The Bush Clown Show Continues
Matthew Yglesias Is Puzzled About What "Getting Serious" Means

Iraq Today

Matt Festa asks why I haven't written more about Iraq recently. The answer is that it has been too depressing, and I don't have the energy. There's no more talk about more schools being built or women being educated or more oil being pumped or more electricity being delivered, is there? Instead, I would have to talk about things like:

Iraq forces raid village in hostage crisis : BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Iraqi security forces raided a town in central Iraq on Sunday where Sunni militants were holding dozens of Shiite Muslims hostage and threatening to kill them unless all Shiites left the area, an Iraqi official said.... In Madain, where the Sunni-Shiite hostage situation was occurring, security forces that had surrounded the town began raiding sites Saturday in search of the hostages, said Qassim Dawoud, the minister in charge of national security.

Early Sunday, Iraqi forces freed about 15 Shiite families, said Haidar Khayon, an official at the Defense Ministry in Baghdad. He said five hostage-takers were captured in a skirmish with light gunfire, but no casualties were reported. It was not immediately clear how many hostages were still being held. Security forces continued to comb through the town of about 1,000 families, which is located 14 miles southeast of Baghdad, Khayon said. Other retaliatory kidnappings by Sunni and Shiite groups have occurred in the violent area, but the abductions appeared to be the first attempt by militants since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to forcibly evacuate a town along sectarian lines.

In Baghdad, lawmakers in Iraq's new parliament met Sunday morning and agreed that a five-member committee, including Dawoud, will look into the crisis and make recommendations. In a speech to the assembly, Dawoud said: 'We have to acknowledge the truth that there is an attempt to draw the country into a sectarian war.'

A new Cabinet had been expected to be announced in parliament Sunday. But Prime Minister-designate Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a Shiite leader, said Saturday he needed more time to discuss the allocation of portfolios, including how to bring in members of the Sunni minority, many of whom boycotted Iraq's Jan. 30 national elections or stayed home for fear of attacks at the polls...


Whiskey Bar: Apocalypse Now and Then:

From Baghdad, [Zoellick] traveled to the Army base on the outskirts of Falluja aboard a Black Hawk helicopter that flew fast, and so low that it almost clipped the trees.Before climbing into the Humvee here, a military briefer noted that a small-scale insurgency was still going on, and that there had been activity by snipers. Whatever happens, do not get out of the car, Mr. Zoellick's party was warned.

New York Times
Closer Look at Falluja Finds Rebuilding Is Slow
April 14, 2005

It has been two years...