Monday, April 23, 2012


Castle of Tal Afar - Road to Peace yet to run through it.
This week’s writing makes me feel like a college professor issuing his syllabus, but I can see no other way.  You need to see for yourself.  Please read through this offering, and then trouble to open and read as many of the listed articles as you are able.  As Paul Harvey said, you will find in the cumulative details, “the rest of the story.”  [Colored highlighted titles are links to the articles.]
The information taken together is valuable, and if I were a confessor, I would recommend all this reading {and much more, including the four Gospels} as partial penance for this unjust war.  We must name and recognize the evil before we can correct it.

March 08, 2012 -AP { a little over a month ago}  “14 killed in Iraqi bombings that echo violent past.”
"Two bombs that exploded in swift succession killed 14 people Wednesday near a crowded restaurant in a city in Iraq's north, officials said.
Officials said the blasts may indicate that the town of Tal Afar, a hotbed of insurgency during the years that Iraq teetered on the edge of civil war, may again be experiencing an influx of extremists due to the uprising in neighboring Syria."

The war in Iraq is not over—witness again continued carnage in Tal Afar, one of our erstwhile model cities there.  And if you take time to read the articles in the links to follow, you’ll learn just how mired we are in the violence we help maintain, to keep our foot in Iraq’s black fools’ gold quicksands.

A chronology of the futile violence in Tal Afar.    [click on title highlights for stories]
Second in line is the photo {and its story} seen round the globe in 2005, but little seen in the USA of little girl whose parents had just been mistakenly shot and killed by U.S. soldiers at aTal Afar checkpoint.
9-9-04   Operation Black Typhoon
"A major military operation was launched against Tal Afar on September 9, 2004. Terrorists had displaced the local Iraqi Security forces and the city had become a suspected haven as well as staging grounds for insurgents. Many foreign fighters originating from Syria were believed to be in Tal Afar conducting anti-coalition activities."

1-19-05 One Night in Tal Afar « Iconic Photos1-19-05 Tal Afar girl photo in NYT version, article titled—“Archbishop Freed in Iraq, but 8 Chinese Are Captives”
9-22-05 Washington Post, “Iraqi Forces Show Signs Of Progress In Offensive.”
"One year ago this month [Sept 2004], U.S. and Iraqi forces swept through Tall Afar, but when the Americans largely withdrew from the region, the insurgency returned, stronger than ever.
'If the Americans leave, the chaos will come back. The bad people will come back again, just like before,' said Abdullah Wahab Muhammed Younis, one of the city's most prominent Shiite sheiks, who said insurgents have killed 14 members of his family and wounded 33 in the past year."
3-12-06                 Tal Afar Al Qaeda's Town - CBS News
4-1-07                   Deadliest bomb in Iraq war kills 152 -  Reuters
4-11-07                 Myth of Tal Afar, beacon of American 'success' - The Independent
4-29-07                 Police accused in sectarian revenge killings -
8-30-07                 Road leads to success, confidence restored in Tal ‘Afar -  United States Forces – Iraq
11-15-8                 At least 9 killed by suicide car bomb in Iraq - CNN
7-9-09                   Dozens killed in Iraqi bombings - BBC NEWS
5-4-10                   Iraq football stadium hit by deadly suicide bombing - Tal Afar-BBC News
5-8-11                   Iraqi Child in Acclaimed War Photo Tries to Move On – NYTimes
12-14-11               Three killed in Iraq bomb - The Irish Times
3-8-12                   14 killed in Iraqi bombings that echo violent past  (back to above)

U.S. M1 Abrams battle tanks patrolling Tal Afar on February 3, 2006

This is the small list I’ve investigated.  Wikipedia has a good page on Tal Afar also {well referenced credible sources}, with many more instances of the violence there.

 Tal Afar girl in NYT--Chris Hondros-Getty Images, 1-19-05

We beat no swords into plowshares in Iraq.  Instead we brought imported swords aplenty – a multiplication of swords and violence, and ignored the chaos of civilian casualties.  We did count our soldiers deaths, but not theirs.  The lesson of Vietnam was well-learned.  No more comparative body counts on the nightly news, even if the score overwhelmingly favors your side, there is no consolation in the killing having the advantage.

You’re not winning, just killing.  This lesson has not been learned.  The surge in the swords of violence plaguing Iraq persists.  How to now put away this sword?  What to replace it with?  Not with F-16s and new missiles pointed at Iran as is some strategists’ plan.
“It ain’t over till it’s over.” – Yogi Berra
                “Love your enemy;  pray for those that persecute you.” – Jesus Christ  {Mt 5:44}

ampling the persistent firestorm of violence throughout Iraq, from the present, looking back just to our latest publicized “mission accomplished” at the end of 2011.
3-20-12   Bomb Attacks in Iraq - NYTimes
3-6-12      Militants Raid Iraqi Town, Kill Police -
2-23-12   Deadly series of attacks strikes targets across Iraq - IRAQ - FRANCE 24
1-27-12   Suicide Bomber Kills 32 at Iraq Funeral Procession - ABC News
1-5-12     BBC News - Iraq Bombings in Baghdad and Nasiriya kill scores

We have nourished them with nine years of bombs and bullets.  What are our plans now?  Our concerns?
12-16-11  Iraq oil security tested as U.S. forces withdraw--Reuters
12-15-11  Big Adjustments at Baghdad Base -  [We’re not completely closing our network of bases in Iraq, just mothballing, to be ready for any required future use.]
11-16-11  Iraqi Town [Sokur] Falters as U.S. Troops Exit - NYTimes
12-14-11  U.S. F-16 Sale to Iraq Remains a Distant Target

Now our diplomats travel with hired guns, based in Baghdad’s still fortified Green Zone within the world’s biggest most battle-hardened embassy.
12-26-11  Soldiers gone, but contractors remain in Iraq—Houston Chronicle
"But remaining behind are thousands of civilian contractors — about half of them armed.
State Department officials have said they expect that 5,000 security contractors will be needed in Iraq next year to protect U.S. diplomats.
A “life support” team of an additional 4,500 contractors will cook, clean and provide transportation and other services."
 Curious medieval theme of the hunters becoming the hunted.

Happy day after EARTH DAY!

Illuminations by Kathy Brahney

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