A View From The Handbasket

Monday, March 27, 2006
About face.
Posted by Tyrone at 5:04 AM

I posted in the negative several months ago to a Fiddle post regarding America’s staying the course in Iraq. Sure, we broke it, but I could no longer bear the loss of American lives in the fruitless efforts to fix it. Since then, particularly with the Feb. 22 bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra and the resultant sectarian fury which has claimed the lives of scores of hundreds--many kidnapped before witnesses and tortured before murdered—it’s become more and more difficult to hold that earlier position.

Every war has its stories, its human tragedies. And with this March 26 New York Times story—coming on the heels of so many recently—I’ve come to a defining moment in this war and am prepared to do an about face.

Mohannad al-Azawi had just finished sprinkling food in his bird cages at his pet shop in south Baghdad, when three carloads of gunmen pulled up.

In front of a crowd, he was grabbed by his shirt and driven off.

Mr. Azawi's body was found the next morning at a sewage treatment plant. A slight man who raised nightingales, he had been hogtied, drilled with power tools and shot.

[. . .]

Mr. Azawi was the youngest of five brothers. He was 27 and lived with his parents. He loved birds since he was a boy. Nightingales were his favorite.

If America is to continue in Iraq, the message must be clear: We’re there not to “stay the course” or to rebuild infrastructure or create/preserve democracy. America’s immediate mission has a face: preventing a [furthering of] civil war and the horrific slaughter of innocents. Secretary of State Rice, rather than making headlines with talk of drawing down American troops, must go before the United Nations and beg other nations’ help, without which the loss of both American and Iraqi innocents will continue unabated.

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