Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"It's over. You lost."

Riverbend, an American-educated Iraqi woman who has been blogging about daily life in Baghdad since 2003 at Baghdad Burning, posted this week about flipping past Oprah on her TV and seeing an al-Jazeera interview with a woman who was gang raped by Iraqi security officers.

(snip) "I know that looking at her, foreigners will never be able to relate. They’ll feel pity and maybe some anger, but she’s one of us. She’s not a girl in jeans and a t-shirt so there will only be a vague sort of sympathy. Poor third-world countries- that is what their womenfolk tolerate. Just know that we never had to tolerate this before. There was a time when Iraqis were safe in the streets. That time is long gone. We consoled ourselves after the war with the fact that we at least had a modicum of safety in our homes. Homes are sacred, aren’t they? That is gone too."

I wonder, if President Bush gets his wish to escalate troops -- and I guess he's doing it as we speak despite what the majority thinks -- will our troops protect Iraqi women? Is protecting the innocents in the mess he made there one of his goals? Bush never tells us his goals, does he? He told reporter Bob Woodward in 2002, "I'm the commander -- see, I don't need to explain -- I do not need to explain why I say things. That's the interesting thing about being the president. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."

Riverbend sums it up: "Let me clear it up for any moron with lingering doubts: It’s worse. It’s over. You lost. You lost the day your tanks rolled into Baghdad to the cheers of your imported, American-trained monkeys. You lost every single family whose home your soldiers violated. You lost every sane, red-blooded Iraqi when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out and verified your atrocities behind prison walls as well as the ones we see in our streets. You lost when you brought murderers, looters, gangsters and militia heads to power and hailed them as Iraq’s first democratic government. You lost when a gruesome execution was dubbed your biggest accomplishment. You lost the respect and reputation you once had. You lost more than 3000 troops. That is what you lost America. I hope the oil, at least, made it worthwhile."

It's hard for me to forget that human rights atrocities are no stranger to John Negroponte, who was in Iraq in 2004 and 2005 as head the U.S. embassy. He had a history during death squad days in Honduras in the 1980s. Then he came back to work here as national intelligence director, America's top spy, at what amounts to a Cabinet post. How odd is it Negroponte just last week moved back to foreign meddling when he was confirmed to the No. 2 post at the State Department?

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