News from the “Forgotten War” in Iraq
The US is (mostly) pulling back from bases in Iraqi cities in accordance with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed last year by Iraq’s government and the Bush Administration. While this can be taken as a sign of progress, violent attacks have been increasing recently in Iraq. Two New York Times articles today offer somewhat conflicting depictions of the situation in Iraq, reinforcing the undeniable truth of the continuing misery for the people of Iraq, and that the peace movement was (and is) right in our assertion that the US should never have invaded in the first place. Oh when will they (we) ever learn?
-Kevin Martin, Executive Director
Well over 200 people died in Baghdad last week – I heard some the explosions from my compound and saw the smoking coming from a bomb in Sadar City that took 70 people in less than a minute last Wednesday. The violence has increased due to a number of factors (depending on who you talk to): it’s the summer and people get cranky; U.S. troops are moving out and some are trying to “take credit” in the eyes of their less educated followers by blowing up markets and pilgrims; or, the Iraqi troops cannot sustain the security situation and they whole country is going to blow up the minute the last U.S. troop leaves.
For the sake of the millions of us here – please hope for the first.
The beginning of the end of this occupation is being declared a national holiday (just as the beginning was). We celebrate Iraqi “liberation” on two days now here – how interesting…for me as a peace activist to be put in this situation. Many here are grateful the U.S. army is leaving; many are petrified; most are hopeful that at least for now…they have water, some electricity & security, and a growing government infrastructure. Next steps: jobs, returnees, and woman’s rights…
There was no military “solution” to the issues in Iraq during the Saddam days – military intervention only brings destruction. But, having been here and spoken with Iraqis here I can say there are some who believe they are better off – many actually. Everyday people hate the violence. Many hate and love the violent political groups as much as they hate and love the Americans. Only to say, it is painfully complicated and more real than you can ever imagine.