Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Iraq's P.M. Tells Americans To Leave Sadr City

A few days ago, Iraq's prime minister told the Bush administration that he was "not America's man in Iraq." Now, today, he told the U.S. military to lift the blockade of Sadr City that American commanders put in place almost a week ago. U.S. forces had cordoned off Sadr City for the sole purpose of looking for an American soldier who had gone missing after leaving the Green Zone to be with his secret Iraqi wife.

One would think those on the right who were so thrilled about purple-fingered Iraqis marching to the polls to vote would see this as support for their argument that democracy has taken hold in Iraq. After all, Maliki was responding to the wishes of his Shiite constituents, who expressed their opposition to the blockade in classic democratic fashion -- by organizing a strike:

Anger at traffic jams and lost business had been growing inside Sadr City. On Tuesday militants loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr ordered a general strike, shutting down shops, offices and schools.

"Your patience and unity brought victory," rejoiced a statement from Sadr's office to the people of Sadr City after the checkpoints started coming down.

The Shiite prime minister, who owes his job to the votes of pro-Sadr lawmakers, responded to the protest by ordering the US blockade lifted.

And when the U.S. troops relinquished control of the checkpoints and left, the local Iraqi population erupted with joy:

U.S. forces, who had set up the checkpoints in Baghdad last week as part of an unsuccessful search for the soldier, drove away in Humvees and armored personnel carriers at the 5 p.m. deadline set by al-Maliki. Iraqi troops, who had manned the checkpoints with the Americans, loaded coils of razor wire and red traffic cones onto pickup trucks.

Their departure set off celebrations among civilians and armed men in Sadr City, the sprawling Shiite district controlled by the Mahdi Army militia loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Small groups of men and children danced in circles chanting slogans praising and declaring victory for al-Sadr, whose political support is crucial to the prime minister's governing coalition.

Sure, American egos may be a bit bruised at that, but surely hurt pride is a small price to pay for knowing that the liberation Bush supporters wanted for Iraqis is working so well.

Au contraire, I'm afraid. In fact, LGF considers it an "outrage" that the U.S. agreed to turn Sadr City back over to the people who live there:

There's a lot of second-guessing about Iraq these days, and a lot of people attempting to analyze where mistakes were made. In my book, one of the worst mistakes was our failure to kill Muqtada al-Sadr, a man who deserves to meet the business end of a Hellfire missile if anyone ever did. That failure led directly to this outrageous development: U.S. obeys order to abandon checkpoints.

Dan Riehl thinks it may be time to leave Iraq -- not because we're interfering with Iraq's sovereignty, but because Iraq's leaders are interfering with our imperialism [emphasis added]:

Not only are headlines like this out of Iraq going to crush Republican support in the upcoming election, they may point to an administration starting to look as much like an appeaser as what one would expect from a Democrat.

There can be no justification for keeping our troops at risk if we are going to bow to feckless Prime Ministers and the criminal regimes they rely upon for support. Forget the public relations disaster, it's beginning to look like Bush doesn't have a handle on Iraq at all. And if that's the case, then it is time to get out.

Feckless Prime Ministers and the criminal regimes they rely on for support? Excuse me? This "feckless Prime Minister" is the same one Dan Riehl et al. claim is in office because of the first democratic elections Iraq has ever seen! And those "criminal regimes" are the Iraqi people! I guess the idea is that purple fingers are great when they can be used to make Pres. Bush look good; but how dare those Iraqis think they actually have the right to demand that their leaders be accountable to their wishes and not to the White House's wishes?

Utterly, incredibly amazing.

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