Monday, April 05, 2004

Joe Wilson's Words Last September when Joe Wilson was interviewed during the opening salvos of the Plame Scandal and he was on the receiving end of the soon to be trademarked "Bush Smear Job" he gave an interview to Josh Marshall where he was asked what he foresaw for the United States in Iraq. His reply to the following question was simple and succint: So, setting aside why we're in Iraq, how we go there, whether we should have gone in in the first place, where are we now? Where do you see our position right now? WILSON: Well, I think we're fucked. I strongly suggest reading the rest of the article, because it becomes clear that last September, Joe Wilson was a prophet. Underlining Wilson's statement is this from perhaps the most solid American reporter in Iraq, John Burns of the NY Times: The insurrection, which spread across the Shiite heartland in a matter of hours, came five days after the ambush in the predominantly Sunni Muslim city of Falluja, outside Baghdad, in which a mob mutilated the bodies of four American security guards and hanged two of them from a bridge. Together, the events in Falluja and the other cities on Sunday appeared likely to shake the American hold on Iraq more than anything since the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein's government last April 9. In effect, the militia attacks confronted the American military command with what has been its worst nightmare as it has struggled to pacify Iraq: the spread of an insurgency that has stretched a force of 130,000 American troops from the minority Sunni population to the majority Shiites, who are believed to account for about 60 percent of Iraq's population of 25 million. Privately, senior American officers have said for months that American prospects here would plummet if the insurgency spread into the Shiite population, leaving American and allied troops with no safe havens anywhere except possibly in the Kurdish areas of the north. Until now, powerful Shiite clerics with large followings in Shiite centers like Sadr City, with its two million people, and Najaf and Karbala, sister holy cities about 80 miles south of Baghdad, each with a population of more than a million, have largely avoided pitting their private militias against the American-led occupation forces, preferring to challenge the Americans politically. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, considered Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric, has urged followers to protest peacefully. In the coming days Al-Sadr is due to be arrested, or become a martyr I should think, and all hell will break loose at least for a time. But everyday the "liberation of Iraq" becomes more and more a Pandora's Box.
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