Thursday, April 12, 2007


Word of the Day


UPDATE (Tue 2007-05-15): It looks like Bush has somehow found someone willing to take this job. The confirmation hearings should be interesting.

Hail Caesar Lute!

(The word "czar" is derived from the name "Caesar"; so is "kaiser".)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


More bad news from Baghdad

You probably know about John McCain's recent trip to Baghdad. As David Kurtz recently reported at TPM, McCain claimed that you could stroll though many Baghdad neighborhoods. To prove it, McCain strolled through a Baghdad marketplace -- wearing a bulletproof vest, and accompanied by a few close friends: 100 American soldiers, three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships.

And now the horribly bad news. As mentioned by Josh Marshall on TPM, the Times of London reports that:
The latest massacre of Iraqi children came as 21 Shia market workers were ambushed, bound and shot dead north of the capital. The victims came from the Baghdad market visited the previous day by John McCain, the US presidential candidate, who said that an American security plan in the capital was starting to show signs of progress.
(The massacre involved 14 Iraqi children and adults being killed by a suicide bomber in Kirkuk.)

Now here's what concerns me, apart from the usual mind-numbingly horrid background of violence in Iraq. McCain's party interacted with vendors in that market, which means those vendors also interacted with US soldiers. In Iraq today, dealing with US soldiers can be enough to get someone marked as a collaborator. In some cases, the US military has even conducted phony raids against friendly Iraqis, just to keep them from being killed as collaborators.

The Times article doesn't say whether the vendors who were killed were the same ones who had dealt with McCain's party. I sincerely hope they weren't. I hope that this was just another random act of violence, and not a retaliation triggered by McCain's visit. But it's just possible that McCain indirectly got these people killed, not of course out of malice, but out of a bumbling and wildly optimistic failure to understand the situtation.

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