A little reading as we wait for the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group to unveil a new and improved Iraq policy.
The Associated Press reports:
Baghdad's morgues are full.
With no space to store bodies, some victims of the sectarian slaughter are not being kept for relatives to claim, but photographed, numbered and quickly interred in government cemeteries. Men fearful of an anonymous burial are tattooing their thighs with names and phone numbers.
The tattooing is an even more extreme measure than it may initially sound, since tattooing is forbidden by Islam. When defenders of our invasion of Iraq used to make happy noises about how our actions were going to transform Iraq and the rest of Muslim Middle East by, among other things, injecting Western ideas and practices into Iraq, I never guessed that tattooing was going to be one of those practices.
As for that new and improved policy being cobbled together by the Iraq Study Group, the Washington Post reported yesterday that James Baker, the group's Republican chairman (and, of course, Daddy Bush's right-hand man for most of his political career) "has been testing the waters for some time to determine how much change in Iraq policy will be tolerated by the White House". As John Aravosis points out, "So, that means the guy running this panel isn't going to give his honest advice - he's only going to give the closest to honest the White House will let him give. That is totally messed up, incredibly dishonest, and it's the very reason we're in this predicament to start with."
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If that does turn out to be the case, then the much-hyped Iraq Study Group report will be of no real help to anyone, except the tattoo artists of Baghdad.