Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

“This is not a life.” by Dahr Jamail

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** **

January 11, 2005

“This is not a life.”

Already today at least 18 Iraqis have died as violence continues to
escalate as the so-called elections approach.

Suicide car bombers are striking Iraqi Police (IP) stations on nearly a
daily basis now.

Today’s target was in Tikrit, where U.S. military spokesman Major Neal
O'Brien said six were killed when the police headquarters was bombed.

He also said, “As the Iraqi police continue to get stronger, and
continue to pose a threat to the insurgents and terrorists, they will be

Most Iraqis I’ve spoken with appear to disagree with Mr. O’Brien.

“The Iraqi Police are puppets of the Americans,” says Abdulla Khassim,
an Iraqi man selling vegetables in central Baghdad, “Who can respect
them when they are so ashamed themselves many of them wear masks to hide
their faces.”

Of course the IP’s who wear the face masks do so for their own security,
and that of their families. As anyone seen as a collaborator with the
occupiers is immediately subject to attacks by the resistance, as are
their families. Many of the Iraqi National Guard, which has now been
folded into the Iraqi Army, wear black face masks as well for the same

“Nobody respects them because they obviously cannot provide the
security,” Abu Talat tells me as we drive past a truck with two IP’s in
it in front of a closed gas station today.

During my last trip I interviewed several IP’s who complained of lack of
weapons, radios and vehicles from the occupation forces. Their
complaints were centered on the fact that the resistance had better
weapons than the police.

Later in my room we watched a press conference on the television with
the so-called interim prime minister Iyad Allawi. A journalist asked him
if it was true that the cell phone service would be cut on the 15th of
this month because of the upcoming “elections.”

He dodged the question…deferring it to the ministry of defense. The same
ministry of defense who yesterday announced that the Iraqi Army was
50,000 troops and hoped that it would be increased to 70,000. Just today
Allawi announced that it was comprised of 100,000 troops.

Of course the gas crisis continues to worsen. Most of the stations in
Baghdad are closed

Rather than cars filling their tanks, strands of razor wire
and empty fuel tanker trucks sit in many of them.

Ugly reminders of the lack of reconstruction about in Baghdad, like this
building that was destroyed during the invasion.

Iraqis are reminded daily of the 70% unemployment with the gas shortage
driving the costs of everything through the roof. Even petrol is 1000
Iraq Dinars (ID) per liter on the black market, which unless you are
willing to endure 12-24 hours waiting in a line, is the only way to get
your tank filled.

When I was in Iraq one month ago it was 300 ID per liter. Imagine what
you would do if in your country you had 70% unemployment, were without a
job, and the cost of fuel rose 333% in one month, thus driving the costs
of everything from food to heating oil up?

Speaking of the gas crisis, this morning a pipeline between Kirkuk and
the Beji refinery was exploded, and several lines southwest of Kirkuk
were also destroyed.

In central Samarra today a car bomb detonated as a US convoy was
passing, but no word from the military on casualties, which means there
probably were some. A second bomb detonated shortly thereafter, killing
at least one Iraqi soldier and a civilian.

Also, a roadside bomb intended for a US convoy near Yusufiyah missed and
struck a mini-bus, killing 8 Iraqis and wounding three others. For
unknown reasons the mini-bus was then attacked by gunmen, who kidnapped
three Iraqis.

Keep in mind that Yusufiyah, just south of Baghdad and in the “triangle
of death” was recently the scene of large scale US/UK military
operations to rid the area of resistance fighters. Looks like those
operations were about as successful as Fallujah, were fighting also
continues on a near daily basis.

Driving through Baghdad today, en route to an interview, we are once
again spending most of the time sitting in traffic. At most
intersections, women and children begging for dinars walk between cars
with their hands out…pleading.

Abu Talat fumbles in his pocket for some dinars while an old man
pleading for God to help him stands at the car window.

Holding a cane, he is blessing Abu Talat repeatedly for his kindness as
he is handed some money.

“Look at what has become of Baghdad Dahr,” he tells me as the traffic
finally begins to inch forward again, “All of us are suffering now. This
is not a life.”


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