Just Another Day In Not-Even-Close To Paradise
(Photo via Reuters/Kareem Hakeem.)
The U.S. command announced the deaths of two more soldiers, one killed Monday on patrol in Baghdad and the other near Tikrit on Sunday when a roadside bomb blew up next to his vehicle.
The military also said Iraqi and U.S. troops killed at least nine fighters in clashes with the Mahdi Army — Iraq's most powerful Shiite militia — in the southern city of Diwaniya on Monday, the second straight day of battles there….
Authorities also discovered the mutilated bodes of 60 men in the 24-hour period ending Tuesday morning, police 1st Lt. Mohamed Khayon said. The bullet-riddled bodies found dumped in several Baghdad neighborhoods all had their hands and feet bound and showed signs of torture — hallmarks of death-squad killings. The victims ranged in age from 20 to 50, he said.
Baghdad has been plagued by escalating sectarian violence that has seen thousands killed this year, and the Shiite-controlled Interior Ministry and its police forces have been accused of complicity in allowing militias to roam freely. (emphasis mine)
Oh yeah, see the progress, Condi. (Oh wait, you can't see any of this from the center of a security cadre escorting you around the relatively sterile confines of the green zone, now can you?) Heckuva job to the whole Bush Administration.
Atrios linked this up earlier, but it is worth repeating simply for the starkness of the day-today existence that people in Iraq face:
Some readers and viewers think we journalists are exaggerating about the situation in Iraq. I can almost understand that because who would want to believe that things are this bad? Particularly when so many people here started out with such good intentions.
I'm more puzzled by comments that the violence isn't any worse than any American city. Really? In which American city do 60 bullet-riddled bodies turn up on a given day? In which city do the headless bodies of ordinary citizens turn up every single day? In which city would it not be news if neighborhood school children were blown up? In which neighborhood would you look the other way if gunmen came into restaurants and shot dead the customers?
Almost unimaginable: Day-to-day life here for Iraqis is so far removed from the comfortable existence we live in the United States that it is almost literally unimaginable.
It's almost impossible to describe what it feels like being stalled in traffic, your heart pounding, wondering if the vehicle in front of you is one of the three or four car bombs that will go off that day. Or seeing your husband show up at the door covered in blood after he was kidnapped and beaten.
I don't know a single family here that hasn't had a relative, neighbor or friend die violently. In places where there's been all-out fighting going on, I've interviewed parents who buried their dead child in the yard because it was too dangerous to go to the morgue.
Imagine the worst day you've ever had in your life, add a regular dose of terror and you'll begin to get an idea of what it's like every day for a lot of people here.
For more on the messy failure that is the Bush Administration's occupation of Iraq, see Swopa at Needlenose, Juan Cole, and Laura Rozen, among many, many others. And try not to despair — Condi says there are signs of improvement. And we all know how accurate her assessments are.
Is it time for some accountability yet?
(Oh, and speaking of Swopa, he has a poetry contest running. Please contribute!)