Postings might be a bit sporadic over the next two weeks as I will be on holidays.
My fellow co-bloggers are free to do what they want but from now on I'm not posting on or commenting on the war anymore and I'll try not to be drawn into any discussions on it in other blogs' comments facilities either. It's just all too depressing and confusing and disconcerting to think about and I really have nothing constructive to say about it anymore. 'Cakewalk' my arse, warbloggers. Service will resume on a more regular basis with postings on economics and political philosophy and a whole lot of other interesting stuff like that which actually makes sense.
Sadly coming true...
I take no joy what-so-evr in having correctly predicted (see post below) that civilians would be the ones to suffer the most from the use of suicide car-bombings. US Officials have announced that seven Iraqi civilians were shot and killed
when their van refused to stop at a checkpoint
This sort of incident will be fuel for the anti-war fire, and be great propaganda for Saddam's regime.
The other observation I would make though is that the openness of the US in admitting what happened is positive. They are trying to put a 'spin' on the story by stating
" Lt Cdr Owens says the military has opened an investigation into the incident and is trying to find out if any of the car's occupants were hurt before the troops opened fire."
None the less - the willingness ot admit to this kind of incident is surely a sign that the western media (and even hte official PR machine) is prepared to be more open than it's Iraqi counterparts.
Suicide car Bombings
In what must constitute bad news for everyone , except Saddam's regime, there are reports today of a car bomb being detonated at a vehicle check point
. There are conflicting reports of the damage caused by the bombing. The US/Uk version is
"A US official said a car exploded at a checkpoint near the Shi'ite Muslim shrine city of Najaf, about 160km south of Baghdad, killing four soldiers who were searching it. The driver also died in the blast."
The Iraqi version is
"the attack had killed 11 American soldiers and destroyed two tanks and two armoured personnel carriers. "
Now unless they packed this car with something very unconventional, well, I think it should be fairly obvious who is stretching the truth the most here.
But back to my opening point - why is this attack, and it's praise by Saddam, such bad news.
For the military, it now means even greater caution (and suspicion) when dealing with civilians. This has a great many negative implications for the troops on the ground. In some cases , it may make soldiers treat genuine civilians more roughly than they otherwise would. In the worst case scenario, it may lead to some innocent civilians being wounded or killed. In trying to avoid this kind of scenario other soldiers may not be suspicious enough - leading to more military fatalities. Both will slow the war down as additional resources and time will have to be spent sorting out genuine non-combatants from suicide bombers and the like.
Saddam's encouragement for this kind of attack is also bad news for the civilian population of Iraq. As pointed out above, this is going to lead to the US/UK military treating them more suspiciously than they otherwise would, and may lead to higher civilian casualties.
In praising the attacks..
"Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan addressed a news conference and said the United States could expect more suicide attacks on its troops following the car bombing .
' Any method that stops or kills the enemy will be used. What are they doing in our land? Let them pack and go,' Ramadan said. "
The 'any method' comment is worrying. By encouraging a method of attack that is likely to increase civilian casualties Saddam's government is showing that civilian deaths are not something it is especially concerned about, except when it can be used as propaganda. The next big question is whether 'any method' includes CBW.