Friday, January 25, 2008

First we celebrate, and then we bomb

Photo: American-backed Sunni militia men inspect weapons and roadside bombs which their found while searching the area around Arab Jabour, outside Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Jan. 25, 2008. (AP Photo/ Loay Hameed)

As mentioned on Democracy Now! last week, the US is bombing more and more in Iraq. In 2007, the rate of dropping bomb is FIVE times higher than in 2006. And earlier this month, there was a massive bombing of an area in Iraq called Arab Jabour, which is farmland south of Baghdad. As Reuters reported on January 10, 2008: ARAB JABOUR - U.S. forces launched their biggest air strikes in at least a year, dropping 40,000 pounds of bombs within minutes on al Qaeda targets in date palm groves on Baghdad's southern outskirts, the U.S. military said.

The US military even made some video about this bombing, and it is available on YOU TUBE. They call this “Freedom Journal Iraq” and they clearly think that shooting has a lot to do with “freedom” - which I find rather bizarre. This video has shots of rural farm lands and buildings being bombed. They report success in going after the “terrorists” but no reports on possible civilian casualties. They claim they drop flyers ahead of time, so that civilians will know about upcoming “operations”. I guess they think the local AQI (their name for al Qaeda in Iraq) men don’t (or can’t) read.

Since it is the locals who own the buildings and farm lands, I imagine they would want to stay there on their land and in their homes. I imagine if anyone was to leave it would be outsiders that are part of AQI - unless AQI is made up of locals. If AQI is made up of locals, and since AQI did not exist before the US military arrived, then the intelligent solution would be for the military to just leave.

However, if the “terrorists” are not local Iraqis, why would they keep their operations and supplies in an area about to be bombed? Not likely.

In that video, they also mention how they detained “AQI associates” and found machine guns and grenades in other parts of Iraq. Just last week, I saw a picture of an Iraqi police officer with grenades hanging off his chest, with an Iraqi women sitting right next to him, and certainly not making a big deal of the grenades. The Iraqi police regularly carry machine guns. So, the reports by US military of finding this is about like finding empty bottles in the trash.

This video also mentions new solar-power street lights in Baghdad. No mention that this area had plenty of street lights prior to the US invasion, and had them for years. They talk about how the security in this area has recently improved to the best level it has seen in years. (Still not as good as it was in 2002, but that is not mentioned.) They did mention that these changes allow the locals to see a “light at the end of the tunnel” - without a hint of IRONY. This video was made on January 10, 2008.

But the point of this post is not to present to you the propaganda (devoid of logic and morality, in my opinion) of the US military. Rather, I want to let you know that on December 27, 2007, the US military was CELEBRATING with local Iraqis in Arab Jabour. They were celebrating the opening of the local “Arab Jabour Governance Center” by the local “concerned local citizens” and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. They made a film of that, too. This video shows the US military celebrating with the locals of Arab Jabour on the opening on the Governance Center. In the later scenes of the clip about the opening of the Governance Center, you see an American military guy eating the Iraqi food. There is music and dancing by the Iraqi men, and it looks like a speech or sermon was given also.

Video: Arab Jabour Governance Center

B-roll of the grand opening of the Arab Jabour Governance Center. Scenes include Iraqi locals singing, dancing and eating, and shots of the interior of the building. Produced by Sgt. Jay Townsend.

Video Location: IQ||Arab Jabour

Unit(s) Involved: 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division

Submitting Unit: 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs

Date Taken: 12-27-07

[This video link above came from Roads to Iraq blog. – dancewater]

I also found another video, from the same “Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System.” This is also from Arab Jabour, and dated October 2007. The second video is about how the “local concerned citizens” provide cover for US troops who are running a medical clinic for the locals, and has several interviews of US military discussing this area and how well things are going.

Video: Concerned Citizens Provide Cover

Package of U.S. Soldiers taking charge of the Arab Jabour area with the help of local concerned citizens. Produced by Spc. Jay Townsend. [Another “success” story from Arab Jabour. Wonder if the kids got bombed? – dancewater]

Video Location: IQ||Baghdad

Unit(s) Involved: 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division (Fort Stewart, US)

Interviewee(s): Capt. James Anthony (US), Commander, C Company, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment and Lt. Col. Ken Adgie (US), Commander, 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment

Submitting Unit: 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs

Date Taken: 10-20-2007

I find it very bizarre that the US is celebrating with the Iraqis over the opening of the local “Governance Center” and then less than two weeks later dropping 40,000 pounds of bombs in the area. I posted this blog on Daily Kos and my own blog, Dancewater, earlier this week.