Monday, September 12, 2005


Strategic goats and date palms

Chile has their 9/11. The US has its 9/11. And now Iraq has its own 9/11. First the good news: Riverbend is back! And, in an insightful look at 9/11, she mentions the assault of Tal Afar/Tel Afar: As I write this, Tel Afar, a small place north of Mosul, is being bombed. Dozens of people are going to be buried under their homes in the dead of the night. Their water and electricity have been cut off for days. It doesn’t seem to matter much though because they don’t live in a wonderful skyscraper in a glamorous city. They are, quite simply, farmers and herders not worth a second thought. And so there you have it. This city, which the US military has characterized as "strategic", is Iraq's version of Abilene, Texas. If goats and date palms are strategic, should we ratify international treaties regulating how many each side can deploy? The characterization of Tal Afar is that ridiculous. This is not to disparage either Abilene or Tal Afar. I'm sure the people of both towns think of themselves as plenty strategic. So do we all. We just don't like to have it confirmed by F-16s unloading bombs on our houses. PS: For the dissenting (and completely hysterical) view, consult for example The Fourth Rail This was written last November. Update: 09/11/05 -- --TAL AFAR, Iraq (AP) - Fighting eased Sunday, the second day of a U.S. and Iraqi sweep through the militant stronghold of Tal Afar near the Syrian border, as insurgents melted into the countryside, many escaping through a tunnel network dug under an ancient northern city....``We are warning those who have given shelter to terrorists that they must stop, kick them out or else we will cut off their hands, heads and tongues as we did in Tal Afar,'' [Iraqi Defense Minister Sadoun] al-Dulaimi said, apparently using figurative language. " You sure about that, Mr. Journalist Man? Mutilation and murder by death squads hasn't been so figurative in other parts of the country. Americans will recognize the feelings of Iraqis after watching Katrina and the Bush Administration do the same to New Orleans BAGHDAD, 11 September (IRIN) - Thousands of families are fleeing the northern Iraqi city of Talafar, aid workers confirmed, as Coalition forces conduct a military operation against insurgents.
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