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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

"We are not Seeing...."

After the recent bombing of the major Shiite shrine, the Golden Mosque, located in the mostly Sunni town of Samarra in Iraq, and the ensuing sharp upsurge in violence, an information officer for the U.S. military with the chillingly appropriate name, in this instance, of Lynch, recited a mantra in which he said, several times, that "we are not seeing" dozens of mosques attacked and destroyed and numerous people, mostly Sunnis, being slaughtered by a variety of means. This was despite numerous news reports to the contrary, including one especially gruesome report that 47 bodies were found in one Baghdad neighborhood alone.

But Lynch seemed to be aware that he was handing us a big snowjob -- or either it was just more of his or his subordinates' sloppiness in writing his report -- when at one point in his statement he was trying to laud the Iraqi police forces and he contradicted himself by saying that they were being effective in quieting the "storm." So he conceded that there was something unusual going on after all, and it was no less than a storm.

After a couple of days, those police forces did impose a curfew in Baghdad in the daytime as well as the night hours, and that was so unusual and drastic that it definitely indicated that happenings over and above the usual insurgent garbage were going on in and around Iraq's big city. The curfew did slow up the violence but not entirely, and it soon had to be lifted because of the hardships it was wreaking on an already hard-pressed citizenry. And since then, despite Lynch's assurances of what he and his people are not seeing, the destruction and violence has picked up again and roared on apace. Some American reporters checked out a morgue in Baghdad and were told that 1,300 bodies had been brought in, mostly Sunnis and so presumably killed by Shiites and far above the normal level of the murdered.

That "We are not seeing" statement gives credence to my impression of what the U.S. military is really doing in Iraq, and doing it for good reason. They are not looking for weapons of mass destruction. They are not doing much in the way of law enforcement. They are paying little attention to the reason they are there, the oil. They are not even going around preaching the virtues of democracy and by their behavior giving exemplary examples thereof. Instead I would bet that they are just hunkering down behind their walls and their armor and counting their days till it's time for them to get the hell back out of there, while hoping devoutedly that they are never sent back. They didn't enlist to spend their time fearing a mere drive down a road lest a hidden bomb should blow their vehicles and themselves to little fragments. There is nothing helpful or heroic about that.

The surest sign of the lack of effect that the GI's are having on the Iraqis except being objects of dread and sources of humiliation is that, unlike in many other places, where GI's have established what I call the "candybar presence," it seems certain that you are not going to see many of them coming back with Iraqi wives. There's so much disconnection in fact that they don't even seem to have coined epithets for the Iraqis, at least nothing comparable in virulence to the "slopes," the "krauts," and the "Japs" of the past. ...Unless that is something that we here at home are not hearing because people like the good Sir Lynch are not telling us such, in their efforts to make everything there look peachy keen.


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