The Light at the End of the Tunnel as Oncoming Train (Iraqi Weekend Edition)

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Suspected Shiite gunmen went on a rampage in western Baghdad on Sunday, pulling Sunnis from cars and off the street and killing at least 41 people as hard-line cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for an emergency parliamentary session. In yet another serious crime laid at US troops' door in recent weeks, five soldiers were charged in a rape and multiple murder case, as documents showed the rape victim was a minor aged just 14, and not over 20 as US officials had claimed.

As evening fell, two car bombs struck Al-Timim Shiite Mosque in Baghdad, killing 17 people and wounding 38.

Whole Lebanon Daily Star account here.

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  1. What can be said?? It is a mess.

  2. Is that a new rape allegation? Or is this the one where the girl and her family were killed by the rapists?

  3. The Wine Commonsewer,

    Alleged rapists. And no, that isn’t me picking a side.

  4. “Suspected Shiite gunmen went on a rampage in western Baghdad on Sunday, pulling Sunnis from cars and off the street and killing at least 41 people * * * five soldiers were charged in a rape and multiple murder case * * * As evening fell, two car bombs struck Al-Timim Shiite Mosque in Baghdad, killing 17 people and wounding 38.”

    This is obviously just more proof of the defeatist media. Why don’t they report on the hundreds of thousands of Baghdad resident not shot, raped, or blown up?

  5. It’s not a civil war until they all dress up in blue and grey uniforms and shoot at each other with muzzle- loaders. And burn Atlanta.

  6. documents showed the rape victim was a minor aged just 14, and not over 20 as US officials had claimed

    Raping and killing a 20-year-old civilian isn’t so bad, but doing it to a 14-year-old is simply beyond the pale.

    I’m sure her last thoughts were “Thank Allah Saddam and his rape rooms are gone. When I’m being raped and murdered by Americans I accept this as the price I must pay for my country’s freedom, but when I’m raped and murdered by Ba’athists I know something is horribly wrong with the world.”

    If Steven Green is found guilty I hope he gets the death penalty, but all the same I think the administration should just admit that our “win the Iraqis’ hearts and minds” campaign is a failure.

  7. The insurgents as the Amish characters in Witness. “What are you gonna to next? Are you gonna kill him? Are you gonna kill her? Are you gonna kill ’em all?” (IIRC)

  8. Oh for the good old days, when the trains ran on time.

  9. PL, 🙂 I see you and raise you one. The girl and her family were actually killed by rapists (I think). It is just a question of who the rapists were. Or, maybe we don’t know if the rapists killed the girl or maybe she and her family were killed by someone else after she was raped by rapists.

    We’re pretty sure the rape and killing happened, which makes the use of that terminology okay so long as yours truly doesn’t say something like is this the same girl and her family that was raped and killed by American GI’s. The thought of which actually makes my stomach roil.

  10. If Steven Green is found guilty I hope he gets the death penalty, but all the same I think the administration should just admit that our “win the Iraqis’ hearts and minds” campaign is a failure.

    However, our “win the Iraqis’ vaginas” campaign is going swimmingly.

  11. Well let’s hope this doesn’t ignite any sectarian violence!

    …nothing to see here. Everything’s going as planned. Move along!

  12. I’ll let you guys in on a little secret concerning the minds of women: it’s not that we mind being raped and murdered, it’s that we mind being raped and murdered by a guy in the wrong uniform.

    JENNIFER’S HIERARCHY OF RAPISTS’ UNIFORMS

    American uniforms: totally awesome. Such men do not cause “vaginal lacerations” but “patriotic shortcuts.” I’m sure every woman reading this totally envies that little Iraqi girl.

    Arab nationalist uniforms: yucko. No woman wants “Allah akbar” to be the last words she hears before being strangled into unconsciousness.

    A uniform from any Star Trek episode: marginally better than the Arab uniform, maybe, unless the guy is also wearing Vulcan ears or a Klingon forehead prosthesis.

    American uniforms: totally fantastically orgasmically awesome. (I mentioned this already, but it bears repeating.)

    No wonder the Iraqis love us so.

  13. Hey, WTF? Everyone knows Arab nationalists don’t rape arab women . . . they’re far too busy buggering young bangladeshi boys. No, it’s only evil american soldiers (you know, the handful out of the THOUSANDS OF US LOSING OUR FRIGGING MINDS OVER THERE IN THE ASSHOLE OF HELL) who could possibly ever commit such atrocities.

  14. “The Iraqi people are now free. And they do not have to worry about the secret police coming after them in the middle of the night, and they don’t have to worry about their husbands and brothers being taken off and shot, or their wives being taken to rape rooms. Those days are over.”?Paul Bremer, Administrator, [Iraq] Coalition Provisional Authority, Sept. 2, 2003

    (This is true. In the bad old days the Iraqis had to leave their homes to get shot or raped; now the shooters and rapists make house calls. That’s called progress.)

    “Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers.”?President Bush, remarks to 2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala, Oct. 8, 2003

    “One thing is for certain: There won’t be any more mass graves and torture rooms and rape rooms.”?Bush, press availability in Monterrey, Mexico, Jan. 12, 2004

    (Haditha doesn’t count as a mass grave because the bodies weren’t actually buried.)

    “Saddam Hussein now sits in a prison cell, and Iraqi men and women are no longer carried to torture chambers and rape rooms ?”?Bush, remarks on “Winston Churchill and the War on Terror,” Feb. 4, 2004

    Every woman in Iraq is better off because the rape rooms and torture chambers of Saddam Hussein are forever closed.”?Bush, remarks on “Efforts to Globally Promote Women’s Human Rights,” March 12, 2004

    (Before anyone accuses Bush of being disingenuous here, let me point out that a 14-year-old is not technically a ‘woman.’)

    ***

    In all sincerity, it’s good that at least the military is going to prosecute this vile waste of DNA rather than cover up his crimes. But how many individual atrocities can members of an occupying army commit before the army as a whole can stop laying claim to the moral high ground?

  15. Well that’s really important to know, JenD. …so um…does this mean one of your heroes linked to this post and a lot of people who might find your comment persuasive are about to enlighten us?

    …Honestly, on hearing about those soldiers being charged, I hadn’t really considered the Banladeshi Boy angle. …uh…thanks for nothin’.

    “Suspected Shiite gunmen went on a rampage in western Baghdad on Sunday, pulling Sunnis from cars and off the street and killing at least 41 people as hard-line cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for an emergency parliamentary session… As evening fell, two car bombs struck Al-Timim Shiite Mosque in Baghdad, killing 17 people and wounding 38.”

    So tell us, JenD, are you concerned about sectarian violence? …Do you think Iraq is pretty much going as planned?

  16. So tell us, JenD, are you concerned about sectarian violence? …Do you think Iraq is pretty much going as planned?

    Of course. Sending all of our murdering rapists over there keeps all of their murdering terrorists from coming over here. It’s a win/win situation.

  17. Look, Ken, I wasn’t making a comment on the state of affairs in Iraq. I’m just sick to death of the image of deranged american soldiers hacking up babies and raping everything they can find with a hole attached. Yes, individual soldiers in Iraq have made disgusting, deplorable decisions. I’m with Jennifer in hoping they get fried, and fast. But they are a very small percentage, in comparison those of us who are actually trying to do whatever good we can before the whole place blows up in our faces. Sorry if I’m “off-thread,” in your opinion, but this one is grating on a nerve for me.

  18. At least they aren’t occupied by the russian army.

  19. I’m just sick to death of the image of deranged american soldiers hacking up babies and raping everything they can find with a hole attached.

    Hypothetical situation: I’m minding my own business, when one day the local chief of police tells me “Jennifer, we’re going to assign a bodyguard to you 24 hours a day. This is necessary; it’s for your own protection.” And I keep arguing that no, I don’t need or want a bodyguard, but the chief says I have no choice. So my home and my privacy are invaded by this bodyguard. And he turns out to be a bad egg, and rapes me.

    I’ll take the chief at his word–his intention was to protect me, not get me raped. And certainly, the chief of police did NOT tell the bodyguard to attack me, and now that it’s happened the bodyguard is in HUGE legal trouble. Nonetheless, the chief of police does bear a lot of responsibility for what happened. HE is the one who forced me to be in the vicinity of this bodyguard. And that this crime happened in the name of keeping me safe and free just makes it all the more odious.

    We invaded Iraq under false pretenses, and when that falsehood was exposed we made up an after-the-fact justification of “freeing them from the horrors of Saddam.” So, since our current official excuse for invasion is “it’s for their own good,” we’re going to have to expect to be held to a very high standard (assuming “don’t rape or kill teenage girls” is all that high).

    That one question I asked was a sincere one: how many atrocities can individual members of an invading force commit before the invasion as a whole becomes morally tainted?

    I think we’ve long since passed that number.

  20. Hyperbole, cynicism and sarcasm have driven out rational discourse at the blog level.

  21. Jennifer,

    At least American GIs have better breath than those rancid Baathists. I’m sure if Al-Hurra did a “Nationality I’d Most Like To Be Raped By” survey of Iraqi girls, we’d win in a landslide.

  22. Crimethink, just last night I was reading a piece about Germany at the end of World War Two, and how the German civilian women did all they could to make sure they were captured by the Americans rather than the Russians, because the Russian army guys would rape you but the Americans would not. And Nazi Germany was a much greater monster than these amorphous Islamic threats could ever be. We were able to fight that monster without turning into monsters ourselves. So what the hell happened to us since then? Where did we go wrong?

    I have some sympathy for the argument that the sweetest nicest guy in the world might transform into something vile if he stays in Iraq long enough. Constant mental and physical stress certainly has an ill effect on the human mind. But if the only way we can fight this bullshit war is to turn young American men into psychopaths, then it isn’t worth it. Especially since this wasn’t a war of necessity, but a purely optional war.

  23. I’m just sick to death of the image of deranged american soldiers hacking up babies and raping everything they can find with a hole attached.

    It’s estimated that, on average, someone drives drunk about 2,000 times before they’re caught once. While I don’t know if the statistic is accurate or not, I’m worried that something similar may be the case here. As far as I can tell, it’s only sheer luck on the part of the investigators that this crime was discovered in the first place.

  24. Though it is too late for thousands of dead and wounded Americans, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and the severely crippled image of the United States, bring the troops home – NOW.

  25. I’m just sick to death of the image of deranged american soldiers hacking up babies and raping everything they can find with a hole attached.

    It’s estimated that, on average, someone drives drunk about 2,000 times before they’re caught once. While I don’t know if the statistic is accurate or not, I’m worried that something similar may be the case here. As far as I can tell, it’s only sheer luck on the part of the investigators that this crime was discovered in the first place.

  26. SR,

    Fortunately no one ever noticed when Saddam did such crap and worse.

    Proving Iraq finally has a free press.

    I suppose it was better during Saddam’s time. You never heard this stuff. Out of sight out of mind.

  27. I suspect more happens than we hear about too, AML.

    …but, JenD, I don’t think talking about and condemning this sort of thing makes a person anti-American soldier either. There’s an argument going on in this country right now about whether what we’re getting out of being in Iraq is worth the price we’re paying. There’s nothing un-American or anti-troops about pointing at the negatives and callin’ ’em costs. …and, regardless, I don’t see what Bangladeshi Boys have to do with anything.

    Abu Gharib was different in that Administration policy, and the poor implementation of that policy, was at least in part responsible for what happened there. Pointing out the Administration’s culpability gave some of us Bush critics blogo PTSD. …and on the other side now, the Administration’s defenders seem to drop into denial mode every time something like this happens. …but this is different. If the charges are true, they had nothing to do with Administration policy except in the most general sense–these guys were acting alone. …and there aren’t any torture apologists comin’ out of the woodwork to defend what these soldiers are accused of.

    People make some of their best efforts when things are going badly. …and I still have a tremendous amount of respect for our troops–99% of whom deserve every bit of credit and respect we can give them.

    …but as far as I’m concerned, the rape and murder allegations aren’t even the big story here. Rape allegations get a lot of play on Oprah or Dr Phil or their cable news equivalents, but the big story is partisan violence.

    Suspected Shiite gunmen went on a rampage in western Baghdad on Sunday, pulling Sunnis from cars and off the street and killing at least 41 people as hard-line cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for an emergency parliamentary session. …As evening fell, two car bombs struck Al-Timim Shiite Mosque in Baghdad, killing 17 people and wounding 38.

    Holy shit! Isn’t this what civil war looks like? At what point do we start calling it the Iraqi Civil War? How long do we stay amid a Civil War?


  28. Fortunately no one ever noticed when Saddam did such crap and worse.

    Certainly Rummy didn’t notice. He was too busy shaking hands with Saddam.

  29. AML,

    If you are right what you are saying is that there is a rape rate of about 600 a year in a population of about 100,000 men.

    How does this stack up vs DC?

    Suppose the rape rate is 100X instead of 2,000X?

    If it was 30 a year – you would have to say that you have some very well disciplined troops.

    ============================================

    You know Saddam ran rape rooms as a form of individual and collective punishment.

    We punish the rapists we find. Can you see that for all our faults may be an improvement?

    I see the Libs falling into the same trap as the Dems: “we are going to hate America until it is perfect; of course it will be perfection as we define it”.

    You want to talk about troops and the command condoning rape? You will have much better luck at the UN.

  30. erq,

    Evidently Rummy is young enough to change his mind.

  31. …but as far as I’m concerned, the rape and murder allegations aren’t even the big story here

    Considering the view the Iraqis are likely to take in regards to infidel rapists of Islamic virgins, I think this is a bigger story than you give it credit for being, Ken.

  32. Ken,

    If we left Iraq and they degenerated into civil war and 100,000 died would that be an acceptable price?

    At what number of Iraqi deaths would we be justified in letting them sort it out themselves.

    Suppose Iran wanted liebensraum. Would that be acceptable?

    Suppose we got really unlucky and it touched off a general war in the Middle East. Would that be acceptable?

    What would be the worst case you would accept?

  33. M. Simon–

    You seem to operate under the assumption that our only two choices are “stay in Iraq and have everything turn out fine” or “leave and have the country go to hell.”

    We’re still there three years later–when exactly are things supposed to improve? How much longer will the insurgency be in its last throes? How many more times will we turn the corner? How much longer must freedom be on the march before it finally reaches its destination?

  34. “Shiites pulling Sunnis from cars and shooting them.”

    How do they tell the difference, between Shiites and Sunnis? Really, how do they? Costume? Tattoos? What?

  35. Considering the view the Iraqis are likely to take in regards to infidel rapists of Islamic virgins, I think this is a bigger story than you give it credit for being, Ken.

    Please consider my bigger point. Rapes and murders are horrible things–I wouldn’t minimize them for a second. …Rapes and murders are worse in this context, because they can galvanize anti-American sentiment in the region. …which could contribute fuel to a civil war.

    I know a lady who won’t eat ice cream, really, because she’s afraid she’ll eventually get type II diabetes. …and if that happens, then she won’t be able to eat things like ice cream.

    The idea that we should focus so much on rapes and murders, as terrible as they are, seems strange to me, considering that there’s a civil war raging outside. …and the idea that we should focus on rapes and murders because they might ignite a civil war seems especially strange to me, especially considering that the civil war we’re trying to avoid already seems to be raging outside.

    The big news is that the Iraqi Civil War appears to be here; in fact, it appears that it started a long time ago. Did I miss the cover of Time with “The Iraqi Civil War” title on the cover? Iraq is in a state of civil war, is it not? Does the suggestion that it’s in a state of civil war seem controversial to anyone else here?

    Still, rapes and murders are terrible things.

  36. Perhaps the army should re-evaluate its “if it walks and can carry a gun, then its a soldier, damnit” recruitment policy.

  37. The idea that we should focus so much on rapes and murders, as terrible as they are, seems strange to me, considering that there’s a civil war raging outside

    True, but I think it has to do with the fact that we can, at least in theory, do something about rapes and murders committed by American soldiers. But I don’t think we can do a damned thing about the civil war that’s brewing.

    Does the suggestion that it’s in a state of civil war seem controversial to anyone else here?

    There does exist a certain type of person who refuses to even entertain the possibility that maybe our invasion has NOT led to improvements in the lives of everyday Iraqis, but made things worse. For such a person yes, the notion of a civil war would be controversial indeed, and why are you overlooking all the good stuff? Remember that inspirational photo of the woman with the purple finger? Surely that photo makes anything bad worth it.

    I wonder if that woman is still alive.

  38. Jennifer, Yes, that woman is still alive!
    In fact, she’s just given birth to a healthy blue-eyed, blond-haired baby boy who answers to the name of Dustin and drifts off to snuggle land soothed by the twangy stylings of Merle Haggerd.
    And her “patriotic shortcuts” are healing very well, thank you.

  39. If we left Iraq and they degenerated into civil war and 100,000 died would that be an acceptable price?

    I’m not sure. How many die if we stay?

    At what number of Iraqi deaths would we be justified in letting them sort it out themselves.

    Once again, I don’t know. At some point, I think we have to look at the cold hard facts from the perspective of what’s best for the American people rather than the Iraqis. …but I don’t know when that moment comes exactly.

    I assumed a civil war would ensue when we invaded–maybe others will remember me talking about how badly I hoped I was wrong. All spilt milk now. …and once again, are we sure that staying is better than leaving? …even for the Iraqi people.

    Suppose Iran wanted liebensraum. Would that be acceptable?

    Again, I’ve assumed Sistani and Sadr would turn to Iran if we couldn’t put down the isurgency. How long could they be expected to tolerate terrorist attacks on pilgrims, etc? …I’ve been assured that Iraqis don’t really want the Iranians in Iraq, but under these circumstances I don’t know that to be the case.

    Suppose we got really unlucky and it touched off a general war in the Middle East. Would that be acceptable?

    Once again, if the Middle East exploded into general war, are you sure it will be because we left? …ultimately, might it not be because we invaded Iraq?

    What would be the worst case you would accept?

    Looking back, I think it might have been best for the United States, short of allied support, to tolerate a virtually Al Qaeda free dictatorship that presented little or no threat to the American people. …but like I said, that’s spilt milk now.

    What I have now is a bunch of facts and a lot of questions. When I look at the facts, it seems to me that much of Iraq, outside Kurdistan and the Green Zone anyway, appears to be in a state of civil war. …and then I’ve got some quesitons about that.

    Is it in our best interest to stay the course through a civil war? Does our presence there make things better or worse? Really, I can be persuaded either way. …but either way, being in a state of civil would seem to change things.

  40. Suppose Iran wanted liebensraum. Would that be acceptable?

    You seem to assume that the United States is in the driver’s seat there. To what extent, do you suppose, is Iran’s flaunting of its nuclear program a function of our presence in Iraq?

    …It seems to me that they’re at the lighting end with the fuse there, and we’re at the exploding end.

  41. If you are right what you are saying is that there is a rape rate of about 600 a year in a population of about 100,000 men.

    I have no idea what the actual number of these crimes may be. I simply suspect that it is higher, given the general state of anarchy in Iraq right now, and the ease with which such crimes could be committed.

  42. Herrn M. Simon

    “Suppose Iran wanted liebensraum. Would that be acceptable?”

    lieben = to love
    raum = space, room (range of area), place

    Kein Problemerl, Du Gfrasstsackl. Erst die Sprache lernen, dann Klugscheisser werden.

    Du meinst wohl, “Lebensraum”. Aber der schwache Vergleich mit der schrecklichen Hitler-Zeiten reicht schon zu beweisen, dass Du nur ein trister Papiertiger bist…

    Der GAU (“schlimmster Fall/Randbedingungen”) waere, dass Du meinst, dass dieser unpassende und vollstaendig unverschaemte Vergleich das ueberzeugende Argument dafuer liefert……….

  43. Evidently Rummy is young enough to change his mind.

    Didn’t you call that flip flopping only 2 years ago Simon? Unless only Republicans can change their mind.

  44. “How do they tell the difference, between Shiites and Sunnis? Really, how do they?”

    This article answers the question:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13806135/

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