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Friday, June 27, 2008

A Piece Of Ordnance In Every Pot

by dday

We in the blogosphere have been so worked up about the FISA bill that we virtually ignored the fact that the Senate confirmed what the House began, passing an enormous spending bill to fund the occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan well into the next Administration. There are also provisions for a new GI Bill, unemployment benefit extension for an additional 13 weeks, and a number of domestic spending initiatives (including midwest flooding relief).

Considering that the 110th Congress was elected with a mandate to end the war, it's a little surprising that practically nobody raised their voice in so much as anger to this continued funding. It could be learned helplessness, a resigned view that Congress wasn't going to use their procedural abilities to make any effort to stop the occupation of Iraq. Or it could be that the nation has been bullied into believing that "we're winning" and "the surge is working" while the media has simultaneously taken the details about Iraq off the TV screens and front pages, which makes it that much easier for the bullies.

It's not like people aren't still dying - they are, including 13 Americans this week and scores of Iraqis, at least 70 just yesterday. They're dying at a somewhat reduced rate, but political progress is not existent and the core factors causing the violence remain unchanged. Ethnic cleansing and paying off enemies to create heavily armed militias are the main contributing factors, and those aren't recipes for stability. Yet this is considered to be success. But let me give you an example of what that success looks like, what our tax dollars have bought, and keep in mind the Heller v. DC ruling when you read about it:

Meanwhile, Iraqi officials said a U.S. airstrike killed four members of a family north of Baghdad early Wednesday. Iraqi and U.S. officials provided conflicting accounts of the incident.

Capt. Ahmed al-Azwawi, a police official in Samra, a village about seven miles south of Tikrit, said U.S. troops were conducting an operation in the area when a man fired shots in the air with an AK-47.

Azwawi said the man, who sold propane gas for a living, was afraid thieves were in the vicinity.

U.S. soldiers then retreated and called in an airstrike, Azwawi said, killing the man, his wife, and two of their children.

The kids were 6 and 8, and a separate report claims that two other kids were killed.

There's no secret, other than in the US media, that American forces are trying to secure Iraq through massive airstrikes, many of which result in trigger-happy responses anytime anyone fires a gun (and practically every adult male in Iraq owns an AK-47). The murdered families have relatives, and every incident like this engenders anger and distrust. The status of forces agreement sought by Bush calls explicitly for continued air superiority for the US military.

As usual, when America sees a war slipping away, they bomb the fuck out of the ground. And the bipartisan coalition of the United States government enthusiastically endorses and funds the slaughter. Let's be very clear - your representatives bought another year's worth of stories like the one above, with no gain in national security, a stretching of the US military to the very breaking point should anything else crop up, and no effort to manage or deal with the underlying root causes in the country we unnecessarily invaded.