Basra offensive a key step towards reconciliation?

posted at 5:20 pm on April 5, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

The hand-wringing over the Basra operations launched by Nouri al-Maliki may have missed the bigger picture, according to an analysis by the AP. Maliki’s efforts to rein in rogue Shi’ite militias have been received with enthusiasm from Kurds and Sunnis in Iraq and have strengthened efforts at national reconciliation. Leaders of both groups have issued statements of support for the Iraqi Army operations to regain control of the nation’s second-largest city:

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s faltering crackdown on Shiite militants has won the backing of Sunni Arab and Kurdish parties that fear both the powerful sectarian militias and the effects of failure on Iraq’s fragile government.

The emergence of a common cause could help bridge Iraq’s political rifts.

The head of the Kurdish self-ruled region, Massoud Barzani, has offered Kurdish troops to help fight anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia.

More significantly, Sunni Arab Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi signed off on a statement by President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, and the Shiite vice president, Adil Abdul-Mahdi, expressing support for the crackdown in the oil-rich southern city of Basra.

Al-Hashemi is one of al-Maliki’s most bitter critics and the two have been locked in an acrimonious public quarrel for a year. Al-Hashemi has accused the prime minister of sectarian favoritism and al-Maliki has complained that the Sunni vice president is blocking key legislation.

On Thursday, however, al-Maliki paid al-Hashemi a rare visit. A statement by al-Hashemi’s office said the vice president told al-Maliki that “we can bite the bullet and put aside our political differences.”

The operation received public support from Sunni lawmakers who earlier pulled out of Maliki’s government. Their departure set off alarms in Washington, where American lawmakers openly criticized Maliki for allowing his government to become too sectarian. The Accordance Front has now broadly hinted that it may rejoin the government now that Maliki has finally “adopted a correct approach to the militia problem.”

The Kurds have even more practical goals in mind. Moqtada al-Sadr opposes the annexation of Kirkuk to Kurdish control in the north, while Sadr’s enemies in Basra have a strong alliance with the Kurds. Seeing Sadr reduced or eliminated as a political entity suits them, and they have even offered Kurdish troops for the Basra push to ensure success.

Far from fracturing the polity of Iraq, Maliki’s efforts against the militias has built confidence that his government wants to move away from sectarianism. The Kurds and Sunnis see encouraging signs in Maliki’s operations, as do Maliki’s other Shi’ite allies. In fact, national reconciliation will not be possible until the Baghdad government takes action against the militias and enforces central control over Iraqi security — which requires Maliki to do what he’s doing right now in Basra.

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Iraq seems to defy any tidy explaination. You can take what you want from it. That doesn`t sound like we can have an hoonest debate on it to me.

ThePrez on April 5, 2008 at 5:31 PM

It’s (somewhat) like Sadat being militarily defeated by Israel but because his army performed well, he was able to convince his people that peace could be made. IOW, the action wasn’t directed at Israel as much as it was directed at his own people.

Substitute Maliki for Sadat, the JAM for Israel and the Sunni and Kurds for the Egyptian people.

‘Course, then the Muslim Brotherhood (with Zawahiri a member) assassinated him.

Shaky historical analogy; but it’s the best I can on short notice.

SteveMG on April 5, 2008 at 5:45 PM

Where’s AP with the pessimist’s take? :)

Big Bad John on April 5, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Isn’t that surprising, to think the man in the middle of the maelstorm has a better idea of what he is doing than outside sepculators?

VolMagic on April 5, 2008 at 5:51 PM

We lost in Iraq and Afghanistan a few years back:

From the Iraqi constitution:

Article (1): The Republic of Iraq is an independent, sovereign nation, and the system of rule in it is a democratic, federal, representative (parliamentary) republic.

Article (2):

1st — Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation:

(a) No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam.

BowHuntingTexas on April 5, 2008 at 6:23 PM

Totally off-topic: Can we get a Final Four thread? I have no intentions of reconciling with UNC fans…EVAH!

I do still have hope for Iraq.

SouthernGent on April 5, 2008 at 6:24 PM

Maliki’s efforts to rein in rogue Shi’ite militias have been received with enthusiasm from Kurds and Sunnis in Iraq and have strengthened efforts at national reconciliation.

Ahem….

Damn I love getting the chance to say this …

I told you so

Texas Gal on April 5, 2008 at 6:36 PM

Juan Hernandez!

Uhh.. What was the question? >:{

Chakra Hammer on April 5, 2008 at 6:56 PM

My Goodness Gracious, this conflict wasn’t settled in the time span of a sit-com?

What to do? What to do?

Oh, look, there is something shiny in the corner……..

Everyone is so quick to jump on one band wagon or another…

This is serious buisness, people, it is going to take time to do it right………

Seven Percent Solution on April 5, 2008 at 6:56 PM

I hope this political reconciliation interpretation of al-Maliki’s Basra action is right.

However, I do remember that the first time the US was prepared to go clean out Falluja, al-Maliki lost his nerve at the start of the operation and forced the US to stop the attack.

This seems reminiscent of this earlier losing of nerve on al-Maliki’s part. That cost the Iraqi people dearly, as it did the US Marines who had to go into Falluja later to do the job. It gave Al Qaeda and the other Sunni Ba’athist terrorists another year to consolidate their grip on the city and prepare their defenses.

One of Macchiavelli’s principles in his classic book on effective governance, “The Prince”, was “Never do an enemy a small injury”.

In other words, if you’re going to attack an antagonist, do a proper job of it. In this case, if the Iraqi Government is going to finally deal with the Sadr Iranian proxy army, they should do a thorough job of it, like the US Marines did finally in Falluja. This should be a united fight, with those offered Kurdish troops and Sunnis fighting alongside the Iraqi National Army, with the US & Coalition providing air support, whatever logistics are needed, intel, and combat troops if necessary. And the campaign shouldn’t stop until the Iranian proxy army is destroyed.

DavePa on April 5, 2008 at 7:11 PM

Kills Sadr, that is all!

Captain America on April 5, 2008 at 7:19 PM

Yes, if you report on slivers of the war effort, as the MSM does, it does defy a tidy explanation–and this is how media and Dem politicians want it.

A good example of this, colored by political agenda: Andrew Sullivan on Russert just said Basra was hopelessly lost. He was almost gleeful. After all, Bush is against gay marriage. That justifies throwing millions of Iraqis under the bus, in Sullivan’s eyes.

PattyJ on April 5, 2008 at 7:35 PM

Sadr needs a Hellfire telegram with his name on it!

canopfor on April 5, 2008 at 7:40 PM

Ed:

…they have even offered Kurdish troops for the Basra push to ensure success.

And that should scare the tar out of Mookie: the Peshmerga is damn good and wouldn’t pull any punches.

I’d really like to see Maliki say “OK.” :)

irishspy on April 5, 2008 at 7:48 PM

But…but…but…

Plugs Biden told me over the wireless Saturday morning in his Party of Defeat weakly address to the masses that the Surge had once again failed, and also that the Sunnis, Kurds and Shi’ites were all at each other’s throats and that all was lost.

Who am I to believe?

Del Dolemonte on April 5, 2008 at 8:28 PM

Secular pragmatism, political reconciliation, never going to happen according to the Defeat-o-crats! Not to get to excited but when we have the Sunnis and Kurds standing with Maliki to support an vision that works for Iraq based on the only shared commonality; Sunni + Kurd + Shiite = Iraqi! Question…did the magnificent bastards leak this info to Pelosi and Biden which triggered their bowel moving statements prior to Petraus’s upcoming report?

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 8:57 PM

Shaky historical analogy; but it’s the best I can on short notice.
SteveMG on April 5, 2008 at 5:45 PM

Me and MG on the same page, very “shaky Jake”!

Actually I’ll go out on a limb… no way Jose… or is it Juan?
Olde soldier knows better!

J_Gocht on April 5, 2008 at 9:25 PM

And the US must not appear to be complicit in this for it to be accepted as authentic.

TBinSTL on April 5, 2008 at 9:33 PM

When does the good General Pet’ testify next week?

Will we have to continue…”the suspension of disbelief” ?
Olde soldier sends…!

Will there be colorful, very graphic, Power Point presentations?

I can hardly wait…!

J_Gocht on April 5, 2008 at 9:48 PM

Why wouldn’t Iraqi’s accept that which is in their best interests? they did when it came to AlQeada and will when it comes to militias. they just need time to see what that self interst is. By not destroying the towns(Basra) completely Maiki is allowing the people to be involved and the militias to change their attitudes before they are wiped out.

They must be decent capitalists as I am amazed at how quickly business picks up with just a glimmer of peacefulness. I have an idea that their gov’t will get it right before our own 17% approval congress critters ever will.

dhunter on April 5, 2008 at 10:00 PM

Will there be colorful, very graphic, Power Point presentations?

Given his track record, I’d certainly think he has more credibility on this issue than just about anyone else.

This (his record) included his pre-surge actions over there when he was recognizing the need for greater interaction between the US troops and the Iraqis.

So, who are you going to listen to? Or have you already decided to leave?

SteveMG on April 5, 2008 at 10:01 PM

Maliki’s efforts to rein in rogue Shi’ite militias have been received with enthusiasm from Kurds and Sunnis in Iraq and have strengthened efforts at national reconciliation.

Ahem….

Texas Gal on April 5, 2008 at 6:36 PM

So Kurds and Sunnis can cheer together if Shiites get stomped. That is so sweet.

Now if those two groups could only get along with each other!

April 5, 2008
MOSUL, IRAQ — Far from the volatile Shiite rivalries that have shaken Baghdad and Basra, this city has been devastated by an epic struggle for land and power between Sunni Arabs and Kurds that has shattered the social fabric and could very well shape the future boundaries of northern Iraq.

Kurds say that they have been driven out of the city by Sunni Arab militants and criminal gangs, who have set off car bombs and kidnapped and killed members of their ethnic group. In turn, Kurdish forces have been accused of carrying out assassinations in Mosul and torturing Arab detainees elsewhere in the campaign to annex territory to the semi autonomous Kurdistan region.

Ahem….

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 10:08 PM

and also that the Sunnis, Kurds and Shi’ites were all at each other’s throats and that all was lost.

Who am I to believe?

Del Dolemonte on April 5, 2008 at 8:28 PM

Whom to believe? I dunno.

All is lost? I dunno?

All at each others throats? Kinda looks like that way.

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 10:12 PM

SteveMG on April 5, 2008 at 10:01 PM

Me thinks its Hit and Run, just like the preferred tactic of the liberals heroic Iraqi freedom fighters!

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 10:14 PM

All is lost? I dunno?

Pessimism consumes hope leaving only defeat.

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 10:20 PM

This (his record) included his pre-surge actions over there when he was recognizing the need for greater interaction between the US troops and the Iraqis
SteveMG on April 5, 2008 at 10:01 PM

MG …his first command lost almost 167,000 AK-47’s. Totally unaccounted for? Who the hell holds those weapons today?

He may be a genius unconventional warrior; he may give great Power Point presentations. I’m waiting to determine if he can massage congress again.

Holy Jesus, I hope I’m wrong!

J_Gocht on April 5, 2008 at 10:20 PM

Holy Jesus, I hope I’m wrong!

You are.

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 10:22 PM

Pessimism consumes hope leaving only defeat.

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 10:20 PM

Wearing blinders leads only to running off cliff.

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 10:29 PM

This (his record) included his pre-surge actions over there when he was recognizing the need for greater interaction between the US troops and the Iraqis more baby sitting by US troops of Iraqis.
SteveMG on April 5, 2008 at 10:01 PM

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 10:33 PM

General Pet’s record is very spotty with respect to accountability.

Actually he has a very poor record of accountability prior to his promotion.

This proclivity for exceptionally poor keeping of records fits exactly the mold of the Cheney, Bush Administration.

Not?

J_Gocht on April 5, 2008 at 10:48 PM

General Pet’s record is very spotty with respect to accountability.

I have no idea re his record with “respect to accountability”. But then again, I have no idea what “respect to accountability” means. Three impressive sounding words in search of an idea.

We’re reaching a bit now, aren’t we?

The 110,000 missing AK-47s (you were off a bit) had to do with handing them out in the middle of a war. Gosh, stuff like that has never happened before in wars.

The standards that critics use in this operation have never been met by any other war in the modern history of warfare.

To be sure, there have been lots of screwups. As there has been in every war.

Course, everyone is an expert sitting at home behind a computer.

SteveMG on April 5, 2008 at 10:56 PM

The main culprit for the failure to have resolved the Iraq mess earlier is none other than President Bush, with a good deal of help, of course, from a large and very willing supporting cast, to include the ever-seditious State Department and several very senior members of the military (remember: ADM Fallon?) who would rather not have to bother with a long and messy shooting war.

It is ultimately President Bush who has protected Sadr for years. General Sanchez said YEARS ago that Sadr needed to be either killed or captured. If you didn’t notice, Sanchez was fired transferred shortly thereafter.

Sad to say, I don’t see anyone better (than President Bush) on the horizon.

The Iraqis need to pull this together, because the current crop of folks in Washington (of either party) cannot run anything well — period.

Somehow, I think the Iraqis just might do it.

Oh, and General Sanchez had it right concerning Sadr. Too bad President Bush and the higher military brass failed to listen to him.

sanantonian on April 5, 2008 at 10:58 PM

Gotta think you have a good point.
SteveMG

I’m still waiting for that Power Point presentation!

J_Gocht on April 5, 2008 at 11:00 PM

Wearing blinders leads only to running off cliff.

No blinders attached; Defeat can be defined as the death of – beliefs and values, systems and principles, methods and disciplines. Given random probability, the costs of sustained effort and commitment, the need for true belief in purpose along with the adherence to principles, victory is never total or final. As such, defeat is the most probably outcome for all parties involved in contests between core values. Hope offers the reality of compromise and the recognition that victory however ill defined is far more palatable that defeat.

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 11:01 PM

General Pet’s record is very spotty with respect to accountability.

Bullcrap….you do not attain rank and respect w/o accountablity, stop talking out your ass!

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 11:04 PM

Actually many good points…SteveMG

J_Gocht on April 5, 2008 at 11:04 PM

Bovine feces…!
Good night.
You dah babe…!

“dmann”

J_Gocht on April 5, 2008 at 11:06 PM

The standards that critics use in this operation have never been met by any other war in the modern history of warfare.

SteveMG on April 5, 2008 at 10:56 PM

How about the Iraq war? Does it meet this standard?

Maybe I’m missing something here. I mean, we’re going to have kind of a nation-building corps from America? Absolutely not. Our military is meant to fight and win war. That’s what it’s meant to do. And when it gets overextended, morale drops. It needs to be in our vital interest, the mission needs to be clear, and the exit strategy obvious.

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 11:07 PM

You dah mann…get it right dude!

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 11:10 PM

How about the Iraq war? Does it meet this standard?

Look, we’ve had to overthrow a government, establish a civil society, establish a new government, repair the infrastructure, put together a court system, a economy, a military, a police, civil services, and on and on all while being attacked by bloodthirsty fanatical zealots.

All of this done, mind you, while the world’s press was watching every step we had to take.

Damned right, this has never been done before in the history of warfare.

Have there been screwups? Absolutely. Lots of them. And critics can rightly point to them.

But it would be “nice” if those critics understood the enormity of the enterprise being undertaken.

SteveMG on April 5, 2008 at 11:12 PM

Suppose the US held onto Basra for a hundred years, what would happen were it to be decolonised in 2108? Whatever it is it would be the exact same thing that would happen if US troops pulled out tomorrow. Islam is what it is and 400 years of British occupation did not turn Pakistan into an ideal state.

aengus on April 5, 2008 at 11:24 PM

the mission needs to be clear

This is the problem, how does one sell the reality that eventually our civilization will be under assault?

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 11:27 PM

aengus on April 5, 2008 at 11:24 PM

Look at the subject again without agenda, reconciliation between Iraqi factions, by Iraqis w/o American direction. The purpose of the surge, Maliki may have finally figured it out.

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 11:35 PM

Hope offers the reality of compromise and the recognition that victory however ill defined is far more palatable that defeat.

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 11:01 PM

OK, let’s go through a check list, even if not on power point.

WMD – check
Odai/Qusay – check
Saddam Hussein – check
Zarqawi – check
Elections – check
Constitution – not based on our values, but on theirs, shariah. – so another check

What’s our mission now?

Resolving whether Mohammed’s rightful successor was Umar or Ali? Nope.

So let’s just declare victory and bring the troops home to a nice victory parade.

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 11:37 PM

Maliki may have finally figured it out.

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 11:35 PM

What that muslim has figured out is how to keep on milking the United States of America.

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 11:39 PM

This is the problem, how does one sell the reality that eventually our civilization will be under assault?

dmann on April 5, 2008 at 11:27 PM

If we don’t fight them there (Iraq, the center of the Universe), they will follow us over here?

Most folks aren’t buyin’ that Iraqi centric viewpoint.

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 11:42 PM

So Kurds and Sunnis can cheer together if Shiites get stomped. That is so sweet.

Now if those two groups could only get along with each other!

[snip]April 5, 2008
Ahem….

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 10:08 PM

What I said on the earlier thread when this offensive started was that Maliki would gain some street cred from the Sunnis by going after Sadr’s goons… and according to this report… he did.

Ahem…

Texas Gal on April 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM

If we don’t fight them there (Iraq, the center of the Universe), they will follow us over here?

Most folks aren’t buyin’ that Iraqi centric viewpoint.

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 11:42 PM

Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader Ayman al- Zawahiri on Iraq:

“First: I expect the Jihadi influence to spread after the Americans’ exit from Iraq, and to move towards Jerusalem (with Allah’s permission). …

There is no doubt that the American collapse has begun, and the myth of unipolarity has ended. And the raids on New York and Washington were identifying marks of this collapse, but I point out that the collapse of empires doesn’t come in a single moment, but rather, may take decades, and the collapse of the Soviet Union is the nearest example of that. And the withdrawal of America from Afghanistan and Iraq will be in the interest of the Muslims with Allah’s permission, and the Jihadi vanguard has announced that its objective on which it will not compromise – at this stage – is the withdrawal of all unbelieving forces from the lands of the Muslims…

I expect – by the grace of Allah – the spreading of the Jihadi tide and an increase in its influence corresponding to the receding of the influence of the Crusaders, Jews and their agents in the places I mentioned.”

There is no doubt in my mind that al-Qaeda would just love us to take your advice and run away from Iraq

bnelson44 on April 6, 2008 at 12:02 AM

So let’s just declare victory and bring the troops home to a nice victory parade

You played in the muck of Nam, I’m surprised you see no value in holding onto the Iranians belt. Iraq offered us that grasp via Saddams stupidity….thank you very much!

dmann on April 6, 2008 at 12:08 AM

Most folks aren’t buyin’ that Iraqi centric viewpoint.

Stupid is as stupid does. Are you willing to wait and see?

dmann on April 6, 2008 at 12:10 AM

What that muslim has figured out is how to keep on milking the United States of America.

Maybe, but surely better than figuring out he should suck up to the Islamists and declare a jihad on our asses!

dmann on April 6, 2008 at 12:14 AM

Iraq was and is all about Iran….think about it!

dmann on April 6, 2008 at 12:16 AM

BowHuntingTexas, Iraq has the right to govern itself as it chooses. We Americans are blinded by our stupid views of separation of church and state and we try to inflict the same view in Iraq. To them, God is important enough to keep in daily life, political life, church life, community life… and it is the apostates and/or uneducated Muslims who are causing the problems as they stray from their religion.

If you ever read Zawahiri or bin Laden’s messages, they completely misinterpret the Koran for their own purposes. Their interpretation is literal and absolute rather than contextual and spiritual.

My husband served in Iraq twice and has met many, many, many good Muslims who are very devout and would put many Christians to shame.

There is nothing wrong with Iraq incorporating Islamic principles into its constitution as long as tolerance for all religions and all people is included, and that IS also included in the constitution. The U.S. Constitution was composed overwhelmingly by Christians and that’s clear by the wording.

There is a serious, concerted effort as we’ve seen through MIchael Yon’s reporting, al-Maliki’s words and efforts, along with clerics in Iraq, and they are the most influencial.

Amy Proctor on April 6, 2008 at 12:25 AM

If you ever read Zawahiri or bin Laden’s messages, they completely misinterpret the Koran for their own purposes. Their interpretation is literal and absolute rather than contextual and spiritual.

Wrong.

Forget about Bin Laden and Zawahiri for a moment and read up on Mohammed, what he did, what he had to say. Its White House officials and HA commenters who are misinterpreting the Koran for their own purposes.

aengus on April 6, 2008 at 12:39 AM

Amy Proctor

There is nothing wrong with Iraq incorporating Islamic principles into its constitution as long as tolerance for all religions and all people is included

That’s the best self-refuting statement I’ve seen since Blair’s “standard-bearers of tolerance in the early middle ages.”

Beagle on April 6, 2008 at 1:02 AM

What I said on the earlier thread when this offensive started was that Maliki would gain some street cred from the Sunnis by going after Sadr’s goons… and according to this report… he did.

Ahem…

Texas Gal on April 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM

And he will gain some “street cred” from Shiites if he goes after Sunnis, but then will lose that “street cred” that he got from Sunnis.

And so it goes.

Round and round – where she stops nobody knows.

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 1:09 AM

Al-Qaeda’s deputy leader Ayman al- Zawahiri on Iraq:

bnelson44 on April 6, 2008 at 12:02 AM

So are you a follower of Ayman al- Zawahiri now? Hanging on his every word?

Do you also believe him when he says, as you quote, “There is no doubt that the American collapse has begun.” ?

BTW, that “run away” epithet is getting rather old.

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 1:18 AM

Maybe, but surely better than figuring out he should suck up to the Islamists and declare a jihad on our asses!

dmann on April 6, 2008 at 12:14 AM

That would be the last thing he ever did. I think he probably knows that.

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 1:20 AM

You played in the muck of Nam, I’m surprised you see no value in holding onto the Iranians belt. Iraq offered us that grasp via Saddams stupidity….thank you very much!

dmann on April 6, 2008 at 12:08 AM

I think that we have got the Iranians right where they want us alright.

Saddam’s revenge?

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 1:25 AM

Iraq was and is all about Iran….think about it!

dmann on April 6, 2008 at 12:16 AM

I have heard that before.

Makes no more sense with age and repetition.

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 1:27 AM

God is important enough to keep in daily life, political life, church life, community life…

… “honor killings”, rape victim stoning, gay hanging … … … … …

Their interpretation is literal and absolute rather than contextual and spiritual.

In other words, the same as Muhammad’s, Islam’s “Perfect man”.

There is nothing wrong with Iraq incorporating Islamic principles into its constitution as long as tolerance for all religions and all people is included.

Amy Proctor on April 6, 2008 at 12:25 AM

In other words Islam is fine as long as it isn’t Islam as Nazism would have been fine if it wasn’t Nazism.

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 1:35 AM

There is nothing wrong with Iraq incorporating Islamic principles into its constitution as long as tolerance for all religions and all people is included.

Amy Proctor on April 6, 2008 at 12:25 AM

Yes there is. Same in Afghanistan. And it’s proof that the U.S. didn’t occupy those countries. Otherwise their constitutions wouldn’t have incorporated such stick and stone age ‘principles’.

MB4, have another beer and take it a bit easier. We get your passion, even if we don’t agree fully on every point.

Entelechy on April 6, 2008 at 1:49 AM

If we don’t fight them there (Iraq, the center of the Universe), they will follow us over here?

Most folks aren’t buyin’ that Iraqi centric viewpoint.

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 11:42 PM

Not even a nice try, college kid.

Do you “support our troops”?

No.

Del Dolemonte on April 6, 2008 at 2:13 AM

The U.S. Constitution was composed overwhelmingly by Christians and that’s clear by the wording.

Amy Proctor on April 6, 2008 at 12:25 AM

Don’t get me started on that or I will have to quote Adams, Madison and Jefferson.

MB4, have another beer and take it a bit easier. We get your passion, even if we don’t agree fully on every point.

Entelechy on April 6, 2008 at 1:49 AM

I haven’t had any beer … … yet.

And I am not a passionate person, as anyone who knows me in real life can tell you.

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 2:17 AM

WMD – check
Odai/Qusay – check
Saddam Hussein – check
Zarqawi – check
Elections – check
Constitution – not based on our values, but on theirs, shariah. – so another check

What’s our mission now?

Resolving whether Mohammed’s rightful successor was Umar or Ali? Nope.

So let’s just declare victory and bring the troops home to a nice victory parade.

MB4 on April 5, 2008 at 11:37 PM

What’s our mission in the countries we defeated in WW 2, kid?

Checkmate.

Del Dolemonte on April 6, 2008 at 2:20 AM

Not even a nice try, college kid.

Do you “support our troops”?

No.

Del Dolemonte on April 6, 2008 at 2:13 AM

Your thinking is uncoordinated.

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 2:21 AM

What’s our mission in the countries we defeated in WW 2, kid?

Checkmate.

Del Dolemonte on April 6, 2008 at 2:20 AM

Let me give you a clue as you appear to be without any.

It was not to have constitutions enshrining Islamic law.

You have a very strange concept of “Checkmate”. Maybe you should try checkers first.

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 2:25 AM

And I am not your kid, Del Dolemonte. What are you, some kind of dirty old man?

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 2:34 AM

We Americans are blinded by our stupid views of separation of church and state and we try to inflict the same view in Iraq.

Amy, separation of church and state is, in it’s intent a reflection of Jefferson’s belief in freedom of conscience. Yes, it’s clumsily batted around these days, and yes, it’s meaning gets distorted. The concern re: Sharia incorporated into their laws (for which we have spent blood and treasure) is that freedom of conscience (read non-Muslims) will be stifled. If we fail in that regard, then we fail in creating a stable democracy.

Spirit of 1776 on April 6, 2008 at 2:59 AM

Imagine there’s no Islam
It’s hard but you can try
No suicide hijackers coming down at us
Above us only sky
Imagine all those people
Still alive today…

Imagine there’s no Islamic countries
It’s hard but you can try
No Mohammad for them to kill or die for
And no Imams too
Imagine all the Christians, Jews and Infidels
Living life without them…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday all dhimmis will join us
And the non-Islamic world will be as one

Imagine no Burkhas
I wonder if you can
No need for Medina or Meca
A brotherhood of non-Islamic woman and man
Imagine all the people
Living without Shariha…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday all dhimmis will join us
And the non-Islamic world will be as one

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 3:13 AM

I’ll add one more thought to the above: From my perspective the unacknowledged reality is that all governments exist by the consent of the governed. All of them. When our President speaks of the burning desire for all men to be free (paraphrased), it ignores the reality of the fact that many populaces of various nations have consented to abdicate individual religious liberty, or freedom of conscience for communal theocratic power.

If you ever read Zawahiri or bin Laden’s messages, they completely misinterpret the Koran for their own purposes. Their interpretation is literal and absolute rather than contextual and spiritual. [...]
There is nothing wrong with Iraq incorporating Islamic principles into its constitution as long as tolerance for all religions and all people is included, and that IS also included in the constitution.

Um, well that’s kind of a problem isn’t it? You are talking about either cherry-picking Islamic principles or reeducating a large number of Koran adherents. With your views. Presumably as an outsider. They seem to have embrace Mr. Spencer. Good luck.

Spirit of 1776 on April 6, 2008 at 3:16 AM

I do hope this is the beginning of the end for Sadr and the return of the rule of law in Iraq.

With that said here is the figthing in Sadr City Video.

Special Operations Firefight in Iraq

—————————
Tom W comments on the video

These operators were heavily engaged from the moment they entered Sadr City. At :51 to :54 you can see dozens of muzzle flashes on the roofs of the buildings across from the operators. At 1:10 a shot barely misses the cameraman.

The cameraman said there were no civilian casualties. The Madhis came out on the roofs and fired small arms and RPGs, two of which you see exploding at the end of the vid. Only two Iraqi SOF operators were slightly WIA. The miniguns were used to sweep the rooftops. From 1:45 to 2:05, during that hellacious fusillade, you hear the minigun shoot about four one-second bursts.

There was an AC-130 providing air cover; the Madhis fired at it, producing the line of tracers you see arcing into the sky.

When the convoy left the city, it ran a gauntlet of small-arms fire and RPGs, which is why the operators did the drive-by shooting. Near the end you hear a Madhi shout “Allahu akbar!” He was probably shot a second later.

These were mostly Iraqis, with American advisers. Gone are the days when Iraqis turn tail and run when they’re fired on. Go back and check out :51 to :54 and see just how many muzzle flashes are there in the night, on top of the buildings.

These are very brave men.

—————

jdun on April 6, 2008 at 3:34 AM

Alright. One more point: The Constitution is written in the language of Christianity in so far as it is made of the model of the Massachusetts Constitution written by Adams. Adam’s political philosophy was molded by his Calvinistic upbringing and his study of history of governments. Which is to say: the Constitution is based on the idea that government must be restricted by itself to limit it’s ability to oppress, while yet retaining the ability to draw out nobility. Hence our brilliant system of checks and balances. So yes, that has a root in the prevalent doctrines of the time.

I make this point to illustrate that there is a fundamental difference between a constitution that is rooted in Islamic principles, deity-centric view, and our Constitution, which is an individual-centric view – a view that man tends to aggregate power whenever possible and thus needs checks/balances. They both have a root in a perspective and accompanying relationship between deity and man, but these are just absolutely fundamentally different.

Spirit of 1776 on April 6, 2008 at 3:35 AM

Amy Proctor on April 6, 2008 at 12:25 AM

My main point is that they’ve put in their constitution a specific religion as the basis of all laws and that religion is at odds with a Democratic Republic. Sharia does not equal freedom.

Had we pulled a MacArthur and written their constitution for them (and Afghanistan’s) – as you may know MacArthur virtually wrote Japan’s constitution after WWII – with no reference to the most violent religion on Earth as their basis of law we would have won both in the short term, which we are doing, and in the long term which, I believe, because of their constitution, we have lost.

Know why Indians, sorry, Native Americans get to sell cigarettes tax free and set up all these casinos? It’s because of the wording in our own Constitution – do a search on Indian Nations or Indian Tribes in the Constitution. You know how easy it is to change the Constitution? Not very.

BowHuntingTexas on April 6, 2008 at 3:38 AM

hi

dave742 on April 6, 2008 at 3:38 AM

I do hope this is the beginning of the end for Sadr and the return of the rule of law in Iraq.

jdun on April 6, 2008 at 3:34 AM

The return of the rule of law in Iraq?

Have they ever had that in Iraq?

To paraphrase Mark Twain, “Reports of Sadr’s end are premature”.

Also to paraphrase Mark Twain, “If Sadr should die and has a funeral, I will not be able to attend, but I will be sure to send a nice card saying that I approve.”

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 3:40 AM

Our Constitution (fortunately for us and our freedoms) was guided by the principles and philosopy of the Enlightenment.

onlineanalyst on April 6, 2008 at 8:31 AM

I, for one, have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of
MB4′s comments here. Too funny. What a night you people had.

bridgetown on April 6, 2008 at 9:40 AM

“mB4,
Let me give you a clue as you appear to be without any.

It was not to have constitutions enshrining Islamic law.

You have a very strange concept of “Checkmate”. Maybe you should try checkers first.”

NO,mB4,maybe you should try reality first.This is not a movie,getting people who have hated and killed each other
for thousands of years will not happen overnight.
But we have accomplished a lot it you can take your “blinders”off and see.

THE SURGE IS WORKING:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/03/20080319-2.html

Since all the surge forces began operating in mid-2007:
Overall violence in Iraq is significantly down.
Civilian deaths are down.
Sectarian killings are down.
Attacks on American forces are down.
Coalition forces have captured or killed thousands of extremists in Iraq, including hundreds of key al Qaeda leaders and operatives.
We have begun bringing some of our troops home as a “return on success.”
More than 90,000 concerned local citizens are now helping to protect their communities from terrorists, insurgents, and extremists. The “Awakening” movement began in Anbar in 2006, when Sunni tribal leaders grew tired of al Qaeda’s brutality and started a popular uprising. As this effort succeeded, it inspired other Iraqis to take up the fight.

But the war is lost,right Mb4.

Iraq is a muslim nation,what kind of constitution do you
think they are supposed to have.
This is why the “imperialist” talk is so much crap.We are
helping Iraq set up it’s own form of government,not imposing
our religions or trying to turn it into the 51′st state.

mb4,
The return of the rule of law in Iraq?

Have they ever had that in Iraq?

No,
They had a brutal genocidal dictator named Saddam who used
weapons of mass destruction to kill hundreds of thousands of
his own people and in the wars he started.

Now they have voted in a representative government and are fighting side by side with us to defeat al-qaeda and rouge
militia’s.

It’s called the War on Terror.

Del Dolmonte asked a relevant question:

What’s our mission in the countries we defeated in WW 2, kid?

Germany,Japan,Italy have not adopted a constitution like
ours nor did we force our ways on them,they seem to be doing
pretty good.
If you don’t think Iraq should still be a muslim country or adhere to there heritage,what would you impose on them
that would not paint the US as “imperialist”.

You are big on criticism,but real short on solutions except
surrender.

The surge has been a major success in bringing down violence and bringing on political reconciliation,there will
be no cut and run whether you like it or not.

Mb4 may not think the liberation of Iraq is important,but our enemies do:

COMPARE AND CONTRAST
April 4, 2008

http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2008/04/020215.php

Ayman al-Zawahiri, from his online chat a few days ago:

As-Sahab: And what is the most important field in which this Mujahid vanguard is wrestling with the enemies of Islam?

Zawahiri: Iraq is the most important of these fields.

Nancy Pelosi, from her press conference yesterday:
As we’ve said before and I’ll end by saying: How is this war in Iraq helping us fight the war on terrorism, the real war on terrorism, Afghanistan?

It’s called the War on Terror Mb4,and Iraq is the central
battleground.

Baxter Greene on April 6, 2008 at 9:44 AM

The Iraqis seem to understand the consequences:

Iraqi FM against quick US troop pullout

By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press WriterTue Mar 18, 4:10 PM ET
Iraq’s foreign minister said Tuesday the risks of civil war have been averted after five years of “tears and blood.” But he warned an abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops would wipe away the security gains and other achievements and have disastrous consequences.
With the war entering its sixth year, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari acknowledged mistakes by all sides. But he insisted that Iraqis have made remarkable progress despite the violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis and nearly 4,000 U.S. troops.”

Here is some signs of success:

Al Qaeda Recruiter Blues

http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htatrit/articles/20080323.aspx
March 23, 2008: The sharp drop in suicide bombings in Iraq is partly due to the decline in foreign al Qaeda volunteers coming into Iraq.

No one there wants to admit that al Qaeda has been beaten in Iraq, but the more first-hand accounts that show up, the more convincing the stories are. The truth is this. The al Qaeda volunteers have long been enticed by the prospect of killing American soldiers. That rarely happens, and survivor accounts always make that point, and the fact that al Qaeda is mostly killing Iraqis. Last year, most of the Sunni Arabs turned on al Qaeda, and this has been most difficult for the al Qaeda recruiters to deal with.

But how can this be, the war is lost right?

More news of Freedom:

March 24, 2008
The Liberation of Karmah, Part I

http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2008/03/the-liberation.php

KARMAH, IRAQ – Just beyond the outskirts of Fallujah lies the terror-wracked city of Karmah. While you may not have heard of this small city of 35,000 people, American soldiers and Marines who served in Anbar Province know it as a terrifying place of oppression, death, and destruction. “It was much worse than Fallujah” said more than a dozen Marines who were themselves based in Fallujah.
“Karmah was so important to the insurgency because we’ve got Baghdad right there,” Lieutenant Andrew Macak told me. “This is part of the periphery of Baghdad. At the same time, it is part of the periphery of Fallujah.”

Yea,no progress at all.

Petraeus is going to be breaking a lot of defeatist hearts
this month.

Baxter Greene on April 6, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Funny thing is, that actually being on the ground here – sure looks like JAM had a lot of folks made dead, the rest run away or now hiding. But they are somehow “victorious”. I guess the IA, IPS and the rest that are actually in control of Basrah “lost”.

Well, back to minding the “defeat”…

major john on April 6, 2008 at 10:01 AM

The situtation in Iraq must be improving based on the fact that Biden says it is not.

JonRoss on April 6, 2008 at 11:47 AM

Baxter Greene on April 6, 2008 at 9:56 AM

Not only that, but the Iranians may have walked into a trap if they allowed Qods forces to participate in the fighting. That’ll make a really nice PowerPoint presentation. Tick, tick, tick.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article3690010.ece

a capella on April 6, 2008 at 12:05 PM

Is this going to be a problem?

DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources sum up how Tehran and Damascus read these events and the picture they have built up of Washington’s intentions as combined with Israel’s military steps:
1. US is preparing to attack the Iranian military installations linked to subversion in Iraq. The operation will widen out into strikes on the Islamic Republic’s suspect nuclear sites.
2. Israel will use the chance for a concurrent attack on Syria.
3. Israel will attack Hizballah’s strongholds in Lebanon.
4. A broad, coordinated US-Israeli offensive will be mounted against Iran, Syria and Hizballah.
Iran and Syria view Israel’s four-day home defense exercise against missile attack, conventional or non-conventional, beginning Sunday, as setting the stage for these attacks… http://debka.com/headline.php?hid=5168

Is President Bush planning an October Surprise? What will General Petraeus say this week about Iran?

J_Gocht on April 6, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Well, if Tehran, Damascus and Debka say so, then….AAAAAhahahahahaha!!!!!

Pablo on April 6, 2008 at 3:14 PM

Well, look on the bright side: if he’s going to be hanging around the Iraqi chief of state all the time for “reconciliation”, that means we’ll always be able to keep an eye on him.

Specifically an eye looking through a scope, down a long barrel, 2 miles away.

Virus-X on April 6, 2008 at 3:36 PM

Germany,Japan,Italy have not adopted a constitution like ours nor did we force our ways on them

Baxter Greene on April 6, 2008 at 9:44 AM

That has got to be about the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard and I have hear a lot of ridiculous things.

Maybe you never heard about WWII.

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 5:00 PM

Petraeus is going to be breaking a lot of defeatist hearts this month.

Baxter Greene on April 6, 2008 at 9:56 AM

You sound so much like Al Gore.

He has got his “deniers” and you’ve got your “defeatists”.

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 5:05 PM

It’s called the War on Terror Mb4,and Iraq is the central battleground.

Baxter Greene on April 6, 2008 at 9:44 AM

Baxter’s Iraqi-centric belief system:

1) All roads start in Iraq.
2) All roads end in Iraq.
3) The Sun revolves around Iraq.
4) The moon revolves around Iraq.
5) The stars revolve around Iraq.
6) If the United States does not keep sufficient troop mass in Iraq, the orbital stability of the Earth will become unbalanced and all Muslim terrorists will slide into America.

Baxter’s career plans, which include but are not limited to, for Iraq after Bush’s mission has been accomplished, which of course is just around the next corner now.

1) Baxter wants to open up a number of Ruth Chris Steakhouse
franchises in Iraq.
2) Baxter wants to sell “You are a Great Iraqi” buttons to
Iraqis.
3) Baxter wants to start a ministry in Iraq and preach the gospel.
4) Baxter wants to join hands with Shiites and Sunnis and sing “We are the World” in Iraq.

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 5:11 PM

Germany,Japan,Italy have not adopted a constitution like ours nor did we force our ways on them

Baxter Greene on April 6, 2008 at 9:44 AM

It isn’t just that the total defeat and utter devastation of Japan nullifies the comparison with Iraq (which it does). There is something else. There is the completely different U.S. approach to Japan’s animating, warlike state religion of Shintoism, which, not incidentally, bears striking similarities to the animating, warlike state religion of Islam.

In 1945, our government was of one mind regarding state Shintoism. Lewis quotes Secretary of State James F. Byrnes, who wrote: “Shintoism, insofar as it is a religion of individual Japanese, is not to be interfered with. Shintoism, however, insofar as it is directed by the Japanese government, and as a measure enforced from above by the government, is to be done away with. … There will be no place for Shintoism in the schools. Shintoism as a state religion — National Shinto, that is — will go. … Our policy on this goes beyond Shinto. … The dissemination of Japanese militaristic and ultra-nationalistic ideology in any form will be completely suppressed.

And it was, with fabulous results.

Obviously, there have been no analogous U.S. efforts to “de-jihadize” Islamic public culture even as the United States has spent lives, limbs, money and years trying, essentially, to stop the jihad in the Islamic Middle East — not even, to take a manageable example, in the U.S.-funded Palestinian Authority, where state-run media continue to incite Islamically motivated violence against Jews and Americans. And then there are all those U.S.-fostered constitutions that enshrine Sharia law — just the sort of ideological concession our forebears would never have made.

Bottom line? History shows that the conditions that drove the model transformation of Japan do not exist today with regard to the Islamic Middle East.
- Diana West (Jewish World Review Feb. 15, 2008)

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 5:26 PM

j_Gocht,

October is too late lets hope for an April or may suprise.

dhunter on April 6, 2008 at 6:53 PM

MB4 on April 6, 2008 at 5:26 PM

Ummmmmmmm………… so you support our efforts in Iraq, right?

I finally get it, Entelechy…………

Seven Percent Solution on April 6, 2008 at 7:51 PM

Sigh.

Remember von Clausewitz? “War is politics continued by other means.” If an incomplete, poorly resisted attack on the Mahdhi army is enough to get the necessary parties on board with the government, it is a successful political and military action.

Regarding that clause in the Iraqi constitution: it would be interesting to have a better idea of what the phrase “undisputed rules of Islam” means in the Iraqi dialect(s) of Arabic. When you look at the bizarre interpretations that SCOTUS has put on the US Constitution, you can imagine (if you want) that if Iraq wants to ignore this clause, they will find a way to do it. Still, at a minimum, it seems that Islam cannot be outlawed.

njcommuter on April 7, 2008 at 11:28 PM

Maliki may know what he’s doing after all.

Doubtful.

labrat on April 8, 2008 at 6:53 AM