Friday, April 09, 2004

The outlaw Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has gone on a hunger strike until U.S.-led coalition forces leave Iraq, and has told President Bush that he will lose his forthcoming election if he does not order the withdrawal. Well, Bush may or may not lose the election anyway, but I have a bad feeling that Bush isn't very concerned with Sadr's health after the trouble he's been giving us.

Sadr has said that the entire country of Iraq is against the coalition occupation and his militia will fight to the death until our troops are withdrawn. While he may be full of shit, he has been able to drum up a pretty good army. For the last six days, coalition troops have seen the fiercest fighting in Iraq since the war was declared over a year ago. The body count has been piling up, and this new militia is far more disciplined than the army of Saddam Hussein. They are fighting furiously, and some 20,000 troops have been told that they must remain in the country past their normal tour of duty in order to quell this uprising. I think that some troops who are already home might be called back to help in the fight. I doubt many will be happy with that request.

The troops already stationed there were supposed to be leaving at the end of June in order to turn over the country to the new Iraqi government, but Sadr has called this new governing body " traitors" and has vowed to oust this new governing body in order to replace it with a more religious group. Kinda sounds like the Taliban, doesn't it? Well, there is no way that the coalition will withdraw when such an obvious threat has been issued. And it is apparent that the police who have been installed in a lot of the towns where the fiercest fighting has happened are either miserably undermanned and understaffed, or are actually in cahoots with the insurgents. Many of the police stations in these towns are now in the hands of Sadr's militia, and the police there say that they were simply overwhelmed by sheer numbers and gave up the stations and guns without incident. This doesn't sound like the guys we have been fighting at all. And there is the allegation that the cops who were escorting the caravan which included the four Americans that were killed and started this whole mess actually drew the motorcade into the ambush and blocked any escape while the attack commenced. So Sadr might be right; we are fighting the whole goddamn country again. But this time, they are much more prepared to make the fight last. If Sadr manages to starve himself to death, will the struggle live on? In a word: yes! He will become a martyr for the movement, and we will lose our chance at bringing some sort of peace of mind to the beleaguered people of Iraq.

Sorry, guys. We tried.

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