Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Iraqi insurgents couldn't wait this time

Matt Spetalnick of Reuters has reported

A suicide car bomber has killed at least 13 people1 at an Iraqi police academy....

So far as I'm aware, until this bombing the insurgents have waited until the Iraqi police trainees could don their uniforms and go on their first patrol, or stood in line to pick up their first paychecks. This is a "preemptive strike."

Spetalnick notes—

The targeting of a police training site again showed the vulnerability of Iraq's new security branches, which have gained a reputation for ineffectiveness even as they undergo crash training to take over eventually from American-led forces.

This attack mirrors the killing of U.S. troops in the mess tent in Mosul and takes the demonstration of the might of the insurgency a step further. If neither the Iraqi nor the American forces are safe within their own compounds, how hopeless must it be on the streets?

Spetalnick devotes most of his article to the question of whether the elections will be held January 30. This is buried in the article—

In a fresh sign of divisions over the election, Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar, the government's senior Sunni official, urged the United Nations on Tuesday to look into whether the country should hold the polls as scheduled. [emphasis added]

This election is, after all, under the auspices of the U.N, even while Kofi Annan has stood up to the U.S. and refused to send in more election workers. This could be the diplomatic "out" for the Evil Trinity of Cheney, Rumsfeld and Bush, if they only had the sense to take it.

David Jackson of the Dallas Morning News also picks up on al-Yawar's statement—

In calling for a U.N. review of the Jan. 30 date, Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawar told Reuters: "Definitely the United Nations, as an independent umbrella of legitimacy ... should really take the responsibility by seeing whether that is possible or not."

In a Dec. 28 column in The Washington Post, Iraq's U.N. ambassador Samir S.M. Sumaidaie said "to hold elections under current circumstances, when a sizable part of the country is not secure, just for the sake of voting, would produce a disproportionate and non-representative national assembly."

"Far from stabilizing the country," he added, "this could be a recipe for a greater rebellion."

Borzou Daragahi and Robert Collier in today's San Francisco Chronicle write

Many U.S. analysts agree that the administration is likely to pressure the Iraqi government to go ahead with the scheduled vote.

"There really is no Plan B," said Loren Thompson, an analyst with the Lexington Institute, a think tank in Arlington, Va. Thompson said that because of the departure of many of the administration's top Iraq policy officials during the transition to Bush's second term, "the only ones left really driving Iraq policy are Bush, (Vice President Dick) Cheney and (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld, and their point of view is identical. They are sticking with the election come hell or high water." [emphasis added]

There has never been a "Plan B." Ideologues—one of them God-crazed and all of them so convinced of U.S. omnipotence that they would be certifiable in a sane world—do not require a Plan B.

The Chronicle writers quote Tom McDonald, "a former U.S. diplomat who monitored elections in Zimbabwe and Cambodia"—

In those countries, McDonald said, "There was violence, intimidation, efforts to dumb down the vote, long lines and people being turned away from the polls.2 But in Iraq you could die if you vote. I haven't seen anything like this anywhere."

Nor has the world seen the likes of Bush-Rumsfeld-Cheney.


1 Google provided a bizarre illustration of the situation in Iraq. I searched for the opening line of this article "A suicide car bomber has killed at least 13 people" and immediately matched the phrase. But the quote was from an AFP article of December 13: "A suicide car bomber killed at least 13 people in Baghdad today." It's enough to give you triskaidekaphobia. [back]

2 I recently read about an election that was remarkably similar to this. Let me think. [back]

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