Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Killing Fields of Iraq

The carnage continues in the killing fields of Iraq.

The Washington Post reports that October was the most violent month in Iraq with 3,709 Iraqis dying in sectarian violence.

[T]he U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq described the many ways civilians have been killed, from roadside bombs to drive-by shootings to kidnappings. Many were found handcuffed, blindfolded and bearing signs of torture and execution-style killing. Most had gunshot wounds.

Culling from figures kept by Iraq's Health Ministry, private hospitals and Baghdad's morgue, the report described a rapidly deteriorating society that has forced an estimated 1.6 million people to flee to neighboring countries since the war began in 2003. No longer are terrorists and insurgents the main perpetrators of the killings. Death squads linked to militias, often in collusion with the Iraqi police, and criminal gangs are also responsible, the report found. Many slayings were simply acts of vengeance.

What an unholy nightmare.

Pres. George Bush will privately meet with Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki in Jordan next week and drop a few bombs of reality at the feet of the Iraqi leader, CBS reports.

"[O]ne State department official described the purpose of next week's suddenly announced trip to Amman, Jordan by President Bush for a two-day summit meeting" as the needed way to explain the "new realities" of U.S. election results to the Iraqi leader.

The meeting between the two leaders will come as multiple Iraq policy reviews are under way by nearly everyone with a role in the reformulation of American strategy in Iraq. Officials note Mr. Bush has had regular contact with Maliki but most of that has been via telephone or video teleconference, not in face to face meetings. Maliki has visited the White House and the president did drop in to see Maliki last June, but the fact that trip was unannounced and came as a surprise even to the Iraqi leader caused some friction in Baghdad.

Now, a senior State Department official said, the American people are demanding new actions from the Bush administration and that, by extension, means they are expecting the Iraqis to do more to control security in Iraq. Violence in Iraq, especially in Baghdad, appears more and more to be out of control. A new United
Nations report records high levels of civilian deaths (120 a day in October), and both leaders are feeling increasingly pressured to find new solutions designed to improve daily life inside Iraq, starting with the security situation.

Not to toot her own horn, but Howling Latina was talking about the Iraq Study Group way, way back in March when election buzz and Jim Webb were all the rage in Virginia. On the third anniversary of our horrendous decision to invade Iraq, she wrote:

Like everything about this administration, the latest news out of the White House about Iraq is disjoined. One minute the US is on the march with Operation Swarm, and Ken Mehlman is scolding Democratic leaders who would cut and run; and in the next breath, the administration is blessing a 10-member panel headed by the Bush family consigliere, James Baker, "to take a fresh look" to see how the US can extricate itself from Iraq.


[M]ake no mistake about it, something is going on inside the White House. Cheney and Rumsfeld have fallen from grace, the question is how far was their fall.

The big boys are back in town; like days of old, Bush needs daddy and his friends to bail him out; and truth to the dope is back in vogue. Or as in the words of the consummate diplomat Baker, to render the administration “an honest assessment of where we are and how we go forward..."

Some folks have been wondering where Darth Cheney has been hiding. Come to find out, Cheney is flying to Saudi Arabia on Saturday to "hold talks with King Abdullah...amid a flurry of diplomatic activity over Iraq," the Washington Post reports.

Oh dear probecito. Humpty Dumpty has had a great fall; and all the king's horses and all the king's men are trying desperately to put Humpty Dumpter together again.

The trip, according to the Post, "reflects the wider scramble to shape the war-torn country's future at [this] critical juncture." Cheney hopes to strong-arm, er, persuade the Saudi government to use their influence to bring Sunni Iraqis to the bargaining table.

Oh yea, and help out with the cost of Iraqi reconstruction and no-bid Halliburton cost overruns. No doubt, they'll be delighted.

Wait, Cheney could always guarantee the Saudis a piece of the huge taxpayer subsidized profiteering pie.

Whatever Cheney's doing it's not for America's benefit.

I wish Bush could control his VP better....Hopefully Congress will pass some legislation to provide some accountability rules to the VP that are in place for the President...That's a loophole that needs to be closed quickly!!
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