Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
January 19, 2007
WAR: Taking The Gloves Off

I pretty much missed out on blogging the president's speech on Iraq, but the best news we've had is the suggestion that any restrictions imposed by Maliki on targeting and destroying the bad guys in Iraq (specifically, the Sadr-led bad guys who are part of Maliki's own governing coalition) are being removed. The first sign of followup in this regard was the arrest of various Iranian agents in Iraq, and now we have a tangible move against Sadr:

US and Iraqi forces have arrested a key aide of Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, as the Iraqi government prepares to launch a crackdown on militias accused of enflaming the sectarian violence which has plagued the country.


Sheikh Abdul-Hadi al-Darraji, al-Sadr’s media director in Baghdad, was captured in the early hours in a mosque in the eastern neighbourhood of Baladiyat, according to the cleric’s aides, who said that a guard was killed in the raid and denounced it as a "cowardly act."


The suspect was detained "based on credible intelligence that he is the leader of illegal armed group punishment committee activity, involving the organised kidnapping, torture and murder of Iraqi civilians," according to the military statement, which added that he was reportedly involved in the assassination of numerous Iraqi security forces and government officials.

"The suspect allegedly leads various illegal armed group operations and is affiliated with illegal armed group cells targeting Iraqi civilians for sectarian attacks and violence," it said.

It's a start.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:27 AM | War 2007-14 | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)

...any restrictions imposed by Maliki on targeting and destroying the bad guys in Iraq...

What I'm trying to figure out is how did we get in a spot where Maliki was telling us what we could and couldn't do?

I mean please. I understand we have to paper over problems we have with the Iraqis but I do not expect our leadership to let the Iraqis exercise a veto over our doing what is necessary to secure that country.

Hell that's worse than Johnson approving targets on an individual basis in Vietnam. In this case we're letting Maliki do it.

Does our government think this is a war or not? If they really believe this is a war I think they'd be behaving differently.

Posted by: Dwilkers at January 19, 2007 8:31 AM

D, I think this is what comes from fighting a war with one eye on press coverage. Abu Graib, disgusting, pathetic, as it was, was minor league bullshit. Caught and corrected before the media weighed in. But it became a huge source of distraction for an attention span challenged regime. If Maliki ran to Wolf and called the US invaders how could the military presence be defended? Yeah, it sucks, and nobody is as screwed as the troops on the ground. And it is bush's fault. Fight to win, or don't fight at all.

Posted by: abe at January 19, 2007 8:44 AM

"Does our government think this is a war or not? " If the administration was serious re terror the FBI would not be partnering up with CAIR. Boxer knows they are scum, Bush does not? Pathetic

Posted by: abe at January 19, 2007 8:47 AM

Sadr has been a thorn in the side of the US since we entered Baghdad. Our treatment of him demonstrates why the whole invasion has been a travesty.

Sadr is the son of a leader in the poor Shiite community in Baghdad who was murdered for standing up to Saddam Huessien. Sadr's brothers were also murdered for the father's courageous acts. The poor Shiite section of Baghdad known as Saddam Hussein City was re-named Sadr City after we took over. Not surpsingly, the community looked to the only survivoring son for leadership.

Turns out this guy does not see eye to eye with us. Imagine that. Perhaps he's a religeous fanatic; perhaps he's naturally opposed to outside forces controlling his city; perhaps he's power hungry; or perhaps he's just nuts (based on his childhood experiences, that's not surprising.)

But shouldn't the US have foreseen some popular opposition to us? Did they really believe everyone would greet us with flowers. Based on their response to Sadr, they really did.

First they placated him, but only long enough for him to build up a formidable army of loyalists. Then they realized he presented a legitmate obstacle in the way of our Jeffersonian vision. So we issued a warrant for his arrest, this was almost two years ago.

The warrant wasn't worth the paper it was written on, and this demonstrated further to the people of Baghdad how powerless the US really was.

Now almost four years into the struggle Crank celebrates that we captured one of his liutenants. Hip hip hoo ray!

Posted by: PatrickG at January 20, 2007 2:40 PM

Here's a question for the Bush Administration, or anyone who buys into its fantasyland view of the world:

Which side of the good v. evil struggle in the Middle East is Muqtada al-Sadr on? I assume since his armed militia threatens the elected government, he's on the evil side.

Well, if he's on the evil side, and Saddam Hussein killed his family for opposing his dictatorship, does that mean Saddam was on the good side?

Maybe William Kristol can answer that one.

Posted by: PatrickG at January 20, 2007 5:47 PM

Maybe my 4 year old can answer that one. That's grade school crap, but I am not sure Kristol can answer it. If you can't figure it out get help, it's not at issue.

Posted by: abe at January 21, 2007 9:38 AM

"grade school crap"? It cuts to the heart of the problems the U.S. faces in Iraq. Try answering the question instead of smirking next time.

Posted by: Rob McMillin at January 23, 2007 12:48 AM

Saddam was, unsurprisingly, opposed to any potential internal opposition. We acted logically in treating everyone in post-Saddam Iraq as a potential friend; we found a lot of them, and most of the enemies we encountered were either Saddam loyalists, outside terrorists, or people bought off by one of the above. Sadr chose the other path, which puts him on the wrong side.

This is not a cartoon, it's the real world. While the battle in the Arab and Muslim worlds is in general terms a struggle between tyranny and greater openness, and while we have very valid reasons for suspecting that our enemies are capable of making exceedingly dangerous alliances of convenience, it remains true that dictators and terrorists can and do mistrust each other was well. The example of Hitler and Stalin is the classic example of this: they were both our enemies, and they both hated each other and eventually went to war, but they also worked together against the interests of free people when it suited them. I'm not sure why people think those are mutually exclusive propositions.

Posted by: The Crank at January 23, 2007 10:10 AM

RE: "most of the enemies we encountered were either Saddam loyalists, outside terrorists, or people bought off by one of the above. Sadr chose the other path, which puts him on the wrong side."

What are you basing that on? Where do the hundreds of thousands of Shiites terrorizing the Sunni minorities fall? I guess since we armed them they're on the good side; even when they're drilling holes in the heads of their enemies and leaving them dead on their families doorsteps. But I guess when they resort to unsanctioned violence they fall on the bad side...probably because Iran is 'corrupting' them.
That's why we can't discuss the situation with any of Iraq's neighbors because their all on the bad side. But good will prevail -- it's nothing 20,000 more troops can't handle.

Posted by: PatrickG at January 23, 2007 12:27 PM
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