Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Our spirit is not broken. Although everything else is.

Haditha massacre hearings update: last week Lt Col. Chessani tried to call an expert witness on Islamic culture, to prove... well, what exactly we’ll never know because the court decided hearing from a Benedictine monk would look bad in Iraq. This week we’ve learned that Corp. Justin Sharratt said in a 2006 statement that he believed the entire Haditha area (pop. of city 90,000) was hostile, so he was free to “use any means necessary and my training to eliminate the hostile threat.” For example, after shooting one armed man (or so he says), he took out several others. That’s the “any means necessary” part. Here’s the “training” part: “I could not tell while I was shooting if they were armed or not, but I felt threatened.” Of course he felt threatened; after all, there were Iraqis around, and he considered every single Iraqi to be hostile.

Although, to be fair, I don’t imagine Sharratt is the most popular guy in Haditha.

There has been a parade of Americans visiting Maliki to tell him to, you know, accomplish something. Anything, really. Maliki, while saying that “There are lots of difficulties that are not well understood from outside,” also claims that there have been many successes that aren’t well understood from outside Maliki’s head. He says that Petraeus’s report in September “should list the accomplishments.” For example, “Our spirit is not broken.” I’m not sure “accomplishment” is the precise word for “our spirit is not broken.” What else’ve ya got? “Another success is that no one is above the law.” Or below it, because, really, what law? Also, and I’ll reprint in full the every-so-slightly sceptical NYT sentence containing the quote, “Without providing evidence, he added, ‘we have eliminated the danger of sectarian war.’”

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