Maliki Wimps Out On Dealing With Al-Sadr Again

In the end, you can rack up a big body count with car bombs, suicide bombers, and by killing people who happen to be standing in line waiting for jobs or to get into stores, but you can’t win a war that way. To win a war, you need an army that can take and hold territory.

Unfortunately, the government of Iraq is choosing to turn a blind eye to the militias that are murdering countless people, undermining the government, and making it impossible to stabilize the country. Here’s the latest example of this foolish mentality:

“Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki flexed his political muscle Tuesday and won U.S. agreement to lift military blockades on Sadr City and another Shiite enclave where an American soldier was abducted.

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.”

For Maliki to allow al-Sadr, a fellow Shiite and one of his political supporters, to get a free pass here is incredibly shortsighted. Al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army is responsible for the wide scale mass murder of Sunnis and they’ll be a potential threat to the government once the US pulls out of the country. If Maliki doesn’t want to deal with him now, with the United States military fighting shoulder to shoulder with Iraqi troops, how is he going to be able to deal with him later, after many of our troops have left?

Moreover, at a certain point, you have to think George Bush is going to say, “Hey, this just isn’t acceptable. Either you allow us to help you get this maniac’s followers under control or we’re just going to wash our hands of Iraq and let you deal with the Frankenstein’s monster you allowed to grow under your watch.”

To tell you the truth, the United States should have assassinated al-Sadr long ago — but, it’s not too late to rectify that mistake and pin it on rogue elements of the Mahdi Army, Al-Qaeda, Iran, somebody. The CIA used to do this sort of thing all the time. Surely they can still pull it off. Why can’t al-Sadr be found dead in his room tomorrow of a “heart attack,” along with some child porn, a copy of The Satanic Verses, “Instructions from Iran telling him what to do,” and “letters to Bin Laden,” pleading for help? I know, I know, we’re not supposed to assassinate foreign leaders. But, isn’t it about time we rescinded that silly rule? If the President of the United States could simply order troublesome foreign leaders killed, the world would be a much better place.

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