Morning Report 12/20/04
Sunday Bloody Sunday
As the Iraqi campaign season got into full swing Sunday, Najaf piled up a 50-14 body-count lead over Karbala. Bombs ripped into the two cities, both of them sites of holy Shiite shrines. Karbala's crowded bus station was blown up, and in Najaf, a car bomb blasted a crowd that had gathered downtown for a funeral. In Baghdad, 30 gunmen ambushed a car, dragged three election workers into the street, and executed them. The execution video was chilling, but you had to be there for the bombings. As this morning's Washington Post put it:
- The bombings in Najaf and Karbala appeared designed to inflict the greatest number of civilian casualties possible, the explosives detonating within walking distance of the tombs of Shiite Islam's most revered saints. With macabre effect, the blasts demonstrated yet again that insurgents, usually operating in Baghdad and Sunni regions in central Iraq, could extend their deadly reach into the heartland of Iraq's Shiite majority.
The scenes that ensued have become all too familiar in Iraq: Streets were strewn with the twisted and charred wreckage of cars, as crowds wandered along the destruction with dazed, uncomprehending looks. Chunks of concrete were ripped from buildings and hurled onto ground soaked in rain, blood and cinders, framed in gray, stormy skies.
The Post noted that many Iraqis fear that Sunday's bomb blasts "may be a harbinger of the carnage promised by insurgents ahead of the country's Jan. 30 elections." Iraqi newspapers agreed, warning not only in words but in pictures (see cartoon) that a deadly anarchy is sweeping through the country.
The true cynics are in the Pentagon, but their public face is still cheery and optimistic. Last Friday, Don Rumsfeld's propaganda machine talked of mere "residual violence" and noted:
- Though Operation Al Fajr was a success in ridding Fallujah of insurgents, the situation is not quite resolved.
Adnan Pachachi, a well-known Sunni pol who's running for a seat in the thing that's going to set up another thing that might eventually replace our puppet regime in Iraq, called for a "short postponement" of the election, saying:
- I think this would help to ameliorate the whole security situation.
Because George W. Bush doesn't read, his handlers are probably consulting a thesaurus to try to find another word to explain "the whole security situation" to the doofus POTUS.
Word to Bush: "Ameliorate" is the opposite from what you've done to the planet since 9/11.