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12 March 2006


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An additional element is the rise of the takfiris. This may change the historical pattern.

W. Patrick Lang

Received this from an American friend of Greek ancestry.

"I once believed absolutely that genocide in Iraq was not possible. I thought that the Iraqis would continue the fine Ottoman Turkish tradition of occasional massacres to cow and intimidate subject or minority populations. For example, when they massacred my ancestral home Island of Chios in 1822, the Ottomans intended the massacre to intimidate the nearby islands of Samos and Psara which were much more difficult military objectives. Furthermore, Admiral kara Ali (the OIC massacres on Chios) had specific instructions not to kill anyone in the rich mastic-producing villages in the southern part of the Island.

Now I am not so certain. Your points are well considered. Furthermore, I believe that my rosier (?) views were conditioned by the fact that virtually all my Iraqi friends are Upper-Class Baghdad Shia, i.e., Ottomans. They are becoming as irrelevant as Saddam."


This conflict is starting to sound more like el Salvador and less like Vietnam


John Negroponte was US Ambassador to Iraq from June 2004 to April 2005. The rise of death squad-type killing in Iraq really seemed to take off in this time period. Was this just a coincidence?

W. Patrick Lang


Nah. These folks don't need help in that department.

Reminds me of the gal I knew once, who was a Berkely graduate. She insisted to me that the CIA had taught SAVAK to torture people.

She got very upset with my amusement at the idea. pl



I agree with you. He probably took the Ambassador job so he could learn new techniques.

I just heard a news report this morning that the Madhi Army is now the only police force in Sadr City. A "civil war" or a "death squad" looks very different from different perspectives. Chaos and rampant crime at the local level cements the power of local militias as they become the only guarantors of order for Iraqis.

Which is exactly why preventing chaos at the local level should have been the US military's highest priority from the very beginning. It wasn't, so here we are.

As you wrote about the Abu Ghraib torture, there are always people in any army who will torture or kill indiscrimately. The point is to suppress or keep them under control, not to turn them loose to operate at will.

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