Maybe We Should Be Asking

…the boots ON the ground what they think.

Mahdi Army gains strength through unwitting aid of U.S.
… “Half of them are JAM. They’ll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night,” said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, using the initials of the militia’s Arabic name, Jaish al Mahdi. “People (in America) think it’s bad, but that we control the city. That’s not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It’s hostile territory.”
The Bush administration’s plan to secure Baghdad rests on a “surge” of some 17,000 more U.S. troops to the city, many of whom will operate from small bases throughout Baghdad. Those soldiers will work to improve Iraqi security units so that American forces can hand over control of the area and withdraw to the outskirts of the city.
The problem, many soldiers said, is that the approach has been tried before and resulted only in strengthening al-Sadr and his militia.
Amid recurring reports that al-Sadr is telling his militia leaders to stash their arms and, in some cases, leave their neighborhoods during the American push, U.S. soldiers worry that the latest plan could end up handing over those areas to units that are close to al-Sadr’s militant Shiite group.
All the Shiites have to do is tell everyone to lay low, wait for the Americans to leave, then when they leave you have a target list and within a day they’ll kill every Sunni leader in the country. It’ll be called the `Day of Death’ or something like that,” said 1st Lt. Alain Etienne, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y. “They say, `Wait, and we will be victorious.’ That’s what they preach. And it will be their victory.”
Quinn agreed.
Honestly, within six months of us leaving, the way Iranian clerics run the country behind the scenes, it’ll be the same way here with Sadr,” said Quinn, 25, of Cleveland. “He already runs our side of the river.

Then again, maybe it’s not what they want to hear.

One Response to “Maybe We Should Be Asking”

  1. Mike Rentner says:

    What Bush and his generals fail to comprehend is that you can implement democracy only AFTER there is peace and security. You can raise reliable armies only AFTER you have a stable government.
    We have fought this war like a business, limiting expenses to the bare minimum.
    The only morally correct way to fight a war is to fight total war. If we had a million troops over there, we’d have saved lives and finished up sooner without allowing these militias to gain so much power.
    Our “surge” is more like a ripple. It will fail.

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