(guest blog by Taylor Marsh)
The number of Iraqis fleeing their homes for safer parts of the country has more than doubled in two weeks to 65,000, the Iraqi Ministry of Displacement and Migration said Thursday.
A ministry spokesman reported a twofold jump from the 30,000 internal refugees estimated on March 30. The ministry put the number of families on the move at 10,991.
People are receiving warning leaflets. " ‘Leave now, without taking any of your belongings. Take only your clothes,’ these warnings say," according to Said Hakki, chairman of the Iraq Red Crescent Society. Fighting displaces tens of thousands of Iraqis
Four months after the vote in December, we still do not have a permanent government in Iraq. Why not? That’s the first question Americans should be asking President Bush and we shouldn’t stop until we get the answer.
And did you hear what Ahmadinejad said just today?
The president of Iran again lashed out at Israel on Friday and said it was "heading toward annihilation," just days after Tehran raised fears about its nuclear activities by saying it successfully enriched uranium for the first time.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a "permanent threat" to the Middle East that will "soon" be liberated. He also appeared to again question whether the Holocaust really happened.
"Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation," Ahmadinejad said at the opening of a conference in support of the Palestinians. "The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm." Iran Leader: Israel Will Be Annihilated
Is the president of Iran trying to goad us into a reaction? Ya think. Evidently, people are getting the message that President Bush, his administration and the rubber stamp Republicans, who don’t have a collective independent thought, cannot do one thing at a time competently let alone two.
But after watching the Republicans botch Katrina, willingly sell our ports off to the highest bidder, as well as initially felonize 12 million illegal immigrants, still nothing compares to what’s going on in Iraq right now. Because with tens of thousands of minority refugees fleeing the cities, we’re going to have, not only a civil war on our hands, but a humanitarian crisis before too long. No one can say when the 65,000+ Iraqi refugees will be able to leave the new tent cities.
As for the U.S., we have a crisis of confidence on the part of many in the military, who have come to realize that the Republican "strong on national security" line is just more propaganda floated out for mass consumption. Not only did most of the Bush administration not serve, but they continue to support a president whose policies are putting America in jeopardy. They are so weak that they have no solutions, just slogans.
One of my readers sent me this story this morning of a returning Marine captain who served two tours of duty in Iraq.
Three years ago, I was a Marine Corps captain on the Iraqi/Kuwaiti border, participating in the invasion of Iraq. Awestruck, I heard our howitzers thunder and watched artillery rockets rise into the night sky and streak toward Iraq — their light bathing the desert moonscape like giant arc welders.
I volunteered to go back to Iraq for the fall and winter of 2004-2005. I went back out of frustration and guilt; frustration from watching Iraq unravel on the news and guilt that I wasn’t there trying to stop it. Many fine Marines from my reserve battalion felt the same and volunteered to go back. I buried my mounting suspicions and mustered enough trust and faith in my civilian leadership to go back.
I returned disillusioned by what I saw. I participated in the second battle of Fallujah in November 2004. We crushed the insurgents in the city, but we only ended up scattering them throughout the province. The dumb ones stayed and died. The smart ones left town before the battle, to garner more recruits and fight another day. We were simply the little Dutch boy with our finger in the dike. In retrospect, we never had enough troops to firmly control the region; we had just enough to maintain a tenuous equilibrium.
I now know I wrongfully placed my faith and trust in a presidential administration hopelessly mired in incompetence, hubris and a lack of accountability. It planned a war based on false intelligence and unrealistic assumptions. It has strategically surrendered the condition of victory in Iraq to people who do not share our vision, values or interests. The Bush administration has proven successful at only one thing in Iraq — painting us into a corner with no feasible exit.
I will never trust any of them again.
Because Republicans got distracted with some neoconservative notion of recrafting the Middle East, we have Iraq in a civil war, and the Iranian president taunting the U.S. to make a move. What Ahmadinejad wants more than anything is for Cowboy Bush to blink, to bomb, to attack. It would rally the region against the United States even further and legitimize a man who has to fill the Iranian bureaucracy with Revolutionary Guard in order to bolster his power.
What we need to do is talk to the Iranians. Perhaps China and Russia could help.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi parliament is set to meet on Monday, according to some news reports. The Iraqis need to form a government.
Oh, and by the way, I hear the poppies are lovely this time of year in Afghanistan. Just watch out for the Taliban. They’re ba-ack.