One hears snippets of news on the killings in Iraq — of our own troops and their support personnel and the Iraqis — “insurgents” or civilians? All too frequently there are category conflicts between reports from U.S. officials speaking of “insurgents” and Iraqis of civilians. Who ARE we killing? It looks to be mainly Iraqis whichever way one calls it?

The bottom line here is that our troops are taking credit for killing enemies so perceived. Who these enemies really are remains indistinct in the fog of war — particularly when the killing device is a rocket or bomb targeted from on high. Much noted this past few days was the friendly fire death of a British soldier hit early in the war by American planes that did not recognize the orange markers on the tops of British vehicles indicating their identity. I assume that Iraqis do not have the benefit of such protective identity markers? Someone shoots or is reported to be an insurgent holed up in a house somewhere. We retaliate and boom — the house is gone along with the people in or near it.

I don’t know whether the stats are now any different with our “surge” in process, but at last report 70% of Iraqis wanted us out of there. Maliki is tip toeing along a tight rope wire between offending his American sponsors and not ending up the Quisling of modern Iraq — the American flunky who went along with the above mentioned killings. The numbers are now running at about 1,000 per week? At the moment the Shiites — central supporters of Maliki — seem to be making out well with our American outlays of generous monies:

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Shiite District, Flash Point in Baghdad, Rebuilds
Sadr City, once a symbol of Shiite subjugation, is
recovering. Many residents credit the Mahdi Army.

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But policing them and a largely hostile city will be expensive stuff — putting our troops at risk while snooping into Baghdad communities, funding G-d knows what new rip-offs, and antagonizing those terrified at the prospect of Shiite dominance and retribution.

In the meantime any Iraqis who can figure a way to get out of there — about 3.5 million  people now — are doing so and desperately trying to put together new lives wherever they can get in. These are largely the Iraqi elite — professionals (e.g. doctors and teachers) and business people and their absence will be disastrous for reconstructing Iraq or even maintaining its essential services. They are presumably no friends of our deadly experiment in imposing American democracy over there.

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Plight worsens for Iraqi refugees
By Ahmed Janabi

Iraqis say they are in Syria because
no country is giving them a visa

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Our troops are fighting a “war on terror,” we are repeatedly told. Some see us trying to police a complicated civil war. But in fact have we not unleashed a deadly killing storm on the Iraqis people which we are now exacerbating? I would imagine from the reports that slip through the cracks of our official communiqués that this is so. And while we are at it, our killing games in Afghanistan look to be increasing deadly there, too.

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 718-951-5324 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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