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"Freedom in action"
"Freedom in action"

Yesterday Mr. Bush warned U.S. citizens of more violence in Iraq.again.

He called it the "price of progress" as Iraq "moves toward democracy."

In the shady, smoke and mirror filled world of Mr. Bush where violence
is progress and Iraq inches ever closer to their elusive "democracy,"
truth remains ever distant from the rhetoric of his speech writers.

Mr. Bush referred to "a good deal of political turmoil" in Iraq as
"freedom in action."

If only reality matched his hallucinatory projections.

If only Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim, the most influential politician in Iraq and
leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, hadn't
issued a not-so-veiled warning yesterday to Sunni Arab Iraqis that the
ruling Shiites would not allow significant amendments to the country's
new constitution.

If only.

The commander-in-chief of the U.S. military, speaking to members of
Veterans of Foreign Wars also stated yesterday, "We will continue to
hand over territory to the Iraqis so they can defend their democracy, so
they can do the hard work, and our troops will be able to come home with
the honor they have earned."

Like Brandon Bare from North Carolina.

The 19 year-old soldier returned from Iraq last April, wounded with cuts
and other injuries from a grenade attack. Three months after his return
home young Brandon Bare found it necessary to kill his 18 year-old wife
by stabbing her 71 times. He was obviously traumatized by his time in
Iraq which found him engaged in combat in both Mosul and Fallujah.

"Pacified" Fallujah, the "City of Hope," as FOX "News" likes to call it,
where three more U.S. soldiers were killed yesterday when their Humvee
was destroyed by a roadside bomb.and a fourth soldier, like Brandon
Bare, was wounded in action.

Yet, the land of hallucinations is a nice place to be for someone like
Mr. Bush, who also said yesterday that most Iraqis are upbeat about
their future.

Despite rampant kidnappings, unemployment soaring to well over 50%,
little electricity, no potable water and violence continuing unabated,
Bush said, "The vast majority of Iraqis prefer freedom with intermittent
power to life in the permanent darkness of tyranny and terror."

The security is so bad in Baghdad now that many people now don't leave
their homes unless it is absolutely necessary. Rampant abductions of
Iraqis are symptomatic of the escalating lawlessness in Iraq which is of
course aggravated by the political turmoil that has engulfed the country
since the December 15 polls.

Iraqi officials say as many as 30 Iraqis a day are reported kidnapped in
Baghdad. The abductions are part of the rising lawlessness accompanying
the country's political turmoil/"freedom in action."

Nothing has changed with the kidnapping since my last trip to Baghdad.
Many of the hostages are freed when the ransom demanded is paid by their
families. Other times when the ransom is paid, as happened to a friend
of my interpreter, the family received a call telling them they could
pick up the body of their 16 year-old son at the morgue.

An email I received today from an Iraqi man in Baghdad runs a bit
contradictory to the rhetoric of Mr. Bush's speechwriter:

"Dear Dahr,

It is difficult to make a picture of what is going on, the situation is
just so bad.

Lack of supplies, including water, petrol and electricity.

Jamming of traffic, as the police allow one lane to pass through the
security check points, and it takes long time to pass through these
check points.

Many areas in Baghdad are very unsafe, and quite inaccessible.

The kidnapping and assassination of physicians is still going on.

A consultant surgeon was recently assassinated in his home. He lives in
Yarmouk district near the culture center. One of his sons was kidnapped
a few months before and released after paying several thousands of U.S.
dollars.

A friend of mine, Dr. S. who is a well known Neurologist, was kidnapped
from his clinic and his family asked the help of his friends and
relatives to help collect the ransom.

My wife was driving downtown and she was hit on her left hand by a big
stone thrown from a police pickup because she did not recognize that she
should give way to a fast car that was trying to bypass her.....she is
lucky not to get shot by them!!!!

The Iraqis now get frightened from the local police and military as they
exhibit a very high level of misconduct and abuse of the authority that
they now have.

Have I mentioned that power supply is one hour every five hours!!!!!

Ahmed [Name changed for security reasons]"


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(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.
All images, photos, photography and text are protected by United States and international copyright law. If you would like to reprint Dahr's Dispatches on the web, you need to include this copyright notice and a prominent link to the http://DahrJamailIraq.com website. Website by photographer Jeff Pflueger's Photography Media http://jeffpflueger.com . Any other use of images, photography, photos and text including, but not limited to, reproduction, use on another website, copying and printing requires the permission of Dahr Jamail. Of course, feel free to forward Dahr's dispatches via email.

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