Dependable Erection

Friday, February 01, 2008

Iraq

I really hope this is an outlier, and not a sign of things to come.
Bomb blasts ripped through two popular pet markets in Baghdad on Friday, killing 72 people in the deadliest attacks in the city in six months and dealing a bitter blow to Iraqi hopes that security is getting better.

Police said a female suicide bomber killed 45 people and wounded 82 at the Ghazil pet market in central Baghdad.

Another blast shortly after, caused either by a roadside bomb or a second female suicide bomber, killed 27 people and wounded 67 at a bird market in southern Baghdad, they said.


UPDATE: Atrios links to the BBC coverage of the blast. I want to highlight one detail.

Reuters (linked above):
But Major-General Qassim Moussawi, spokesman for the Iraqi military in Baghdad, said in both attacks women had been loaded with explosives which were then detonated remotely.

"We found the mobiles used to detonate the women," he said.


BBC:
An Iraqi official said the devices were attached to two mentally disabled women, and were detonated remotely.

That's just fucked up.

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11 Comments:

  • What seems lost on so many -- the media, the congress and the executive branch, in particular -- is that no matter how many U.S. soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen that you throw at Iraq to quell the violence, the only long-term solution is a strong, effective and fair government that has the support of the vast majority of Iraqis, regardless of their ethnic, religious or socio-economic background.

    By rushing to prop-up a Potemkin government, comprised of self-aggrandizing powerbrokers and the ultra-wealthy in order to create a photo-op that fit our narrative of "Democracy enbiggens us all," we royally screwed the people of Iraq (and probably Turkey and Jordan and Lebanon) for another 20-30 years; much the same as the British Mandate did, which was similarly created without regard to ethnic, religious or socio-economic considerations, mostly to give the Brits a warm fuzzy feeling about themselves.

    Until at least 70% of modern Iraqis strongly believe that their government can keep them secure and serve their common interests, no amount of blood or treasure will stave off civil unrest and conflict. Either we need to ensure an effective Iraqi government, or we need to concede and start preparing Turkey, Jordan and the Saudis for the inevitability of Kurdistan, the Sunni Republic of Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iraq. The military leadership on the ground knows this, but the top brass and political leadership in Washington refuse to acknowledge it, for fear of the negative impact on their legacy in history.

    (Trying to convince the current leadership of this is as effective as performing DIY brain surgery with a hacksaw, and almost as pleasant. And people wondered why I left the D.C. national security policy circus.)

    By Blogger Dan S., at 10:16 AM  

  • Dan - that is as concise and informative an analysis on Iraq that i have read over the past 5 years.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 10:24 AM  

  • The exact same argument was made about Korea 50 years ago. Syngman Rhee was a real sob but was kept in power and then through a succession of less repressive leaders S. Korea has today a reasonable example of a representative democracy and a strong and vibrant economy. The counter example is N. Korea which can't even feed itself and hopes to nuke us all. Was it worth it? I'll bet the S. Koreans think so.

    So let's leave Iraq and let the people who would strap bombs to mentally disabled women run the place? If they're down to using mentally disabled women as warriors then I'd say that far more than 70% of the Iraqi population is willing to try something other than violence.

    By Anonymous Locomotive Breath, at 12:30 PM  

  • If South Korea, where we gave the lives of over 50,000 US citizens, is the best case scenario, why didn't we just leave Saddam Hussein in charge?

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 12:37 PM  

  • why didn't we just leave Saddam Hussein in charge

    Because then Iraq would have ended up like N. Korea. Duh.

    By Anonymous locomotive breath, at 3:24 PM  

  • Let's pretend that i'm stupider than you are for a moment.

    We sent troops to S. Korea (half a million or more if i recall) to repel an outside invasion. Leave aside for the moment that the splitting of Korea into two nations was artificial in the first place.

    We reached a sort of stalemate in the war that allowed the US to install a dictator backed by our military forces, which created enough stability that 50 or so years later, South Korea is a relatively stable democracy (i'm using the term loosely, but i think this is the narrative that you are alluding to). North Korea, not so much.

    By analogy, then, you are proposing that we install a dictator in Iraq for a long enough period of time that democracy is able to take hold, a thousand flowers will bloom, factories will sprout up in the middle of the desert and the oil will flow uninterrupted for generations.

    And everyone will have a pony.

    So, since we had a dictator in place already, why didn't we just keep propping him up the way we had done during the Iran - Iraq War of the 80s?

    Or am i missing your argument?

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 3:35 PM  

  • I think i've figured out where my confusion came from.

    When LB wrote we can't "let the people who would strap bombs to mentally disabled women run the place," i thought she meant "we can't let the people who would strap bombs to mentally disabled women run the place."

    What she really meant was "I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about."

    I'll program that into the LB translator and take it into account in the future.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 4:53 PM  

  • Let's pretend that i'm stupider than you are for a moment.

    You don't need to pretend.

    When LB wrote we can't "let the people who would strap bombs to mentally disabled women run the place," i thought she meant "we can't let the people who would strap bombs to mentally disabled women run the place."

    Excuse me?

    So, since we had a dictator in place already, why didn't we just keep propping him up the way we had done during the Iran - Iraq War of the 80s?

    SH was the best of a bad bunch of middle east dictators. That in itself is a sorry fact. At one point we had hoped he would lead Iraq through a S. Korea type transition. After a while it was clear he was heading in the N. Korea direction.

    By Anonymous locomotive breath, at 8:33 PM  

  • Um, no. The US supported SH because they thought him capable of winning a proxy war against Iran. The US wanted revenge against the Iranians for the hostage crisis.

    SH was never leading Iraq in the direction of South Korea. The Ba'athist party was always essentially Stalinist. It was just convenient for US administrations to ignore that fact for quite a while.

    By Blogger DurhamFood, at 9:49 AM  

  • I would have a lot more respect for the views of "conservatives" like loco, if loco were to get off the computer, put on a coat, and go down and sign up for military service. You know, join the all-volunteer army.

    But instead, it's so much easier sending other people to go die for a bad policy decision, ain't it?

    Not only was Saddam running a Stalinist government, the ethnic make-up of "Iraq" was Balkanized and remains so today. We seemed to have done a better job with the actual Balkans (Serbia, Croatia, Kosovo, and about 20 other tiny Euro-Hillbilly enclaves who have been feuding for over a 1,000 years) than with Iraq.

    We haven't lost a single soldier in the Balkans.

    It's amazing Bush ever learned to tie his shoes, because that would require agreeing with the facts on how a shoe gets laced.

    By Blogger Tony, at 10:46 AM  

  • SH was leading a nominally, at least, secular government as opposed to the Islamic nut job Ayatollah Khomeini who was running Iran. Which was, by the way, was trying to subvert the Iraqi government. Iran would have been better off if Iraq had won. Better a secular nationalist Baathist government than one controlled by insane religious fundamentalism. With the right help, those governments occasionally turn the corner into something better. Let me remind you of Poland, East Germany, Romania, etc.

    Even after the 30 years of hell on earth when South Vietnam fell after the Democrat Congress abandoned them (what were they supposed to fight with, spitballs?), Vietnam has looked across the water and seen S. Korea and is turning capitalist just as fast as they can. In the long term we win when they see us and start emulating us.

    I would have a lot more respect for the views of "conservatives" like loco, if loco were to get off the computer, put on a coat, and go down and sign up for military service. You know, join the all-volunteer army.

    But instead, it's so much easier sending other people to go die for a bad policy decision, ain't it?


    Your term of service was when exactly?

    I would have a lot more respect for the views of "liberals" like tony, if tony were to get off the computer, put on a coat, and go down and sign up for military service. You know, join the all-volunteer army.

    But instead, it's so much easier subverting the efforts of other volunteers who go die for a policy decision they believe in, ain't it?

    See how facile that it? Let's make a deal. Let's change the constitution so that military veterans make our foreign policy. I'd be quite happy with the outcome. I doubt tony would be.

    As there is unmistakable progress in Iraq, I've noticed the surrender Democrats have gotten real real quiet. If Iraq turns out like S. Korea, that's a heck of a positive legacy and people like tony just can't stand that. Bush must be defeated no matter what happens. And if the U.S. has to surrender for it to happen then so be it.

    And by the way, in Serbia we bombed the crap out of both military and civilian infrastructure targets. (Friend of mine's 80 yo grandmother damn near froze/starved to death that winter.) If that's your model, let's just do that in Iraq and leave all the Iraqis to die in the ruins.

    By Anonymous Locomotive breath, at 8:35 AM  

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