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April 24, 2005

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More from the Independent story:

It was obvious to many American officers from an early stage in the conflict that the Pentagon's claim that it did not count civilian casualties was seen by many Iraqis as proof that the US did not care about how many of them were killed. The failure to take Iraqi civilian dead into account was particularly foolish in a culture where relatives of the slain are obligated by custom to seek revenge.

The secrecy surrounding the numbers of civilians killed reveals another important facet of the war. The White House was always more interested in the impact of events in Iraq on the American voter than it was in the effect on Iraqis. From the beginning of the conflict the US and British armies had difficulty in working out who in Iraq really was a civilian.

Marla Ruzicka, the American humanitarian worker who was buried yesterday in California, had established in her last weeks in Iraq that figures were kept based on after-action reports. Officially, she found, 29 civilians were killed in fire fights between US forces and insurgents between 28 February and 5 April. But these figures are likely to be gross underestimates.

if that opinion is true, there's the fuel for the insurgency, not some odd nostalgia for Saddam.

God damn. God damn. What a mess.

More from the invaluable Juan Cole:

The story put out by many in the Western press, that the guerrilla war was winding down after the successful elections, was never true. The guerrillas are unaffected by the elections, and work on their own timetable, in hopes of destabilizing Iraq and ultimately taking it over. Judging the intensity of the war by a week or a month's worth of statistics is poor methodology. The guerrilla war will go on for several years at least, and the political process has nothing to do with it.

Still no sign of a government in Baghdad. The Allawi faction is demanding 5 cabinet posts and a deputy premiership. I personally cannot understand why Ibrahim Jaafari is bothering with the Iraqiya list. It only got 14 percent of the vote, and it is not needed for the United Iraqi Alliance to pass rules and laws in parliament, where it has 53% of the vote or so. Some observers have suggested that the Kurds are insisting on bringing Allawi in.

Notice also that today's NYT has this from a "United States official in Bagdhad":

"I cannot say that we have insurgents sitting in caves somewhere saying, 'There's no new transitional government, so now we have to attack,' " the official said. "But in general, there are issues up and down the country concerning leadership of the police forces and general government leadership, and I think there is a need to get the transitional government set up quickly and to get the leadership back in Baghdad."

The official added: "On the security side over the last month things are not getting better."


how unsurprising is this all... One question that has nothing to do with this matter: I never saw any coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, which probably has a big impact on Middle Eastern populations.
I would tend to think that American politics in the ME are has much shaped by the Iraq War than by the Isreali-Palestinian Conflict. So, any post about that some day?

Do you mean Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the POV of the ME? Juan Cole's column/blog is the closest thing I can point you to, other than english language sources (Ha'Aretz, etc.).

Helps to be fluent in the relevent languages.

I was thinking of the point of the view of the democrats first since the point of view of the ME probably is simpler to understand - and i have studied it a bit.
I ll check out Juan Cole's website and thanks for all the analysis.

...since the point of view of the ME probably is simpler to understand

Heh. Making lead into gold is simpler to understand.

Making lead into gold is Middle Eastern, a system advocated by some guy name al-Chemy.

err i knew i shouldn't have said it this way: it obviously isn't the case.However i know it better than what the democrat think about the israeli palestinian conflict.
took me 30 secs to undestand the joke. argl

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