Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Iraqis Still in a 'Disastrous' Situation

This was the headline for a very small article in the Washington Post Express at the end of last week. For those of you outside of DC, the Express is an abbreviated newspaper that the Washington Post provides for free to people riding the subway.

Since the article was so small, I'll post it all here for you:

Millions of Iraqis are in a "disastrous" situation that is getting worse, with mothers appealing for someone to pick up the bodies littering the street so their children will be spared the horror of looking at them, the International
Red Cross said Wednesday.

"The conflict in Iraq is inflicting immense suffering on the entire population," the agency said in a report. "Every day dozens of people are killed and many more wounded."

"The humanitarian situation is steadily worsening," said the report, which went beyond the neutral agency's usual appeals for all sides to protect civilians, as required by the Geneva Conventions.

This is the coverage that this report received. Pathetic. The International Red Cross is perhaps the most unbiased source of information on what the situation is like on the ground there.

Despite John McCain's bogus claim that the market in Baghdad was so nice that his delegation "could just walk around" and Lindsey Graham's exciting purchase of "two rugs for five bucks", things are not going well there. (Did you see the dozens of military body guards surrounding his delegation?) McCain further said that the full story isn't being told about Iraq. When I first heard him say that, I thought it was the first step in him adjusting his position and to begin assuming a reasonable posture on the issue. Not so much.

I would venture to say that the average Iraqi was better off under the reign of Saddam Hussein. Perhaps that is controversial because of how he has been villainized in American culture. By the way, that is a characterization which is not commonplace worldwide. Hussein was no angel, but he was able to rule a nation which is divided by major cultural and religious differences without a civil war.

Speaker Pelosi is meeting with President Bush today to discuss the Iraq Accountability Act. The Washington Post released a poll today that says 58% of Americans trust Democrats in Congress to do the right thing in Iraq and only 33% trust President Bush to do the right thing. Accordingly, Pelosi should stand firm on her position. To do otherwise would betray the trust of the American public.

Further, Democratic solidarity is incredibly important. This poll shows that more than two full weeks of offense by the White House has not moved public opinion. We still have the advantage. Stand together and do the right thing.

There are reasonable Republicans who want to support benchmarks and a time line. A united Democratic front will give them more of a reason to break ranks with the 'Blank Check' policy the White House wants to continue with. Irresponsible comments by Leading Democrats make it harder for these Republicans to join us by giving the Administration a reason to continue pressuring these lawmakers.

Let's keep hammering away on this issue. We're losing Americans everyday in a war that was based on false pretenses.


Otto Praline said...

Lane, Lane.... while I can agree that the war was started under false pretences, let us not start revisionism of Saddam Hussein as a leader: "Hussein was no angel, but he was able to rule a nation which is divided by major cultural and religious differences without a civil war."

The way that was achieved was through an Iraqi version of apartheid based on the tenets of his hero, Josef Stalin. There are numerous quotes from Saddam concerning his admiration for the methods of Stalin in organizing society. Saddam's preferred method was power to a minority, the Sunni's, and an iron rule over the two larger groups in Iraqi society, the Kurds and the Shia. This iron rule resulted in the gassing of Kurds, the rape, torture and murder of thousands of Shia and the systematic genocide of the marsh Arabs. Civil War is not a pleasant or desired thing, but it is irresponsible and ignorant to claim that Saddam held power in any other way than through a ruthless, homicidal, totalitarian minority based police state.

If the case for war had been based on these grounds, then at least it would have been a fair vote whether it passed or not, and it would have preferable to base eventual action on well-documented cases of extreme human rights abuses. Much better than secret information that was stove-piped to the Vice-President's office that analysts in the intelligence community could not verify.

Despite all that has gone wrong with the war and however unjustifiable it may be on the grounds that it was based on, let us not lose sight of Saddam's true nature and the cruelty of his rule. By ignoring that you are being dishonest and you are undermining an otherwise sound polemic on what needs to be done now.

Elaine said...

Right on otto! Wake up Lane!

newsfortheleft said...

Otto and Elaine:

I certainly don't mean to suggest that Hussein was anything other than a cruel dictator. What I mean to suggest is that we're no better, and perhaps worse for the Iraqi population.

See the update that I did on Huffington Post to see background information on how we may have caused twice the number of civilian deaths in four years of occupation than Hussein did in 25 years of rule.

David S. Brown said...

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Drop me a note.....


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