Friday, Mar. 19, 2010

December 2007
The Price of Freedom

"Your makeup and your decision to forgo the headscarf will bring you death."

—Graffiti in Basra, Iraq where religious vigilantes have killed 40 women in the past year for violating Islamic teachings with the way they dress

At a ceremony at Basra airport on Dec. 9th, British representatives officially transfer control of the country's southern Basra province to Iraqi authorities. The UK's foreign secretary David Milliband, acknowledging the radical Shi'ite grip on the region, says at the ceremony: "We are not handing over a land of milk and honey." Basra becomes the 9th of Iraq's 18 provinces to come under Iraqi control. A few days earlier, Gen. David Petraeus tells reporters at Baghdad's Camp Victory that violence has decreased 60% in the last 6 months. Despite the progress, Petraeus acknowledges that 2007 has still been the deadliest year for U.S. troops since the war began, saying: "There's nobody in uniform who's doing victory dances in the end zone."