zondag, augustus 31, 2003

"There is no order! There is no government!"

While we can't wonder why beloved and heroic commandant L. Paul Bremer III, the chief American administrator, was on vacation when a car bomb killed one of Iraq's most important spiritual leaders today, you might wonder why nobody knew when he would return and why the military "command" was saying nothing. L. Paul Bremer, on vacation with his family in Vermont, sent a top aide in Baghdad, Hume Horan, to visit the Hakim family, and spoke with Pentagon officials throughout the day, the spokesman said.

Bremer, who assumed his post in Baghdad in May, was in Washington this week for meetings with Bush administration officials. He was scheduled to return to Baghdad early next week, the spokesman said, but could return sooner, depending on the situation in Najaf.

The 20 or so Iraqi policemen on hand to seal the crime scene were overwhelmed by thousands of onlookers trampling through and periodically scattering in panic when a siren erupted somewhere nearby. “Donkeys stand still, men move along!” the police shouted in a vain attempt to disperse the crowds.

“There is no order! There is no government!” cried Shatha Saleh, a 30-year-old Najaf woman who had been praying inside the mosque when the attack took place.

She described a chaotic scene as thousands of worshipers, fearing another explosion, trampled one another and tore at each other’s clothing to escape the shrine after the bomb erupted outside.

meanwhile according to Riverbend,a new Baghdad street map may need to be created:

"Now, areas are identified as “the one with the crater where the missile exploded”, or “the street with the ravaged houses”, or “the little house next to that one where that family was killed”."

Richard N. Perle, the hawkish former member of the Defense Policy Board, told the French daily Le Figaro that America had blundered by failing to prepare an Iraqi opposition capable of taking charge of the country after its liberation. An ardent advocate of going into Iraq, Mr. Perle is now looking for the exit. "The answer is to hand over power to Iraqis as soon as possible," he said.

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