Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr sent a defiant signal to Iraq's government today, urging militiamen fighting Iraqi and U.S. forces to reject calls to disarm as American airstrikes continued.In Sadr's Baghdad stronghold, Sadr City, a spokesman for the city health department said at least 57 people had been killed there since fighting broke out Tuesday. The battles, which pit Shiite militiamen against Iraqi and U.S. forces, erupted in the wake of a government offensive in the southern city of Basra.
The above is from Tina Susman's "Sadr urges militiamen in Iraq to reject calls to disarm" (Los Angeles Times). The assault on Basra continues and demonstrates how nothing has changed, still no attempts at 'freedom' or 'democracy.' Just an attempt to dig the illegal occupation in further, to give credence to the lies that Nouri al-Maliki is the voice of Iraq and a strong voice at that! He's a puppet. He's a puppet who does the bidding of the White House and they need him to offer a show of force in the face of the repeated criticism from members of Congress -- both Democrats and Republicans -- that he has accomplished nothing.
The war's illegal. It always has been. But if Congress' rage at al-Maliki ends it any sooner, no tears here. He's an illegitimate 'ruler' and he's never put Iraq's interests first. He was ordered to implement the Basra assault and he was ordered to be present (none of that ducking off to England when things get really tough as he's done in the past including already once this year). He followed his orders. He didn't represent the Iraqi people. He betrayed them.
It's a sign of how out of touch with reality the White House is that they thought this would work as the p.r. rollout for the upcoming Congressional 'reports'. All it's done is united many Iraqis behind Moqtada al-Sadr. All it's done is make him even more popular and respected. All it's done is demonstrate that the Iraqi people are not supporting a US installed government.
But no doubt a Charlie Ferguson will show up to claim that installing al-Maliki was right but somewhere after it got screwed up. There's a review in tomorrow's book review of the Times of Ferguson's 'book' which is really cute because it notes he was a supporter of the illegal war. Was? While promoting that awful 'documentary' last week, he was clear to NPR that he still supports the Iraq War. That's why he makes that lying film that argues the Iraq War would have been a 'win' if only there had been planning. There was planning. Naomi Klein and Antonia Juhasz have documented in great detail the planning that went into the illegal war. What happened after the initial invasion wasn't unintended. It was meant to enrich US corporations and throw the Iraqi people off balance so that they couldn't object to the theft of their country.
From Leila Fadel's "Iraqi prime minister softens ultimatum as militias stand ground" (McClatchy Newspapers):
Four days into a major government offensive in Basra, Iraqi government forces have been unable to dislodge Shiite Muslim militias from their strongholds in the southern port city, prompting Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to back off his ultimatum to disarm by Friday.
As Maliki softened his demand, offering cash to anyone who turns in medium to heavy weapons in the next 10 days, U.S. military involvement intensified with U.S. aircraft striking two targets in Basra, according to a British military spokesman.
The U.S. military said a Navy fixed wing aircraft had struck a mortar crew, killing three.
U.S. ground forces clashed with militants in New Baghdad, Kadhemiya and Sadr City, all Mahdi Army militia strongholds in the Iraqi capital. Airstrikes also were conducted in Kadhemiya and Sadr City, as well as in Adhamiyah, a mostly Sunni neighborhood, residents said.
The whole assault has been a disaster. The White House expected al-Sadr, weakened by renewing the truce, would weaken himself further or be taken out. Instead al-Sadr stood up to the occupying powers. When the dead's counted (decades from now?), the world will learn just how many lives were worth destroying in order to 'spin' the illegal war as a 'turned corner.'
From Margaret Kimberley's "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran" (Black Agenda Report):
When historians write about the catastrophes that struck the world in 2008, events that have taken place in March of 2008 will surely loom large. The worldwide economic meltdown finally became impossible to deny, with the Federal Reserve using the workers’ dime to bail out a major investment banking firm, Bear Stearns. Dick Cheney traveled to Iraq, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, making sure his nefarious plans went off without a hitch. John McCain claimed that Iran was the home of al Qaeda, the bogeyman that sends already trigger happy Americans on blood thirsty rampages. Democrats who had the power to stop Bush in his tracks, once again pledged to do nothing.
If 2007 both the Senate and House passed resolutions that backed war with Iran. Impeachment, the one weapon Congress could use to stop further war making, is ignored and forgotten by John Conyers, Chairman of the House Judiciary committee.
In recent days Conyers said he would begin impeachment hearings, but only if Bush attacks Iran. Apparently not enough human beings have been killed by Bush and the body count needs to grow exponentially before Conyers will lift a finger. On the other hand, the two-faced Congressman says he fears impeachment because it will hurt the Democrats in the upcoming November election. So it seems he will do nothing, no matter how many people die because of the crimes committed under the Bush regime.
Conyer's position is even more embarrassing when you consider that in 2007 Joe Biden was stating that if Bully Boy invaded Iran he would support impeachment. Conyers only now comes on board to that.
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