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    speechlesstx's Avatar
    speechlesstx Posts: 1,111, Reputation: 284
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    #1

    Aug 6, 2008, 02:16 PM
    Moqtada Packs It In
    From today's Wall Street Journal...

    Good news out of Iraq is becoming almost a daily event: In just the past week, we learned that U.S. combat fatalities (five) dropped in July to a low for the war, that key leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq have fled to the Pakistani hinterland, that troop deployments will soon be cut to 12 months from 15, and that Washington and Baghdad are close to concluding a status-of-forces agreement.

    Now this: Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr plans to announce Friday that he will disarm his Mahdi Army, which was raining mortars on Baghdad's Green Zone as recently as April. Coupled with the near-total defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, this means the U.S. no longer faces any significant organized military foe in the country. It also marks a major setback for Iran, which had used the Mahdi Army as one of its primary vehicles for extending its influence in Iraq.

    The story, broken yesterday by the Journal's Gina Chon, marks the latest of serial defeats for Mr. Sadr, beginning in February 2007 when he was forced underground (reportedly to Iran) in anticipation of the surge of U.S. troops. More recently, the Mahdi Army was defeated and evicted from Basra and other southern strongholds by an Iraqi-led military offensive. The Mahdi Army capitulated without a fight from its Baghdad enclave of Sadr City. Now the young cleric will focus his group's efforts on politics and social work, perhaps while he pursues theological studies in Iran. He wouldn't be the first grad student in history with a tendency toward rabble-rousing.

    In many respects, the story of the Mahdi Army's decline follows the same pattern as al Qaeda's: Not only was it routed militarily, it also made itself noxious to the very Shiite population it purported to represent and defend. It enforced its heavy-handed religious edicts, coupled with mob-like extortion tactics, wherever it assumed effective control. The overwhelming Shiite rejection of this brand of politics is another piece of good news from Iraq, as it means that Iraqis will not tolerate Iranian-style theocratic rule.

    It is also an indication that Iraqi politics is developing in a healthy way. There was considerable anxiety that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, as the leader of the Shiite-dominated Islamic Dawa Party, would practice a sectarian form of politics and toe a pro-Iranian line, particularly since it had long been headquartered in Tehran. Mr. Maliki's coalition initially included Mr. Sadr's loyalists, including several cabinet members.

    Mr. Maliki had little choice but to make political alliances with Shiite sectarians and seek good relations with Iran, but he has also proven to be more than a sectarian politician and no Iranian pawn. Instead, he has turned out to be a muscular Iraqi nationalist, a stance that enjoys far greater popular support than many Western "experts" on Iraq believed possible. (Remember Senator Joe Biden and others who advised only last year that Iraq had to be divided into three parts?) It's thus no surprise that the more Mr. Sadr aligned himself with Tehran, the faster his popularity declined.

    As with so much in Iraq, Mr. Sadr's sudden turn to moderation remains reversible. Breakaway factions of the Mahdi Army, aided by Iran, will surely launch fresh attacks on U.S. targets -- especially as U.S. and Iraqi elections near. That's all the more reason to regret the U.S. failure to arrest Mr. Sadr in 2004 for the murder the previous year of Imam Abdul Majid al-Khoei, widely believed to have been undertaken on Mr. Sadr's orders.

    That mistake, like others the U.S. has committed in Iraq, can't be undone. But our recent and considerable successes can be, which is all the more reason to see our involvement in Iraq through to an irreversible victory. With Mr. Sadr's "retirement," we've taken another long stride in that direction.
    Let the spin begin...
    BABRAM's Avatar
    BABRAM Posts: 561, Reputation: 145
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    #2

    Aug 6, 2008, 02:39 PM
    How would you like the Republicans to spin it? Going into Pakistan? Reagan's old nuclear friends revisited! BTW I read "deployment," not redeployment. When I read phased redeployment for US troops that will be a start in a sensible direction.
    speechlesstx's Avatar
    speechlesstx Posts: 1,111, Reputation: 284
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    #3

    Aug 6, 2008, 03:24 PM
    I don't want anyone to spin it, Bobby. I'd like to see the whiners acknowledge the progress and get behind the troops, their mission and last but certainly not least, the Iraqi people.
    BABRAM's Avatar
    BABRAM Posts: 561, Reputation: 145
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    #4

    Aug 6, 2008, 05:25 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by speechlesstx
    I don't want anyone to spin it, Bobby. I'd like to see the whiners acknowledge the progress and get behind the troops, their mission and last but certainly not least, the Iraqi people.
    OK. I'll help you out and I'll even wear my flag lapel pin. Got it! OK, here we go! I'll give it a shout out: WHO HERE IS NOT BACKING THE TROOPS... LET ME KNOW?! Do you hear that, Steve? Hmm... very quite, tranquil, and peaceful. It's silence. Do you know why there is silence? Because Americans, by far majority, and even people that are citizens of other countries, want our troops protected whenever Dubya gets one of his wild ideas to send them abroad, i.e. Iraq, safe and back home asap. Much sooner, than later. I just wish McCain addicts would stop dumbing down America by clouding campaign issues with contrived patriotic rhetoric. Anybody care to define Dubya's ever changing Iraq "mission?" :rolleyes:
    Skell's Avatar
    Skell Posts: 1,863, Reputation: 514
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    #5

    Aug 6, 2008, 05:57 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by speechlesstx
    I don't want anyone to spin it, Bobby. I'd like to see the whiners acknowledge the progress and get behind the troops, their mission and last but certainly not least, the Iraqi people.
    I have to say steve that you trying to imply people don't support the troops is as silly as people actually believing McCain wants to be in Iraq for 100 years. In actual fact it is almost offensive! Do you really think honest and good people want to see harm done to the troops? C'mon... Your smarter and usually fairer than that steve.
    BABRAM's Avatar
    BABRAM Posts: 561, Reputation: 145
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    #6

    Aug 6, 2008, 07:15 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Skell
    I have to say steve that you trying to imply people don't support the troops is as silly as people actually believing McCain wants to be in Iraq for 100 years. In actual fact it is almost offensive! Do you really think honest and good people want to see harm done to the troops?? C'mon...... Your smarter and usually fairer than that steve.
    Skell, as usual you make valid points. The last time McCain was in Iraq he had five or six fully armed helicopters circling the perimeter. Personally I think McCain is more campaign fire and brimstone rhetoric than ignorant, although at times he challenges my perception. When you get the opportunity start reading on post #25 of this link: https://www.askmehelpdesk.com/curren...-244605-3.html

    Also when you get a chance, listen to the YouTube link below. It is excellent and keys in on the American campaign static.

    YouTube - "Apocalypse Now" McCain: An Israeli opponent
    tomder55's Avatar
    tomder55 Posts: 1,742, Reputation: 342
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    #7

    Aug 7, 2008, 03:25 AM
    This could be an attempt by Mookie to salvage some credibility ;or it could be a ruse. Personally I would prefer he disappear in a pink mist.

    This guy flip flops worse than Obama. One minute he is fighting ;then he declares hudna ;then breaks it (depending on what his masters in Iran wants). This has been his pattern since we had him surrounded in the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf.

    This is the same cr*p that Hezbollah routinely pulls in Lebanon with the only new twist being his disarm declaration... which in itself is a crock because the truth is that he has been defeated ;already disarmed . [time to give credit... The surge has turned what had been looking like a military defeat into a clear military victory ]

    But when murders continue by his gang of thugs he will have the political coverage to say they are rogue elements that he does not control.( Breakaway factions of the Mahdi Army, aided by Iran, will surely launch fresh attacks on U.S. targets -- especially as U.S. and Iraqi elections near. )

    Meanwhile he will attempt to stay viable by providing with Iran funding social services, and education (especially "religious") to his "constituency"... Again; right out of the Hezbollah ,or more recently Hamas ,playbook.

    Maliki cannot ease up on the pressure. The viability of the Iraqi government hinges on their ability to keep rouge jihadists like al-Sadr in their place... under the rule of law. There are still open murder warrants against him .Perhaps it's time they were enforced .
    speechlesstx's Avatar
    speechlesstx Posts: 1,111, Reputation: 284
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    #8

    Aug 7, 2008, 10:56 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by Skell
    I have to say steve that you trying to imply people don't support the troops is as silly as people actually believing McCain wants to be in Iraq for 100 years. In actual fact it is almost offensive!
    Skell, nothing silly here when you look past the assumptions.

    Do you really think honest and good people want to see harm done to the troops? C'mon... Your smarter and usually fairer than that steve
    I never implied anyone – honest and good or not – would “want to see harm done to the troops.” That’s a rather giant leap from what I said, which was “I'd like to see the whiners acknowledge the progress and get behind the troops, their mission and last but certainly not least, the Iraqi people (whiners in general, not necessarily at AMHD).”

    It’s like this, those of us who have defended removing the genocidal dictator that was Saddam Hussein have acknowledged the mistakes and challenges, when will the detractors acknowledge the progress? Getting a Democrat congressman (or presidential candidate) or media member to acknowledge the progress in Iraq is like pulling teeth, and when they do it tends to be with great reluctance and accompanied by heaping piles of cynicism and contempt for “Bush administration failures.” At this point, with the lowest casualty figures of the war, al Qaeda on the run and signs of political progress, why the heck can’t we make clear that we do support the troops - minus the spin, cynicism and contempt – and get on board with completing the turnaround as if we’re actually on the same side? This mission actually accomplished would be a fantastic thing, so why – especially now – should it fall prey to partisan politics over an election? To me that is monumentally stupid and destructive and entirely unfair to our troops and the Iraqi people, not to mention an affront to the families of and memories of the soldiers and innocents lost in this battle.
    BABRAM's Avatar
    BABRAM Posts: 561, Reputation: 145
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    #9

    Aug 7, 2008, 07:04 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by BABRAM
    Anybody care to define Dubya's ever changing Iraq "mission?" :rolleyes:
    Nope. OK. I'll move on. How about... what defining moment declares the end of "the mission?"
    tomder55's Avatar
    tomder55 Posts: 1,742, Reputation: 342
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    #10

    Aug 8, 2008, 06:11 AM
    OK how about this : The time for militias in Iraq didn't just end all by itself. Someone was there to make it all possible. Credit should be given where credit is due . The best Mookie can hope for is a Ted Kennedy type role in the Iraqi parliament. Any serious threat he posed is over.
    Based on the success of the surge US and Iraqi negotiators are hashing out a realistic US withdrawal plan . When our troops come home they can truly claim a successful end of "the mission" .
    speechlesstx's Avatar
    speechlesstx Posts: 1,111, Reputation: 284
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    #11

    Aug 8, 2008, 10:23 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by tomder55
    ok how about this : The time for militias in Iraq didn’t just end all by itself. Someone was there to make it all possible. Credit should be given where credit is due . The best Mookie can hope for is a Ted Kennedy type role in the Iraqi parliment. Any serious threat he posed is over.
    Based on the success of the surge US and Iraqi negotiators are hashing out a realistic US withdrawal plan . When our troops come home they can truely claim a successful end of "the mission" .
    Exactly, tom.
    BABRAM's Avatar
    BABRAM Posts: 561, Reputation: 145
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    #12

    Aug 8, 2008, 05:35 PM
    Listen. If we can get our guys and gals back home alive asap, healthy, and back to their families... it's not even purposeful to quiz on them on what they thought the mission was. That's irrelevant to serving orders. They are out of the loop, as for as I'm concerned. They did their continuous best and deserve medals from ankles to ears. Having them home is good enough for me. Period. Dubya on the other hand best hightail it for Crawford Ranch. I have more questions than he has answers.

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