Rapid Descent

On Iraq: this just rolled into my mailbox, a piece on TomPaine telling us that Chaos is the Reason All Along. Yop.

This report from Reason is pretty sharp. Also the Pandora Project is monitoring the disturbing health effects, including mutations, of depleted uranium. "Wildfire" has some further links, including a diary from an earlier trip.

Naomi Klein is apparently on the ground in Iraq now, reporting on the uprising situation.

The mentally dubious Joseph Farah explains that since al-Sadr is a Shiite with Iranian support, the US must be at war with Iran. Of course! (Never trust WorldNetDaily)

All I can tell you is we are now fighting a regional war. Our local opposition in Iraq is being trained, armed and directed with foreign support – by neighboring Iran.

The uprising yesterday was treated in many initial news accounts as a spontaneous uprising directed by Najaf cleric Moktada al-Sadr.

What the other news accounts left out was one significant, but well-established fact: Al-Sadr works for Iran. He is an Iranian agent. His authority comes from Iran.

idiot at the New York Post, what else is new?

Make no mistake: Just because we view restraint as a virtue does not mean our enemies share that view. The refusal to use our power in the face of defiance only makes defiance more attractive.

When U.S. forces arrive in a troubled country, they create an initial window of fear. It's essential to act decisively while the local population is still disoriented. Each day of delay makes our power seem more hollow. You have to do the dirty work at the start. The price for postponing it comes due with compound interest.
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We broke a basic rule: Never show fear. No matter how we may rationalize our inaction, that is what we did.

Instead of demonstrating our strength and resolve, we have encouraged more attacks and further brutality - while global journalists revel in Mogadishu-lite.

Of course, we're not going to flee Iraq as President Bill Clinton ran from Somalia. But our hesitation to respond to atrocities against Americans has renewed our enemies' hope that, if only they kill enough of us, as graphically as possible, they still can triumph over a "godless" superpower.

To possess the strength to do what is necessary, but to refuse to do it, is appeasement. Since Baghdad fell, our occupation has sought to appease our enemies - while slighting our Kurdish allies. Our attempts to find a compromise with a single man - the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani - have empowered him immensely, while encouraging intransigence in others.

Weakness, not strength, emboldens opponents - and creates added terrorist recruits.

We came to Iraq faced with the problems Saddam created. Increasingly, we face problems we ourselves created or compounded.

If the administration lacks the guts to do what must be done, free Iraq will face a dismal future. As vicious as they are, our enemies have the courage of their convictions.

Do we?

What the hell does that mean, anyway? Evil Blonde Woman of Wrath says

I suppose it would be considered lacking in nuance to nuke the Sunni Triangle.

But so goes the unanimous vote around my household - and I'm betting millions of others - in the aftermath of what forevermore will be remembered simply as "Fallujah."

Wouldn't it be lovely were justice so available and so simple? If we were but creatures like those zoo animals we witnessed gleefully jumping up and down after stomping, dragging, dismembering and hanging the charred remains of American civilians whose only crime was to try to help them.

Another blogger is attacked by rightwingers from LittleGreenFootballs.

It appears that more mercenaries from Blackwater Security Consulting have saved the day and protected the CPA's office in Najf from being overrun like the rest of the city, after a Blackwater helicopter dropped them ammo and took away a wounded Marine. Interesting... And they say we can't tell civilians and militants apart. (links via Agonist)

Juan Cole suggests that the whole storm is really due to a fractured White House. I would tend to agree, after seeing Biden complaining about the situation to Jim Lehrer:

As I read him Biden is passing on what he has heard, that the reason for this gridlock is an internal power struggle within the Bush administration, which has paralyzed decision-making.

If so, it may be that certain forces within the administration took advantage of the lack of a clear reporting line to launch the assault on Muqtada al-Sadr, hoping to effect a fait accompli and forestalling any later State Department attempt to treat with him. If this interpretation is correct, the retreating Department of Defense may sow a lot of land mines for hapless State before June 30.

Biden and Lugar also made it clear that they are not being consulted by the White House on Iraq, and, indeed, it has been a year since they could even get an appointment to see Bush about it. Imagine how locked out the American public is!

The late breaking news is that 12 Marines have been killed in Ramadi. Al Qaeda is claiming responsibility for some attacks, though not from the last few days.

Hans Blix says that the war is worse than Saddam. Oh, what a naughty inspector.

The BBC reports on the nature of this spectacular and decidedly well-armed Mehdi Army. Evening Standard characterizes rising anarchy.

Wow, a lot to follow. Attacks coming all over now: can the U.S. keep it together this week? My imagination struggles with what's going on....

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