Saturday, March 17, 2007

Just another day in the life and death of Iraq XLVII

By Michael J.W. Stickings

A new form of violence, a new level of brutality:

Three trucks rigged with chlorine bombs exploded in the insurgent stronghold of Anbar province Friday, in the latest efforts by insurgents to use the toxic chemical to boost the lethal power of their attacks, U.S. military officials announced Saturday.

The U.S. officials said at least 350 people and seven U.S. soldiers were injured and two policemen were killed in the attacks. As many as 10 civilians may have been killed in two of the blasts near Fallujah, said Col. Sami Jabara, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior...

Friday's attacks were the latest in a string of bombings this year in which insurgents laced bombs with chlorine to boost their lethality. In February, insurgents blew up a truck transporting chlorine gas tanks in Taji, north of Baghdad, killing nine people. In January, another truck carrying explosives and chlorine tanks exploded near Ramadi, killing 16 people.

Now might be a good time to reiterate an important point, one that is often lost amidst the partisan rhetoric of American political discourse: Opposition to the Iraq War, to Bush's war strategy, including the surge, does not mean support for the opposition, for the insurgents and terrorists who continue to brutalize Iraq, attacking U.S. forces and Iraqi civilians with virulent abandon.

The pro-war spin, most aggressively (and shamelessly) promoted by Cheney, holds that support for the troops means support for the war (that is, for the war according to Bush) and that opposition to the war means both non-support for the troops and support for the other side (that is, the terrorists).

But opposition to the war does not mean capitulation to terrorism. Rather, opposition recognizes that the war is largely unwinnable, that gross mismanagement on the part of the warmongers has left the U.S. in an untenable position, and that a large-scale U.S. presence, not to mention an increasing U.S. presence, only makes the situation worse, that is, keeps Iraq in a state of perpetual violence from which it will not soon emerge.

Regardless, the use of chlorine bombs by insurgents indicates that the situation is worsening, despite all the optimistic happy talk about how the surge is working.

And, as I and others have said over and over again, there is no end in sight.

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