Dispatches From the Moderate Left

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Iraq Insanity

It's enough to make you weep. In a city which is just a three hour drive north of Baghdad:
THE executions are carried out at dawn on Haqlania bridge, the entrance to Haditha. A small crowd usually turns up to watch even though the killings are filmed and made available on DVD in the market the same afternoon.

One of last week's victims was a young man in a black tracksuit. Like the others he was left on his belly by the blue iron railings at the bridge's southern end. His severed head rested on his back, facing Baghdad. Children cheered when they heard that the next day's spectacle would be a double bill: two decapitations. A man named Watban and his brother had been found guilty of spying.

With so many alleged American agents dying here, Haqlania bridge was renamed Agents' bridge. Then a local wag dubbed it Agents' fridge, evoking a mortuary, and that name has stuck.

A three-day visit by The Guardian last week established what neither the Iraqi Government nor the US military has admitted: Haditha, a farming town of 90,000 people by the Euphrates River, is an insurgent citadel.

A few months ago insurgents, some associated with al-Zaraqawi's group, took over the town of 90,000 people and imposed Islamic law:
That Islamist guerillas were active in the area was no secret but only now has the extent of their control been revealed. They are the town's sole authority, running the security, administration and communications.
Alcohol and music deemed unIslamic were banned, women were told to wear headscarves and relations between the sexes were closely monitored. The mobile phone network was shut down but insurgents retained their walkie-talkies and satellite phones. DVDs of beheadings on the bridge are distributed free in the market. Children prefer them to cartoons.

This is the end game for the jihadist insurgents in Iraq. They aren't interested in just getting rid of foreign troops, they want to impose their own fundamentalist, fascist government here as they did in Afghanistan. These people are the enemy and US troops are desperately needed to combat them until local troops are capable of doing so. The fate of the Iraqi people and ultimately the security of the Middle East and indeed our own countries depends on it.


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