The spectacle of last week’s embarrassing events ought to send shivers up the spine of anyone who derives comfort from our great power status. In case you missed it, the U.S. responded to a series of suicide attacks with a volley of deranged, incoherent strikes at empty buildings. In particular, the U.S. rocketed an abandoned dye plant at the edge of Baghdad, making sure that it was empty first, and not even destroying the structure but simply shooting it full of holes to render it dysfunctional. It had not been functioning anyway. The "new ‘get tough’ policy" (what was it before?), code-named Iron Hammer, was designed, allied commanders told reporters, to "send a message." Here is how the AP described that "message":Funny.
On Thursday, U.S. soldiers with loudspeakers drove through the neighborhood warning occupants to leave before the impending strike. Later, at least nine large-caliber shells were fired into the empty plant, heavily damaging the structure. The tactical goal was not immediately clear since this sprawling metropolis of 5 million people has other sites to launch attacks.
That last sentence, with the "sprawling metropolis" line, is about as sarcastic as wire service reporters get. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the AP has reigned as humanity’s most impenetrable fortress of unfunniness. So when even they are laughing at you, you know you have problems.
Matt Taibbi writes that America needs to get tough in Iraq: