Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"And I will teach him how to avenge his father's death by the Mahdi Army"

VP Cheney told Rush Limbaugh yesterday that he thought the "general overall situation" in Iraq was going "remarkably well."

The news round-up doesn't seem to back up the Big Dick's statement. First, from the Associated Press:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The U.S. military reported Wednesday that nine American troops had been killed in bombings and combat, raising to 67 the number of U.S. troops killed in October.

A roadside bomb killed a provincial police intelligence chief in southern Iraq early Wednesday, police said.

The eight U.S. soldiers and one Marine were killed by roadside bombs and enemy fire in and around Baghdad on Tuesday, the military reported.

Four soldiers died when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle at about 6:50 a.m. Tuesday morning west of Baghdad, the military said in a brief statement.

Three soldiers attached to Task Force Lightning, assigned to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, were killed and one wounded during combat in Diyala province east of Baghdad. Another soldier died around 9:30 a.m. when suspected insurgents attacked his patrol in northern Baghdad.

A Marine assigned to Regimental Combat Team 7 also died from injuries sustained during fighting in Al Anbar Province, it said.

Early Wednesday, a bomb planted on the main highway between the cities of Amarah and Basra killed Ali Qassim al-Tamimi, head of intelligence for the Maysan provincial police force, along with four bodyguards, Maysan police Capt. Hussein Karim said.


For the U.S. military, October's death toll is on a pace that, if continued, would make the month the deadliest for coalition forces since January 2005, when 107 U.S. troops died.

Now the Washington Post writing up the news from Balad, Iraq:

BAGHDAD, Oct. 17 -- Police and black-clad Shiite militiamen toting machine guns sealed off the predominantly Shiite city of Balad on Tuesday, guarding against attacks by Sunni insurgents flooding into towns just north of Baghdad, vowing revenge for four days of violence in which dozens of Sunnis were killed.

Calm largely returned to Balad by Tuesday, with Iraqi army troops forcing Shiite militia fighters out of police cars that the militiamen had commandeered for the attacks, said residents reached by telephone in the cut-off town. American troops patrolled the city and guarded one end of a Tigris River bridge that links Balad with Duluiyah, a Sunni farm town also at the epicenter of the outburst of sectarian conflict.

On the Duluiyah end of the bridge, angry Sunni insurgents gathered in force, clutching their PKC machine guns and rocket launchers, standing their tense watch. Abu Achmed, a fighter in the Islamic Army, a Sunni insurgent movement, held a machine gun but wished for more.

"If I had a nuclear bomb, I would wipe it out," the insurgent fighter, who refused to give his full name, said as he stared at Balad across the bridge. "I would level it."

Since Friday, a Shiite militia campaign of killing and expulsion targeting Sunni families served both to deepen sectarian tensions in Iraq and expose the inability or unwillingness of the Shiite-dominated government to control the attacks. The government is headed by two Shiite religious parties whose militias led the campaign, according to local residents, Shiite community leaders, police and hospital officials. Forces of the country's heavily Shiite police watched the cleansing campaign, or took part in it, the witnesses said. The Interior Ministry denied the allegation.

Militia attacks on Sunnis in and around Balad ended only when large numbers of Iraqi army troops, seen as more neutral than Iraq's police, were deployed. By Tuesday, all but four or five Sunni families had fled. Until recently, members of the town's Sunni minority had lived and intermarried peacefully with Shiite neighbors for generations.

"What shall I say to Bush, to the armed men, to Maliki?" cried Um Mustafa, sheltering in a stranger's home on the outskirts of Duluiyah, referring to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. She was with her 11-year-old son, Mustafa, and 7-year-old daughter, Reaam. Fleeing Balad this past weekend, the family had watched Shiite militiamen dressed in black beat her pleading husband in the face with rifle butts and take him away. The next day, her phone calls traced her husband's body to the Balad hospital morgue.

"What have I done that my husband gets killed in this way?" she said. "I have Mustafa. And I will teach him how to avenge his father's death by the Mahdi Army, and take his revenge, from them."

Yeah, it sure seems like the "general overall situation" in Iraq is going "remarkably well."

It's going "remarkably well" only if you're looking to stoke generations of hatred and sectarian warfare in Iraq.

It's ironic how quickly the debate in the United States went from "We can't cut and run from Iraq" to "Omigod, this fucking thing is complete carnage."

Remember that it was just last May when Karl Rove and his RNC minions thought they could tar Dems and other war critics as "cut-and-runners" for demanding a timetable for the end of U.S. occupation of Iraq.

But now you so rarely hear anybody on the Republican side other than some of the more delusional members of the administration (like Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Rice et al.) or their apologists (like Hannity, Limbaugh, et al.) use the "cut-and-run" phrase.

And that's primarily because Americans can now see just how fucked up the situation is in Iraq and just how much it was fucked up by this administration and the Republican leadership (books like Hubris and State of Denial providing the documentation.)

And the poll numbers bear it out - CNN released a poll yesterday showing only 34% of people approve of the job the administration is doing on the Iraq war while 64% disapprove. In addition, CNN found that only 34% favor the U.S. war in Iraq while 64% now oppose the war. That's nearly two-thirds of America who have bailed on the administration's Iraq policy - the highest level yet.

The news is all bad. Americans are dying by the day, James Baker's bipartisan Iraq group is looking for a solution to this mess that the administration is too stubborn or too stupid to find, and Bush, Cheney, Rummy, and Rice remain in their various states of oblivion and denial.

In the meanwhile, October looks like it is going to be one of the bloodiest months for both Americans in Iraq and Iraqis.

And Cheney says it's going "remarkably well."

I just wish that the Democrats would really get stuck in to Bu$h Corp on Iraq, rather than concentrating their fire on the sex scandals. Mind you, I guess these scandals might drive away the evangelical vote.

Let's hope these approval figures translate into a kicking for Bush.
I am surprised to hear of Cheney saying anything. But even then was speaking to a limited audience, not to America. I expect they need to convince more than just the 'base' whakos now.
I agree, korova - but most of the criticism on the Foley scandal has actually come from the press and some of the House candidates. The national party has pretty much stayed out of it so as not to appear to be "politicizing the scandal."

cartledge, cheney rarely talks to any media outlet except for the wingnut media. And you know he only speaks at gatherings of wingnuts too. He's really only the Vice Preznit of the 23% of Americans who have a favorable view of him.
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