There was a big anti-American demonstration today in the Iraqi city of Najaf. Firebrand cleric Moqtada al Sadr brought his peeps to the street. According to the AP:
Tens of thousands of Shiites-a sea of women in black abayas and men waving Iraqi flags-rallied Monday to demand that U.S. forces leave their country. Some ripped apart American flags and tromped across a Stars and Stripes rug.The AP also reported that a U.S. military mouthpiece in Iraq, Col. Steven Boylan, an aide to Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq:
praised the peaceful demonstration and said Iraqis "could not have done this four years ago.Are you kidding me? Saddam would not have allowed anti-U.S. protests calling for the U.S. to get out of Iraq? I don't think so. That's one pig you can't put lipstick on.
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I suspect Saddam would have led a march calling for the U.S. to get out of Iraq. He wouldn't have been to keen on marching with the Shia, especially Moqtada al Sadr, but he would certainly agree with the message.
Which brings us to Moqtada al Sadr. Moqtada aka Mookie is proving to be a shrewd, tough political foe. And he has played a masterful hand so far. After battles with the U.S. in April of 2004 he has shied away from launching full scale attacks against US forces and has encouraged his militia to hold its fire and keep a low profile. Mookie's militia is not surrendering it is simply waiting. Al Sadr and his followers calculate correctly that they can rely on U.S. forces to inflict significant casualties on Sunni insurgents. Hell, let the Americans fight them. Mookie recognizes that the sand in the hour glass is running out and the United States will eventually leave Iraq and, in the process, effectively leave Mookie as one of the major powerbrokers.
It is truly sad that our senior military officials have started behaving like good old Baghdad Bob. Remember Bob? He proffered such memorable quotes as:
"There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!"In fact, if imitation is the most sincere type of flatery, then we clearly have a thing for Baghdad Bob. My God! General Caldwell and John McCain are emulating his crazy pronouncements. Even today McCain continues to insist that the media is steering the American people wrong when it comes to assessing progress in Iraq. Bob blamed Al-Jazeera and so does McCain and Bush and Cheney. Sound familiar? Insisting that things are improving and life returning to normal? If you call 20,000 people plus marching in the streets burning our flag and calling for U.S. troops to leave Iraq then yes, things are returning to normal. How much more normal can we endure?
"My feelings - as usual - we will slaughter them all"
"Our initial assessment is that they will all die"
"I blame Al-Jazeera - they are marketing for the Americans!"
"God will roast their stomachs in hell at the hands of Iraqis."
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