"Twin car bombs targeted two government buildings in downtown Baghdad Sunday, wrecking pillars of the state's authority and cutting like a scythe through snarled traffic during the morning rush hour. The government said at least 132 people were killed and 520 wounded in one of the worst attacks in Baghdad.
The first bomb struck an intersection near the Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works at around 10:15 a.m. on the first day of the Iraqi work week, when streets are always more crowded. Less than a minute later, a second blast targeted the Baghdad provincial headquarters, draped in a sign heralding its renovation.
The bombings bore the hallmarks of an attack Aug. 19 that targeted the Finance and Foreign Ministries, also killing more than 100 people. Unlike the carnage unleashed by attacks in crowded mosques, restaurants and markets, aimed at igniting sectarian strife, these blasts appeared to rely on a distinct political calculus, designed to undermine faith in the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has staked his political future on restoring a semblance of security to the war-wrecked country.
"This is part of the struggle over power in Iraq, and Iraqis will have to sacrifice themselves for it," said Mohammed al-Rubai, an opponent of Maliki who serves as a member of the Baghdad provincial council. "Everyone in charge shares responsibility." " Shadid
Homage to those who have bled for this piece of s–t. Homage to those who soldier on there.
The "Surge" + the "rent an Iraqi sheikh" program + an acceptance of the intra-shia struggle for political power, these were the ingredients in reducing the level of violence in Iraq. None of that soved the essential political problem in the country.
That situation could have continued indefinitely but American naivete and belief in the nonsense of nation-state building have led us to walk away from our Sunni clients and now they are angry at what they see as betrayal. Are the abna al-'iraq (Sons of Iraq) directly involved or are they just sitting on their hands? Does it matter? pl
Aren’t you just thrilled that Bush/Cheney say we will have an enduring relationship with the Iraqis? Me neither.
Col., you would have done things right unlike the Neocons, Coinsist, Profiteer, etc.
We can not make people love each other or democracy, same thing is going to happen in Afghanistan.
At least there is some sort of political process in Iraq. The problem, the process are all largely invisible to external power. (players, what the political conversations are, the mechanics, the bargaining, how the players think) Iraqis also came out of Saddam military regime, so a lot of group, Shi’a for eg., knows how to keep their game secret.
Two biggest principle organisations that hold modern Iraq in place, The Iraqi military and Ba’ath party, were destroyed. The transition was fairly abrupt and violent, and the country was shattered to pieces. So the best one can hope is that Iraq can regenerate some sort of political leadership that will put Iraq back together again. Large external power hopefully will not push competing interest too hard. Because none of them is strong enough to be lone credible player inside Iraq. (US, Iran, Syria, Russia)
With the way things are going, probably some ultra nationalist leader will get elected. One that can promise to unite and never again be occupied. He has to latched Iraq onto some stable power that can supply capital and technology. It’ll end up in super militarized state for sure. Probably a young charismatic military leader backed by clique of old generals. (sort of Saddam version 2.0)
Whatever it is, I hate to be a kurd. They are living on borrowed time for sure. Kuwaitis are pretty much in the same position too.
Iraq is just another example of western shortsightedness in realpolitik. Losing the war in Afghanistan in around 2010-11 will be another.
Is long term planning and consistancy incompatible with liberal democracy?
Perhaps it is. pl
Q: To those more knowledgeable than I.
The ministries were devastated by car (not truck) bombs from outside the concrete blast guards, which were blown away by the explosion. does this suggest far more advanced explosives and knowledge than has commonly been used to date by the insurgency?
Since we are going to be getting out soon does it matter to our national interests if the Iraqi’s engage their internal power struggle violently?
Should we care other than as humans for the victims who are mostly innocent civilian bystanders? And of course some guilt for being the catalyst of the “New Iraq”.
I wonder how much more relevant Gresham’s law can possibly be? Bad coin always drives good coin into hiding.
“Is long term planning and consistancy incompatible with liberal democracy?” This is a great question and I think that one of the problems with our system right now is multiple allegiances that politicians are trying to satisfy now.
It is naive to assume that they are legislating and governing on behalf of the electorate. They are legislating on behalf of their own pocketbooks and their future employment prospects in the private sector.
There needs to be some way of eliminating the incentives politicians now have to ignore the largely impotent, unimportant average citizen.
I never was sure how you felt about Iraq, as your site started in 2006 or so, but above you said this, “Homage to those who have bled for this piece of s–t.”. Ddoes that mean you didn’t think it was a good idea at the time? Or at any time? I’ve always wondered, because I value your judgement.
First off, I’d like to say that I was 110% opposed to the Iraq invasion from the very first time it was mentioned and proposed. Also, without question America bears a huge degree of responsibility for the suffering that has and is occurring there. But that being said, I sometimes feel that the point is sometimes missed that the Iraqis are doing a pretty good job of murdering each other all by themselves.
Yes, America should have never invaded and yes that invasion unleashed a blood bath.But such a blood bath would not have been possible without the murderous hatred that had always and continues to permeate Iraqi society.
I am saddened and ashamed of the failures of the previous American administration, but I can only think that the current plans to remove American involvement from Iraq and leave Iraq to the Iraqis is the only sane course. America may have unleashed this horror, but America is not forcing Iraqis to blow each other up in street markets. They are making that decision on their own.
I am no pacifist, but some wars are just stupid. This was one such. Once we were engaged there was no choice but to support the armed forces, but it is still a stupid war, fought for the absurd neocon goal of triggering revolutionary social and ideological change in the Islamic World. The underlying thought being the poltical science inspired stupidity that only Western culture is legitimate,
See my 2004 article “Drinking the Koolaid.” pl
Yep, and there was today’ s op-Ed piece in the ny times by Tom Friedman calling for a renewed American effort to create a tranformed Iraq, Maliki as Shia Sunni bridge builer ect. Insane.
I always thought it was a war to stroke some huge egos with tiny minds.
Note for the record that Islam is part of Western Culture.
REREADING William McNeil’s 1963 “Rise of the West” and astounded at my failed memory of how much time he spends on Islam, and how he also spends great deal of time on India and China. Available very cheaply from Amazon but still an amazing book. The first historian I know of that dealt with the influence of Pandemics on civilization. In a later book focused solely on that subject. If Islam is the “other” so dreaded by many than it is in part a reflection of Christendom and Judiasm also factors in the rise of the WEST!
Shadid nails it (WaPo 10/26):
“With an attack Aug. 19 that killed about 100 people, insurgents have now wrecked an array of pillars of the state’s authority: the Foreign, Finance, Justice, and Municipalities and Public Works ministries, along with the Baghdad provincial headquarters, which are all gathered in a fortified swath of downtown.”
The “Surge” + the “rent an Iraqi sheikh” program + an acceptance of the intra-shia struggle for political power, these were the ingredients in reducing the level of violence in Iraq. None of that soved the essential political problem in the country.
Before the Iraq War began, the contention that Iraq would be a cakewalk struck me as a lot of Shi’ite.
I was wrong; it has been a lot of sheik.
A mentor of mine several decades ago was a Foreign Service Officer who had started out in Spain in the 1930s, then was with Murphy in North Africa, then went on to become an Ambassador later in his career, etc.
I once asked him what he thought was the main problem in US foreign policy formulation.
“Naivete,” he said.
Given the fact that we have been out in the Middle East continuously since the founding of this Republic, it is hard to explain WHY we seem so naive in this century. Then there is the matter of design, etc.
“The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim….”
Washington’s Farwell Address http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp
I didn’t really think you were gung ho on this project, but just wanted to clarify.
I’ve read “Drinking the Koolaid”. I guess I’m just amazed at that group think.
When I read your comment earlier today I laughed out loud. That’s really bad.
“The whole of the Balkans is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.”
This whole fiasco seems to bring new meaning to the words of Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck.