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August 5, 2008

The Surge? Or Ethnic Cleansing?

by at 2:45 pm.

These three videos by a native Iraqi showcase a much different point of view of Iraq today than the one espoused by Republicans and Senator McCain. Rather than seeing that the surge has worked, he sees walls - walls which now keep monoethnic neighborhoods trapped and segregated. It makes sense that the violence has gone down, with the ethnic cleansing of the last few years resulting in the uprooting of once-peaceful mixed neighborhoods.

“”Baghdad is a city where one street is at war with the next … it has been transformed into a city of walls.”

“There are 20 miles of walls slicing up the city into Sunni and Shia ghettos…each wall over 12 feet high. They are the main reason why the causualties have fallen…”


In part two, he talks about the ethnic killings themselves…and the chilling, desolate field of shallow graves of the unknown victims of militias.


In this last part, the reporter talks to children forced to grow up far too soon. And makes a statement about the next generation, uneducated due to lack of schools or indoctrinated at the orphanages run by the militias.


If you watch these videos and do not cringe at what our policies have done to these people, then there is no hope for your soul. The fear and anguish displayed in these interviews should rend your heart. We cannot help by leaving our military in place in Iraq, not one iota. The future must be in Iraqi hands now. We caused and are in the middle of a civil war - of our making, but for which there is no foreign solution. They want us out. And who can blame them?

(Via dkos.)

9 Responses to “The Surge? Or Ethnic Cleansing?”

  1. C R Krieger Says:

    I may be one of those for whom there is no hope for my soul, but my view is a little less hard on this. They want us out, except when they don’t. I am all for fully recognizing Iraqi sovereignty, but what about the Kurds, who have had the short end of the stick for years and years–decades? Do we owe them anything?

    Let the Iraqi Gov’t tell us to go home. They could invite us to leave or to reduce our presence. They should be the ones to change the conditions under which we are there if they find them to be wrong or oppressive or offensive. Leaving too soon could be a bad move. I still feel awful about our Gov’t unilaterally stopping our support of the Cambodian Gov’t in 1973–I was flying missions supporting the Cambodian Gov’t at the time. What followed was not pretty. But, one thing is a fact and that is that we can’t know what the alternative history might have been.

    Regards — Cliff

  2. Mr. Lynne Says:

    I sympathize Cliff. This is a tragedy in the technical sense of the term. The ‘right thing’ of getting out is in direct conflict with the ‘right thing’ of staying. The truth is that one of the largest misguided ideas was that this area could be politically stable in the absence of a ’strong-man’. Of course it could ‘find’ stability without a ’strong-man’ only at a terrible human cost. The fact is that our situation isn’t tenable there… not at this cost. We owe a lot of people a lot of things, but our leadership has put us in the terrible position of not being able to do what we should. As such, I fear that any progress toward stability that we can achieve will only degrade after we leave, whenever that is. Indeed, if it is the cast that much of the stability that has been ‘achieved’ is actually due the achievement of ethic cleansing by others while we were in charge of security, it would only serve to underscore that the instability of ethnic fighting may be an inevitable precursor to lasting stability and that we are only delaying the inevitable.

    We owe so much. We have cost others so much. Our ability to ‘pay back’ may be defined by will, but it can also be limited by circumstances… both ours and theirs.

  3. Lynne Says:

    Cliff, I’m talking about people who think we’re doing well over there, who think the surge did something really awesome. These are people who do not understand that Iraqi neighborhoods are under threat of their lives if they so much as leave their street. That their cities are places of checkpoints and ethnic lines. I am sick of the bullshit from the war supporters that think, all we gotta do is clap real hard, and see? Less death. Well, yes, because people have already been driven from their homes.

    The Iraqi Government HAS told us to go home, BTW.

    The alternative history of Iraq if we had not invaded would have been a LOT less deaths, you can be sure of that. And if you think Saddam was bad with regards to ethnic strife, he largely kept a lid on it, while after we invaded there was a terrible, terrible civil war begun. Who can dispute that the Iraqis are far worse off today than they were 7 years ago?

    It’s alternative history if we leave versus staying? I suspect not too much different. We’re spread too thin over there, do you really think we can stop another round of violence should it erupt over some new incident? Riight.

  4. Brooklyn Pats Fan Says:

    Honestly, everyone’s got an angle and just cause some guy has video footage of the walls in Baghdad doesn’t mean he’s the authoritative source on the situation or that he doesn’t have an axe to grind.

    IMO, the walls can’t explain the reduction of violence. If I was gonna get my buddies together and go out killing people in a neighborhood controlled by an opposing militia, in a city where everyone has an AK and maybe some grenades under the mattress.. scaling a 12 foot wall wouldn’t be the factor affecting my decision.

    There’ve been political changes, some of which were facilitated by the surge but most of which were underway and driven by reasons that have nothing to do with American politics. Maliki took Sadr City with primarily Iraqi troops earlier this year — that just wasn’t gonna happen last year or any of the years before that. Things have actually changed a bunch for the better and we can only hope they continue to do so and we can get the heck out.

  5. Lynne Says:

    Brooklyn: he is not the only one saying this. Experts agree that the lessening of violence is due to other factors, and a large one is that the ethnic cleansing of neighborhoods has largely happened to the point where they are now segregated.

    You have to understand, Baghdad was hugely mixed in many neighborhoods. People have been forced for their homes for years since we invaded. That eventually calms down, as the ethnicities mix less. Especially where everything is rife with checkpoints and moving around isn’t allowed. (Did you not even listen to his commentary how he had to get around, and how hard it was?)

    There is also the bribing of tribal leaders that we’ve done, and THAT was pre surge and needed NO military to accomplish - it was happening before. So to say our surge is working is a complete fallacy and shows a lack of understanding. Which is why getting this message out is so important. If you vote for McCain, you are getting the same ignorance of reality that we have had with Mr. Bush now for 7 years.

  6. waittilnextyr Says:

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — Iraq is raking in more money from oil exports than it is spending, amassing a projected four-year budget surplus of up to $80 billion, U.S. auditors reported Tuesday.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch -

    US Current Debt = $9,565B
    US 8/6/04 Debt = $7,304B

    So, while Iraq has been accumulating a budget surplus of $80B, the US has increased its Federal debt by $2,261B!

  7. Brooklyn Pats Fan Says:

    Well, I think the lessening of violence is due to a lot of factors, and the surge facilitated a lot of them.

    The surge wasn’t like, ‘hey lets put an extra 30k targets in the warzone’ — it was accompanied with a sea change in strategy and tactics. Troops were deployed block-by-block at the company level, living in the neighborhoods and getting to know the locals, encouraged to focus on protecting civilians rather than killing bad guys, etc. This, along with a lot of political changes that we can’t really take credit for (chiefly “Hey, alQaeda, quit blowing us up”), created enough breathing space for peace to break out a little. Now the silent majority feels empowered enough to give up the sectarian fighters to the gov’t.

    I’m not saying it’s club med over there, just that it’s an entirely different place than 2 years ago, and for the better. Plenty of room to improve still, but I for one am glad that it seems to have calmed down enough that we can cut troop strength in the country.. just as the deployment schedule reached the point that we’d have no other choice without indefinitely extending tours.

  8. fishydude Says:

    The simple fact is that initially we did have to go in. Every major intelligence group from the US and most of Europe agreed that Saddam had weapons or the capability and desire to make weapons. We know he had tons of yellow cake uranium. It is now in storage in Canada.
    But our military is trained to kill enemies and break stuff. They are not a humanitarian force. Their skills and manpower is being wasted trying to keep groups that have been killing each other for over 700 hundred years from continuing to kill each other. For now, the best they can do is build walls because only separating these nuts from each other seems to work.
    Their are plenty of mercs that the Iraqis can hire if they need help until a miracle stops the sectarian hatred. But our servicemen should not be in harms way while they wait for hell to freeze over.
    The surge lowered death tolls for now. But when we leave, they will start the slaughter all over again. Of that there is no doubt. Just as there is no doubt that the terrorists will never “negotiate” peace with the US or Israel. They hate us because we are not Muslim. They started attacking the US more than 200 years ago when we were an infant nation. Only military force from time to time keeps the rats in check until they quiet down again. President Thomas Jefferson was the first US president to fight back against Muslim terrorist, called pirates back then. That is how “the shores of Tripoli” became part of the lyric in the Marine Corp anthem. Jefferson had a copy of the Koran so he could “know the enemy.”
    To many Americans choose to see this latest chapter in the war of Muslims against the west as something new, of the last 30 to 50 years. Candidate BO thinks if we talk nice enough and pay enough “protection” that they will just be quiet. That is a mistake. We can not meet violence with talk. Clinton tried that. Carter tried that. We know how well that worked.

  9. Lynne Says:

    fishy: you are wrong, wrong, wrong. Go back, check your real facts and get back to me.

    Not even really worth debating you point by point, you are so wrong.

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