BUSH AND ASSORTED NEOCONS DECLARE "NORMALCY" IN IRAQ AS CIVIL WAR BOILS OVER
Bush's idea of "normalcy?"
Last night I went to a screening of John Cusack's new film-- due out in late May-- War, Inc.. John, who wrote and produced as well as starred, says he was inspired to Naomi Klein's 2004 Harper's article, "Baghdad Year Zero." Except it's funny... well, it's satire. It's art imitating reality imitating art imitating... And, like most good satire, it's tragedy.
Today Glenn Greenwald presents some more tragi-comedy (mostly tragedy), Fred Kagan on Monday: "The civil war in Iraq is over." He introduced the pompous Iraq war cheerleaders Fred Kagan, Michael O'Hanlon and Ken Pollack, the 3 most dependable contrary indicators Inside the Beltway lecturing the kind of war criminals and war criminal wanna-be's who would show up at an American Enterprise Institute event: "The first thing I want to say is that: The Civil War in Iraq is over. And until the American domestic political debate catches up with that fact, we are going to have a very hard time discussing Iraq on the basis of reality."
That would probably be especially true for anyone who was hooked into the grid today, just hours after Kagen's blooper du jour. That's because Iraq looked like a scene from War, Inc's Turagistan. Tomorrow's NY Times: "
American-trained Iraqi security forces failed for a third straight day to oust Shiite militias from the southern city of Basra on Thursday, even as President Bush hailed the operation as a sign of the growing strength of Iraq's federal government. The fighting in Basra against the Mahdi Army, the armed wing of the political movement led by the radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, set off clashes in cities throughout Iraq. Major demonstrations were staged in a number of Shiite areas of Baghdad, including Sadr City, the huge neighborhood that is Mr. Sadr’s base of power... The Iraqi government imposed a citywide curfew in Baghdad until Sunday." Always count on Kagan; he is never right... not ever... about anything.
On Thursday, medical officials in Basra said the toll in the fighting there had risen to about 100 dead and 500 wounded, including civilians, militiamen and members of the security forces. An Iraqi employee of The New York Times, driving on the main road between Basra and Nasiriya, observed numerous civilian cars with coffins strapped to the roofs, apparently heading to Shiite cemeteries to the north.
Violence also broke out in Kut, Hilla, Amara, Kirkuk, Baquba and other cities. In Baghdad, where explosions shook the city throughout the day, American officials said 11 rockets struck the Green Zone, killing an unidentified American government worker, the second this week.
And it isn't just the librul NY Times that's changed its tune about Iraq. Murdoch's Times of London presents an even more dismal picture.
Iraq’s Prime Minister was staring into the abyss today after his operation to crush militia strongholds in Basra stalled, members of his own security forces defected and district after district of his own capital fell to Shia militia gunmen.
With the threat of a civil war looming in the south, Nouri al-Maliki’s police chief in Basra narrowly escaped assassination in the crucial port city, while in Baghdad, the spokesman for the Iraqi side of the US military surge was kidnapped by gunmen and his house burnt to the ground.
Saboteurs also blew up one of Iraq's two main oil pipelines from Basra, cutting at least a third of the exports from the city which provides 80 per cent of government revenue, a clear sign that the militias-- who siphon significant sums off the oil smuggling trade-- would not stop at mere insurrection.
In Baghdad, thick black smoke hung over the city centre tonight and gunfire echoed across the city.
Almost every report I've read that isn't sourced to Dana Perino claims that Iraqi soldiers are either running away or joining the Mahdi Army, adding to a host of problems that makes it unlikely that the Iraqi Army will succeed. The American occupation forces are being forced to take the lead in the battle to capture Basra and protect the rest of the country. I heard on CNN about an hour ago that American personnel in the Emerald City are being told not to leave their homes or shelters,
As President Bush told an Ohio audience that Iraq was returning to "normalcy," administration officials in Washington held meetings to assess what appeared to be a rapidly deteriorating security situation in many parts of the country.
See if you can recognize a little of that in this two minute War, Inc trailer.