All Out War For Anybody But Condi
Less than 24 hours after Moqtada Al Sadr issued his final warning that “open war” will be the result of continued attacks on the people of Iraq and that occupation without end will not be tolerated, Condi Rice flew into Baghdad for a little rendezvous in the Green Zone. And like her bully boss, George, she substituted taunts for efforts to bring the bloodshed to an end:
"He is still living in Iran. I guess it’s all out war for anybody but him," Rice said of Sadr, who has not appeared in public in Iraq in nearly a year.
"His followers can go to their death and he will still be in Iran," she told reporters traveling with her on a trip to Baghdad.
Hmmm … am I missing something here? Aside from the fact that it is only the U.S. military that keeps claiming al Sadr is always in Iran, I had not noticed the redeployment of the Bush White House and State Department to the streets of Iraq. Occasional drop-ins at the Green Zone, less occasional speed tours of locations outside the GZ (complete with air cover and hundreds of military escorts), sure, but … when did George and Condi move to Baghdad?
Oh, I forgot, Condi’s been very busy choreographing torture sessions with the rest of George’s team — and I’m sure she didn’t want to dirty her new boots actually checking out how Iraqis are living these days.
While Condi was flying out of Iraq — how long was that visit anyway? — U.S. forces continued construction of a wall cutting off the residents of Sadr City — a wall which the Iraqi government had promised would not be built, a wall designed to separate the residents of Sadr City into virtual “gulags.”
Following the “unmitigated disaster” of Maliki/Hakim/Cheney’s attempt to wipe out Sadr’s power in the south, and their continued breaking of the truce and siege that cut off Sadr City residents from food, water and medical care, it is not surprising that Al Sadr has — as Badger notes — said “Enough!”
And look, what is the sin of the followers of Al Sadr that they should emerge from the oppression of the destroyer [Saddam] to fall, thereafter, under the oppression of the occupation, and of the government and the nawasib, and the great and the pulpits and the rumors and the assassinations and the policies that have come to us from beyond the borders, and the silence of the religious powers, and of the political powers, domestic and foreign and international? The beloved Gaza was blockaded and everyone was silent, and [likewise] now the city [Sadr City] is blockaded and everyone is silent, and where now are human rights, and [the rule of] laws, which they wish to impose for the sake of their spurious "freedom and democracy"?
Is their sin resistance which is the honor and strength of this world and the next, because the people have not and will not compromise their right to resist the occupier of any nationality. And we will announce, if they do not come to their senses, war until liberation and by God the blood of martyrs for liberation is in our veins, and it will be received by God with the best acceptance.
Or is their sin that they are the popular base which has not accepted your politics and your ugly worldly fighting, because they do not accept the partition of Iraq, nor do they accept the theft of its wealth, or any long-term agreement that favors the occupier more than it favors Iraqis, or leaving camps or fixed bases for the occupier…
And therefore I direct this last warning and last word to the government of Iraq: Either it comes to its senses, takes the path of peace and renounces violence against its people, or else it will be like the government of the destroyer [Saddam], and even if everyone has allied with them [the present government], earlier they were allies of ours, and they could be [allies of ours] again…If [the government] does not come to its senses and sweep away its recalcitrance, and that of the militias that are part of it, then we will declare open war until liberation.
And I criticize the silence of those of them who merely listen, and look–desiring from them and from the government of Iraq that they should demand from the occupier a schedule for its withdrawal at the earliest possible time.
Meanwhile, U.S. media attempts to reassure us that this warning is no big deal – repeating Rice’s absurd claims that "the campaign [against Sadr] has brought sectarian and ethnic groups together in an unprecedented way" and
That broad support — especially from the Iranians — may have accounted for the ease with which Iraqi soldiers entered the last Mahdi Army stronghold in Basra this weekend.
Apparently, neither Rice nor the media understand the lessons of Vietnam or any other indigenous nationalist uprising we’ve seen over the past decades. Or as markfromireland reminded me, Mao said:
“The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue”
As we watch what happens next in Iraq, I hope we will not merely “listen and look” but also join in the “demand” for “a schedule of [our] withdrawal at the earliest possible time.”
Update: Cernig at Newshoggers and Brandon Friedman at VetVoice have some more thoughts on Condi’s "diplomatic skills" and Brandon has a link to an NYT report that Condi said of Sadr: ""I don’t know whether to take him seriously or not." No wonder she got out of Baghdad so fast.