Saturday, August 21, 2004

Not Just Najaf, Mr. Reeves...

Just why are we in Iraq?

From Richard Reeves today:

...So what are we doing in Najaf? Is killing the followers of a nasty Shiite preacher, killing them at the gates of the most holy shrine of Shiite Muslims all over the world, vital to the national interests of the United States and its allies?

And why is it that we are killing Shiites, the wretched of the Earth in the secular Sunni Muslim country of Saddam Hussein? That is the same Saddam who murdered the father of the preacher five years ago. Was that our clear intent and realistic objective in invading Iraq?

Would the American people and Congress - and our allies - have supported a $200 billion war to get preacher Muqtada al-Sadr?

And was invasion our last resort? Even the war-maker himself, President George W. Bush, never claimed that. In the beginning, he said, it was the last resort because the United Nations had not found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. When there were no such weapons, he said Saddam was a very bad guy. That was true - and it was true 20 years ago when we were supplying him with weapons to use against Iran. But was he a great enough threat to go to war ourselves? Was killing Iraqis after the war our last resort?

'I know what I'm doing when it comes to winning this war,' said Bush last Wednesday on the campaign trail in Albuquerque. That's good to hear. What exactly are you doing in Najaf? Killing bad guys, I guess. If that is the criteria for putting the Marines around the shrine of the Imam Ali, then we will be at war forever, everywhere.
Perpetual war, indeed.

Oh, and here's a link to an insider's view of what's really going on in Najaf - it's not the "tea and crumpets" soiree that Wolf Blitzer would have you believe. Not surprisingly, this excerpt comes from the UK Guardian - the whole article is a recommended read to help you sift through the propaganda coming from the Ministry of Truth:

What happens in Najaf next will determine Iraq's future, for better or worse. That may in part explain the confusion which surrounds events. The claims of victory, of a Sadr cave-in, appear to be wishful thinking, more than reality.

So, too, is the attempt to portray the battle for the Shias' holiest city as one in which the US military is merely assisting government forces.

At the moment, the Americans are doing all the fighting. The Iraqi police play merely a cameo role: a massive convoy rode towards the shrine yesterday, sirens blazing, celebrating a victory that never happened. Two minutes later it turned back.