some points of interest online amid the chaos in reality

Christopher Allbritton from his Back to Iraq blog gives his estimate of the current "fubar situation" in Iraq. Also read that Time magazine article that he hyperlinks. Chris says, "Anyone who asks me to tell the “real” story of Iraq — implying all the bad things are just media hype — should refer to this post. I just told you the real story: What was once a hell wrought by Saddam is now one of America’s making." Here's an excerpt:

I don’t know if I can really put into words just how bad it is here some days. Yesterday was horrible — just horrible. While most reports show Fallujah, Ramadi and Samarra as “no-go” areas, practically the entire Western part of the country is controlled by insurgents, with pockets of U.S. power formed by the garrisons outside the towns. Insurgents move freely throughout the country and the violence continues to grow.

I wish I could point to a solution, but I don’t see one. People continue to email me, telling me to report the “truth” of all the good things that are going on in Iraq. I’m not seeing a one. A buddy of mine is stationed here and they’re fixing up a park on a major street. Gen. Chiarelli was very proud of this accomplishment, and he stressed this to me when I interviewed him for the TIME story. But Baghdadis couldn’t care less. They don’t want city beautification projects; they want electricity, clean water and, most of all, an end to the violence.


He's just sleeping, I kept telling myself'
"On Sunday, 13 Iraqis were killed and dozens injured in Baghdad when US helicopters fired on a crowd of unarmed civilians. G2 columnist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who was injured in the attack, describes the scene of carnage - and reveals just how lucky he was to walk away."

We were all rushing towards the same place: a fence, a block of buildings and a prefab concrete cube used as a cigarette stall.
I had just reached the corner of the cube when I heard two explosions, I felt hot air blast my face and something burning on my head. I crawled to the cube and hid behind it. Six of us were squeezed into a space less than two metres wide. Blood started dripping on my camera but all that I could think about was how to keep the lens clean. A man in his 40s next to me was crying. He wasn't injured, he was just crying. I was so scared I just wanted to squeeze myself against the wall. The helicopters wheeled overhead, and I realised that they were firing directly at us. I wanted to be invisible, I wanted to hide under the others

What else do you need to know about what's happening right now in Iraq besides what Gaith captures above and below? Read the entire article. They were firing directly at them? We must get on the right path to stop this violence. This is substantially more violence than during the war with all those cruise missles and depleted uranium shells. This is an outrage.

Yes, Gaith got injured, but as Salam says..."he's ok". Thankfully yes...looks like a bad shot to the head. Everybody needs to email him get-well wishes. He's been through way too much for one person recently. (read article)


CPA = "Cannot Provide Anything" -->ny book review article "The Bungled Transition" by Peter W. Galbraith

The Bush administration's recruitment of staff for the CPA is one of the great scandals of the American occupation, although it has so far received little attention from the press. Republican political connections counted for far more than professional competence, relevant international experience, or knowledge of Iraq. In May, The Washington Post ran an account of three young people recruited for service in the CPA by e-mail, without interviews, security clearances, or relevant experience. They ended up responsible for spending Iraq's budget; because they knew little about the country or about financial procedures, they did so slowly.

>>Peter W. Galbraith served as the first US Ambassador to Croatia and with the UN in East Timor. As a staff member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the 1980s, he uncovered and documented Iraq's "Anfal" campaign against the Kurds. Currently, he is the senior diplomatic fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non- Proliferation and a partner in a firm specializing in international law and negotiation.<<


House Republicans and Democrats Unite in Linking Iraq with 9/11
by Stephen Zunes

I saw Stephen Zunes read from his book before the Iraq war happened. He's very articulate and incredibly stubborn. And he speaks his mind with great confidence, verging on arrogance. If you're in academia it doesn't hurt to be all of these things.

On the eve of the third anniversary of 9/11, the U.S. House of Representatives – by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 406-16 – passed a resolution linking Iraq to the Al Qaeda attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This comes despite conclusions reached by the bipartisan 9/11 Commission and the consensus of independent strategic analysis familiar with the region that no such links ever existed.


The Likud Doctrine
First Bush, and now Putin, have picked up lessons for their wars on terror from Israel's campaign against the Palestinians
by Naomi Klein

Canadian writer of the famed No Logo, Naomi Klein, tells you what she thinks.

Common wisdom has it that after 9/11, a new era of geo-politics was ushered in, defined by what is usually called the Bush doctrine: pre-emptive wars, attacks on terrorist infrastructure (read: entire countries), an insistence that all the enemy understands is force. In fact, it would be more accurate to call this rigid worldview the Likud doctrine. What happened on September 11 2001 is that the Likud doctrine, previously targeted against Palestinians, was picked up by the most powerful nation on earth and applied on a global scale. Call it the Likudisation of the world: the real legacy of 9/11.

Let me be absolutely clear: by Likudisation I do not mean that key members of the Bush administration are working for the interests of Israel at the expense of US interests. What I mean is that on September 11, George Bush went looking for a political philosophy to guide him in his role as "war president". He found that philosophy in the Likud doctrine, handed to him ready-made by the ardent Likudniks ensconced in the White House. In the three years since, the Bush White House has applied this logic with chilling consistency to its global war on terror - complete with the pathologising of the "Muslim mind". It was the guiding philosophy in Afghanistan and Iraq, and may well extend to Iran and Syria. It's not simply that Bush sees America's role as protecting Israel from a hostile Arab world. It's that he has cast the US in the same role in which Israel casts itself, facing the same threat. In this narrative, the US is fighting a never-ending battle for its survival against irrational forces that seek its total extermination.

And now the Likudisation narrative has spread to Russia.


The Wanderers


The American invasion was our greatest hope. We had been planning for it, thinking that we would be able to return to our villages. But gangs formed everywhere, and Christians were easy targets because they don't belong to a tribal system like other Iraqis. We were subject to looting and to threats.

Then my nephew Patrous was kidnapped in the summer of 2003. We had to pay $15,000 and some gold to ransom him. We were successful businessmen, my brothers and I, but this was a fortune for us. In Iraq, it would take us more than five years to earn that much again. Patrous was held for four days. The kidnappers didn't harm him physically, but he was only 8. He was terrified. And he's still very fearful; he never leaves his parents. Sometimes he shouts the name of his kidnapper -- Adnan -- in his sleep.


And finally Dr. Eden Naby's guest editorial on Juan Cole's Informed Comment about Christians in Iraq.

This is a chilling account of the realities that face the Christians remaining in Iraq. Of course, it's particularly of concern to me because my family is Assyrian Orthodox. I have more to say specifically on this topic when the time is right.

I will also call attention to Fayrouz' recent posts about the same topic soon. I'm just waiting to hear from her (, or really for the opportunity to check my email). I'll do that a bit later and try to update.

It is unusual for information from Christian villages to filter outside the area currently under military and political pressure from the Kurdish Democratic Party. Kurds are barring Western journalists from entering villages like Dayrabun ("Monastary of the Bishop") which are not in any danger zone, but are being denied resettlement by their Christian inhabitants (reported by Thiry August, a Belgian who tried to visit the Faysh Khabour area this summer). The KDP is determined to expand its control as far to the west and south as possible into areas now inhabited by ChaldoAssyrians. Under the Transitional Administrative Law, so favorable to Kurds, the objects of Western sympathy and funds, any territory in the three provinces adjoining Dohuk, Arbil and Sulaymaniya (Ninawa, Tamim [Kirkuk] and Diyala) that Kurds can show they controlled on March 19, 2003 (prior to the invasion), may become part of the Kurdish controlled region in northern Iraq (TAL, Article 53A).

This provision allows Kurds to create "facts on the ground" in the Mosul and Kirkuk areas in particular, at the expense of unarmed ethnic and religious minorities - to wit - the Christians of Iraq, the Yezidis, the Shabat, and the Turkomens. The advantages of controlling Kirkuk are well known. But the Mosul area, now the scene of fierce attacks on Christians and Turkomens, are less well recognized.

Enjoy these articles. I'm so frustrated angry depressed...


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