Saturday, November 17, 2007

Head in the Sand Department

I stopped reading Instapundit a long time ago, when I realized much of what Glenn Reynolds said didn't make a lick of sense. So I happened across this post today where he mentions that the war in Iraq "seems to be drawing to a successful close." Successful close? Violence is down in Iraq, so that means the war is drawing to a successful close? Has Reynold spoken with anyone who's actually been to Iraq for any length of time? I recently saw a panel of journalists at Columbia University, including the NYT's Anne Barnard, NPR's Deborah Amos, CBS's Elizabeth Palmer, and Ali Fadhil, an Iraqi interpreter and physician. They described what they believe Iraq will be like if American troops withdraw and were unanimous in their thoughts on the subject. So, if by "successful close" you mean our troops come home and Iraq falls into calamitous disarray and civil war, then, yes, I suppose the end is nigh.

Seriously, though, does Reynolds really fail to see this simple this simple equation: when the surge ends, incidents of violence will again rise in Iraq. Kevin Drum agrees.

Tying into this subject, here are some more notes I took away from the informative "Reporting Iraq" panel, which I meant to blog at the time:

Anne Barnard
: It's more "terrifying" to be in Baghdad now than after the fall of Saddam.

Ali Fadhil: We need to show what it's like for Iraqis now, trying to survive from day to day. He said he is limited in his ability to move around as an Iraqi - even from East to West Baghdad. Due to ethnic cleansing, people with Shia names can't go to Mosur, and since his is a mixed family, two of his own brothers can't go.

Fadhil has visited morgues where bodies are piled up in the hallways. Not all of the dead are counted either, since bodies are sometimes removed from the hospital by family members, and if no name was provided, they're not counted.

The corrupt government is involved in lynching, kidnapping and ethnic cleansing.

Elizabeth Palmer: Young people have both Sunni and Shia badges and pictures on their cell phones, which they swap out according to who's at any checkpoint they're passing through.

If you try to take photos of contractors, "they shoot us," which is one reason TV hadn't covered contractors more before the Blackwater story erupted.

Ali Fadhil: you learn to avoid the streets with black SUVs on them because contractors drive them.

And Fadhil is advising his family to leave Iraq by April, 2008 since he doesn't believe the surge will work in the long term.

Yeah, Glenn, sounds like we've about got this whole thing wrapped up, huh?

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