Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Sunday, May 07, 2006

  The new face of violence in Iraq

Knight Ridder usually is way out in front of the rest of the American news media, which often appears to be barely aware of its existence. More's the shame. KR has been reporting for months on the changing nature of the civil war in Iraq, as for example in this report nine weeks ago.

If this trend toward focused and ruthlessly efficient ethnic violence continues along the path sketched by the KR reporters, then the days of nearly random car-bombings and roadside explosive devices may come to look rather like the golden age of Iraqi mayhem, an era when hope was still possible.

Today, the LA Times catches up with the story. The article by Louise Roug, though late coming, is thorough and grim.

More Iraqi civilians were killed in Baghdad during the first three months of this year than at any time since the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime — at least 3,800, many of them found hogtied and shot execution-style.

Others were strangled, electrocuted, stabbed, garroted or hanged. Some died in bombings. Many bore signs of torture such as bruises, drill holes, burn marks, gouged eyes or severed limbs.

Every day, about 40 bodies arrive at the central Baghdad morgue, an official said. The numbers demonstrate a shift in the nature of the violence, which increasingly has targeted both sides of the country's SunniShiite sectarian divide. ...

Now the killings are systematic, personal. Masked gunmen storm into homes, and the victims — the majority of them Sunnis — are never again seen alive. ...

Although the number of civilian deaths has increased steadily since 2003 and the incidence of execution-style shootings began to rise last spring, the violence surged by 86% in the nine weeks after the Golden Mosque attack, according to the figures provided by the U.S. military official.

Targeted killings now account for most of the violence. ...

"I cannot say if the killers are trained professionals or just criminals, but the pattern we see is torture and beatings" before the victim is killed, "mostly by shooting or hanging," [acting director of the Baghdad morgue, Dr. Abed] Razzaq said. Six of 10 bodies bear signs of torture, he said. Some appear to have been severely beaten; others have had one or more limbs cut off.


The reporter then describes several instances when Iraqi families were targeted by the killers and torturers. All of this is brought to Iraq courtesy of Mister Bush's foreign policy: Fighting the terrorists over there so we wreck their country.

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