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February 13, 2006

Out of Sight, Out of Mind


by Dahr Jamail

If one watches corporate media or listens to Cheney administration propaganda, one is either not getting information about Iraq at all, or hearing that things are looking up as the U.S. approaches another "phase" in the occupation.

Just taking a brief look at the "security incidents" reported by Reuters for Feb. 12 gives a little clue as to how the occupation of Iraq, aside from being immoral and unjust, is a dismal failure.

"RAMADI - Six insurgents were killed and another wounded on Saturday when U.S forces conducted an air strike in the city of Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, the U.S military said on Sunday.
MUQDADIYA - Clashes between insurgents and Iraqi army soldiers conducting a raid killed one rebel in Muqdadiya, 90 km (50 miles) north east of Baghdad. The army arrested 40 suspected insurgents in the same operation.
BAGHDAD - A 53-year-old male detainee at Abu Ghraib prison died on Saturday as a result of complications from an assault by an unknown number of detainees, the U.S military said in a statement.
MAHAWEEL - The bodies of three people, bound and shot in the head and chest, were found in Mahaweel, 75 km (50 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. The bodies showed signs of torture.
ISKANDARIYA - The bodies of two people, bound and shot in the head and chest, were found in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. The bodies showed signs of torture.
BAGHDAD - Three police commandos and a civilian were killed and four commandos wounded when a suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt blew himself up near a check point in southern Baghdad, police said.
KIRKUK - Gunmen killed four policemen while they were driving in a civilian car in the main road between Kirkuk and Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
KIFL - Gunmen wearing police uniforms killed a civilian on Saturday in Kifl, a town about 150 km (100 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
NEAR LATIFIYA - Police retrieved the body of a dead person from the river on Saturday near Latifiya, south of Baghdad.
BAQUBA - A director of sport education of Diyala province was killed by gunmen in the city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
YATHRIB - Gunmen kidnapped three truck drivers who were carrying equipment to a U.S military base on Saturday in Yathrib, a region near Balad, 90 km (55 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
BAIJI - Gunmen blew up a gas station on Saturday near the oil refinery city of Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad.
BAGHDAD - Twelve civilians were wounded when two roadside bombs exploded in quick succession near an Iraqi police patrol in central Baghdad, police said.
SAMARRA - The Iraqi army found three Iranian Shi'ite pilgrims who were among a group of 12, including an Iraqi driver, kidnapped by gunmen in Samarra on Friday, Iraqi army officials said.
HAWIJA - Gunmen shot dead a doctor and wounded an employee working in the main hospital in Hawija, 70 km south west of the northern city of Kirkuk, on Saturday, police said.
KIRKUK - Four policemen were wounded when a roadside bomb went off near their patrol in the northern city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
KIRKUK - The corpse of a Kurdish contractor working with the U.S army was found on Saturday in Kirkuk, police said.
KIRKUK - Two civilians were wounded by a roadside bomb near their patrol in Kirkuk, police said.
BAGHDAD - Two civilians were killed, including a child, and three were wounded, when a roadside bomb targeting police commandos exploded in a northern district of the capital, police said."

A brief glance at recent events in Iraq shows that violence only continues to escalate and that the infrastructure U.S. taxpayers supposedly paid billions of dollars to repair is in shambles.

While the Cheney administration blames Iraqi attacks and sabotage for the lack of reconstruction, I would like to remind people that at least $8.8 billion of the money meant for reconstruction efforts remains unaccounted for. Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, said this is because "oversight" on the part of the Coalition Provisional Authority "was relatively nonexistent."

Meanwhile, the U.S. military is over three-quarters of the way toward having its 3,000th soldier killed in Iraq, as 2,267 have now been killed. Twenty-five of those deaths have occurred this month.

But as usual, it is the Iraqis who are paying the highest price.

Looking at Arab media outlets, evidence of this abounds.

According to al-Sharqiyah television:

"The head of the al-Fallujah Municipal Council was killed by gunshots on Feb. 7, Iraqi al-Sharqiyah TV reported that day. In its 1100 GMT newscast, the TV said: 'Unidentified armed men this morning assassinated Sheik Kamal Shakir Nizal, head of the Municipal Council of al-Fallujah, western Iraq.'"

The U.S. backed puppet Iraqi government continues its state-sponsored civil war. Aside from the numerous bodies found in the aforementioned Reuters report, this past week al-Sharqiyah also reported:

"Iraqi and U.S. security forces raided the Iraqi Islamic Party's headquarters in the al-Amiriyah area in western Baghdad. The Islamic Party, which is one of the Iraqi entities operating under the banner of the Iraqi al-Tawafuq Front, issued a press statement today saying that last night, Iraqi forces, backed by U.S. troops, assaulted the headquarters' guards and the party members who were there at the time, destroyed the headquarters' furniture and contents, seized the licensed weapons carried by the guards, and confiscated sums of money belonging to the party."

Of course, atrocities continue at the hands of occupation forces. Video has been released of a group of British soldiers brutally beating and kicking defenseless Iraqi teenagers inside a military compound, and Iraqis recently released from prisons such as Abu Ghraib are reporting ongoing torture at the hands of U.S. forces. This, however, should come as no surprise, since Secretary of "Defense" Donald Rumsfeld issued a memo over two years ago specifying which types of "harsh interrogation techniques" he wanted used in Iraq.

This is just a brief overview of recent events in Iraq.

When Israeli/U.S. warplanes begin dropping bombs on Iran, will Iraq fade to the back pages of the news as has Afghanistan? With the corporate media coverage of Iraq at this sorry state already, it's difficult to imagine that not occurring.

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    Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Dahr Jamail writes about the effects of the US occupation on the people of Iraq, since the mainstream media in the US has in large part, he believes, failed to do so.

    Dahr has spent a total of 5 months in occupied Iraq, and plans on returning in October to continue reporting on the occupation. One of only a few independent reporters in Iraq, Dahr will be using the DahrJamailIraq.com website and mailing list to disseminate his dispatches and will continue as special correspondent for Flashpoints Radio.

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