Thursday, March 29, 2007

In the Labyrinth

(Image source)

Jamie Tarabay presented a disturbing piece of embedded journalism this morning. Renee Montagne sets it up with the "progress in Iraq" nonsense that has become standard fare on NPR: "Here’s an example of how signs of progress in Iraq can sometimes lead to side effects," she says.

Tarabay is with a US Army unit conducting "Operation Minotaur" in the town of Quba in Iraq - a town that used to have about 8500 people, but is down to about half that now. Here's what we hear about the operation:
  • The unit she's with "arrived at the southern entrance of Quba as artillery from a nearby forward operation base rained down on the northern part of the village..."
  • The Americans find three “suspects,” do a swipe test on them that’s positive for TNT and "Captain Few gets on the radio to the soldiers holding the detainees." We hear the captain say, "OK get rocking and start beating this guy up cause he’s obviously working some bombs right now and want to know where they’re at." Tarabay tells us, "The interrogation of the detainees took place out of view."
  • According to Tarabay, "By nightfall at least twenty insurgents had been killed and at least as many detained."
  • The Captain explains, "All and all it was a good day. All my boys are safe. We accomplished our mission. All my trucks are good. You can’t ask for much more. The first day of the operation went smoothly."
  • Tarabay finishes with, "The second day was deadlier. Four of the soldiers in Captain Few’s unit were killed by a roadside bomb. Two others were wounded. The operation continues."
I have a few questions for Lieutenant Tarabay: Does she have any problem with beating up detainees? Is she curious how the "interrogation" is done? How did she confirm that the twenty people killed were in fact insurgents? What happened to the twenty detainees--were they turned over to the hospitality of the drill teams of the Interior Ministry of Iraq or are they just being "beaten up?" Why do four US deaths make a "deadlier" day than twenty Iraqi deaths?"

This piece made me so angry I could barely stand it. Yes, it made me sad that four soldiers from my country were killed and two wounded, probably severely. And it also disgusted me that our President and Congress and generals are sending units of our soldiers to do the dirty work of this illegitimate war--that an operation goes into a town of several thousand people, rains down artillery on them, taunts them with loud speakers, invades their homes, kills twenty of them, disappears twenty more--and then broadcasts it as "a good day." Operation Minotaur (again) is a fitting name for this, although it is not clear who is Theseus and who is the Minotaur in this bloody operation, but the terrible labyrinth is clearly Iraq .

1 comment:

Liberality said...

Thanks for listening to NPR so that I don't have to. I don't listen to them anymore. I'm done. My husband still listens and yesterday he was completely disgusted by several of the news "stories" they covered, including the one about Karl Rove getting down with his dirty self.