February 28th, 2005


The new status quo.

For most people in the US, the Iraqi elections marked a bit of a turning point, in that they went off relatively without a hitch and seemed to promise some degree of legitimacy to the occupation... and, for a few weeks, attacks actually went down in Iraq, and the situation appeared to improve.

But overthe past two weeks, the rate and severity of attacks has gone up again. Extrapolating from these post-electopm figures would lead a person to believe that the new status quo is about 75 dead coalition soldiers a month. Compare that to last February, when only 23 coalition soldiers died in Iraq.

And things aren't better for the Iraqis either. In Hilla, south of Baghdad, a crowd of new police recruits were car bombed while waiting outside a clinic for required medical exams,  killing 125 people and wounding an additional 130 -- the bloodiest single attack since the fall of Saddam.

It remains to be seen whether the news, no doubt coming out in the next few days, of the 1500th US soldier killed in Iraq will have any real impact. Not a lot, I suspect... but the 2000th US soldier to die in Iraq will probably have a greater effect on the collective psyche. At current rates, expect that to happen sometime around September.

An accident waiting to happen.

Not only is the US refusing to be a part of the growing worldwide movement against landmines, they also want to install remote controlled landmines in Iraq, capable of killing people up to 300 meters away from the blast. (As if littering the country with unexploded ordinance isn't enough...)

On behalf of future generations of Iraqi children, I'd like to extend my middle finger in the general direction of the Pentagon.