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Success in Iraq? Not for Iraqi Women

Reporters and too many politicians continue claiming that happy days are here again in Iraq. Golly, that surge has been soooo successful – and things are going just swell. In fact, US soldiers have even been told to treat approaching Iraqi civilians as … civilians!

“Effective immediately, assume all civilian vehicles are friendly,” it read.

The order admonished soldiers throughout Iraq to yield to civilian drivers, allow vehicles to pass, and avoid firing their weapons as they escorted convoys of concrete barriers, generators, water and food to U.S. military outposts.

And talk is growing of not only withdrawing the “surge” troops in 2008, but perhaps more:

Gen. George Casey, the Army’s chief of staff and the former senior commander in Iraq, has been particularly frank about the state of the Army.

"We’re deploying at unsustainable rates," General Casey said three weeks ago during remarks to an audience at the Brookings Institution in Washington. The Army agreed to a buildup of troops a year ago with the understanding that it was temporary, he said. "We can’t sustain that. We have to come off of that, and we’re working that very hard."

In the rush to distract voters from the real issues of the Iraq occupation, I suspect we will hear more tales of success and improvement in Iraq.

Yet for Iraqis, conditions continue to spiral down.

The video above is an excerpt from a new BBC report on current conditions in the Basra region. Watch the full documentary here and it is very important viewing. Last night, CBS reported on a group of Iraqi women who have been jailed – often “because their husbands are accused of terrorism.”

Most of the women are being held on vague terrorism charges, with little or no evidence and no hope of legal advice — or even a court date.

"They accused my husband," one woman said. "Then arrested me too but I’ve done nothing!"

Another prisoner said through tears, "I was detained in the Green Zone by the Americans two years ago. I have no idea what’s happened to my family."

And yet, as we approach the Iowa Caucuses, only Gov. Richardson apparently was still willing to remind voters that the disaster in Iraq continues:

As other presidential contenders roll out their holiday-themed TV ads, Democrat Bill Richardson unveiled a new spot that goes after his rivals on their plans to get U.S. troops out of Iraq.

Let’s make sure all of our candidates know that we are not distracted by the bright shiny surge success chatter – and that our favorite holiday gift would be an end to the occupation now.

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com