Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bombs over Baghdad and Blackwater fever

By Libby

I see the Pentagon is spinning the mayor mayhem that broke out in Iraq as an inevitable result of the success of the surge. Yeah, it's so successful, they're resorting to air strikes all over the place.
BAGHDAD — U.S. aircraft supporting an Iraqi government offensive against Shiite Muslim militias bombed suspected militia positions south of Baghdad amid intense fighting Wednesday in parts of the Iraqi capital and in the southern port city of Basra, Iraqi police said.
The long list of targets and victims is too depressing to list, but this one graf really strikes me.
In the south, the fighting Wednesday spread to Kut as Maliki sent forces from Karbala to supplement the 15,000 troops he already had. U.S. air support attacked targets on major roadways and the homes of suspected weapons smugglers, said Abdel Kareem Khalaf, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.
It's always suspected evildoers when they know the death toll of innocent civilians is going to be high and that's surely inevitable with air strikes. If memory serves, the COIN manual regards air strikes as a 'desperate measures only' tactic because it's kind of counterproductive to whole winning hearts and minds that's central to the strategy.

Meanwhile, many more innocents will die from this.
FALLUJAH, Mar 26 (IPS) - Iraqi doctors in al-Anbar province warn of a new disease they call "Blackwater" that threatens the lives of thousands. The disease is named after Blackwater Worldwide, the U.S. mercenary company operating in Iraq.
The lede is somewhat sensational. The disease is a well known and particularly malicious strain of malarial infection and it's not at all clear the doctors named it after Blackwater, the mercenaries. Nonetheless, it can kill in 24 hours, the central Health Ministry is ignoring it and they don't have the doctors or the medicine to treat an epidemic. Their medical system is in fact on the verge of collapse. Another inevitable by-product of the occupation.

If all this death and violence is part of the plan, then it's a really bad plan and it always was. Of course, that's what everybody except the diehard deadenders was saying a year and a half ago.

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Blackwater fever is a theme of at least a dozen books I've read about "darkest Africa" and was the bane of the early European explorers and the British during "the Raj." I believe it's named for extremely dark urine associated with the disease.

I recently read "Burmese Days" by George Orwell and the disease is mentioned.

But war and poverty and lack of sanitation invite diseases that were formerly under control - like this one.

It's just another thing Iraq is enjoying along with its "freedom"

11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Exactly the point Fogg. If it wasn't for the invasion having destroyed their entire infrastructure and the bulk of the doctors fleeing from the violence, this would not have happened. But it does cross my mind that the mercenaries hired by Blackwater probably come to some extent from Africa where it's prevalent and brought the infection with them.

2:17:00 PM  

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