At His Sisters' Funeral
We are guilty of many errors and many faults but our worst crime is abandoning the children, neglecting the fountain of life. Many of the things we need can wait. The child cannot. Right now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being made, and his senses are being developed. To him we cannot answer "Tomorrow." His name is "Today." â Gabriela Mistral.
I just can't make up my mind. Are the Americans in Iraq Stupid and Evil? Or are they Evil and Stupid? Irrespective of which they are isn't nice to know that at their top ranks that there's a sensitive soul, an art critic no less. Major General William Caldwell appreciates art. Doesn't that make you feel all warm inside? Let's talk about art.
First there's this:
There's a fuller version of the story on Time.com here. Cardona got a wrist slap for mistreating what the US military, reflecting the society from which it springs regard as subhumans untermenschen, "sand niggers" who "only understand force." Declan did a posting on this topic back in July "The only thing these sand niggers understand is force and I'm about to introduce them to it" Well of course if they're only sand niggers then they're subjects, or perhaps objects, not people, just raw material. Raw material for artists. Artists such as Sgt. Santos A. Cardona. Remember this?
Artistic isn't it?
Cardona got off because his lawyers argued, truthfully. that he was doing what his superiors wanted him to do. I rather suspect Cardona got off because during the plea bargain negotiations his lawyers threatened to give the names, ranks, and serial numbers, of the people who ordered the barbaric behaviour in which he and his fellow American soldiers engaged in Abu Ghraib and are still engaging in other prison camps in Iraq. Such as Camp Bucca. Cardona's superiors (and their superiors in the White House and the Pentagon) based their belief in the efficacy of such filth upon that racist tract "The Arab Mind" by Raphael Patai. No I'm not going to link to it I've more respect for my readers than that. Patai argued that you control an Arab by humiliating him, by terrifying him, by torturing him, but most of all by humiliating him. And it's true, you can control an Arab, or any other human by such methods. For a while. A short while. What Patai who was racist to the core didn't bother to mention is that Arab societies are honour based societies. Honour is important, it's the sine qua non. If you take away an Arab's honour by humiliation and degradation then he and his entire extended family share in the loss of honour. And every single one of them is duty bound to regain their honour by avenging the insult.
Is Torture Art?
Oh yes, it most assuredly is. It's a black art inspired by evil. It's a black art engaged in by evil people.
So we have one type of artist returning to his studio. One wonders what he'll produce next. Can we expect to see reports in the art journals of sightings of "school of Cardona" works? Quite probably. It wouldn't surprise me even slightly. I have reached the point where there is no evil I will not believe of the American forces in Iraq. And I have reached the point where flatly against my all my instincts and training I now assume that every American in Iraq accused of barbarity is guilty until proven innocent.
But I digress. Let's continue our exploration of art shall we?
Oh how nice. Isn't that just special. The carnage, the slaughter, the rampant evil unleashed by America upon the men, women, and above all the children of Iraq is a "work of art" in progress. Performance art perhaps. Or perhaps it's the auditory experience. How would that go? We'll have to find someone to orchestrate the sound of weeping parents and the shrieks of agonised children for Major General William Caldwell. Nothing but the best for Major General William Caldwell and his fellow aesthetes will do. Why should Major General William Caldwell and his fellow aesthetes confine themselves to just the plastic arts when the full range is available to them? There's certainly enough skulls around to inspire a sculpture. Hmmmmmm ..... Maybe not - it's been done before:
I'm really not qualified to talk about art such as this. I can't appreciate it. I'm not Major General William Caldwell and I'm not Ilse Koch either.
So I'm going to stop talking about aesthetics and art. I'm going to stop before I get sick. Koch collected and commissioned "objets d'art" made from the bodies of concentration camp victims - such as those you see in the photo above. In particular she liked to collect "interesting" tattoos - flayed from murdered inmates' bodies. And those helpful Iraqis have already made a start on providing the raw material for a new art collection for a new generation of art connoisseurs:
These tattoos aren't artful - they help identify Iraq's dead
By Nancy A. Youssef
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Ali Abbas decided that his upper right thigh was the best place for a tattoo because no one gets tortured there.
He'd seen hundred of bodies in the city morgue and dozens of hospitals during his 18-day search for his missing uncle. He'd seen drill marks in swollen, often unrecognizable heads, slash marks across necks, bullet holes in backs, abdomens and swollen hands. He'd seen bodies that had been thrown into the river, so swollen they'd barely looked human. But by and large, the thighs had been intact.
So that's where he decided to have his name, address and phone number tattooed, in case the day comes when someone is searching for his body.
Tattoos are considered a sin in Islam, which holds that believers shouldn't deface their bodies. And tattoo shops are difficult to find in Baghdad. They're often in the basements of more reputable shops
But at least some tattoo shops are seeing more and more Iraqis who, like Abbas, are willing to risk offending Islam to ease their families' grief in the event of their deaths. The owner of one tattoo shop in central Baghdad admitted that he'd done such tattoos, but said he didn't want to talk about it for fear that he'd be killed.
That some Muslims are getting tattoos is an intimate reflection of national chaos, and an outward symbol of the inner turmoil the chaos has created.
There's nothing artful about these tattoos. The branding has the efficient look of a business card, written in clear, bland type.
"This is our life now," Abbas said as he explained why he doesn't think that having a tattoo makes him a bad Shiite. "I think this is the best way for my family to recognize me. Everyone knows in my family that I have it: my mother, my brother, my wife."
There's no way to know how many Iraqis have made Abbas' choice. Officials at Baghdad's morgue say they've used tattoos to identify bodies, but never one with a name and address. Police officers told McClatchy Newspapers that they've encountered bodies with names and phone numbers tattooed on them. They've called the numbers and let the families pick up the bodies instead of taking them to the morgue.
Jalal Ahmed, a police officer in southern Baghdad, said residents called his station three months ago because they'd found a body in the street. Fearful that a militia would kill them for approaching the body, they put off calling until dogs began eating it.
Ahmed found the tattoo: "The dogs had torn part of the clothes, and I saw a tattoo with his full name, on the upper part of one of his arms. He was Atheer Mohammad," Ahmed said. "We asked around, and nobody knew him. He was from a different neighborhood, so we called" the number.
Whatever the extent of its use, the decision to tattoo reflects the country's level of violence. It seems that anyone can be kidnapped and killed for any reason.
Abbas realized how possible that was a few days before he got the tattoo. "I saw two vehicles, and they took five people out and shot them in front of my eyes," he recalled. "I was about to drive away. They stared at me, and I thought they were going to shoot me too, but they drove away. And I thought, `What if I were one of the five people?' Nobody knows them. Everyone is scared. No one will help them."
There are few Iraqis who haven't had to search for family members who've been kidnapped, tortured and tossed in another neighborhood. Or who know of someone killed by a homemade bomb, a shooting or a car bombing. Or taken on the way home from work only to show up at the morgue days later. Or discovered by American soldiers in makeshift graves.
A family's search can take days, and frequently it doesn't turn up a body. The idea of not properly burying a loved one is almost as torturous to a pious Muslim as not knowing how or why the person died.
About 100 bodies are found each day nationwide. Most people have been taken from one neighborhood and killed in another.
In Baghdad, the morgue has become a Shiite-dominated wing of the Ministry of Health, and some Sunni Muslims dread going there to pick up loved ones for fear they'll be kidnapped while they're there. Some police officers are afraid to approach bodies in their communities, fearing that they've been booby-trapped.
Moreover, in the absence of an able nonsectarian security force, many assume that the government can't defend them from the raging ethnic and religious violence. In some cases, they charge that the government is contributing to it.
Abbas, 24, who cuts meat off kabob racks for a living, lives in Kefah, a poorer western Baghdad neighborhood. He has a car, and his neighbors often ask him where he got the money to purchase one. He worries that the decision to kill could be fickle.
"They ask: How did I get it? And they don't know that I work hard. Maybe they will kill me for this car."
Abbas' uncle, Hussein Ali Jassim, disappeared four months ago after leaving his shift at a police station in western Baghdad. The family waited for the ransom call, and when it didn't come, Abbas searched for him, first at the hospitals, where he asked to see the refrigerated bodies, then twice at the morgue. When he didn't find him, "I figured he was still being tortured."
On his third morgue visit, he saw a photo of a swollen face that he thought might be his uncle's. But he wasn't sure until he saw the tattoo on the right arm, a heart surrounded by his uncle's and aunt's initials.
Abbas was shaken by his uncle's death. He decided to brand himself when a friend, policeman Ahmad Ali, 23, showed him his tattoo.
Ali said he got a tattoo with his name, address and phone number because he walked by a wall in his precinct every day showing the faces of the 60 officers who'd died violently, many of them after they'd been kidnapped.
Now officers share with one another where they can get tattoos. "Getting tattoos has become very popular among policemen and national guards," Ali said. "We're kidnapped all the time. This is the only way we will be returned home. We face death every day."
Abbas didn't consult anyone before he got his tattoo, and his wife and mother cried when they saw it. He said he planned to have his two younger brothers tattooed when they're older.
"My mother was blaming me: `Why are you bringing death to yourself?' I told her it was just a precaution," Abbas said. "I don't assume I will die. Ultimately, it's up to God whether I live or die."
McClatchy Newspapers special correspondent Zaineb Obeid contributed to this report from Baghdad.
Hmmmm .... Just numbers, no interesting pictures, how disappointing that must be for the art-loving Major General William Caldwell. Still to paraphrase his boss "You build your art collection with the tattoos you have, not the tattoos you might want or wish to have at a later time."
"There has never been an American army as violent and murderous as the one in Iraq"
"The bad news," investigative reporter Seymour Hersh told a Montreal audience last Wednesday, "is that there are 816 days left in the reign of King George II of America."
The good news? "When we wake up tomorrow morning, there will be one less day."
Hersh, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine, has been a thorn in the side of the U.S. government for nearly 40 years. Since his 1969 exposé of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, which is widely believed to have helped turn American public opinion against the Vietnam War, he has broken news about the secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia, covert C.I.A. attempts to overthrow Chilean president Salvador Allende, and, more recently, the first details about American soldiers abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
During his hour-and-a-half lecture - part of the launch of an interdisciplinary media and communications studies program called Media@McGill - Hersh described video footage depicting U.S. atrocities in Iraq, which he had viewed, but not yet published a story about.
He described one video in which American soldiers massacre a group of people playing soccer.
"Three U.S. armed vehicles, eight soldiers in each, are driving through a village, passing candy out to kids," he began. "Suddenly the first vehicle explodes, and there are soldiers screaming. Sixteen soldiers come out of the other vehicles, and they do what they're told to do, which is look for running people."
"Never mind that the bomb was detonated by remote control," Hersh continued. "[The soldiers] open up fire; [the] cameras show it was a soccer game."
"About ten minutes later, [the soldiers] begin dragging bodies together, and they drop weapons there. It was reported as 20 or 30 insurgents killed that day," he said.
If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans, Hersh said.
"In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation," he said. "It isn't happening now, but I will tell you - there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq."
Hersh came out hard against President Bush for his involvement in the Middle East.
"In Washington, you can't expect any rationality. I don't know if he's in Iraq because God told him to, because his father didn't do it, or because it's the next step in his 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program," he said.
Hersh hinted that the responsibility for the invasion of Iraq lies with eight or nine members of the administration who have a "neo-conservative agenda" and dictate the U.S.'s post-September 11 foreign policy.
"You have a collapsed Congress, you have a collapsed press. The military is going to do what the President wants," Hersh said. "How fragile is democracy in America, if a president can come in with an agenda controlled by a few cultists?"
Throughout his talk Hersh remained pessimistic, predicting that the U.S. will initiate an attack against Iran, and that the situation in Iraq will deteriorate further.
"There's no reason to see a change in policy about Iraq. [Bush] thinks that, in twenty years, he's going to be recognized for the leader he was - the analogy he uses is Churchill," Hersh said. "If you read the public statements of the leadership, they're so confident and so calm…. It's pretty scary."
From the mail-box:
I got an email today from a correspondent in Karbala who was at a news conference yesterday organised by the "Iraq Without Violence Network." They're an umbrella organisation for more than Iraq civil society organisations spread throughout Iraq. The Net's main objective is to try to curb the violence in Iraq.
According to IWVN at least 90,000 Iraqis were killed or wounded over the last ten months in Iraq. According to Jalal Abdul-Hameed al-Hasnawi, the current head of IWVN
He broke down the violence as follows:
What about the contribution of the American
Muridi market in Sadr city is where you go if you want to buy a scooter, or a motorbike, or parts for one. It's a warren of work shops and stalls and the one time I was brought there you could hardly move for people none of whom were what you could call prosperous and all of them on the look out for a bargain.
The first panel of the composite graphic to the left is very typical of what I saw when I was there. You bring your scooter to the mechanic and you, he, and his mates sit around and chat while he does whatever it is that needs doing.
Muridi was attacked today by a bomber. The method chosen was to rig a motorbike with explosives and the results were very satisfactory from a bomber's point of view. So far the casualty toll is 9 nine dead and 46 wounded.
PS: As always with the material here feel free to save and re-use any of the graphics or text. The graphics are always optimised for web usage. A larger version of the graphic in this posting can be found here (filesize 44.68 kB [45754 bytes]) - mfi
Baghdad is under siege
Sunni insurgents have cut the roads linking the city to the rest of Iraq. The country is being partitioned as militiamen fight bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital.
As American and British political leaders argue over responsibility for the crisis in Iraq, the country has taken another lurch towards disintegration.
Well-armed Sunni tribes now largely surround Baghdad and are fighting Shia militias to complete the encirclement.
The Sunni insurgents seem to be following a plan to control all the approaches to Baghdad. They have long held the highway leading west to the Jordanian border and east into Diyala province. Now they seem to be systematically taking over routes leading north and south.
Dusty truck-stop and market towns such as Mahmoudiyah, Balad and Baquba all lie on important roads out of Baghdad. In each case Sunni fighters are driving out the Shia and tightening their grip on the capital. Shias may be in a strong position within Baghdad but they risk their lives when they take to the roads. Some 30 Shias were dragged off a bus yesterday after being stopped at a fake checkpoint south of Balad.
In some isolated neighbourhoods in Baghdad, food shortages are becoming severe. Shops are open for only a few hours a day. "People have been living off water melon and bread for the past few weeks," said one Iraqi from the capital. The city itself has broken up into a dozen or more hostile districts, the majority of which are controlled by the main Shia militia, the Mehdi Army.
The scale of killing is already as bad as Bosnia at the height of the Balkans conflict. An apocalyptic scenario could well emerge - with slaughter on a massive scale. As America prepares its exit strategy, the fear in Iraq is of a genocidal conflict between the Sunni minority and the Shias in which an entire society implodes. Individual atrocities often obscure the bigger picture where:
No target is too innocent. Yesterday a bomb tore through a party of wedding guests in Ur, on the outskirts of Sadr City, killing 15 people, including four children. Iraqi wedding parties are very identifiable, with coloured streamers attached to the cars and cheering relatives hanging out the windows.
Amid all this, Dick Cheney, the US Vice-President, has sought to turn the fiasco of Iraq into a vote-winner with his claim that the Iraqi insurgents have upped their attacks on US forces in a bid to influence the mid-term elections. There is little evidence to support this. In fact, the number of American dead has risen steadily this year from 353 in January to 847 in September and will be close to one thousand in October.
And there is growing confusion over the role of the US military. In Sadr City, the sprawling slum in the east of the capital that is home to 2.5 million people, American soldiers have been setting up barriers of cement blocks and sandbags after a US soldier was abducted, supposedly by the Mehdi Army. The US also closed several of the bridges across the Tigris river making it almost impossible to move between east and west Baghdad. Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, added to the sense of chaos yesterday when he ordered the US army to end its Sadr City siege.
Mr Maliki has recently criticised the US for the failure of its security policy in Iraq and resisted American pressure to eliminate the militias. Although President Bush and Tony Blair publicly handed back sovereignty to Iraq in June 2004, Mr Maliki said: "I am now Prime Minister and overall commander of the armed forces yet I cannot move a single company without Coalition [US and British] approval."
In reality the militias are growing stronger by the day because the Shia and Sunni communities feel threatened and do not trust the army and police to defend them. US forces have been moving against the Mehdi Army, which follows the nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, but he is an essential prop to Mr Maliki's government. Almost all the main players in Iraqi politics maintain their own militias. The impotence of US forces to prevent civil war is underlined by the fact that the intense fighting between Sunni and Shia around Balad, north of Baghdad, has raged for a month, although the town is beside one of Iraq's largest American bases. The US forces have done little and when they do act they are seen by the Shia as pursuing a feud against the Mehdi Army.
One eyewitness in Balad said two US gunships had attacked Shia positions on Sunday killing 11 people and seriously wounding six more, several of whom lost legs and arms. He added that later two Iraqi regular army platoons turned up in Balad with little military equipment. When they were asked by locals why their arms were so poor "the reply was that they were under strict orders by the US commander from the [nearby] Taji camp not to intervene and they were stripped of their rocket-propelled grenade launchers".
Another ominous development is that Iraqi tribes that often used to have both Sunni and Shia members are now splitting along sectarian lines.
In Baghdad it has become lethally dangerous for a Sunni to wander into a Shia neighbourhood and vice versa. In one middle-class district called al-Khudat, in west Baghdad, once favoured by lawyers and judges, the remaining Shia families recently found a cross in red paint on their doors. Sometimes there is also a note saying "leave without furniture and without renting your house". Few disobey.
All emphases added.
U.S. Military Adopts Desperate Tactics
FALLUJAH, Oct 31 (IPS) - Increased violence is being countered by harsh new measures across the Sunni-dominated al-Anabar province west of Baghdad, residents say.
"Thousands have been killed here by the Multi-National Forces (MNF) and Iraqi allies, and the situation is getting worse every day," a member of the Fallujah city council speaking on condition of anonymity told IPS. "We have no role to play because the Americans always prefer violent solutions that have led from one disaster to another."
The violence appears to be affecting the civilian population far more than it is stifling the resistance. The suffering of people in Fallujah increases by the day, and the number of resistance snipers appears to be increasing in response to the U.S. use of snipers against civilians.
"In fact it is many more snipers now, considering the number of incidents that have taken place," Sebri Ahmed from the local police told IPS. "Our men are terrified, and the majority of them have quit after serious threats of getting killed, like our three main leaders."
General Hudhairi Abbas, former deputy police chief of Fallujah was killed two months ago. Colonel Ahmed Dirii was killed soon after, and last week the police leader of al-Anbar, General Shaaban al-Janabi, was assassinated in front of his family house in Fallujah.
There are now no police patrols on the streets of Fallujah, and the only policemen around remain inside their main station.
"How come those three Fallujan born officers were killed while the Fallujah police leader General Salah Aati was hiding behind concrete barriers," a police officer said. Aati lives in the green zone of Baghdad, a highly barricaded government area.
Meanwhile, attacks against occupation forces have increased in frequency and severity. On Eid recently, four U.S. Humvees in a convoy were destroyed by roadside bombs.
"Four firemen were killed by the U.S. army because they were late to get to the four burning hummers," a young man who witnessed the attack told IPS. "They were not killed by mistake, they were killed in front of many people."
The U.S. military has admitted that it killed three firemen by mistake because they were suspected to be militants.
"The Americans brought five dead civilians whom they shot in the city streets in revenge for their casualties," a man at the former football field now called Martyrs Graveyard told IPS. "We are going to need another graveyard, this one is going to be full soon." All semblance of normal living in the province is disappearing. Saif al-Juboori, a student at the University of al-Anbar in Ramadi says this will be a wasted year for thousands of students.
Despite the punishing tactics of the occupation forces, people appear unwilling to cooperate with local officials or the U.S. military against local fighters.
"We are back to point zero," a senior officer in the Ministry of Interior told IPS. "Our forces are either loyal to militias and political parties or too powerless to do their duties."
"Every one who fights the American occupation has our full support," Yassin Hussein, a 30-year-old teacher in Ramadi told IPS. "They lied to us all the time, and it is time for them to admit their terrible failure and leave. Let them go rebuild New Orleans."
Hussein said resistance fighters are the only force able to keep local peace and keep criminal gangs in check. "The Americans are too busy trying to take care of their own security to care about Iraqis."
Full article here.
Jaafer Mohammed was two years old he and his mother were killed in crossfire between police and gunmen in Baqouba today. The lady holding his body is his grandmother.
Am I anti-American? For as long as they behave like this you're damn right I am. When a people set themselves up as being intrinsically superior to everyone else. A master nation who will brook no opposition, who are entitled to do as they will, then the slaughter of the innocents is the inevitable result. Take a good look at your handiwork. I hope you're fucking proud of yourselves.
"US forces can also expect to face the fury of local people.
American troops hunting for a kidnapped comrade have this week mounted road blocks and patrols around the fringes of Sadr City, and many blamed the forces for failing to prevent the attack.
"The responsibility for this attack lies with the occupying forces," said Hamdallah Rikabi, a spokesman for Sadr's movement.
"Everybody knows that before this, this was a secure city and deploying the occupier's forces is just harming our security," he said. ………
The bombing in Sadr City was one of many today. According to Aswataliraq the toll now reaches 42 dead and 104 wounded. The death toll is going to go up because many of the wounded are not going to survive. The Sadr city bombing killed at least 28 and wounded at least 60. The other bombings were:
The British are being forced to move their consulate in Basra to the safety of the local airbase. That's a very clear indication of how bad things are for the American led occupation. How so? Well the British consulate is occupation HQ for the entire south. They can't even secure their HQ anymore.
|I've had it with this inferior crap from blogger, and will be moving this site in it's entirety to it's own domain within a matter of weeks. I'll keep you posted.|
She's holding her dead son's body. He's just one of the many dead caused by the corrupt, illegal, and racist war against the people of Iraq waged by America and her allies. Y'all have a nice day now.
|Blogger are having a huge amount of problems with server down time and software errors. In particular there are a LOT of problems publishing. If you plan on posting anything on your blog for the next while save a copy of your work on your own computer as well as trying to publish it on blogger - or be prepared to lose your work.|
"Today In Iraq" is getting a makeover
Some time ago Matt asked on behalf of the editors for somebody with web coding skills to contact him with a view to fixing the various bugs in the code for Today In Iraq and give the place a general make over.
As I've a lot of experience in the field and for a while was a lecturer in the topic, I volunteered, and am now TII's site administrator in my "spare time."
I'm developing a new site structure for "Today in Iraq" and at this point the code is sufficiently bug free that I'm running it in parallel at this location:
I plan on running the parallel site for about a month. Thereafter I'll migrate the code and republish "Today In Iraq" so that it takes on its new structure and appearance.
The aim is that the place should have the "look and feel" of a professional news site.
I'll be staying on as site admin after the "new look" is launched. Partly to provide on-going assistance to the editors, and partly to make sure that when blogger.com launch their new version 2.0 of blogspot that there's as little dispruption as possible to the readers and editors.I'd be very grateful if you'd take the time to look over the new design and leave a comment there on your thoughts. Thanks.
I particulary like Bush as a fly. A disease carrying irritating pest that ought to have been swatted a long time ago is a great description of the current American president.
PS: For those of you who don't know about "Creature comforts" they're a classic of animation. A series of interviews with animals in a zoo about their lives. I particularly liked the Brazilian lion complaining about the British weather. "Name it and I go!!!" If you don't mind watching an ad you can see the whole thing here I suggest you select windows media player as the player, the sound on the other two players isn't great - mfi
According to Karl Rove the US military must be flexible in Iraq.Rove: Military must be flexible in Iraq This man with no military experience, with no relatives in danger, who encouraged his country into an illegal and racist war doesn't give a damn about the US military - or anything else other than political power. Pedophile congressmen, corrupt and thieving republcan politicians, weeping families,they're all just a means to an end to him and the party he serves.
It is difficult to be flexible when you're dead