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May 05, 2004

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IceCold

Of course the only "plan" one could have, and we did, for the overall political situation was to work things such that a broadly representative government was created, knowing this would empower numerically superior Shi'a and well-organized Kurds. Exactly what form that took was/is unknowable and subsidiary.

The main problem has been the bad judgement of the Shi'a, particularly Sistani. Understandable that he'd be over his head, but he is. He had no need, like some his junior, to establish his indepenence or street cred by engaging in obstructionist antics against the CPA. Yet he did, commencing with the silliness about near-term elections for the interim govt., and look what he got -- UN intervention in the form of an Arab League hack widely loathed and distrusted among his very own populace, who of course will end up delivering something whose bottom line is indistinguishable from Bremer's original Rube Goldberg caucus scheme.

John Burns is a real journalist, and if there were more of him Pouncer's frequent and completely justified lament about the press wouldn't be quite so justified.

Meanwhile, the quagmire of the "critics" and "skeptics" spins further out of control (can quagmires spin out of control?). Down in Karbala and Najaf we're seeing a familiar and welcome pattern: incompetent zealots taking on our forces and, uh, being vaporized. It would seem (where oh where is a competent press?) that our commanders on the scene have coordinated their actions with local leaders -- I certainly hope so.

In any case, the "Mahdi Army" is meeting its inevitable humiliation and destruction, and if our guys are careful and avoid any big mistakes near the shrines, the last vestiges of the uprising-that-wasn't will be cleaned up. Only big worries here are lucky car bomb attacks by the bad guys and especially a frame-up by Sadr, blowing up a shrine or mosque and blaming the US for it.

It's almost like there's a pattern -- widespread panic any time our adversaries do almost anything other than get lie down or get themselves annihilated, followed by reasonable success based on patience and adaptability. Hmmm.

TM

"can quagmires spin out of control?"

That would have to be quicksand.

Now, the strangest thing I have read about this recently was in the Thursday NY Times:

The second [attack] unfolded just after midnight Thursday in this city, when more than 450 soldiers in armored vehicles rumbled into a neighborhood amusement park where Mr. Sadr's militiamen, known as the Mahdi Army, were storing heavy weapons near a ferris wheel and bumper car ride.

At 12:30 a.m., soldiers were drawn into an intense firefight, killing an Iraqi who had been lobbing grenades from the area of the pirate ship ride. The man was carrying identification showing he worked for an American-trained security force, the Facilities Protection Service.

A whole new meaning to "clown show".

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