Thursday, January 27, 2005

Chimptopia Description of the Day

While Freedom tries to get some rest in Iraq, it must be getting cranky with all that car bombing, RPG firing, screams of pain, and random gunfire. One guy that the righties have never been able to disregard is John Burns of the NY Times, and today's report is not one that paints a fantasy land picture...obviously Dear Leader will not want it spoken of as he relaxes in his purple robe.

On the bright spring day in April 2003 when marines helped topple Mr. Hussein's statue in Firdos Square, Baghdad, more than any other place in Iraq, was the place American commanders hoped to make a showcase for the benefits the invasion would bring.

Instead, daily life here has become a deadly lottery, a place so fraught with danger that one senior American military officer acknowledged at a briefing last month that nowhere in the area assigned to his troops could be considered safe.

"I would definitely say it's enemy territory," said Col. Stephen R. Lanza, the commander of the Fifth Brigade Combat Team, a unit of the First Cavalry Division that is responsible for patrolling a wide area of southern Baghdad with a population of 1.3 million people.

In the week that ended Sunday, according to figures kept by Western security companies with access to data compiled by the American command, Baghdad was hit by 7 suicide car bombings, 37 roadside bombs and 52 insurgent attacks involving automatic rifles or rocket-propelled grenades. The suicide bombs alone killed at least 60 people and injured 150 others.

Although the American military command has cited surveys purportedly showing 80 percent of Baghdad's residents are eager to vote, many people interviewed by reporters are like Dr. Naqib who say they will stay away.

"Every day, when you leave your home, you don't know what will happen - bombs, bullets, kidnapping," Dr. Naqib said as he braced himself against the near-freezing cold in the garden of the private sports club where he had taken his wife and three children for lunch, their first family outing in months. "You ask me about hope - there is no hope. On ordinary days, I cannot even allow my children to play in the garden. To them, a garden is something they only see through windows."

In one Baghdad office, only one of 20 people who were asked said he intended to vote; the others, all citing the fear of being attacked by insurgents, either as they walk to the polls - all civilian vehicle traffic has been banned on election day - or after they return home.


Every American attempt to root out the insurgents has failed, and their dominion is written loudly in graffiti on freshly painted, and repainted, walls. "Long live the resistance!" they say. "There is no God but Allah and his Prophet!"; "Death to the Americans and their Iraqi lackeys!"

American military units travel in heavily armed convoys, gunners in helmets and goggles swiveling 50-caliber machine guns on expressways and along inner-city shopping streets to ward off attacks, and not infrequently opening fire, with civilian casualties.

Along with insurgent attacks, the city has seen a surge of crime, including murders and kidnappings for ransom, that has undermined support for the Americans and all they represent - the elections included - as much as the war.

With hundreds of Baghdad police officers killed in insurgent attacks and others spending much of their time hunkered down at police stations hidden behind high concrete blast walls and watchtowers, police investigations have virtually ceased.

Hospital morgues are filled with unidentified bodies and body parts, many of them found floating in canals or decomposing on stretches of wasteland. Hardly anybody in Baghdad does not have a horror story to tell about children taken for ransom and later murdered, their bodies sometimes dumped at their homes.

Equally rife are tales of family members and friends murdered in disputes over property, illicit affairs, or in revenge for state-sponsored killings carried out under Mr. Hussein.

The situation in Iraq is clearly terrible. The problem here is that most of the country does NOT want to know this, the right-wing enables the Bush Administration to deny it by perpetuating this myth of it being "foreign sponsored" or "overstated". But the longer that denial is allowed the worse it gets. Though all I can do is joke about it, the "Cult of Personality" so envelops Bush and his enablers that it is crippling any ability we have to at least fix some of these problems (or at least make things "not as bad").


On the other hand, maybe suave and debonair Professor Cole has the best description of Bush's Chimptopia policy today:

In his appearances on Wednesday, President Bush said that it was a positive that Iraqis are even having elections, since three years ago it would have seemed out of the question. You know, if all you have to boast about is that you are better than Saddam Hussein, it isn't actually a good sign.

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