Thursday, August 03, 2006

World Turning

Iraqis Support Hezbollah; Blast Kills 9

Associated Press Writer

August 3, 2006, 8:23 AM EDT

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Hundreds of followers of a radical Shiite cleric left a southern Iraqi city on Thursday to join a rally in the capital condemning Israeli attacks on Lebanon, while at least nine people were killed by a bombing in the capital.

Also, 13 people were killed or found dead in the latest sectarian violence. [...]

Muqtada al-Sadr, a firebrand anti-U.S. cleric who commands a large militia, has called on his followers from around the country to congregate in Baghdad on Friday after the weekly prayers. The rally, scheduled to be held in the Shiite slum of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, will show support for the Shiite Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah in its fight against Israel.

Some 20 buses, accompanied by police vehicles, left from the southern city of Basra, carrying young men, mostly unarmed members of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia. Many were draped in the white shrouds that Muslims use to wrap their dead -- a symbol of their willingness to die for Lebanon.
It feels like the storm clouds are gathering and sadly, America isn't the storm-cellar it used to be.

Sadr has stayed conspicuously silent these past few months, laying low, and being generally supportive of the elected government which gave his faction the second-largest bloc of votes in Iraq's parliament.

That seems to be changing now. Coupled with the assessment by out-going British ambassador to Iraq, William Patey, that Iraq is closer to all-out civil war than to a peaceful democratic government, and you can see where this is all headed. Bush has been forced to deploy more troops to Baghdad, which theoretically should be the most secure major city in Iraq for "coalition" forces, and this occupation comes into view as a clear failure.

The only question is, how stubborn does Bush want to be about it? It seems as if he has an ornery streak, but he's also an absolute wimp. Which will win out?

As an American, I can only pray that his wimpitude takes over, as it did on September 11 when he played his shell game, hiding out in practically all fifty states before returning to Washington under cover of darkness. The best course of action we can take now, it seems, is to withdraw our forces, as Sadr's men have taken up Hizbollah's threats to attack Americans everywhere in the world.