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Thinker

Baghdad Burning -- Girl Blog

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"Wednesday, November 10, 2004

 

"Rule of Iraq Assassins Must End...

I'm not feeling well- it's a combination of the change of weather and the decline in the situation. Eid is less than a week away but no one is feeling at all festive. We're all worried about the situation in Falloojeh and surrounding regions. We've ceased worrying about the explosions in Baghdad and are now concerned with the people who have left their homes and valuables and are living off of the charity of others.

 

Allawi declared a "State of Emergency" a couple of days ago... A state of emergency *now* - because previous to this week, we Iraqis were living in an American made Utopia, as the world is well aware. So what does an "Emergency State" signify for Iraqis? Basically, it means we are now *officially* more prone to being detained, raided, and just generally abused by our new Iraqi forces and American ones. Today they declared a curfew on Baghdad after 10 p.m. but it hasn't really made an impact because people have stopped leaving their houses after dark anyway.

 

The last few days have been tense and heart-rending. Most of us are really worried about Falloojeh. Really worried about Falloojeh and all the innocents dying and dead in that city. There were several explosions in Baghdad these last few days and hardly any of them were covered by the press. All this chaos has somehow become uncomfortably normal. Two years ago I never would have dreamed of living like this- now this lifestyle has become the norm and I can barely remembering having lived any other way.

 

My cousin kept the kids home from school, which is happening quite often. One of the explosions today was so close, the house rocked with the impact and my cousin's wife paled, "Can you imagine if the girls had been at school when that happened- I would have died."

 

Dozens of civilians have died these last few days in Ramadi, Falloojeh, and Samarra. We are hearing about complete families being killed under the rain of bombs being dropped by American forces. The phone lines in those areas seem to be cut off. We've been trying to call some relatives in Ramadi for the last two days, but it's next to impossible. We keep getting that dreadful busy tone and there's just no real way of knowing what is going on in there. There is talk of the use of cluster bombs and other forbidden weaponry.

 

We're hearing various stories about the situation. The latest is that 36 American troops have been taken prisoner along with dozens of Iraqi troops. How do people feel about the Iraqi troops? There's a certain rage. It's difficult to sympathize with a fellow-countryman while he's killing one of his own. People generally call them "Dogs of Occupation" here because instead of guarding our borders or securing areas, they are used to secure American forces. They drive out in front of American cars in order to clear the roads and possibly detonate some of those road mines at a decent distance from the American tanks. At the end of the day, most of them are the remnants of militias and that's the way they act.

 

And now they are being used in Falloojeh against other Iraqis. The whole situation is making me sick and there's a fury building up. The families in Falloojeh have been relegated to living in strange homes and mosques outside of the city... many of them are setting up their families inside of emptied schools and municipal buildings in Samarra and neighboring areas. Every time I see Allawi on tv talking about his regrets about 'having to attack Falloojeh' I get so angry I could scream. He's talking to the outside world, not to us. Iraqis don't buy his crap for a instant. We watch him talk and feel furious and frustrated with our new tyrant.

 

I was watching CNN this morning and I couldn't get the image of the hospital in Falloojeh being stormed by Iraqi and American troops out of my head- the Iraqis being made to lay face-down on the ground, hands behind their backs. Young men and old men... and then the pictures of Abu Ghraib replay themselves in my mind. I think people would rather die than be taken prisoner by the Americans.

 

The borders with Syria and Jordan are also closed and many of the highways leading to the borders have been blocked. There are rumors that there are currently 100 cars ready to detonate in Mosul, being driven by suicide bombers looking for American convoys. So what happens when Mosul turns into another Falloojeh? Will they also bomb it to the ground? I heard a report where they mentioned that Zarqawi 'had probably escaped from Falloojeh'... so where is he now? Mosul?

 

Meanwhile, Rumsfeld is making his asinine remarks again,

 

"There aren't going to be large numbers of civilians killed and certainly not by U.S. forces,"

 

No- there are only an 'estimated' 100,000 civilians in Falloojeh (and these are American estimations). So far, boys and men between the ages of 16 and 60 aren't being counted as 'civilians' in Falloojeh. They are being rounded up and taken away. And, *of course* the US forces aren't going to be doing the killing: The bombs being dropped on Falloojeh don't contain explosives, depleted uranium or anything harmful- they contain laughing gas- that would, of course, explain Rumsfeld's idiotic optimism about not killing civilians in Falloojeh. Also, being a 'civilian' is a relative thing in a country occupied by Americans. You're only a civilian if you're on their side. If you translate for them, or serve them food in the Green Zone, or wipe their floors- you're an innocent civilian. Everyone else is an insurgent, unless they can get a job as a 'civilian'.

 

So this is how Bush kicks off his second term. More bloodshed.

 

"Innocent civilians in that city have all the guidance they need as to how they can avoid getting into trouble,"

 

How do they do that Rumsfeld? While tons of explosives are being dropped upon your neighborhood, how do you do that? Do you stay inside the house and try to avoid the thousands of shards of glass that shoot out at you from shattering windows? Or do you hide under a table and hope that it's sturdy enough to keep the ceiling from crushing you? Or do you flee your house and pray to God you don't come face to face with an Apache or tank or that you aren't in the line of fire of a sniper? How do you avoid the cluster bombs and all the other horror being dealt out to the people of Falloojeh?

 

There are a couple of things I agree with. The first is the following:

 

"Over time you'll find that the process of tipping will take place, that more and more of the Iraqis will be angry about the fact that their innocent people are being killed..."

 

He's right. It is going to have a decisive affect on Iraqi opinion- but just not the way he thinks. There was a time when pro-occupation Iraqis were able to say, "Let's give them a chance..." That time is over. Whenever someone says that lately, at best, they get a lot of nasty looks... often it's worse. A fight breaks out and a lot of yelling ensues... how can one condone occupation? How can one condone genocide? What about the mass graves of Falloojeh? Leaving Islam aside, how does one agree to allow the murder of fellow-Iraqis by the strongest military in the world?

 

The second thing Rumsfeld said made me think he was reading my mind:

 

"Rule of Iraq assassins must end..." I couldn't agree more: Get out Americans."

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In the war of public opinion, we seem to be losing. I highly doubt many of her 'rumors' are correct though. She's mad and she's lashing out, looking for things to grasp to and anything to strengthen her point. That's my guess, anyway.

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"I don’t offer solutions because I didn’t start this war. Like millions of other Americans, I actively opposed Bush’s War. Partisan conservatives demonized us as “unpatriotic” and “peaceniks” and "hippies" without ever listening to our message. It’s helpful to remember that every bad thing the anti-Bush War people predicted has happened, while everything the neo-conservatives promised has failed to materialize. I didn’t shit the bed so I have no obligation to clean it up or sleep in it."

 

link

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Isn't time to leave Iraq? Just pick up and go? After all, John Ashcroft said we're safe from terrorism!

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My younger bro left today for somewhere out there... He's been my best bud since I was 4.9 years old. How about we stop fantasizing about this and that and just hope as many of our brothers/sons/daughters/sister/wives/husbands come home okay... It's all fun and games until it is you or yours. Am I the only cc.com-er that has a loved one in the line of fire? Or the only one willing to voice it? Or have I just missed your posts? (and if so, I apologize, my mind has been elsewhere...)

 

Some of you need to adopt a GI, send em a care package, some cookies, whatever... Me? I got one already.

 

thanks.

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http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/

 

A refreshing view of the occupation from the perspective of a 'girl at ground zero -- Baghdad".

 

36 American troops captured in Falujah? you heard the rumor here first.

 

What's "refreshing" about it? It's the same old speculative, subjective, disrespectful, left-leaning propaganda that we've been reading since the war in Iraq began. I think it's time for folks to accept that war is ugly and support the troops who are over there risking their necks so we can sit here at our desks and spray on cc.com all day.

 

The following quote is symbolic of the typical liberal attitude:

 

"I didn’t shit the bed so I have no obligation to clean it up or sleep in it."

 

But you have every obligation to bitch and moan and complain about it at every opportunity? Am I the only one who sees the irony in this?

 

All of this IMHO, of course.

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I'd love to hear Girl Blog's solution to stablizing Iraq.

 

ChucK's quote was written by yankeedoodle. The "Girl Blogger" said this:

 

"I sometimes get emails asking me to propose solutions or make suggestions. Fine. Today's lesson: don't rape, don't torture, don't kill and get out while you can- while it still looks like you have a choice... Chaos? Civil war? Bloodshed? We’ll take our chances- just take your Puppets, your tanks, your smart weapons, your dumb politicians, your lies, your empty promises, your rapists, your sadistic torturers and go."

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Snafflepunter asked:

 

What's "refreshing" about it? It's the same old speculative, subjective, disrespectful, left-leaning propaganda that we've been reading since the war in Iraq began. I think it's time for folks to accept that war is ugly and support the troops who are over there risking their necks so we can sit here at our desks and spray on cc.com all day.

 

Refreshing?

 

She provides first hand accounts of living in the city that our politician/propagandors tell us is free and safe. She's not limited in where she can go and what she can say, unlike most of the 'journalists' in the country.

 

All in all, I find her coherent, articulate, and telling real experiences. In other words...refreshing.

 

Here's an example from her archives:

Saturday, August 30, 2003

 

Road Trip

My brother, E., was out at 8 am this morning getting gasoline for the car. He came home at 12 pm in a particularly foul mood. He had waited in line of angry, hostile Iraqis for 3 hours. Gasoline lines drive people crazy because, prior to the war, the price of gasoline in Iraq was ridiculously low. A liter of gasoline (unleaded) cost around 20 Iraqi Dinars when one US dollar equaled 2,000 Iraqi dinars. In other words, 1 liter of gasoline cost one cent! A liter of bottled water cost more than gasoline. Not only does it cost more now, but it isn’t easy to get. I think they’re importing gasoline from Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

 

We (a cousin, his wife, my mom and I) dragged E. out of the house at 12:30 to go visit my aunt on the other end of the city. We heard the usual instructions before we left- stop at checkpoints, return before dark and if anyone wants the car, give them the keys- don’t argue, don’t fight it.

 

The moment I had a foot out the door, the heat almost forced me back inside. Our sun, at noon, isn’t a heavenly body- it’s a physical assault. I could swear that at noon, in Iraq, the sun shuts out the rest of the world from its glory and concentrates its energies on us. Everything looks like it’s traveling on waves of heat- even the date palms look limp with the exhaustion of survival.

 

We climbed into a battered, old, white 1984 Volkswagen- people are avoiding using ‘nice’ cars that might tempt hijackers (‘nice’ is anything made after 1990). I mentally debated putting on sun glasses but decided against it- no need to attract any undue attention. I said a little prayer to keep us safe as I rummaged around in my bag, checking for my ‘weapon’. I can’t stand carrying a pistol so I carry around a big, red, switchblade hunting knife- you don’t want to mess with Riverbend…

 

Being out in the streets is like being caught in a tornado. You have to be alert and ready for anything every moment. I sat in the backseat, squinting into the sun, trying to determine if a particular face was that of a looter, or abductor or just another angry countryman. I craned my neck looking at the blue SUV, trying to remember if it had been behind us for the last kilometer or longer. I held my breath nervously every time the cousin slowed down the car because of traffic, willing the cars in front of us to get a move on.

 

I caught site of two men fighting. A crowd was beginning to gather and a few people were caught in the middle, trying to separate them. My cousin clucked angrily and started mumbling about ignorant people and how all we needed, on top of occupation, was hostility. E. told us not to keep staring and anxiously felt for the pistol under his seat.

 

The ride that took 20 minutes pre-war Iraq, took 45 minutes today. There were major roads completely cut off by tanks. Angry troops stood cutting off access to the roads around the palaces (which were once Saddam’s but are now America’s palaces). The cousin and E. debated alternative routes at every checkpoint or roadblock. I stayed silent because I don’t even know the city anymore. Now, areas are identified as “the one with the crater where the missile exploded”, or “the street with the ravaged houses”, or “the little house next to that one where that family was killed”.

 

The looting and killing of today has changed from the looting and killing in April. In April, it was quite random. Criminals were working alone. Now they’re more organized than the CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) and the troops combined. No one works alone anymore- they’ve created gangs and armed militias. They pull up to houses in minivans and SUVs, armed with machineguns and sometimes grenades. They barge into the house and demand money and gold. If they don’t find enough, they abduct a child or female and ask for ransom. Sometimes the whole family is killed- sometimes only the male members of the family are killed.

 

For a while, the men in certain areas began arranging ‘lookouts’. They would gather, every 6 or 7 guys, in a street, armed with Klashnikovs, and watch out for the whole area. They would stop strange cars and ask them what family they were there to visit. Hundreds of looters were caught that way- we actually felt safe for a brief period. Then the American armored cars started patrolling the safer residential areas, ordering the men off the streets- telling them that if they were seen carrying a weapon, they would be treated as criminals.

 

Most of the gangs, at least the ones in Baghdad, originate from slums on the outskirts of the city. ‘Al-Sadir City’ is a huge, notorious slum with a population of around 1.5 million. The whole place is terrifying. If you lose a car or a person, you will most likely find them there. Every alley is controlled by a different gang and weapons are sold in the streets… they’ll even try out that machinegun you have your eye on, if you pay enough. Americans don’t bother raiding the houses in areas like that… raids are exclusively for decent people who can’t shoot back or attack. Raids are for the poor people in Ramadi, Ba’aquba and Mosul.

 

By the time we got to my aunt’s house, every muscle in my body was aching. My eyes were burning with the heat and the strain. E.’s brow was furrowed with the scenes we had left behind us on the street and the cousin’s hands were shaking almost imperceptibly- knuckles still white with tension. My mother said a prayer of gratitude for our safe arrival and the cousin’s wife, T., swore she wasn’t going to leave my aunt’s house for another three days and if we planned to go home today, we could do so without her because God needed to look out for other people today, not just us...

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There's about a dozen other Iraqi bloggers out there, most of whom take a very different stance with respect to the war.

 

This is a subset of a subset of the population we are talking about here - English speakers with reliable internet access - so there's neither side is reperesentative of the broad swath of Iraqi opinion, but "Riverbend" is hardly the only voice available to those looking for insights into the situation from Iraqi's themselves.

 

Some others:

 

http://messopotamian.blogspot.com/

http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/

http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/

http://hammorabi.blogspot.com/

http://iraqataglance.blogspot.com/

 

Plenty of others linked to these blogs if you visit them.

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"You see, Ziad is a Sunni by birth, but a free and upright person by mind and education. This gives the lie to the idea that the problem in Iraq is solely due to the strife between religious sects and ethnic groups. The problem and divide is between intelligent cultured people and the ignorant. And Ziad is a fine example of a cultured person whose strength of character and conviction is stronger than all the pressures of sectarianism and fanaticism. The same applies to many fine men in Iraq today, and it is our hope that sooner and later the waters will calm and the true bond of “Iraqiness” will triumph over the ignorance and foolishness of extremists and peasants of all sorts, Sunni, Shiaa etc. etc.

 

Ziad is my favorite blogger and he has been my inspiration for starting this blog. I wish to send him all my heart felt greetings and best wishes from this humble forum."

 

The italics are mine, but indicate to my mind the ramblings of an arrogant and elitist attitude.

 

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Since I don't see any discussion of the daily hardships this guy has to go through I wonder what protected enclave he is posting from. Very different than from the ordinary folk trying just to get around the city(?)

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There's about a dozen other Iraqi bloggers out there, most of whom take a very different stance with respect to the war.

 

This is a subset of a subset of the population we are talking about here - English speakers with reliable internet access - so there's neither side is reperesentative of the broad swath of Iraqi opinion, but "Riverbend" is hardly the only voice available to those looking for insights into the situation from Iraqi's themselves.

 

Some others:

 

http://messopotamian.blogspot.com/

http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/

http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/

http://hammorabi.blogspot.com/

http://iraqataglance.blogspot.com/

 

Plenty of others linked to these blogs if you visit them.

 

These blogs read as if the writers are in the US or at least in some comfortable place not dealing with the daily issues of Baghdad. Most of it could have come from wire services or web-scanning. Not the most compelling examples.

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Not sure what evidence you have to support that assertion other than you presumably dislike what they have to say, and want to discredit the messengers.

 

The guys that run "Iraq the Model" are starting their own political party in Iraq, have had numerous reporters meeting with them in Baghdad and disclosed their identities despite the risks this entails, etc - but whatever. Same deal for most of the other bloggers out there.

 

But - I can see how after applying occam's razor to this one it must be more logical to assume that anyone who is in favor of what the coalition is doing in Iraq must be posting from an air conditioned cubical in Langley.

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But - I can see how after applying occam's razor to this one it must be more logical to assume that anyone who is in favor of what the coalition is doing in Iraq must be posting from an air conditioned cubical in Langley.

Given the astroturfing campagins used for movies, teen music, outdoor products? it's not improbable. Hell, there are marketing companies you can hire to do this for you.

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As long as he/you apply this logic to the "Girl Blog" as well then - great - at least there's a consistent, if slightly paranoid, streak of logic running through the argument.

 

However - if it's only the bloggers who are posting content that is counter to his/your perceptions of what is going on there, then it's easy to see what's driving the doubts.

 

If you have been reading the "Have Your Say" column on BBC news, where they frequently post translations from BBC Arabic - or care to try to decipher the messages on BBC Arabic using a machine translator - you will find that the Iraqis posting there often take a different line on matters pertaining to the goings on in Iraq than their fellow Arabs. This was especially evident during the Sadr lead uprising in Najaf and has continued with the situation in Fallujah.

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first, this is an educated girl in Iraq? that has an opinion? that is allowed to express that opinion? that is rich enough to have a computer and live in a city with internet and power?

sorry kids, I dont buy this bullshit. just another terrorist brainwashing the rest of the Iraqi civilians. Oh I bet the last Iraqi regime didn’t rape, kill, steal, and overall do terrible things to the “innocent” people of Iraq. I bet none of that happened.

Yeah right.

This is just typical brainwash to keep the Muslim people believing it is the Americans that are so horrible.

So if the Americans drop everything and pull out right now and leave Iraq, will the “innocent” Iraqi citizens then not hate us? not blame us for their hardships?

No matter what we do they will hate us. they hate us for being American and for protecting Israel. End of story. 100 years from now they will still hate us.

Please don’t get me wrong.. I do not support this war.. I’m just calling bullshit to these so called “first hand account.”

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Hmmm... I didn't even consider the possibility that the girl blogger was complete and utter propaganda! blush.gif I guess that could be the case.

 

The thing that struck me so much about her stories is not so much the anti-US stuff, but the picture that it paints of how horrible it must be to be living in Iraq (Bagdad at least) right now. That sentiment is definitely echoed in a few of JayB's linked blogs too, though the blame for the nightmarish situation is placed elsewhere.

 

Thanks for providing those "alternate" links JayB thumbs_up.gif.

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Try Google. With Bloggers "revisioning" history on an almost daily basis, I wouldn't be too surprised to find one.

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Gee, I wonder what a german girl blogger would have written in Dresden circa 1944, had the internet existed at the time...

 

Well, in 1945 she'd have written something like: "Aaaiiiieeee! I'm on fire and incendiary bombs just obliterated my entire neighborhood!"

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Yes, but would the political opposition in this country be wringing their hands about the abuses of the american military, making like so unpleasant for the "average German".

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confused.gif

 

I don't see your point.

 

Do you have some logic that will impugn sympathizers of the Iraqi people today on the basis of how people would have felt 60 years ago about a bombing raid that killed 80K+ civillians? If so let's hear it.

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