable for ending the sweep, officials say that patrolling Baghdad indefinitely would create dependency among Iraq’s nascent security forces and tax U.S. resources and manpower.

The U.S. military, with 138,000 troops, is stretched thin in Iraq; many units are on their third deployments. Last week, the Pentagon announced an involuntary recall of as many as 2,500 Marines reservists. The Army has issued recall orders to 10,000 soldiers.

U.S. military leaders say they hope Iraqi police units, paired with American training teams, will be able to maintain security once the troops leave.

Many Baghdad residents, however, think that Iraq’s notoriously corrupt and sectarian police forces are part of the problem. U.S. and Iraqi officials acknowledge that Shiite Muslim militiamen, many of whom have infiltrated the police, are responsible for most of Baghdad’s slayings, but there is still no plan to disarm paramilitary groups.

U.S. and Iraqi officials describe the Baghdad security plan as a last-ditch effort to stave off civil war and to shore up Maliki’s government, which has struggled to contain sectarian violence and deliver essentials such as electricity and gasoline.  (emphasis mine)

By employing the Rummy Whack-a-Mole technique of troop redeployment, troops from areas like Ramadi and Fallujah have been moved into Baghdad to shore up the numbers there, and then they’ll be moved back into the newly revitalized hot spots of Ramadi and Fallujah, only to see Baghdad’s violence shoot back up again. Um…that doesn’t sound like lasting progress and last throes to me. 

At least Afghanistan is going swimmingly …oops…

17 Die in Suicide Bombing in Afghan Market

Why It’s Not Working in Afghanistan

Well, President Bush can at least count on all that loyal GOP support, right?  Perhaps not.  Heckuva job, Bushie.  Your own party has begun running away from you to save their own political hides — quite a legacy you have there.

Juan Cole, Swopa and Laura Rozen have much more.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com