“A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the
daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse,
Even a full wind from those places shall come unto me: now
also will I give sentence against them.”
The escalation in all its glory:
“The two men showed up on Tuesday afternoon to evict Suaada Saadoun’s family. One was carrying a shiny black pistol.
Ms. Saadoun was a Sunni Arab living in a Shiite enclave of western Baghdad. A widowed mother of seven, she and her family had been chased out once before. This time, she called American and Kurdish soldiers at a base less than a mile to the east.
The men tried to drive away, but the soldiers had blocked the street. They pulled the men out of the car.
“If anything happens to us, they’re the ones responsible,” said Ms. Saadoun, 49, a burly, boisterous woman in a black robe and lavender-blue head scarf.
The Americans shoved the men into a Humvee. Neighbors clapped and cheered as if their soccer team had just won a title.
The next morning, Ms. Saadoun was shot dead while walking by a bakery in the local market.”
No amount of salty water, or of blood, or of bile, will ever be enough to clean the stain of this war from this fuckin generation. The sentence has been given about America. The arrogance that cheerfulness once balanced has become unbalanced, while the cheerfulness has become, increasingly, the manic expression of a national carbs and proteins overload; the mad lust for power that showed itself in winds, indeed, winds full of fallout, budgets full of death, sixty years of them, webs of filth woven across the face of the continent, and the children of lynch parties voting in those who proposed lynching on a wider scale, world class lynchings, this is the Old Found Land where the milk soured on our tongues.
What is to be done, then?
I was more than happy to see the Democrats pass an appropriation bill with a pull out date. But as LI has said before, the demand for an immediate pull out shouldn’t hypnotize those who demand it into paying no attention to the occupation as it is – which, in effect, has happened. Year by year, the occupation has been allowed to drift by, in America, while the conversation revolves around the beginning of the invasion and the putative future pullout. No cry for justice, for a ceasefire, for peace.
LI hopes that those who read this site do read the Iraqi bloggers. On March 19, Treasure of Baghdad published an excellent survey of Iraqi bloggers asking about the state of the war. One of the respondents stood out, in my mind: Zeyad, from Healing Iraq. Even though I think his response depends, too much, on a rule enforcing mechanism that doesn’t exist, he floats two crucial ideas: amnesty and reconciliation, which need to be part of a ceasefire process (which will, in fact, recognize that the rule enforcing mechanisms that now exist – government, militia, insurgent – must come to a point where they can create the rule enforcing mechanism – the state – in Iraq. The state does not exist in Iraq right now - since a real state can't depend on a foreign power to enforce its writ, or allow that power to dictate its policies).
“What was your opinion when the US decided to invade Iraq in 2003?
I was supportive of the war. I was living a meaningless life of despair under Saddam's regime and I naiively believed that the U.S. was sincere and had a viable plan to improve our lives and bring us "freedom and democracy." I was mistaken, of course, and those terms only bring a wry smile to my face now.
It has been four years since the invasion. Has your opinion changed since then? Why?
My opinion started gradually changing not long after the invasion. It was a combination of reasons: The U.S. mishandling of the war, the destruction and the looting, the vengeful steps taken against a large portion of the population by both the U.S. and returning exiles, the growing insurgency, the empowerment of Islamic fundamentalists, the establishment of a political system based on sectarian and ethnic quotas, building security forces that are more loyal to sectarian warlords than the state, the sectarian violence, the huge toll on Iraqi lives, the massive and underreported refugee crisis, the displacement and breakup of families, the division of once harmonious communities, the mistrust between Iraqis, etc.
Whom do you blame for the insecurity in Iraq? Why?
It is very popular these days to blame the victim, but I believe that everyone shares some of the blame. The U.S., the international community, the U.N., Iraqi politicians, power-hungry clerics, the Iraqi people, the former regime, Iran, Saudi Arabia. Instead of assigning blame, I think it is better to work out solutions.
What do you think should be done to quell the violence there?
1- The U.S. should immediately work with regional countries (including Syria and Iran, yes) and the international community to broker an agreement between the warring factions to find agreeable methods on sharing power, wealth and resources. The current government can continue to operate meanwhile as a caretaker government until such an agreement is reached. Corrupt politicians who want to work from London or Teheran should be relieved of their positions.
2- An unconditional amnesty should be offered for all militant groups and militias in the country. An effective campaign to completely disarm the population should follow immediately. Militias and paramilitary forces, including the small private militias of politicians and religious leaders, should be disbanded. No exceptions. No "red lines." No excuses.
3- Former Ba'athists, bureaucrats, and military officers should be pardoned and brought back into the fold as part of a country-wide national reconciliation effort. The Iraqi security forces that the U.S. has recruited should be investigated thoroughly and purged. Reintroducing military conscription could be a solution to limit the infiltration of rogue elements that do not work for the state.
4- Then, schedule a new date for parliamentary elections with direct international supervision. No sectarian or ethnic slates should be allowed. No clerics should be allowed to give spiritual "blessings" for any candidates or lists. A new constitution should be written after that. Postpone all contentious issues until after that. No sneaky U.S.-sponsored privatization and oil laws should be passed until that period.
5- The U.S. should clearly announce a timetable for withdrawal of its troops. No excuses.
Do you think the US should withdraw its forces from Iraq now or not? Why?
The U.S. should at least set a timetable for withdrawal but not after the above steps are made. The occupation can not go on forever, because it is obvious that its presence is fueling further chaos and violence. Military solutions have proven their futility.
Do you think the war was worth it? Why?
It will not be readily obvious if the war was worth it or not. The toll in lives has been enormous so far. Future generations will be scarred forever as a result of this war, and they are the ones who are supposed to make a change for the better.”
“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears
"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads
"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads