The Economist on Iraq

Sunday, March 26, 2006 at 04:55 PM

The Economist magazine for March 25-31 has a lengthy piece on the situation in Iraq titled Iraq--Murder is Certain (pages 49-51).

Some interesting quotes, facts, and sentiments, especially in light of the source, which is hardly anti-Bush or anti-war.  But don't expect to hear any of this from Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Fox, et al.

Statements without quotes are from the Economist author:

"For every one we pick off the streets, we're creating one to take his place."  Lt. General Peter Chiarelli, commander of coalition forces in Iraq.

In each of the past three years, according to coalition sources, American troops have killed over 250 innocent people at vehicle checkpoints alone....Yet it is remarkable that coalition procedures for issuing warnings to oncoming vehicles, including flares and shots, were standardised only this month.

As the Americans tend not to report the civilians they kill, many are omitted from independent counts of Iraqi civilians killed in the conflict.

The Americans seconded to [the Iraqi Security Forces, or ISF] as mentors, ten at each battalion and brigade level, joke weakly that ISF stands for I Shot Foot--a painful eventuality witnessed in Ramadi by this correspondent.

Some [Iraqi soldiers] said that they believed the Mahdi, a mythical figure who, it is prophesied, will lead Muslims to conquer the world before the day of judgment, had recently appeared in Iraq.  Several identified him as Muqtada al-Sadr, a firebrand cleric whose black robed militiamen have killed many American and British troops.

Many Iraqis ask how it is that America, which could seize their country in two weeks, cannot turn their lights back on.

"We came, we saw, we wasted a year of our lives.  At least we got the Fuckers to vote." Graffiti on a toilet wall in an American airbase in Western Iraq.