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       Shortly after the invasion of Iraq, dozens of Iraqi bloggers took to the internet, bringing us the inside scoop from what had previously been a closed society.  It was the first time in decades that the world had heard so many voices from inside the war-torn nation.  Many Kossacks came to know Riverbend and her blog Baghdad Burning; many were familiar with Raed Jarrar and his Raed in the Middle; still others followed Salam Pax’s Where is Raed?—and bought the book based on it.  And there were many, many others.
       By late Spring 2003, it seemed as though things might work out in Iraq.  Most citizens were hard at work trying to regain some sense of a normal life.  Saddam and his sons were gone.  Sunnis, Shi’as, Kurds, and Christians peacefully co-existed in Baghdad’s mixed neighborhoods.  The bloggers had begun blogging.  And no one had heard of a roadside bomb.  
       But as the situation has deteriorated over the past four years, the blogs have started to fall silent.

       Of the English-language Iraqi blogs I followed, Ferid’s Iraqi4ever was the first to go.  A dentistry student in Baghdad, Ferid had begun publishing his blog on July 22, 2004.  In his first post he included a tribute to the Iraqi soccer team’s victory over Turkmenistan.  And these were his first words:

Hi every one :)
I hope you like what garbage I write here :P and remember to come back always for more of my garbage :P   am in Iraq now exactly in Baghdad :)

       Like so many other Iraqi bloggers, Ferid covered politics, war, school, and soccer.  He usually posted a few times a month.  On August 27, 2005, only 13 months after he first posted, Ferid made mention of the resurgent Ba’ath Party by saying:

Now who would thought after two years and a half, Ba'athies will go out again carrying Saddam's Photos, bunch of idiots as they've been always been, demanding not be excluded in constitution and their excuse was always "we don't warship Saddam."

       
       And that was his last post.
       I have no idea why.  Maybe he got tired of blogging.  Maybe he was too busy after his graduation.  Maybe he fled the country and lives in the U.S. now.  Or maybe by the end of August 2005, he was buried in a Baghdad cemetary.  Unless he resurfaces, we’ll never know.

       There are others.  One I always liked was A Free Writer.  Starting in December 2004, he covered the usual stuff (half of it in Arabic and half in English), but he always wrote with a philosophical bent.  He liked to periodically include an equivalent to Daily Kos’ Science Friday, where he’d either explain or ponder some scientific theory or invention.  Two of his last topics were on a purported 2,000-year old battery found in Baghdad and another on some far-out theory concerning water and its relationship to humans.  I liked it because the writer seemed to care about the subjects he was covering.  There was almost something indulgent about it.  I felt like he added the news on bombings in his area just so people would keep reading—even though he really wanted to talk about science and philosophy.  
       On October 21, 2005, A Free Writer posted only a short note:

A bomb went off at a famous monument Abu Jaafar al-Mansour in Baghdad which was honouring the eighth-century founder of Baghdad . This explosion, destroyed and blown to bits the monument as you can see in the below photo .
This is a good proof that violence in Iraq is getting random , and out of any control and in nearly future we will have nothing left undestroyed , even our art and history.

       He posted once more, four days later, and that was it.  After nearly a year of blogging, he just disappeared.

       Husayn Uthman, a 27-year old Iraqi, had a blog called Democracy in Iraq.  On his profile he listed reading, computers, swimming, and football (soccer) as his interests.  Husayn’s main focus on his blog was the war.  What he doesn’t say (but is apparent from his writing), is that he was an anti-Saddam Iraqi nationalist.  He posted every few days starting in December 2004.  In his FAQ section, he said of himself:

Im just a blogger, I sit on a computer and write. I don't know what benefit this has, but if it does have any, I want to dedicate it to all the people who died for a free Iraq, whether they were Iraqi, American, British, Polish, whatever their nationality.

 Unfortunately, the dramas of which Husayn wrote eveloped him also, as he reported in the spring of 2005 that he had been arrested "for a few weeks."  He posted once more that summer and once in the winter.  His last post had the ring of one who was being backed into a corner, but who, at the same time, remained defiant in the face of the onslaught:

Despite the questioning put forth by so many people about my nation, about what we could do, we continue to move forward. Those of you who e-mailed me, those of you who have questioned this entire episode in history - the sands of time are proving you to be WRONG.

I am happy to say that the current elections are going on without any problems, it is strange that we have no violence during elections though, if anything - it shows me that our security forces are growing in strength and that is another signal that we are moving forward.

What else can I say - except to say to the naysayers that you must stop your nonsense, and realize that Iraq will be built in a democratic fashion - and that it will happen. Despite all the violence, carnage, and negativity, the Iraqi people continue on the path to freedom.

I cannot emphasize this enough, I don't think that non-Iraqis understand the bloodshed here, everyday for the last three years, there has been some type of violence, someones family being robbed of love, someone being crippled, and yet, and yet, Iraqis have seen through this cancer and remain comitted to the goal.

This election is encouraging for this reason, and because we are finally seeing progress in unification, the Sunni leaders are finally seeing that we must stand united with our Shia and Kurdish brothers, or else our country will never be strong. How fitting is it that in this month, the animal Saddam goes on trial, and that we build a new parliament.

I am obviously excited, and optimistic, I look forward to the continuing progress, and the day when Iraq is a completely sovereign nation and that foreign troops leave our nation, and we stand on our feet. Then, all this bloodshed that we have been put through will truly be worth it, then it will be clear to us, that it was all worth it.

God Bless Iraq

       That was on December 18, 2005.  And that was it.  Husayn mentioned on his site that he had relatives living in the West, so maybe his last post reflects the fact that he knew he was about to flee.  Or maybe that’s just my wishful thinking.

       Saleem’s Free Iraq covered current events in Iraq with a heavy slant toward politics beginning in November 2004.  He covered the elections in-depth and even posted a copy of the new Iraqi Constitution.  Living in Baghdad, Saleem saw violence daily, as evidenced in only his second post:

hi again,today i discuss an improtant issue being as usuall thign in the Iraqian life , is the bombered cars that kills the innocent civilians becasue they were in the wrong place and time or they go to do thier job in building Iraq and we see every day many people killed and amny building destroyed.
Yesterday the hit two churches in the south of capitol (Baghdad) !!
why are they aimed the churches ?did they contain ameriacns or cops or ING or members of new army ???
they do this trying to let us leave the iraq and leave the country and make they people of the country evryone in different place, then after they bombed the churches ,bombed car exploded near the Yarmook hospital becajse there were cops near the hospital treating the injured and try to save the hospital peoples from other attacks.
so we must stop these cars because in this month only(Ramadan )more than 40 bombered car explode and more than (300) peoples died or injured ion these attacks in time we need every person in the building and constructing of the iraq.
we stop this river od Iraqian blood and kill all the terrorists in al the city of iraq and the american army with new iraqian army begin this work in faloja and ramadi and then the turn will come on Latifia and Mahmodia and Mosul and Baghdad to start building

       I can almost hear the frustration and resolve in his voice.  Sadly, in April 2005, he had to relate to us more violence, when his cousin "was killed by the terrorists" in Baghdad’s southern al-Dora district (an area, incidentally, that I know quite well through having lived there for a while).  His writing portrayed a very violent, very stressful lifestyle in Baghdad.  On December 26, 2005, Saleem wrote a post about his mother’s breast cancer and the most recent election that had just taken place.  
       We never heard from him again after that.

       Salam Pax became one of the most prolific Iraqi bloggers with his Where is Raed? blog.  He began writing shortly before the start of the war and eventually had his blog turned into a book.  Viewed by many as the "Anne Frank of Iraq," he became so famous that he eventually took a job in Baghdad with the UK’s Guardian newspaper.  On August 18, 2004 he posted his final comment on his old blog and began writing a new one called Shut Up You Fat Whiner! shortly thereafter.  Posting less and less frequently, Salam Pax’s new blog fell silent this past summer.  We can only hope he had a good reason.  Maybe someone reading this knows.

       But not all of the well-known Iraqi blogs have met with mysterious endings.  Riverbend is another popular writer who’s kept everyone’s stomachs in knots from time to time with her infrequent posting from Baghdad.  However, she last posted on her Baghdad Burning blog over a month ago.  We can only hope she is still safe.  
       Raed Jarrar, author of Raed in the Middle, fled Iraq and now lives in the United States where he is very active in the peace movement.  (That is, when he’s not getting into trouble with overzealous airport security.)
       The Mesopotamian also continues to write from Iraq—and he still writes with a zest reminiscent of an Iraqi neo-con.  So much so, that some still wonder if he’s not an American government official posing as an Iraqi.  But we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he continues to write safely.
       And finally, Najma, the 17-year old girl, also continues to provide us with weekly updates on A Star From Mosul, where she has begun work at the university there.  And she still seems to be taking this whole situation in stride.  

       The one element that ran through each of the blogs—especially in their early posts in 2004—was the hope each blogger shared for the future.  They were all so optimistic about the new Iraq.  And that’s what makes this so sad.  One by one, all the positive, hopeful voices are disappearing.  They weren’t here for long—less than four years actually—and now they are again being silenced.  Only this time it is the American occupation and civil war causing it—not the brutal dictator.  They never vanish in numbers that make anyone notice.  Just one blog this month, another next.  But one by one, they’re being snuffed out like candles.  Of the nine blogs I’ve mentioned in this diary, only three still actively blog from inside Iraq--though they all began there.
       I read these blogs all the time and I feel like I’m watching the slow death of a nation through the words of its brightest writers.  It’s horrible.

       However, I agree with most Kossacks on what should be done now.  That is, we should leave Iraq—as soon as possible.  But never forget.  Never forget the people we’re going to leave behind if we do this.  Some of them are the friends I made when I lived there.  Others I only know through their blogging.  But don’t for one second think that they’re going to be okay when we leave.  Because they’re not.  Those unable to flee are going to be swallowed by a wave of slaughter and revenge.  Those Iraqis who cast their lot with the Americans in helping to rebuild are going to be the first taken under.  Once we leave, they will have absolutely no recourse, save for Moqtada as-Sadr’s backward Mahdi Army.
       Perhaps there is no other way at this point.  It seems as if the best of the bad options is to abandon the effort.  To cut our losses.  I’ve made my peace with that now.  But please—don’t forget that when we do cut our losses, we’re throwing Riverbend, Najma, and the Mesopotamian over the side.
       They will probably never forgive us for starting this mess in the first place.

Originally posted to The Angry Rakkasan on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 01:10 PM PST.

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  •  Thanks for reading and (239+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mapantsula, wozzle, claude, Canadian Reader, Olds88, buffalo soldier, qwerty, Donna Z, Best in Show, Sean Robertson, DC Pol Sci, tundraman, SarahLee, teenagedallasdeaniac, crosslark, AaronInSanDiego, Thom K in LA, sen bob, Powered Grace, saraswati, msl, ScientistMom in NY, PeterHug, Bob Love, Robespierrette, Sprinkles, littlesky, Shockwave, billlaurelMD, jakbeau, maddercow, Stein, celdd, NCrefugee, azale, Plutonium Page, acuppajo, Carnacki, Matilda, object16, Sandia Blanca, Poika, Nonie3234, RubDMC, housesella, fabacube, joyous, monkeybiz, EvieCZ, Justina, bronte17, KB, conchita, Stormwatcher, dlcampbe, susakinovember, Welshman, b2witte, jules too, mikidee, shock, cookiebear, roses, Ignacio Magaloni, peraspera, nargel, skwimmer, Miss Blue, not lois, Shaniriver, bewert, floundericiousMI, David Boyle, TheCrank, celticshel, wader, webweaver, hhex65, BarbinMD, BurnetO, missreporter, jlynne, crkrjx, Republic Not Empire, TiaRachel, exiledfromTN, grayslady, churchylafemme, venice ca, niteskolar, johnnygunn, edie, Sychotic1, snakelass, grrr, lcrp, 4jkb4ia, Rxtr2, radical centrist, count, ChiGirl88, AllisonInSeattle, kfred, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, bablhous, kd texan, Timroff, Fabian, paige, maybeeso in michigan, marina, BadgerGirl, enough, blueyedace2, Five of Diamonds, stormcoming, mjd in florida, PBen, sap, offred, JohnB47, panicbean, Cake or Death, catleigh, Brooke In Seattle, Rothbardian, reflectionsv37, boofdah, cfk, marathon, Viceroy, truebeliever, EdlinUser, John DE, GreyHawk, ladybug53, annefrank, bmaples, gkn, rolandzebub, exmearden, spunhard, power model, Shotput8, cerulean, coolbreeze, sbdenmon, Dunvegan, dsteffen, sleep deprived, Cory Bantic, Rogneid, JanL, Indiana Bob, Erevann, dancewater, naltikriti, Land of Enchantment, cowgirl, maryru, AceDeuceLady, FrankFrink, dus7, esquimaux, Major Danby, trashablanca, BalanceSeeker, The Sinistral, 417els, BlueInARedState, borkitekt, Dvalkure, Prognosticator, theadmiral, compbear, deha, mango, Naniboujou, Wary, fiddler crabby, goodasgold, StrayCat, Lashe, jerseyjo, DSPS owl, Pager, MO Blue, bleeding heart, Unitary Moonbat, Dinclusin, Cato come back, righteousbabe, The Lighthouse Keeper, kurt, Brother Love, Lew2006, kurious, Dem partisan, Lesser Dane, coolsub, thepdxbikerboy, Temmoku, SomeStones, wandabee, possum, kmiddle, godislove, frenchstew, Wide Awake in NJ, gloriana, lemming22, FishOutofWater, DvCM, kath25, daveygodigaditch, greenchiledem, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, DWG, Ninepatch, drchelo, mefpdx, Flaw, PoorLonelyChild, chicago jeff, geejay, lil love, dgone36, JML9999, feelingsickinMN, nathan andover, MichiganGirl, Chris 47N122W, Niniane, TheGardener, skymutt, Texas Citizen, NotGeorgeWill, HawkWife, wayoutinthestix

    feel free to share any stories or information you have on Iraqi blogs.

    •  What a beautiful diary (13+ / 0-)

      Thank you!

      I started reading Salam Pax right before the invasion, and my most vivid memory was when he posted that the bombers had left and that it would be about 5 hrs before they reached Iraq, then he went silent for what seemed like an eternity.  I can't begin to count the number of times I'd check to see if he'd posted, and if he hadn't I'd worry until he did. Reading Salam Pax, Riverbend, and Raed made the reality of what we were doing to Iraq even harder to deal with.

      I hate that we've turned all these lives upside down, it's such a waste.    

    •  Well done. Beautifully written. (9+ / 0-)

      I highly recommend this, particularly since it puts a human face to yet another unbearable cost of this war--leaving our friends behind with this unholy mess we have created.

      I firmly believe we have no choice but to leave and leave immediately but it doesn't make me sleep any better knowing that.

      "No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices." Edward R. Murrow

      by Pager on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 04:16:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  thank you (6+ / 0-)

      This is the only diary in months that's kept my attention from start to finish. Great work. I remember reading Salam Pax's blog in the run up to the war.

      Iraq has become an intractable mess, and it's entirely our fault. There aren't any good solutions. All I can think of is to withdraw our troops and replace them with a UN force, largely funded by us. We owe the Iraqis, for all the civilians we've murdered and all the chaos we've created.

      •  BushCo insanity/greed was there from day one... (10+ / 0-)

        Following is a portion from Riverbend's blog (bold face is my emphasis) on Aug. 28, 2003 which disgusted me at the time; however, I was still a believer that the US would not let this sort of thing happen...SURELY this was a situation that would be rectified.  I ASSUMED that rebuilding would be done mainly by the most knowledgeable people - BY THE IRAQI PEOPLE.  It's humiliating now to realize what a moron I was.

        I highly recommend you go to Riverbend's site to read the entire entry...PLUS as many others of her postings as you can.

        Yesterday, I read how it was going to take up to $90 billion to rebuild Iraq. Bremer was shooting out numbers about how much it was going to cost to replace buildings and bridges and electricity, etc.

        Listen to this little anecdote. One of my cousins works in a prominent engineering company in Baghdad- we’ll call the company H. This company is well-known for designing and building bridges all over Iraq. My cousin, a structural engineer, is a bridge freak. He spends hours talking about pillars and trusses and steel structures to anyone who’ll listen.

        As May was drawing to a close, his manager told him that someone from the CPA wanted the company to estimate the building costs of replacing the New Diyala Bridge on the South East end of Baghdad. He got his team together, they went out and assessed the damage, decided it wasn’t too extensive, but it would be costly. They did the necessary tests and analyses (mumblings about soil composition and water depth, expansion joints and girders) and came up with a number they tentatively put forward- $300,000. This included new plans and designs, raw materials (quite cheap in Iraq), labor, contractors, travel expenses, etc.

        Let’s pretend my cousin is a dolt. Let’s pretend he hasn’t been working with bridges for over 17 years. Let’s pretend he didn’t work on replacing at least 20 of the 133 bridges damaged during the first Gulf War. Let’s pretend he’s wrong and the cost of rebuilding this bridge is four times the number they estimated- let’s pretend it will actually cost $1,200,000. Let’s just use our imagination.

        A week later, the New Diyala Bridge contract was given to an American company. This particular company estimated the cost of rebuilding the bridge would be around- brace yourselves- $50,000,000 !!
        Something you should know about Iraq: we have over 130,000 engineers. More than half of these engineers are structural engineers and architects. Thousands of them were trained outside of Iraq in Germany, Japan, America, Britain and other countries. Thousands of others worked with some of the foreign companies that built various bridges, buildings and highways in Iraq. The majority of them are more than proficient- some of them are brilliant.

        Iraqi engineers had to rebuild Iraq after the first Gulf War in 1991 when the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ was composed of over 30 countries actively participating in bombing Baghdad beyond recognition. They had to cope with rebuilding bridges and buildings that were originally built by foreign companies, they had to get around a lack of raw materials that we used to import from abroad, they had to work around a vicious blockade designed to damage whatever infrastructure was left after the war... they truly had to rebuild Iraq. And everything had to be made sturdy, because, well, we were always under the threat of war.

        Over a hundred of the 133 bridges were rebuilt, hundreds of buildings and factories were replaced, communications towers were rebuilt, new bridges were added, electrical power grids were replaced... things were functioning. Everything wasn’t perfect- but we were working on it.

        "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

        by 417els on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 08:17:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Would any of them (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lcrp, ladybug53, Cato come back, wandabee

      be willing to be bloggers for Daily Kos openly? (there may already be Iraqi bloggers here undercover)...I'd like to hear what they have to say.

      I'm not ready to make nice... (Dixie Chicks)

      by grrr on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 04:32:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Thank you so much for this beautiful diary. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      Investigate! Impeach! Indict! Incarcerate!

      by Cato come back on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 07:13:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Front-pageworthy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee

      Thanks.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 08:39:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  thank you (0+ / 0-)

      I have said time and again that while we need to pull our soldiers out, we CANNOT allow a humanitarian catastrophe to take place unabated.  Our position on Darfur and on Iraq must be consistent.

      We owe these people at least that much.

      CA-50: exile Brian Bilbray from Congress in 2008.

      by thereisnospoon on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 12:35:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I could almost flame you (19+ / 0-)

    for not bringing these bloggers to our attention sooner!!!!! Or maybe I should flame myself for not searching...

    This is exactly the thing that is missing on dkos, people who have this perspective.

    I sometimes think that we are just a bunch of white guys, a few girls, pondering things in 3rd person... I guess that is primarily in foreign matters.

    I hope, if they ever come back, that you could also invite them here to partake in the community- those voices would be so valuable.

    wonderful diary, btw, definately rec'd

  •  Exiled in Jordan (75+ / 0-)
    A Family in Baghdad ["mother: Faiza, sons: Raed, Khalid, and Majid writing down their diaries. Father: Azzam is not interested."] is partly in English, partly in Arabic. The most recent post is all in Arabic, dated Dec. 11, 2006.

    The mother, Faiza Al-Arji, did a recent series of posts, from Nov 14 to Nov 19, talking about her recent visit from Jordan where the family is now living, back to Baghdad:

    I know exactly the danger of the situation there, but my longing for Baghdad destroyed me. And I took the risk, I told some people: if I die there, bury me, for it would be the peak of my happiness to be buried in my homeland, Instead of the torment of expatriation away from my beloved country.
    What is the meaning of life without a country?
    Is there something more precious than your country?
    I asked myself this question everyday before I traveled.

    When the plane started descending and the features of Baghdad appeared, I burst into tears...
    For two years now I have been away from Baghdad, I was forced not to return because of the miserable security conditions, the kidnappings, and the free killings, without justifications.
    But I have grown tired of the separation, and my heart broke of sadness, I cry every day. And whenever I travel to other cities and capitals to forget my sadness, my longing for Baghdad grows, with my sadness about her, and I burst into tears.
    I do not know, but perhaps this is the way of the lover who becomes very fond of a certain woman, so that whenever they showed him other women to forget her, he hates them, and his love for her increased...
    This is what Baghdad has done to me.
    Whenever I visited a capital, I thought about her, remembered her, and loved streets that look like her streets, rivers like her Tigris, trees like hers, and my anguish at my separation from her grows...
    But, from the plane, I burst into tears when I saw her features... as if I heard her moaning, her complains of what has befallen her of destruction, devastation and neglect, of killings and violence, and the bloodshed on her streets. I looked on from the plane and saw her pale, her greenery has lessened, and her deserts have grown.
    I felt my heart wring, I chocked, and cried bitterly...
    What have they done to you?
    What have the dogs done to you?
    I kept repeating, and crying....
    I remembered the wars, the embargo, and the last war, and how disasters, sorrows and calamities piled up upon her... and she lost her sons and daughters, who were killed or emigrated...
    I love Baghdad like I loved my father and mother, may God bless their souls.
    I see that Baghdad is in a dilemma...
    Do we abandon those whom we love, while they are in a dilemma?

    The plane landed, and I was the only one who remained crying and wiping off my tears for the deserted Airport, its aprons filled with thorns and thistle, the plants of a desolate desert, which I found in Baghdad's Airport, to signify the state of neglect that wraps everything there....
    The taxi moved on in the Airport Street, I was afraid of what might happen suddenly, perhaps a false roadblock to kill by the identity, perhaps a trapped car, or a roadside bomb, a random shooting, perhaps mortar shells from an unknown source, or a kidnapping and robbery gang. This is how life in Iraq turned into. Death surrounds people from all sides; we think about it, and expect it every minute. Seconds pass mixed with terror so we cannot feel their taste, like we do in our daily lives in other safe places....

    A relative of mine met me in his car, and took me to AL-Mansoor District, where I was going to stay at my friend's house.
    We arrived at the 14th of Ramadan St., the street I loved most when I used to live in Baghdad. I found it deserted, gloomy, full of dust, and most of its shops closed. My relative started counting to me the numbers of shop owners who were assassinated without any known reasons; dress shops, Mobile phones shops, Bakery shops, Pharmacies, furniture shops, and Vegetable shops... all were targeted and killed, so the vital beautiful street turned into a dead, depressing area.
    Well then, who is doing this?
    For what purpose?
    My relative said, sadly in a broken voice: We do not know, there are some armed gangs whose identities are unknown, who get in, kill, destroy, then run away, and no one can stop them; not the people, nor the government. They want to destroy the country, and destroy people's lives. We do not know where they came from, who finances them, or what their aim is? they kill people, evoke chaos, then run away...
    Now that is terrorism, I said to myself.
    Who brought it to us?
    Who admitted it into Iraq?
    Perhaps the same person who declared the war on terrorism, for he would be the only beneficiary from the existence of these armed gangs, because they justify his existence on the land of Iraq, and staying here indefinitely.
    Those terrorists do not stand against the occupation army, they only kill civilian Iraqis.
    I said; I shall ask all the people for the answer of this riddle- who stands behind all this abuse and madness?
    Who is the beneficiary?

    I asked my relative to stop his car on the roadside by the curb, and broke all his instructions and warnings; I got out and run on the curb, wanting to kiss the soil of Baghdad. I told him in a loud voice- this is a promise I made to myself, to visit Baghdad so I can smell her air, and kiss her soil, then see the people and ask about their affairs.
    My relative kept shouting and warning, but I didn't heed his words, I kneeled to the ground, and found some flowerbeds whose plants were dead and its soil dry. I put out my hand, and scooped the dry soil with the fingers of my right hand, then lifted it to my lips and kissed it: AHHH, to kiss your soil, Baghdad- like Haytham Yousif (a well known Iraqi singer) says in his song...
    I cannot describe my happiness and rapture...
    I, in Baghdad?
    I cannot believe...
    And this is the air of Baghdad and the soil of Baghdad?

    But I believed that I was in Baghdad when the night came, in the house of my friend in Dragh District, Al-Mansoor; when I was alone in the room, with the electricity off, the noise of firearms here and there, and the sound of mortar shells from a far...
    I said to myself: here I am in my beloved Baghdad, at last...
    I smiled, pulled the bedcover and put it on my face, and slept with a happiness I missed for two years now...
    At last, I am back in my mother's arms.......
    At last, I am back to Baghdad, my sweetheart........

    I can't read that without crying.

    Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

    by Canadian Reader on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 01:35:27 PM PST

    •  I know. I read that yesterday (24+ / 0-)

      as I was putting stuff together for this diary.  It's terrible.  As you may know, Faiza is the mother of Raed, who I've included in this diary.

      •  Faiza is the epitome of grace... (7+ / 0-)

        I've been reading Faiza, Riverbend & Raed since they first began blogging.  They are windows into the soul of Iraq.  Watching their descent into dispair, from initial optimism, is all the proof needed to verify BushCo's step-by-step, day-by-day maniacal, greedy, criminal destruction in Iraq...physically, culturally, psychologically.

        By the way, Faiza has 3 sons, one of whom is a teenaged blogger who was arrested & detained by the US...his family had no idea what had happened to him for several weeks...his computer was confiscated.  It is assumed that his blog contained thoughts BushCo didn't like, but no one knows for sure.  No explanations given.  The only reason he was located & released was probably due to his relationship to Raed, his brother, who is known and admired internationally.  This kidnapping of their son was the last straw that caused the Jarrar family to seek a safe haven in Amman Jordan.

        Faiza has traveled extensively to the US, Canada and other countries working with groups promoting peace & understanding.  She is just amazing and she still has faith in the goodness of human beings.

        The Jarrar family is a mixture of Shia and Sunni - as are their friends, relatives and neighbors - which speaks to the ignorant lies propagandized by the west...that nearly all Shiites and Sunnis have hated each other for a thousand years.

        The Jarrar family is intelligent, educated, knowledgeable of history and world affairs; they are far superior to the 'Bushist Families' cluttering the earth today.

        "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

        by 417els on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 07:26:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  actually... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          4jkb4ia, 417els

          "one of whom is a teenaged blogger who was arrested & detained by the US...his family had no idea what had happened to him for several weeks...his computer was confiscated.  It is assumed that his blog contained thoughts BushCo didn't like, but no one knows for sure.  No explanations given."

          This is not exactly correct - Khalid was detained in Baghdad by the Interior Ministry.  He claimed that the Interior Ministry was directed by Americans.  I don't think the Americans had anything to do with his arrest.  His release from prison (charges were dismissed, but they had to pay a "fine" - bribe) had more to do with Faiza than anything.  

          Faiza asked everyone to keep quiet about the arrest, she is a member of a prominent Shi'a family and she was working behind the scenes to get Khalid out.  She succeeded, but Raed had nothing to do with it.

    •  OK thanks for posting this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee

      A Family in Baghdad ["mother: Faiza, sons: Raed, Khalid, and Majid writing down their diaries. Father: Azzam is not interested."] is partly in English, partly in Arabic. The most recent post is all in Arabic, dated Dec. 11, 2006.

      The mother, Faiza Al-Arji, did a recent series of posts, from Nov 14 to Nov 19, talking about her recent visit from Jordan where the family is now living, back to Baghdad

      If you click on the link,you will see the blog itself is in Persian,or Arabic.Khalid and Majid,have not blogged in over a month.A long time in Baghdad,they may be dead by now.Raed has a more recent entry.

    •  Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cato come back

      It's funny to be worried about people you've never met.

    •  Moving, poetic, eternal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SarahLee

      "No man was ever yet a great poet without being at the same time a profound philosopher. For poetry is the blossom and the fragrance of all human knowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, language. "

      • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

      Thank you so much, Canadian Reader, for this piece of poetry by Faiza Al-Arji.

      Investigate! Impeach! Indict! Incarcerate!

      by Cato come back on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 07:10:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Makes me realize how lucky I am (0+ / 0-)

      and how much work we have to do to finally put the quietus to Bush and initiate the massive cleanup of his messes.

      What a moving quotation. That should be a diary of its own. I'm sure that'll be a top comment.

      The fact is, the Democrats are the Party of "We" while the Republicans are firmly established as the Party of "I."

      by The Lighthouse Keeper on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 12:30:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Does anyone remain "committed"? (15+ / 0-)

    Husayn's comment echoes in my head:

    "I cannot emphasize this enough, I don't think that non-Iraqis understand the bloodshed here, everyday for the last three years, there has been some type of violence, someones family being robbed of love, someone being crippled, and yet, and yet, Iraqis have seen through this cancer and remain committed to the goal."

    I have a heavy feeling that the last part may no longer be true, that there's no one left who "remains committed to the goal".

    Much better, thanks. And you?

    by Bob Love on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 01:39:36 PM PST

  •  Everyone should read this (9+ / 0-)

    we sometimes become too detatched and forget about the real people suffering through this mess we've created.

  •  I remember reading (31+ / 0-)

    Where is Raed through the beginning of the war. For months, he secretly posted his blog under the nose of Saddam's police. Then, on the day the war started, he posted a message saying the B-52s were reported to be on their way, calculating they would reach Baghdad in a few hours.

    It was a very surreal experience sitting at my computer reading messages from someone that my country was about to bomb.

    •  What's even freakier for me (44+ / 0-)

      is to go back and read his book where he talks about American troops closing on and then entering Baghdad--and to realize that he was writing about me.  I was part of the ground invasion force with the 101st Airborne.

    •  What's even freakier for me (16+ / 0-)

      is to go back and read his book where he talks about American troops closing on and entering Baghdad--and to realize that he's talking about me.  I was part of the ground invasion force with the 101st Airborne.

      •  That really does have to be kind of (7+ / 0-)

        unsettling.

        There was so much hope there in the beginning. Even I had hope things would turn out alright, despite thinking it wasn't such a good idea to begin with.

        Thanks for this diary, and regardless of anything else, I'm glad to have you home, my friend.

        ... one more thing... I'm not a hardcore Dem and not happy with Reyes either. ;) (not to wander TOO off topic here, I just missed you Sun diary)

        "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

        by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:20:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I thought (20+ / 0-)

          Iraq was going to be a strategic blunder from the day I found out we were going.  But, like you, I hoped that it would work out for the best anyway.  And I know the Iraqi people did too.  This sucks.

          •  Salam Pax - I support Democracy in Iraq (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lcrp, Erevann

            I think that was the wording on the banner he had up in the left hand corner.  

            I still support democracy in Iraq, I also still believe Iraqis will achieve it on their own and in their own time.  What we've done is to set that back a few generations, and it does, indeed, suck.      

            •  We just need to get the hell outta they way (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              littlesky

              and let them figure out what it means to THEM. Which most likely isn't the same thing it means to US.

              Something none of these neo-con jokers ever really got, considering they barely even knew the difference between Sunna and Shia.

              In my experience with Islam, and the cultures it spans, in a general sense, freedom has a different connotation from their perspective. It doesn't exactly mesh with what folks like Dubya and such are talking about. Hence, difficulties.

              Basically, it's their home, it should be their decisions. THAT'S freedom. :) That's democracy too yes?

              "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

              by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 04:47:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh they 'get' democracy, alright (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Erevann

                and that's why they work so hard to destroy it.  It threatens their very existence.    

                •  Got that right... (0+ / 0-)

                  those certain segments that are threatened by it, most certainly. That sort is in action all over the region.

                  If there's one thing I can say I agree with the ISG and such on their ideas with Iraq, it's a continued refusal to legitimize Al Qaeda by even considering negotiating with them.

                  I'm all for talking to the insurgents, Iran, Syria, etc... they CAN be honest players. I DO think that sharia law and democracy CAN be compatable with a little work and enlightened actors involved. Science itself has had a LARGE place in historic, Islamic nations. It can happen, and I think if it were to happen, a great amount of good could come out of the region for humanity. We've just got to stop trying to shove our interests down their throats.

                  Bin Laden? I want his head on a pike. Democracy as a system is most certainly NOT what he has in mind. Not all I've read from him is bad, but the end results...

                  "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

                  by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 07:09:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Damn keyboard... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    The Angry Rakkasan

                    posted without my consent... damn thing. :)

                    to finish, the end results he seeks aren't acceptable to any modern, enlightened people. But that's not unique either.

                    Mostly with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden for me, it's personal, with the 9/11 thing and all. While I don't like the collateral damage caused by bombing and such, there IS an effort to avoid and minimize it. What he and his did, are doing, and will keep trying to do, is despicable. They need to burn for it.

                    I've been thinking about this too much lately, don't mind me. :)

                    "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

                    by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 07:14:21 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Damn keyboard... (0+ / 0-)

                    posted without my consent... damn thing. :)

                    to finish, the end results he seeks aren't acceptable to any modern, enlightened people. But that's not unique either.

                    Mostly with Al Qaeda and Bin Laden for me, it's personal, with the 9/11 thing and all. While I don't like the collateral damage caused by bombing and such, there IS an effort to avoid and minimize it. What he and his did, are doing, and will keep trying to do, is despicable. They need to burn for it.

                    I've been thinking about this too much lately, don't mind me. :)

                    "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

                    by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 07:14:21 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  It All Depends on the Definition of Freedom. (7+ / 0-)

                   

                In my experience with Islam, and the cultures it spans, in a general sense, freedom has a different connotation from their perspective. It doesn't exactly mesh with what folks like Dubya and such are talking about. Hence, difficulties.

                When Bush uses the words "freedom" and "democracy" which he does so piously often, he does not mean what Washington and Jefferson meant by those words.  He means the freedom for corporations to plunder and profit free of all restrictions.

                Thus, one of the very first things that Bush's "Pro Consul" Paul Bremer did upon arriving in Iraq was to draft laws permitting foreign corporations to own land and businesses in Iraq and to take their profits out of the country without taxes or restrictions.  One of the few Saddam era laws he kept on the books was the restrictions on labor unions.  

                Next Bremer tried to force the privatization of industries while ending government food and healthcare subsidies. He gave billion dollar no bid contracts to US corporations for reconstruction, without any requirements that Iraqi labor be hired to carry it out.

                General Garner briefly held Bremer's job before being summarily terminated  because he dared to promise to carry out immediate local elections.  That was not the kind of democracy Bush wanted, so Garner was fired and Bremer installed with a brief to make Iraq free for capitalists to plunder.

                Thus Bremer staved off holding any elections until he had completly gutted Iraq's social welfare laws, replacing them with laws designed to bolster the rights of corporations. He even attempted to make them "un-revisable" by a subsequent Iraqi government.

                Only then did Bremer turn over "sovereignty" to his pre-selected appointees for the Iraqi Provisional Government and drafted the template for their Constitution.

                Islam stresses the duty to care for the community and to help the poor.  It forbids charging interest on loans.  Imagine how our Citibank would fare without its usurous credit card interest rates!

                Yes, Islam is certainly inimical to George Bush's definition of freedom and democracy.  Just as Bushs' ruthless neo-conservative definition of freedom and democracy is totally inimical to America's historic values.

                We need to get our troops our of Iraq immediately, and to get the Bush-Cheney cartel out of office even more quickly.

                •  Exactly what I was talking about there... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  DSPS owl

                  and exactly what I was thinking about at the time too. Just trying not to write diaries unto themselves in the comments on others diaries. Been fighting that little urge a lot lately! hehe Thanks for filling in the context!

                  The Islamic economic ideas layed out in sharia law are a big threat to the present economic hegemony. Which I suspect is why we don't get informed about what exactly sharia entails. Were people to start considering the implications of no interest and other aspects, we might get a little demanding ourSELVES about how our economics is handled.

                  Again, the divide is not red or blue, liberal/conservative, Islam/everyone else, it's about money and power, as it's ALWAYS been down the millenia.

                  Thanks again for filling in! Very useful info for everyone to consider in the context!

                  "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

                  by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 07:46:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Bush's definition of 'freedom' for OTHERS is: (0+ / 0-)

                  Found in Janis Joplin's lyrics...

                  'Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose.'

                  ...while HE, HIMSELF, struts across the globe unfettered...slathering death and destruction in all directions...'AN DAM'D PROWD UV IT!'

                  "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

                  by 417els on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 08:45:05 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  One person is to blame (0+ / 0-)

            The Decider-in-Chief.

            The fact is, the Democrats are the Party of "We" while the Republicans are firmly established as the Party of "I."

            by The Lighthouse Keeper on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 12:33:57 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  how weird is it to know... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        The Angry Rakkasan

        you participated in such a historic event? Must be quite surreal! My cousin was also experiencing similar events as you did, serving in the 101st until he was KIA in July 2003. Perhaps you knew him? I wish he'd missed the opportunity to play a role in Iraq & American history, he might still be around! It's equally sad to think of the Iraqi bloggers and their friends, families, and neighbors, whose lives have been in such danger and upheaval for all these years since. Thanks for your service and your diaries. It's great to hear your perspective on the issues. I look forward to reading more from you.

        •  Were they Rakkasans? (0+ / 0-)

          I am very familiar with what happened the night two of our own were killed in July 2003.  There were a few more soldiers from the division who died that month, but I'm not familiar with them.

          •  i think so... (0+ / 0-)

            at least the guys who attended the funeral were. I don't want to mention his name here. I'll send you an email. While his death influenced me to seek the truth about Iraq, as with many families, we're pretty divided politically. We have an incredible, loving, large extended family, and we refuse to let confusion and emotions about this war ruin us! So while I refer to the impact of his death here, I'll refrain from using his name. Just know that he was the best and everyone who knew him loved him!

    •  Salam Pax and Raed, where the ones who... (11+ / 0-)

      provided the counter to cable news. Their accounting of things, and the disparity with the cheerleaders here at home, was what made me snap.

      I'm glad to know Raed is safe and well. I've even gotten the infamous tshirt and worn it around. (still thinking of trying to fly this christmas wearing it. See if a white dude wearing it will get the same treatment)

      Salam Pax I've worried for his saftey and whereabouts for a long time now. I really hope he's ok somewhere.

      Respect"Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living." Mother Jones

      by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:06:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  iirc Salam Pax is gay (11+ / 0-)

        which makes him a big target for the fundis now.  Good reason to get out of town if he can.

        I also recall the guy who was the dentist, living in Basra to work.  He was almost the most pro-American of the Iraqi bloggers, aside from the obvious plants.  Then his cousin was the one who was drowned by the US troops.  

        •  Yeah... that thought had occurred to me... (0+ / 0-)

          which made me even more worried about him. I'm hoping he's in England or something, working for the Guardian still.

          Hadn't heard about the dentist though. Did what happened to his cousin change his mind at all?

          "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

          by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 04:14:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  He was very angry (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GayHillbilly, Erevann, DSPS owl

            but iirc about then his blogging stopped, after the hearings about the death.

            I used to read those blogs every day.  You got to see the Iraqis close up as individuals, all of them different, each with their own lives and views.

            This guy was very secular, he liked to smoke and drink, very unhappy about the fundamentalists.  Wish I could remember his name, the name of his blog.

            •  Here's what you're looking for: (8+ / 0-)

              Healing Iraq

              You'll be happy to know he's now studying at CUNY.

            •  I work with a rather fundie Palestinian (5+ / 0-)

              guy in his 50's. We argue about religion all the time, and I've really stumped him a few times. Learned a LOT from him too.

              The interesting thing is, while he'll remind me I'm going to hell, he says it with a smile and jokes about converting me. LOL He's only serious about it in the doctrinal sense and he honestly would like to see me convert and go to heaven, cause he cares. He DOES however try to understand where I'm coming from and will debate things.

              Presently, I've got him researching the commonly accepted rationale of the Imams, as to why Muhammed was the last messenger and why God hadn't sent anymore for the last 1500 or some years.

              I really got him on that one. It was kinda funny to see that bearded face all screwed up with confusion on that one. hehehe

              He has admitted that he hasn't really looked very deeply into other religions and has been open to my teaching him about the things I've learned about several. It's an interesting ongoing conversation that I've really enjoyed. I like the guy a lot, he's very compassionate and kind. I plan on writing up a diary or more about these conversations. It'd be good to share and he DOES lurk around here thanks to me.

              The morning after these past elections, he said to me with tears that people like us are doing more for Palestinians like him, and honestly addressing the issues than even the Palestinian government has in years. THAT really hit home.

              "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

              by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 07:28:31 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Since 2001 (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Erevann, DSPS owl

                I've learned a whole lot about Islam, and a lot about Judiasm, too.

                I think you have to, to make out what's happening.

                Too bad our elected leaders don't have the same attitude.

                •  I'm from the Detroit area originally... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  curmudgiana

                  so I had a little head start there. :)

                  And I couldn't echo your wish enough about our leadership. Reyes may not have a clue, but he's got the intel committee post now, we can only hope he gets educated right quick!

                  In fact... I think I'll email him and Pelosi about that very thing! :) Everyone feel free to join me on that! hehe

                  "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

                  by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 07:51:42 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Here's a great way to look at things... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Erevann

                My good friend's father is a Hindu from India...he takes no issue whatsoever with other people's religious beliefs...he says: 'Oh, they're ALL Hindu, they just don't know it.'

                "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

                by 417els on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 08:59:16 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I've heard that sort of sentiment before (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  417els

                  from Hindus. It's a great way to look at things. If only more religions would take this view!

                  "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

                  by Erevann on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 10:33:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

      •  For a while Salam was doing pieces for BBC Newsni (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4jkb4ia, The Angry Rakkasan

        He did several pieces for BBC Newsnight which were excellent (and it was interesting to hear his voice and see him).

        Here is an intervierw with him (click on the watch button in the upper right)

        http://zed.cbc.ca/...

  •  another amazing diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boofdah, Naniboujou, godislove

    Thanks for writing another great one, and for all the links to blog. I hope these blogers are okay, and will blog again another day.

  •  Kucinich...only one in congress (11+ / 0-)

    reminding us of the Iraqis:

    http://www.kucinich.us/

    None dare call it "apartheid".

    by mattes on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:06:45 PM PST

  •  Highly recommended - thanks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    littlesky, boofdah, JanL, kath25

    It is nice to see this synthesis of Iraqi bloggers.  I have Riverbend ever since she began, but it is nice to a broader sample.  The loss of hope and silencing of voices is gut-wrenching.  Meanwhile, our evil idiot king will need more time to foment strategy.

    A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. - Aristotle

    by DWG on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:08:45 PM PST

    •  Well, Bush doesn't want to spoil (0+ / 0-)

      the holiday shopping season, don'tcha know? Got to keep our priorities . . .

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." -- Groucho Marx

      by rolandzebub on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:37:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  i heard (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    littlesky, boofdah, hypersphere01, Pager

    that the brothers from "iraq the model," who were so popular in the early stages of the war, and who even went on a publicity tour in the US, are now very unpopular.

    anyone know what happened w/ them?

    iran also has very many blogs.  i have heard several times that iran has more blogs than all but a couple of western countries.

    the ayatollahs and ahmadinejad have cracked down on bloggers.  apparently, the farsi word for "woman" is banned.

    •  i saw that (0+ / 0-)

      i read many blogs from around the world and have stayed up all night reading blogs from Iran.

      Don't fight it son. Confess quickly! If you hold out too long you could jeopardize your credit rating. --Brazil (1985)

      by hypersphere01 on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:12:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  here's what happened to ITM (0+ / 0-)

      konfused kid wrote a post about how pissed he was at iraq the models reaction to the lancet study. that was the first confirmation so many iraqis had died. it kind of blew the lid off the bs we were hearing about the war at home because it has been veru very violent for a while. ITM was basiclly an american gop plant blog, totally straight out of little green footballs. you don't get to meet the US president for nothing. probably set up by lincoln corporation or whatever.
      anyway, if you follow that link, his current post is in arabic but that is unusual, and read the whole month of october by the way, and the posts about the death of his best frieds, anyway kid wrote all his iraqi blogger friends, many of whom i read w/regularity, there are still many many out there, he ask them all to comment on their reaction to the study and this particular post has their reactions . many of the bloggers are out of iraq now as is kid, he is in jordan and very pissed, his postings are very reactionary right now. i think ITM was pretty much outted as american plants at that point.i mean they are iraqi, but they are total bs and lived in the green zone i imagine. also, the government plants are rabid in the comment sections. ella, lynn of minnisota, jeffery rhus, you can always spot them katrin, all trolls for the govt. the 24/7 rapid response teams from the pentagon and lincoln.

  •  Thanks so much for this, AR. (8+ / 0-)

    The MSM, especially Faux "News", loves to downplay the utter and vile destruction that our government is wreaking on Iraq's people...to de-humanize these real, living, breathing human beings who have dreams, hopes, aspirations, families, friends, and goals like we do.

    Thank you so much for sharing this very human side of what we're doing in Iraq; we ought to be seeing much more of this from the MSM, but thank God we at least have the Internet (for now).

    •  Don't you worry 'bout the net... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bablhous, boofdah, Ninepatch

      any lock they can make, we can break. ;)

      "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

      by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:22:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I LOVE all you techno-wizards... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4jkb4ia, Erevann

        And part of the beauty is that the mental midgets who know so much about the Internets and the Tubes they go through...and the ones who just realized how Cool blogging is & put up goofy things they think are blogs (but are just self-promoting trashy censored ads)...the ones who want to control & censor the Internet don't have the intelligence to even begin to understand it, much less lock it up and keep you guys at bay.

        "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

        by 417els on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 09:15:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's an entire sub-culture out there... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          4jkb4ia, 417els

          that has been operating in the communication and tech world since the advent of telephone networks.

          It's strong, and it's skilled. Contrary to what some would have you believe, these AREN'T the folks that whip up viruses and generally try to cause mayhem (though there ARE some who partake, but usually with purpose)

          The long recognized, rather informal creedo is to maintain the free flow of information and ideas. That information is the birthright of every single human being on the planet, and anything that infringes upon that freedom, is anathema to a free and open society.

          And there's a lot more people of this mind out there than can be cornered or contained. No nation, no company, no power structure can shut it down.

          The key here is, with technology and the basic essence of the internet, when someone makes something brilliant to restrict information, there's always someone out there smarter, more clever, that will find a way to get around it, over it, through it, whatever.

          This pretty much sums it up:

          Rise like lions after slumber
          In unvanquishable number –
          Shake your chains to earth like dew
          Which in sleep had fallen on you –
          Ye are many – they are few.

          This clarion call to class struggle and revolution from The Mask of Anarchy is regarded by many as the greatest political protest in the English language. It was written by the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1819, in response to what became known as the Peterloo massacre – when mounted soldiers killed eleven and seriously injured hundreds more men, women and children at a peaceful workers’ protest rally in Manchester.

          "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." - Frank Herbert

          by Erevann on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 11:55:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Recommended, and thanks. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera

    TFYQA - think For Yourself, Question Authority

    by Niniane on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:31:22 PM PST

  •  This should be recommended reading for everyone (12+ / 0-)

    on this site, in the U.S. government, everyone.

    We (or I think most of us, or at least I) blog here to express our opinions, and hope they're heard, because the media has long since failed to do its job, because there is no one to speak to us, because our elected representatives are often disconnected from public needs and realities, because blogging gives us a voice.

    The bloggers you highlight here do the exact same thing, except 100,000,000,000 times more. This, at least, is an example of Iraqi democracy- the people's voices being heard, at least by someone. The voices of those whose country has been invaded and ravaged are those who we should absolutely #1 prioritize and emphasize when discussing what's the best decision for our own country to do next in regards to theirs'.

    It's their country, after all. Remember that whole "people-powered politics" thing? I think the voices you've assembled here have infinitely more credibility on what our policy should be than anybody on the Iraq Study Group.

    Roll with it, baby. Make it your career. Keep the home fires burning, 'til America is in the clear.

    by righteousbabe on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 02:38:35 PM PST

  •  thank goodness raed is in the US (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cookiebear, 417els

    I don't think he would have survived in Iraq.

    •  He did survive there (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4jkb4ia, terrypinder

      longer than one might have thought, doing very activist things, organizing surveys and help.  I was so disappointed when he left the region and his family left Iraq, as it seemed to say more clearly than anything what the situation had become.

      The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

      by DSPS owl on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 12:36:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excuse me, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSPS owl

    I'm having a difficult time understanding how, out of the eight Baghdad oriented bloggers you mention, it seems that the only woman gets less than a paragraph.

    Does it say something about Iraqi men that the only blogger who was nominated for a prestigous literary award gets the least coverage.  Is that how you recognize the achievements of an Iraqi female blogger?

    Read the blogs mentioned, and the best writing, most insightful analysis, and emotional portrayal of how this war has destroyed Iraqi secular society, has come from Riverbend.  No one else comes close.  To describe her as a "popular writer" is one more slight and insult to Iraqi women.  And I think the tens of thousands of people who have bought her book, and the hundreds of thousands of readers who worry about her everytime her blog goes silent would agree.

  •  www.iraqthemodel.com (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Angry Rakkasan

    They've been around from the beginning.  Take a look at their blogroll, you can see their political leanings:-)

  •  Recommended (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, 417els, Naniboujou, godislove

    When you can no longer hear the voices. Incredible. Incredibly sad.

    My lifelong next door neighbor would give his life to save mine, and yet can't stand the taste of me being a Democrat. Thanks Bush.

    by niteskolar on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:29:30 PM PST

  •  Iraq Blogs I read (11+ / 0-)

    free writer iraq
    today in iraq
    city of brass
    roads to iraq
    war every day
    alive in baghdad
    healing iraq
    glimpse of iraq

    I access them through
    http://www.worldpress.org/

    If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And when I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when? Hillel 1st Century

    by suskind on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:30:17 PM PST

    •  Thanks for providing (3+ / 0-)

      this list!

    •  More: (10+ / 0-)

      An Average Iraqi - last post was March 17th.

      Diary of Rosebaghdad - last post was May 5th.

      A Star from Mosul - still current.

      hnk's blog:

      Friday, November 24, 2006
      GOOD BYE

      HI all,
      With tears and emotions we have to say Good bye for the people we love,even we don't want to leave each others...We have to say good bye... Good bye with no reply but only good bye.

      GOOD BYE TO YOU MY BEST FRIEND
      "H", My christian friend and one of my best friends..
      I don't know what to say except I think I was lucky to have such a beautiful friend like you...I truly love you from the deep of my heart and I didn't know that I loved you that much. I thought that my friend are the same, And I didn't think that I love one from them more than the other.
      But Today I found out that I was wrong. "H" was special. I can't remember that she hurt me someday or said something bother me. She was quite and silent.

      to better or worse this life will lead us I don't know, But I swear by the name of God I will never forget you my sister...

      It's the life who judged to us to suffer and separated. Who was thinking that you will leave.. Leave me , leave Iraq and leave your past life and everything.

      I don't know what to say. but I know that today I see my friend for the last time and only God know if I will see her another time or not. She and her family are leaving to Syria for the moment and then they are going to move to Canada. They received a threat and they have to leave Iraq. I know it's better for them to leave but ..... It's my friend.

      Today we have a party in the garden of the school and it was full of tears. We ( me and my friend) were waiting "H" to come and when she showed up we ALL burst into tears. with nothing but tears and hugs we said hi and said bye to her. She gave each one from us ( her friend) one of her toys and it was nice from her to gave us something from her personal stuff, I am sure that I will always remember that this toy belong to her. As my teacher said, our country lose "H"... I hope it was that simple since we all began to lose, lose everything even our country.

      All the people are leaving Iraq, My uncle and my aunts leave to Dubai.

      My other aunt move from Baghdad to Mosul and by the end of this year I think we will have my grandparents in our house, Do you know I didn't see my grand parents for more than a year.

      I don't know what to say except I think we are hardly live here and we are hardly keep going in this life, I wish some times that my eyes are a digital camera so you can see what I see, or that you have a magic ball that help you to see me and see everything around me, maybe that time you can feel my pain.....

      I hope I can write a new post soon.
      I have a bad temper all the days that I can't write so forgive me...

      •  Rose Baghdad is now (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4jkb4ia, Naniboujou

        living in the UAE with her family.  I was going to include her as one of the disappeared voices, but found out last night that she's simply stopped blogging.  Not sure if you knew that or not.

        And thanks for the links!

      •  desperate (9+ / 0-)

        Iraqi Mammy from Mosul

        freedom means free to kill,democracy means you have the right to leave the country

        Hello
        Our family friend's daughter was murdered last week; she was a pharmacist. She was shot by some merciless men inside her car just after she had shut down her pharmacy. Her husband was still inside the pharmacy, checking all the doors and windows before leaving with their assistant. Her husband saw everything, but his companion didn't allow him to go out , as there was no chance to save her .This young lady had the best manner and ethics, which made her and her family so loved by everyone. She left us and those who loved her so much hurt for her loss. I just can't imagine how her 12 years old son and new born baby will be raised without their dearest mom. Her husband who is now so crumbled not just for her loss, but because of the feeling of guilt for not saving her, and is stunned from the COWERED police who where a cross the street and did nothing at all but staying in their car watching the criminals killing their innocent victim. The criminals stayed around her car for a while threatening everyone from coming near the victim trying to save her.
        Her family could not receive her body from the morgue because the murderers wait for the victims' families to kill them too; they had to seek for help from some plutocrat to take her. Even the very close beloved relatives and friends could not attend her funeral. Then her family left their country behind .......
        Mama.

        If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And when I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when? Hillel 1st Century

        by suskind on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 04:44:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The blood of the innocent dead stains (0+ / 0-)

          the hands of every American. Our innocence does not absolve our complicity in this crime. Our responsibility is full accountability.

          I tried to wash the blood off by voting straight democrat, but the blood stains remain.

          The blood stains remain.

          Chuck Norris Fears Democrats.

          by roboton on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 08:39:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Heartbreaking post! (n/t) (0+ / 0-)

        Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself. --Jane Addams

        by shock on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 05:48:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary. I have never read any (5+ / 0-)

    Iraqi blogger's, but now I will seek them out for better perspective.  Thanks for everything, TAR.

  •  Excellent work (4+ / 0-)

    Your writing skill is more than apparent, but your writing style brings this story alive.  As you spoke of each blogger and their lives, I could hear those voices set against all the images published about this war.

    As you told of each one disappearing, I could sense a light going out.

    We must not forget how many voices have been silenced in Iraq, or what it portends for the days that lay ahead.

    Thank you.  This is outstanding.

    rec'd

    Senator-elect Sherrod Brown of Ohio ~~ Governor-elect Ted Strickland of Ohio

    by Ninepatch on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:40:03 PM PST

    •  We are looking at ourselves... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      4jkb4ia

      Through their eyes we see the wickedness we have allowed to run rampant.  And at the same time through their eyes we see ourselves, our own...we see, truly, how we are the same...they are our sisters & brothers & aunts & uncles & friends.

      "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

      by 417els on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 09:32:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pandora's Box, Destroyed! (5+ / 0-)

    Not Enough Cemetery to Go Around
    Posted: 11 Dec 2006 04:50 PM CST

    The Abu Hanifa Mosque is a famous Sunni mosque in Adhamiya. After the invasion the mosque constructed a new cemetery originally for fighters in the war but it has since been expanded.

    Now the cemetery takes all manners of victims of Iraq sectarian violence and it has open to Shi’as as well.

    Although stories about Iraq accentuate sectarian violence and the possibility of a looming civil war, there are many accounts of Iraqi’s coming together in opposition to sectarianism. One story is about how the Abu Hanifa mosque helped survivors of the Kadhmiya bridge tragedy in 2005.

    Unfortunately this new cemetery can not hold all of the martyrs and others dieing each day in Iraq, and they expect to build many more in the coming months. The caretaker of the Abu Hanifa cemetery says they dig an average of 4-5 graves each day, and this is just for one cemetery in a city of five million inhabitants.

    As the Iraq study group returns dire statistics from the situation in Iraq, one wonders when the stories of mutual aid and collective support in Baghdad’s communities will begin to get more play in the media. Although a civil war now seems inevitable, perhaps a better understanding of the solidarity present within Baghdadis and Iraqis can provide another direction for Iraq’s future.

    And the World will be feeling the Results for Years!

    "A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves." - Edward R. Murrow

    by jimstaro on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 03:44:41 PM PST

  •  A sweet, poignant Iraqi girl's online diary: (8+ / 0-)

    Baghdad Girl

    Iraq for ever, cats for ever and Baghdad Girl for ever....

    My name is Raghda Zaid, I was born in Baghdad in 1991, August, 15th but I am originally from Mosul.I lived in Baghdad for 14 years but I left Iraq in 2006 for the bad situation heading to the UAE, and I love cats very much, read my blog to know more about me...

  •  Canaries (5+ / 0-)

    in the coal mine.

    ... don’t forget that when we do cut our losses, we’re throwing Riverbend, Najma, and the Mesopotamian over the side.

    These moderate voices are the first line of defense against tyranny and oppression. And they are often the first to fall when things go to shit.

    Their lives, their voices are for us to try to save, else their blood is on all of our hands.

    -GFO

  •  Probably Fled (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4jkb4ia

    Stories are the smart and prosperous members of Iraqi society (i.e. ones with computers and Internet access and educations which have included learning English) are fleeing Iraq in record numbers.....a thousand or more a week by one estimate.  It is even raising concerns here as to whether INS will open up more spaces for exiled Iraqis in the US.

    So the folks who blogged early from inside Iraq are most likely outside now and starting a new life.

    Free markets would be a great idea, if markets were actually free.

    by dweb8231 on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 04:09:37 PM PST

  •  and herein lies the idiocy of our pundits (3+ / 0-)

    like John Carroll and all those who dismiss the blogosphere.  perhaps instead of trying to figure out how to put blogs down they could recognize that blogs have enabled some voices to be heard in new and amazing and frightening and saddening ways.

    your diary is really a fantastic effort.  I wonder if any enterprising journalist or blogger could actually quantify the rise and fall of freedom in Iraq after the invasion.  I bet you could do it by measuring the number of blogs pre-invasion and then looking at them over time intervals.  I have a feeling you'd see them jump substantially and then see a decline that mirrors the increase in violence and slide toward civil war.  

    •  Hear, hear! (0+ / 0-)

      The war in Lebanon was another example of what blogs can do. You could hear from ordinary Lebanese who knew English and were absolutely fed up instead of Michael Young all the time. (Daily Star editor?)

      -4.00, -5.33 "I expected to hear from the usual well-read laymen, and overeducated computer scientists."--DovBear

      by 4jkb4ia on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 08:05:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We need to stay in Iraq (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drag0n, goodasgold

    The diarist writes:

    However, I agree with most Kossacks on what should be done now.  That is, we should leave Iraq—as soon as possible.  But never forget.  Never forget the people we’re going to leave behind if we do this.

    We have a new secretary of defense and a chastised President, along with his party that realizes that their very existence depends on "success."  

    Forget about Bush's obscene exhortation to "victory."  But perhaps it is possible to achieve something less, but worthwhile.  How about some semblance of order that will allow those like the now silent bloggers to live better, or live at all.

    Everyone agrees that even this lower definition of success, described as amelioration of the worst consequences that could occur, is not guaranteed.  But if we leave, we will have no capacity to influence events.

    It never had to be this bad. After the invasion, if we had the requisite number of troops, order could have been provided.  There could have been a restoration of an economy, not in the model of unfettered globalism, but consistent with the cultural values of that country. Had Jay Garner remained rather than Paul Bremmer, we would have approximated this.

    We all despise President Bush and his administration, but this does not mean that getting out is the only option.  We must not insist on leaving because he insists on staying.  

    There is a moral imperative here to the people of Iraq.  Not to the looters or the Imans, but those who yearn for a free society.  There is also a Democratic party imperative, which is not to leave any doubt that had we stayed the coming regional disaster could have been prevented.  We "lost" China, Eastern Europe and Vietnam.  We can not allow any doubt who lost "Iraq."  

    I'm afraid the unanimity of the sentiments of Dailykos.com just could be inimical to above goals. We do owe the people of Iraq, as humanized by the bloggers of this diary,some continued national sacrifice to make the best of this tragic situation, one that we got them into.

    •  I wrote my (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rigjob, drag0n, goodasgold

      very first diary on this subject.  I agree with you in principle, but from a military and political standpoint it just doesn't seem possible anymore.  It would take at least another 200,000 troops.  I just don't know anymore.

      •  When you wrote that diary (0+ / 0-)

        in September, Rumsfeld was still SecDef and Democrats had no voice.  So your proposal was a non starter.

        Now it is an option.  It is not practical to impeach the President, but with Gates in Defense, and the Dems running congress, we have, in effect, a new government.

        This new government deserves, no has an obligation,to rectify the tragic mistakes of the previous government.

        I do not think President Bush can continue his mindless cheerleading for victory.  The jig is up.  His party and the voters know it.  If he keeps trying to maintain the old government, I believe we will be in for a constitutional/political crisis.

        This could go down like Nixon, for whom the truth unfolded and he lost support from his party and the people.

        But, we must give this "new" government a chance to make the best out of the mess in Iraq.

        •  How long do you give them? (5+ / 0-)
          One Friedman? Two?

          If this discrediting (such as it is) of the Bush approach had happened three years ago, there might have been a chance to re-direct the American forces in Iraq and "make the best out of the mess in Iraq".

          But that was three years ago.

          You can't make Iraqis believe in the power of Americans to restore order any more. That chance is gone. Lost. Vanished. It's not coming back. You're long past the tipping point. Moreover, if they don't think you can do it, you can't. You really can't. They will act on their belief that you can't, and those actions will make restoring order impossible.

          Some situations can't be rectified. No matter what Gates and Baker try, American forces have already become irrelevant. Even if US policy is reformed tomorrow (and you know it won't be), you can't stop the avalanche. There's such a thing as irretrievable - and you're looking at it.

          Iraq is in for hell.

          Americans caused it.

          Americans aren't going to be able to fix it.

          Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

          by Canadian Reader on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 06:33:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are probably correct (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Canadian Reader

            I wrote a long comment, but it is all too sad.  

            My earlist memories was this country defeating the axis forces in WWII.  We were the saviors of the world.

            From FDR to GWB in a single lifetime.  

            Who would have thought it possible.

  •  Great diary. (0+ / 0-)

    It's good to see good new writers come here and give us a new slant on things or just entirely new areas to explore.

    Thanks for bringing this to us.

    -4.25, -6.87: I can finally change my sig because the forest fire of the right is over and we're left mostly cleaning up.

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 04:54:01 PM PST

  •  Thank you for a wonderful post. (0+ / 0-)

    Illegitimi non carborundum

    by truebeliever on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 05:06:33 PM PST

  •  Riverbend, and others are our modern-day (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bablhous, Naniboujou

    Anne Franks's....

    I pray Godspeed for them.

    Illegitimi non carborundum

    by truebeliever on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 05:09:49 PM PST

  •  I couldn't bear to read a few of the early blogs (4+ / 0-)

    though I bookmarked them - I felt guilty for having my normal worries about kids and school and grumbling about work, when the cushy life here was indirectly maintained by the horror we visited upon them there!

    One search I've wanted to undertake was to find pre-war photos and stories and records of life in Iraq before The War. From anecdotal information collected from scattered sources (a NYT Magazine story from their typical last page, I remember reading a story of an educated middle class Iraqi woman from Baghdad University who said she was medical student I think, along with other women, all of whom considered it a pretty standard aspiration to study, and have a career, just like we would here, and then came the War), it had seemed to me Iraq was as backward or 'developing' as my own native India. And India has had its socialistic history, its "emergency" rules and gaming of the constitutional system by rulers who thought they were better then the People, but India came through, just as, I think Iraq would have, given its educated middle class if we had not decided to tinker with its social evolution through our moronic semi-intelligent design for the M.E.!!

    If I, distant as I am to that part of the world, amd so mad and full of anger about this immense waste of human resources (thought part of it is also out of fear that this mess will suck our young people in ways we will not be able to control), then how much more bitter must Iraqis feel?

  •  Web Journalist (5+ / 0-)

    Dahr Jamail continues to do great work.

    Dahr Jamail's Weblog and News Site

    His Hard News Reports cover a lot that we don't hear about otherwise.

    Several towns are currently under seige by U.S. troops - effectively it is collective punishment which is a Geneva Convention violation. Details in his latest Hard News item.

    Also, abductions of women are increasing, and the medical system is barely functioning.

    (PC: -5.75, -6.56) Good men through the ages, tryin' to find the sun, still I wonder, still I wonder, who'll stop the rain? -J. Fogerty

    by RichRandal on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 05:46:55 PM PST

  •  This is a wonderful and highly recommended (0+ / 0-)

    diary.  But it breaks my heart.  It really does.

    Thanks for your effort, and your insight,  TAR.

    "I don't have any solution, but I certainly admire the problem." Ashleigh Brilliant

    by panicbean on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 05:51:28 PM PST

  •  Somebody please frontpage this. (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wandabee

    Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself. --Jane Addams

    by shock on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 05:55:05 PM PST

  •  We should open our borders to the Iraqis. (0+ / 0-)

    It's the least we can do after making their country uninhabitable.  We should start a government program to bring posssibley millions of Iraqis here and resettle them across the US.  Of course, we would also need careful security background checks but we owe these people, despite all the screaming we would hear from the anti-immigrant, anti-Arab wingnut bigots.

    We should then pull our troops out as quicklly as safely possible.  The final act of compassion should at least allow the US to regain some dignity in the eyes of the world.

  •  Iraqi Blogs Should Be Celebrating Today (0+ / 0-)

    Iraqi Football (Soccer) -- On a day that had unusually cruel violence and a truly obscene death toll, Iraq had some good news. The Iraqi national team upset South Korea in the semi-final of the Asian Games. I don't imagine that Iraqis will put aside their blood feuds, should the team win the tournament, but I'll say a prayer for that result, anyway.

    Under the murderous and terroristic reign of Saddam's sons, Iraqi sports teams were decimated. This ought to be a welcome step forward. Hardly "situation normal" -- more like: "Situation normal, all f***ed up." It could be a marker of hope within the madness...This is the kind of thing that alomst every young Iraqi would be running to the web to write about...If the blogs are silent, on a day with such great sports news, and such a horrible attack on poor civilians, this a sign that the situation in Iraq has completely silenced a generation.

    "We support your war of terror!" -- Borat Sagdiyev (a/k/a Sacha Baron Cohen)

    by FischFry on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 06:23:32 PM PST

  •  70 Iraqis died today from dual car bombs (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GayHillbilly, wandabee

    and a couple of hundred  injured.  .   These stories were reported because they are spectacular in numbers, but we all know there were many more deaths.  Saleem, as NOTED above, wrote of 300 people having died in the month of November 2004-all those deaths in only 1 month.    A bloody descent into hell.

    I keep thinking of the 51% who voted for Bush in 2004.  Do they share my remorse?  Have they learned anything?  This is important to me.  HAVE THEY LEARNED ANYTHING?

  •  "the best of the bad options" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GayHillbilly

          Perhaps there is no other way at this point.  It seems as if the best of the bad options is to abandon the effort.  To cut our losses.  I’ve made my peace with that now.  But please—don’t forget that when we do cut our losses, we’re throwing Riverbend, Najma, and the Mesopotamian over the side.
          They will probably never forgive us for starting this mess in the first place.

    I think that Canadian Reader's comment (above), Exiled in Jordan, addresses this:

    Well then, who is doing this?
    For what purpose?

    My relative said, sadly in a broken voice: We do not know, there are some armed gangs whose identities are unknown, who get in, kill, destroy, then run away, and no one can stop them; not the people, nor the government. They want to destroy the country, and destroy people's lives. We do not know where they came from, who finances them, or what their aim is? they kill people, evoke chaos, then run away...
    Now that is terrorism, I said to myself.
    Who brought it to us?
    Who admitted it into Iraq?
    Perhaps the same person who declared the war on terrorism, for he would be the only beneficiary from the existence of these armed gangs, because they justify his existence on the land of Iraq, and staying here indefinitely.
    Those terrorists do not stand against the occupation army, they only kill civilian Iraqis.
    I said; I shall ask all the people for the answer of this riddle- who stands behind all this abuse and madness?
    Who is the beneficiary?

    How interesting:  The terrorists justify Bush's "existence on the land of Iraq".

    It seems to me that even the Iraqis feel that the US presence only brings more destruction.  We need to leave so that they may have peace again.

    And may the Iraqi people forgive us for our trespasses against them.

    Investigate! Impeach! Indict! Incarcerate!

    by Cato come back on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 06:57:18 PM PST

    •  The Neocons/Bushco have done SO much bizarre... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cato come back

      deceitful, dishonest, disasterous and unimaginable destruction - both here and around the world - that nothing should surprise us.  So many viewpoints I saw as paranoia only a few months ago have been upgraded to a reality based possibility.

      Who does benefit from indiscriminate wholesale killing of civilians?

      "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

      by 417els on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 10:04:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for an excellent and moving diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nancelot

    Maybe it is because of what I find so special here at Dkos that this is such a profoundly moving post. Thank you and recommended.

    Thanks for the American dream, To vulgarize and to falsify until the bare lies shine through. -william s. burroughs-

    by TheGardener on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 07:16:54 PM PST

  •  Never forget... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shock, nancelot, 417els

    What an odd time for us... to "know" people we will never meet... to care about them and to lose them... how evident it is to me now that we are all the same... our hopes and dreams...

    If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. -James Madison, fourth US president (1751-1836)

    by crkrjx on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 07:48:26 PM PST

  •  I've never understood (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sclminc, 417els

    the concept of Iraq falling apart if the USA were to leave.

    It's already falling apart with the USA there. And falling apart even more every day. It's not getting better and never has been from the first day an American boot touched Iraqi soil. It has deteriorated from day one and continues to deteriorate. In fact, the trendlines shows the process of deteriorating is gathering pace and there is absolutely no, none, nil, zilch, nada, sign that this acceleration will even begin to slow, let alone stop and begin to reverse.

    How people can possibly draw from this a conclusion that Iraq will deteriorate if the US leaves, leaves me absolutely dumbfounded. It's just pure hope contrary to all evidence.

    Remember this - the strongest proponents of this 'Iraq will fall apart if we leave' argument are all the very same people who said Iraqis would greet the US invasion with flowers and democracy will blossom out of the barrels of US guns blah blah blah. Basically these proponents have never ever talked anything but total crap, and clearly don't know shite from clay when it comes to predicting what will happen in the future in other peoples' countries. So why listen to them now?

    I'll go so far as to say if anyone like Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld or O'Reilly claims that Iraq will fall apart if the USA leaves, I would wager my house on the exact opposite happening. A sure 100% certain bet.

    It's been an easy talking point for them to sell in order to continue the war (and I see a lot of people here and elsewhere have bought it hook line and sinker) because it's a double-act. It appeals not only to the inherent national security fears of average Americans of possible anarchy in a strategic part of the world, but also appeals to their national pride of believing people would be helpless without you.

    Please stop buying their bullshit talking points and repeating them as if they actually have merit when they don't. Not a bit of it. All the evidence points the other way. Iraqis were better off before the US came and will just as likely be better off when the US goes. I'm not saying 'best' off, but just simply 'better' off. Dreams of a democratic utopia are just dreams (mostly George's) and always have been and always will be. The fact based on reality because it's what's actually happening, is that as long as the US stays, it will never get better.

    'Never get better with the US' versus 'might get worse without the US' is a no-brainer choice to base a decision on as only one of those two options isn't 100% negative.

    Apologies for the long comment. I felt like ranting a bit.

    •  No one knows (0+ / 0-)

      with any certainty what will actually happen when U.S. forces leave.  That said, I don't see how it could NOT fall apart.  There is no functioning military.  There is no functioning police force.  The infrastructure is still in disrepair.  There are three major groups all jockeying for power.  How can you maintain any semblance of order under those conditions?  

      Although, I hope I'm wrong.

      •  There are numerous functioning military (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SarahLee, jakbeau, snazzzybird, 417els

        and police (militia), all well financed, all obedient and loyal and willing to follow orders and put their lives on the line and die for the cause/country.

        What you actually mean is there is no (or not enough) functioning military or police for the occupation government. There never will be.

        And yes, they will fight and shoot at each other until one or the other wins. The thing is, right now they're all bombing and shooting to create chaos. In an outright power struggle of civil war, they will bomb and shoot to win (or avoid losing). Which is a massive difference. Their objectives and tactics will change from targetting general civilian to achieve anarchy to targetting each other to achieve control.

        There will also be 'front-lines' between the warring factions where a semblance of peace and stability and policing will exist behind the lines while most of the battles and fighting will occur on the frontlines. Instead of being random to create chaos.

        Also, the chaos of civil wars end when one side wins. The chaos of insurrections against an occupation never ends until it just gets so bad the occupier leaves.

        A thing to take into account is that none of the native Iraqi military factions have anywhere near the firepower, heavy armour, artillery or airpower to utterly destroy an entire small city like Fallujah as the USA has done. They will do less damage to themselves in 20 years of civil war than the US has already inflicted in 4 years.

        (PS. I could have phrased a portion of my original comment better, re the motive for Americans wanting to stay because Iraqis would be helpless. It would be more accurate to say Americans have a sense of goodwill and responsibility as far as not 'leaving people in the lurch' when they've created a problem for them. An honourable ideal which is to be commended, but right now it's being manipulated by the 'proponents' to continue the war/occupation.)

        •  It can be difficult for people and nations to: (0+ / 0-)

          Realize and accept that they ARE the problem.

          "Evil is a lack of empathy, a total incapacity to feel with their fellow man." - Capt. Gilbert,Psychiatrist, at the end of Nuremberg trials.

          by 417els on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 10:13:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Bravo, Australian! (0+ / 0-)

          You have crystallized my exact thoughts more cogently than I ever could.  Particularly your observation that none of the sides has the firepower to create a Fallujah as the U.S. has already done several times over.  

          Yes, we will witness a Yugoslavia redux and as the various sides are armed by their proxies perhaps another Sarajevo, but it will have an end.  A continued occupation will simply fragment/splinter/parse the opposing sides/gangs/militias into more craven cells and we will see another Palestine emerge with the same pictures of Iraqi babies with AK47s in the cradle.

          While I wholeheartedly commend the diarist for pulling information on the Iraqi bloggers together this way, never forget that the U.S. did not have the power to put Riverbend's dreams into place in the first place and certainly does not have the ability to 'bring democracy to Iraq' now.  We will not be abandoning our beloved Iraqi bloggers if we pull the marines out of Badaghd - far from it - we will give the Iraqi nation the opportunity to stand or fall on its own strengths.  Depleted uranium tipped bombs are NOT the only way to help our friends.  Diplomacy, alliances and MONEY will go a long way.

        •  That is the problem (0+ / 0-)

          One side will win and terrorize the other side. Part of the minuscule good that we can do is that we can ask all the sides to work together in the formal government.

          -4.00, -5.33 "I expected to hear from the usual well-read laymen, and overeducated computer scientists."--DovBear

          by 4jkb4ia on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 08:09:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Let the Iraqis come up with their own order (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        4jkb4ia

        I'm just not an expert on this, at all, so I don't know what regular Iraqis really think.

        I think the main thing with this situation is that I want all people who supported the invasion in early 2003 out of the picture. As far as I'm concerned, no one who openly backed the war has any standing to speak on the matter at this point. But if serious war critics such as Eric Shinseki looked at the situation from a fresh angle and made a good argument for why we need to stay or even expand our operations in Iraq, I would listen.

        But, anyhow, my own impression is that the presence of our troops in Iraq is so provocative that we're causing civil war more than preventing it. Anyone who wants to start trouble in Iraq can claim he's really mainly trying to drive out the United States.

        If we leave, we eliminate that excuse. Maybe militia warlords will broker some kind of partition of Iraq that alarms us but works for them.

        If not, and the violence somehow manages to escalate after the United States leaves, and normal Iraqis WANT the United States (or NATO, or whatever) to come to keep the peace, then we would be returning as clear-cut peacekeepers, rather than acting as suspected oil-stealing invaders. Maybe we'd have a lot more ability to get things done.

        Also: one reason we're having so much trouble is that stopping a civil war without killing huge numbers of people is very difficult.

        If Iran really tried to invade Iraq or some other outside parties made clear-cut efforts to mess with Iraq, I think it would be a lot easier for the United States to block that kind of outside interference (e.g., with missiles fired from the air) than it is, say, to keep the peace in the slums of Baghdad. So, it might be much easier to get ground troops out of Iraq and use missiles to keep outsiders out than to control internal violence through garrisons.

  •  Thank you. Thank you so much for this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sclminc

    I've bookmarked the ones that are still posting and will read them regularly until we give them their country back (as if that would ever be enough).

    You live and learn. Well, at least you live. -Douglas Adams

    by wandabee on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 08:47:42 PM PST

  •  Yes, this much is clear. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, 417els

    They will probably never forgive us for starting this mess in the first place.

    ...and never forget how popular this splendid little war was when it was launched in March '03 -- says a lot more about American society than most folks care to admit.

    As an Iraqi-American academic born and raised in New Orleans, this voter is not pleased.

    by naltikriti on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 08:59:02 PM PST

  •  and no matter when we leave.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4jkb4ia

    we will be throwing them overboard.

    Into the pits of hell, that we created.  They are living a GENOCIDE - that the Bush administration and the US Taxpayers created.

    I wrote a letter to the WaPo that was published on Christmas Day, 2005 - saying that reading the female teenage bloggers (A Star from Mosul, HNK, Sunshine) is like reading Anne Frank in real time.  I do hope things turn out better for them.

    Anne Frank knew who her enemy was - the Iraqis have enemies on all sides.  

    One Iraqi blogger, "Healing Iraq" is now in NYC and is trying desperately to get his younger brother out of Baghdad and into New Zealand.  Right now, only 500 Iraqis per year are allowed to immigrate to the USA on a permanent visa.  THIS DESPERATELY NEEDS TO CHANGE!  Right now, 100,000 Iraqis are leaving the country every month.  We have to open up more spaces for them here in the USA.  And we have to accept the fact that they will all have PTSD and a number of them will become violent - just like our troops.  That is just a fact we will have to live with, because turning our back on the Iraqi refugees, like our troops, is not acceptable.

  •  They Are All Dead (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sclminc

    You and I have each contributed at least $2500 so far to wiping out Iraq. I would rather my tax contribution was paying for health care for every kid in America, or cleaning up all the superfund cesspools, or developing clean energy sources, or promoting stem cell research. But no. Killing Iraqis. Fuckin Bush.

    George W. Bush is just like Forrest Gump. Except that Forrest Gump is honest and cares about other people.

    by easong on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 09:55:46 PM PST

  •  I did a post on this recently (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    It has the voices of some more Iraqi bloggers on it, and how life is going for them.

    It also has a link (in the comments) to an Iraqi music video called "Baghdad Don't Hurt" and it is very moving, very powerful, and heartbreaking.  That can also be seen on my blog:

    http://dancewater.blogspot.com/...

    In the background right now, I am listening to Kucinich's press conference yesterday on the violence and deaths in Iraq.  It is powerful too.  A link to that here:
    http://www.informationclearinghouse....

  •  also good information (0+ / 0-)

    on this Iraqi blog

    http://healingiraq.blogspot.com/

    He is the one who is in NYC and trying to get his brother out of Baghdad.  I hope when he achieves that he moves on to helping get more Iraqis - specifically Sunni males ages 15-45 - out of Iraq, before they are killed.

  •   Thanks! (0+ / 0-)

    This is a wonderful, thought-provoking diary.

  •  Your Ending Comment... (0+ / 0-)

    ...

    They will probably never forgive us for starting this mess in the first place.

    is absolutely dead-on.  This is a people that remember slights from 1200 years ago as if it only happened yesterday.  We have made eternal enemies in the Middle East.  

    bu$h is currenly stating that he will be proved correct after he is dead.  I maintain that his name will be remembered as an Middle East curse long after all of us here are long passed.

  •  Iraqi4ever seems to be back!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Angry Rakkasan

    Is it him or is it a coincidence he posted on Dec 13th, just today (probably yesterday iraqi time)??

    •  Thanks! He linked to this diary just today... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LibertyGuard

      Here's what he said at the end of his post today:

      ...i will try to post more frequently.

      Update: How weird this could be I post a blog nearly same day as another blog mentioned many Iraqi blogs got silenced, after reading his post I have to admit it's quite true and sad _

      That's uplifting.

  •  LIST OF ALL IRAQI BLOGS... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4jkb4ia

    http://iraqblogcount.blogspot.com/

    it is up to date with current blogs listed first.  
    Konfused Kid as of 07 December cleaned up the blogroll-- ridding non existent ones, archiving inactive ones.  He stated that the blog count has gone from 212 to 110.

    Lists both English and Arabic Iraqi Blogs.

    BTW-- great diary!

    anticipate everything and expect nothing

    by expatden on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 04:32:19 AM PST

  •  We still have a human obligation to protect (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4jkb4ia

    The most serious problem with the U.S. presence in Iraq is that it seems as if we're doing more harm than good. Aside from the fact that we're losing our own people, we seem to be provoking Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence rather than quelling it.

    But I think we still have at least the same moral obligation to Iraq that we have toward any region in the world where genocide is in the air. We have an absolute moral obligation, whether we acknowledge it or not or try to say "America first!" or not, to look and see whether there is something relatively cheap, easy and safe we can do to keep innocent people from dying.  

    One easy thing the United States can do is to support any parties that still have credibility in the region (Kofi Annan? Vladimir Putin? some Chinese leader?) in efforts not to negotiate a peace but to try to negotiate terms for an Iraqi civil war.

    If the Sunnis and Shiites with the militias feel a war is inevitable, let them fight, but figure out some way that people who want nothing to do with the conflict can avoid getting killed.

    If that means temporarily segregating Iraq by sect, maybe that will turn out to be necessary evil, but do it in an orderly way, so that peaceful Shiite and Sunni people can use the Web to trade houses and jobs and end up with a decent standard of living, rather than everybody walking hundreds of miles to squalid refugee camps.

  •  Thank you for posting this. (0+ / 0-)

    I hope someone in the administration reads this.  I hope some of the people on the right side of the blogosphere read this.  If anyone can read this and laugh it off as more partisan rhetoric, they must be completely devoid of basic human compassion.  At least then we'll know their true aims - do they really want to lift up the Iraqi people as they claim, or merely take their oil even if it destroys Iraq.

  •  Wonderful diary (0+ / 0-)

    I am ashamed not to know about these bloggers. The urge to communicate about what is going on in Iraq, even if they do not have the best English, is very moving. Thanks to all who gave additional names.

    -4.00, -5.33 "I expected to hear from the usual well-read laymen, and overeducated computer scientists."--DovBear

    by 4jkb4ia on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 08:13:32 AM PST

  •  The Best and the Brightest: (0+ / 0-)

    Mowed down by war.

    War IS the Enemy.

    http://warresisters.org/...

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 12:01:24 PM PST

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