-Nine people were killed and 95 others wounded in clashes between Iraqi security forces and Mehdi Army members in different parts of Baghdad.
-Two soldiers were wounded in clashes with Mehdi Army fighters in Zaafaraniya district.
-One person was killed and four others wounded when two mortar rounds landed on an Interior Ministry prison.
-Gunmen kidnapped Tahseen al-Sheikhli, a civilian spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, designed to make the capital safer, from his home in Baghdad.
-The Green Zone diplomatic and government compound in central Baghdad was hit by repeated rocket and mortar fire in some of the worst barrages in months.
-Shi'ite militants clashed with Iraqi security forces in Baghdad's Washash, Iskan, Shurta, Hurriya, Kamiliya, Fudhailiya, Ur, Shula, Mashtal and Sadr City districts.
-Eight soldiers were wounded in clashes with Mahdi Army fighters in Talabiya in eastern Baghdad.
-Three people were killed and 15 wounded by a mortar attack on a bus terminal in central Baghdad.
-Gunmen attacked an Iraqi army checkpoint in the Sadr City district of northeastern Baghdad, wounding four soldiers.
-Thousands of supporters of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched in Baghdad to protest against a three-day-old crackdown against his followers in the southern city of Basra and to call for the downfall of the U.S.-backed government.
Violence was also reported in Hamza, Diwaniya, Basra, Kut, Daquq, Al-Rifai, Kirkik, and Baquba. Oh happy day! Why, today's missile attack on the office of Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi is just gravy.
Yes-sir-ee Bob, everything's just freakin' great!
I haven't gone around the bend. I'm not psychopathic. I'm just trying to get onboard with the new White House spin which has, frankly, gone around the bend to psychopathic-land. They used to complain that we weren't getting all the good news out of Iraq. The new line is that it's impossible for anything coming out of Iraq to be anything but good news.
I'm referring to a Times interview with President Bush yesterday. The headline; "President Bush: Iraq violence is a 'positive moment'." Whoo-hoo! That there surge, she's a-workin'!
President Bush gave warning yesterday that Iraq’s “fragile situation” required the US to maintain a strong military presence there, even as he defended the withdrawal of British troops from Basra, the scene of heavy fighting in recent days.
In an interview with The Times, he backed the Iraqi Government’s decision to “respond forcefully” to the spiralling violence by “criminal elements” and Shia extremists in Basra. “It was a very positive moment in the development of a sovereign nation that is willing to take on elements that believe they are beyond the law,” the President said.
Yay! Yahoo! Yipee... Aw hell, I can't keep this up. I'd lose my mind and be as lunatic as Bush. This is stupid. To give you an idea of how stupid, Bush had this to say yesterday, in a speech at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio:
On the security side, the surge has brought important gains, which I discussed in detail last week in a speech at the Pentagon. In Baghdad, we've worked with Iraqi security forces to greatly diminish the sectarian violence and civilian deaths. We've broken the grip of al Qaida on the capital. We've weakened the influence of Iranian-backed militias. We've dramatically improved security conditions in many devastated neighborhoods in what some have deemed a "re-liberation."
Remember that big long list of violent attacks I relayed at the beginning of this post? By the time Bush said this in Ohio, most of it had already happened -- Iraq is half a world away. While Bush was talking about the "re-liberation" of Baghdad, Baghdadis were putting out fires caused by explosions and picking up the bodies. Reality and Bush are also half a world away from each other.
The problem is that the ceasefire called by Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al Sadr is on its last legs. Al Sadr's Mahdi Army is taking his call for "civil disobedience" as "lock and load." It is the Mahdi ceasefire, not the surge, that has been responsible for a decrease in violence and the Iraqi government has begun a crackdown on that militia. In a period of relative peace afforded by the ceasefire, Iraqi President al Maliki has decided against political reconciliation and for the elimination of a political rival. All under the cover of the Mahdi ceasefire breaking down. The Iraqi civil war is on again.
It's a sign of just how long this damned war's gone on that I have a favorite Iraq print correspondent. That journalist is McClatchy's Leila Fadel, who had this to say about developments in that country:
Townspeople in Basra were growing restless on the third day of the siege.
"I've never seen such suffering," said Abu Karrar, a Basra resident. "There is no water and no electricity. My son has diabetes. His medicine has run out, and I can't reach any hospital or medical center."
Clashes broke out in at least 10 Baghdad neighborhoods, and mortar rounds continued to rain down on the heavily fortified Green Zone, where the Iraqi and U.S. governments are housed. Mortar rounds struck the Interior Ministry compound, killing at least one person. In Basra, militants struck an oil pipeline.
Remember, this is supposed to be good news. This is a positive development. From now until the next president sits behind the desk in the Oval Office, it will be completely impossible for anything that comes out of Iraq to be bad news. Violence falls? Hey, everything is working. Violence rises? It means we've got them worried. Nothing can possibly be bad news.
Not in Bushworld, anyway -- which, again, is a half a world away from reality. The real good news here (i.e., not the Bushie version) is that we've now reached the outer limit of propaganda. The only way it could possibly become more absurd is for Bush (and McCain, who's been spreading the same crap) to insist that there's no violence in Iraq and that all that stuff you're seeing on CNN and MSNBC and even FOX is just elaborately staged propaganda straight from the cave of Osama Bin Laden. I wouldn't bet a lot -- the depth of neocon shamelessness has surprised me before -- but I'd bet something that not even Bush and McCain would go that far. Although we're now very, very close.
Still, if the Maliki government falls any time soon, expect a big party at the White House.
It's all good news.
Technorati tags: politics; war; neocon; White House; John McCain; Bush's new propaganda -- if it comes out of Iraq, it's good news