In a slick move, Shiite cleric M. al Sadr ordered his forces off the streets in the Southern provinces of Iraq. Though the Jaysh e Madhi is splintered, and there may be factions that do not obey the powerful cleric, al Jazeera is reporting that he has nonetheless ordered his troops to stand down.
Now this might seem a victory for al maliki, but I think you will agree that Maliki has been undercut here. Who did the people listen to? Maliki? Hell no, they listened to Sadr. Who has the people? Sadr.
We have been "faced," and this clever move by Sadr leaves us more isolated and alien than ever. Let's jump.
Wingnut loons will scream that Sadr simply slinked away, with his tail tucked between his legs when he heard the US and British forces were coming to aid Maliki. This is deceptive, and not even half correct.
Sadr has shown Maliki to be the puppet of the hated occupier. The same occupier that however, inadvertantly, kills women and children and tortures even the innocent.
"Peace," such as it is there will return, things will go back to something closer to normal, but who brought the peace? Was it Maliki and his Iranian backed militia and US puppet government, and with the threat of massive assaults from far superior firepower of the occupiers? No, it was from the Iraqi Mullah-crat patriot M. al Sadr. He spoke, people listened.
Did Sadr waver in the face of Maliki's threats, militia, and the Iraqi forces? No, it was Maliki who wavered with his 10 day extension when Sadr's people held firm. Who did people surrender their arms to? Not Maliki's people, it was the other way around, Maliki's people surrendered to Sadr's people.
We saw this "face" move unfold so many times in Vietnam I was left physically ill by it. In spite of the boozy, sexed out, haze many of us worked under and being young, single, carefree, and happily irresponsible, while at the same time doing our damndest for Uncle Sam's Air Force and our mission, we could not help but notice how a wanted village papa-san accused of helping Charles could simply tell people to stop and they would stop. He accomplished more in one moment than the Marines we supported could accomplish in a week of fighting with hundreds of casualties!
Sadr is doing this in Iraq, now.
Folks, we are in the fourth quarter of the game now. We are not only losing, but have lost the peace completely. Oh, we will kill more, destroy more, and posture more, have air supremacy, naval supremacy, artillery supremacy, arms supremacy, and on and on. We will perhaps control the streets while we are physically there but our mission in Iraq has gone the wrong way, and as a Vietnam veteran it sends a cold shiver down my back to think that this insane occupation has come to this.
Maliki is stuck with us [as were Diem, Thieu, and Ky]. Sadr has the people. Maliki is backed by Badr which has Iranian ties, Sadr reaches out to Arabs in an Arab land. Jesus Christ what a horrible deja vu.
Wingers, Bushies, "in the tank" McCain media jerks, and other war whoopers will guffaw I am sure and point to innumerable google stops on how Operation Phoenix rendered the village anti-government het men powerless, but it was a lie for US consumption. In the end we were out manuevered and out faced by blood ties and family ties, and long time village traditions.
We ended up supporting unpopular and corrupt local figures, or inept and incompetent puppets. We are doing it again.
As I read diaries from John Soltz, and Brandon Friedman, and lesser known veterans of the current military adventure I am getting that sinking feeling. As I read Professor Cole, and ICH, and al Jazeera, I see it happening again to a new generation, while the old men say, "So?"
The player in Iraq now is Sadr. He has to have a Sunni counterpart. Pray they do not reconcile until after our troops are out of there.
Senator and future President [I hope] Obama, end this idiotic occupation!