"Secretary of State of Condoleezza Rice made a surprise visit to Iraq, a day after the U.S. military announced it had successfully wrapped up a major offensive in a remote desert region near the Syrian border... she flew to Baghdad to meet with the senior leadership of Iraq's newly elected government to offer support and ask how the United States can be most useful..." After all, we're just an uninterested player here, just trying to do good. They always make it sound like when Rummy or W shows up on these "surprise" visits, there's going to be cake and ice cream for the troops. As if they could ever actually announce a visit, the whole charade just shows what a joke "liberated" Iraq is.
[The "bodies of 13 blindfolded and bound men were found shot multiple times in the head in Baghdad on Sunday, while 11 others killed in a similar fashion were discovered in a deserted chicken farm south of the capital, police said."]
Condi said..."We are so grateful that there are Americans willing to sacrifice so the Middle East will be whole, and free and democratic and at peace." Did anyone know this was what the mission over there was all about? I thought it was WMD and the threat of mushroom clouds over U.S. cities. Or at least keeping them over there instead of in our streets, but no, it's establishing freedom in the Middle East. Did everyone over there fighting and dying sign up for that?
Mission Accomplished, again.
"The U.S. military said the seven-day operation "neutralized" an insurgent sanctuary." (Fallujah? whoopse, wrong insurgent sanctuary.)
(I wonder if the timing of Condi's arrival had anything to do with the announcement of a complete victory on the Syrian border?)
"The U.S. military wrapped up a major offensive in a remote desert region near the Syrian border Saturday, saying it had cleaned out the insurgent haven and killed more than 125 militants during the weeklong campaign against followers of Iraq's most wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
Nine U.S. Marines were killed and 40 injured during Operation Matador — one of the largest American campaigns since militants were driven from Fallujah six months ago. The number of civilian casualties was not immediately known..." Sounding a lot like Fallujah..."Thousands fled the area during the offensive, pitching flimsy tents along sand-blown desert highways or seeking shelter in schools and mosques in nearby towns.
The military denied resident reports that they had been without water and electricity in some areas since the offensive began.
"Throughout the course of the operation, Marines strove to ensure the well-being of the local Iraqi citizens," the statement said. "According to commanders in the area, the Marines were greeted with greater hospitality from local villagers than is normally encountered." Oh well, isn't that nice. The usual hate and rock throwing was toned down to just sullen stares.
I found this interesting, "Rival groups of insurgents also were fighting among themselves around Qaim, trading mortar, rocket and machine gun fire almost nightly, Pool said. Residents acknowledged fighting in Qaim and surrounding villages began before the U.S. offensive, characterizing it as tribal clashes." Sounds to me like the entire situation is complete chaos getting worse by the day.
If the president was there right now, he's probably say something like, "Other nations in history have fought in foreign lands and remained to occupy and exploit. Americans, following a battle, want nothing more than to return home. And that is your direction tonight." Believe that?
Camp Bucca redux.
Now, that we're treating detainees in our prison camps more humanly, there was this aboration. Stuff like this never happens at Camp Bucca:
"A 30-year-old detainee detained as a "security threat" at southeastern Iraq's Camp Bucca prison died of a heart attack Saturday, the U.S. military said. An investigation is underway into his death, the military said. Camp Bucca holds more than 6,000 Iraqi detainees." I'm sure there will be a very thorough investigation.
"On Sunday, about 500 bodies were laid out in rows in Andijan's School No. 15, a doctor in the town said. The doctor, who spoke by telephone on condition of anonymity, said the school was guarded by soldiers and residents were coming to identify dead relatives. Abdugapur Dadaboyev, an Uzbek rights activist who visited Andijan on Saturday, said he saw dead bodies in police and military uniforms lying in the streets. Civilians' bodies, in contrast, were quickly removed from the streets, he said.
At another section of the border, some 6,000 Uzbeks sought to cross into Kyrgyzstan to get shelter following the violence in Andijan. About 500 were gathered on Kyrgyz territory just across the border..."
The border situation, along with the news more towns are rioting , is especially frightening. The Fergana Valley is already a basket case, the great fear is this becomes a regional war. The guestion is what are the Russians going to do if the whole thing falls apart in Uzbekistan? We've got our hands full in Afghanistan and this uprising over the Koran is spreading into Pakistan, too.
Democracy? No, hypocracy.
"Heated criticism was growing last night over 'double standards' by Washington over human rights, democracy and 'freedom' as fresh evidence emerged of just how brutally Uzbekistan, a US ally in the 'war on terror', put down Friday's unrest in the east of the country.
Outrage among human rights groups followed claims by the White House on Friday that appeared designed to justify the violence of the regime of President Islam Karimov, claiming - as Karimov has - that 'terrorist groups' may have been involved in the uprising."
Rhetoric versus reality:
"The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom...Our aim is to build and preserve a community of free and independent nations, with governments that answer to their citizens, and reflect their own cultures...And because democracies respect their own people and their neighbors, the advance of freedom will lead to peace."