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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Still No News

Was catching up on Jill Carroll news this morning, and this nugget caught my eye:
Muslims from Baghdad to Paris urged the militants to free the 28-year-old woman and end Iraq's wave of kidnappings. More than 240 foreigners have been taken captive and at least 39 killed since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein....

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, more Iraqis have been abducted either by insurgents or gangs seeking ransoms.

According to figures compiled by the Washington-based Brookings Institution, there was an average of two kidnappings a day of Iraqis in Baghdad in January 2004 and 10 a day in December of that year. Last month, the think tank said kidnappings of Iraqis averaged 30 a day nationwide.
And here I thought that the meaning of "last throes" was that it would be getting less dangerous -- not exponentially more dangerous. Silly me.

Increasing to a current 30 kidnappings a day? Think about that for a second...and then contemplate how any economy, any government, can operate under those conditions, and contemplate what is going to occur when we pull out. Every once in a while, the enormity of the problems in Iraq hits me smack in the head, and all of those missed opportunities along the way -- starting with our ill-planned entry into the country in the first place -- just pisses me off all over again.

I wish I had some solution to propose, but I don't. The cumulative bad decisions, from the initial decision to invade without adequate planning for sustaining the peace afterward to the looting of the ministry buildings because of too little security in place after the invasion all the way through the failure to secure the oil pipelines from sabotage -- I'm not even sure where to start first. Don't even get me started on the rationale for going to war in the first place or the hyping of nonexistent evidence.

It's so maddening when you think about the enormity of the problems that we have amplified by our piss poor decisions, over and over, and I have enormous sympathy and admiration for the men and women in uniform who have been busting their butts carrying out orders despite the conditions, the obstacles, and everything else, but still find time to help build a new school or play soccer with the local kids or open a pediatric clinic with donated medicines from friends and family back home.

It's such an amazing testimony to the character of a lot of these folks that they have been finding time in their off hours to do the work that the State Department plans would have had us doing from the start. Had they not been thrown out by the Preznit and Rummy, I mean. But coulda, woulda, shoulda doesn't fix the problems there, and frankly I can't even imagine where to start at this point. Wish I had a solution, but this morning I'm just trying not to bang my head repeatedly on my keyboard.

With regard to Jill Carroll, an outpouring of support for her release has come from Muslim clerics worldwide, including from some prominant clerics in the Middle East and in Iraq itself. Negotiators have heard little from Carroll's captors since two twenty-second video segments of her were shown on Tuesday and Thursday, but they are hoping that the pressure from clerics and prominant Iraqi Sunni politicians will help to secure her release.

I'm keeping Jill Carroll in my thoughts and prayers. She is doing a dangerous and vital job, along with all those other journalists who risk their lives and safety every day to report independently in Iraq and elsewhere. Here's hoping she is returned safely to her family soon.