In today's NY Times there is a stunning story on the level of sectarian torture and murder currently going on in Iraq. The story, by Jeffrey Gettleman, "Bound, Blindfolded and Dead: The Face of Revenge in Baghdad," offers the following bleak picture:
"Mohannad al-Azawi had just finished sprinkling food in his bird cages at his pet shop in south Baghdad, when three carloads of gunmen pulled up. In front of a crowd, he was grabbed by his shirt and driven off.
"Mr. Azawi was among the few Sunni Arabs on the block, and, according to witnesses, when a Shiite friend tried to intervene, a gunman stuck a pistol to his head and said, 'You want us to blow your brains out, too?'
"Mr. Azawi's body was found the next morning at a sewage treatment plant. A slight man who raised nightingales, he had been hogtied, drilled with power tools and shot.
"In the last month, hundreds of men have been kidnapped, tortured and executed in Baghdad."
That gets followed, revealingly, by this line:
"As Iraqi and American leaders struggle to avert a civil war, the bodies keep piling up."
Say what? "Struggle to avert a civil war?"
Pardon me for asking, but if this isn't civil war, what is? Hundreds of kidnappings, tortures and executions isn't enough? What is the litmus test here? Thousands? Tens of thousands?
Later in the Times piece. Gettleman refers to 30 kidnapped and murdered Iraqis who had their fingers and toes sawed off. Not a civil war? Everything this correspondent writes about screams 'civil war.'
These are not isolated incidents. They are readily verified by any number of blogs coming out of Iraq, one of which I will get to in a separate post shortly. So why can't this paper, or most American media for that matter, tell it like it is? Afraid of crossing swords with White House bullies? Afraid of being branded the evil liberal media?
I can't think of any other explanation.