Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I got a real bad feeling about this

If you get your information from the corporate media, you probably have a general feeling that things aren't going all that great in Iraq, but on the other hand there are some positive signs. (Of course if your corporate media sources include Fox News, you probably think it's kind of like Palm Springs.)

You know, the "surge" is just getting into place but sectarian violence is down, Anbar province is much less dangerous for U.S. troops, we're trying new tactics, etc. Sure, they keep blowing up bridges and bumping off 3 or 4 Americans every day but that's just background noise by now.

Actually it's much, much, worse than they are telling you. The UN Secretary General says that the surge has already failed. The Green Zone -- the fortified area in central Baghdad where the putative Iraqi government hides from the Iraqi people behind triple blast walls and foreign security forces -- is too dangerous for the UN staff. Civilian casualties are in fact rising, children are not attending school, sectarian militias control the country and violence is rising amid factional fighting in the south. Fifty thousand Iraqis are fleeing the country every month, with many more internally displaced, many of them living in refugee camps. You can read Ban's full report here.

The only reason U.S. troops are taking fewer casualties in Anbar is because they have been arming sectarian militias that promise to confront the most religiously extreme elements known as al Qaeda in Iraq. The problem with this strategy, of course, is that a) these militias also hate the U.S. and the occupation and could easily turn their shiny new weapons on the donors and b) they will ultimately confront the Shiite government and its security forces, in other words we're just fueling the civil war. Remember when the administration was outraged by proposals to grant amnesty to forces that had attacked American troops? Now we're arming them.

The corporate media report on violence form Iraq, but each day your paper or TV news report on only a small fraction of documented incidents, leaving the impression that they have given you the whole story. For a more complete version of daily events, you can visit Iraq Today. It's a completely different universe than the alternate reality of the nightly news.

So, what's the Bush administration plan to salvage the situation? You got it. Bomb Iran. The very pious, God-fearing, morally pure Joe Lieberman is their stalking horse, and he's talking up the attack on Iran big time. The administration is moving naval officers into the top command positions -- not, presumably, to prosecute the guerilla war in the Iraqi desert.

I hope you're ready for a hard winter.

UPDATE: And (posted three hours after this, by the way), Logan Murphy also sees Lieberman as a White House stalking horse and cites Ned Lamont and Michael Hirsh to that effect. (Warning: Disgusting photo of "The Kiss." Click at your own peril.)

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