Mahdi Army, Iraqi Police Battle in Baquba


The Mahdi Army continues to flaunt its power. It's decision time for Maliki.

Mahdi Army fighters in Najaf during the fighting in 2004. Click image to view.

Iranian proxy Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army has yet again fought government forces in pitched street battles. The scene of the latest fighting is the city of Baquba, where Mahdi fighters and policemen engaged in fighting that killed 12 police and 18 Mahdi militiamen, with over 40 wounded. "The gunmen fighting police... were believed to be members of the Mahdi Army militia, loyal to hard-line anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, said Ghassan al-Bawi, police chief of surrounding Diyala province," reports Fox News. The fighting in Baqubah tollows last week's violence in the nearby city of Balad, where Iraqi and U.S. Army units drove off Mahdi Army fighters that were battling Sunni insurgents during a 4-day period of sectarian violence that killed over 90.

According to an American intelligence source, the Mahdi Army has spread its presence across 9 of Iraq's 18 provinces. The U.S. and Iraqi Security Forces have been countering Sadr's moves with a series of raids striking at his most deadly and competent lieutenants, such as the raid yesterday in Sadr city against Abu Dura.

Sadr can no longer claim these are the acts of mere 'rogue elements' of his Mahdi Army. The clashes between Mahdi Army units and Iraqi and U.S. forces are occurring on a near-daily basis, and the sectarian violence is largely driven by Mahdi fighters. Ralph Peters argues it is time for the U.S. to kill Sadr. However, this would give Sadr the status of martyr to the 'occupiers' and could create unnecessary violence. We argue this is a task best left to the Iraqis. Ideally, a 'rogue element' of the Mahdi Army would kill him (or so it would appear). This would be just desserts for Sadr's shallow attempts at obfuscating his militia's role in the fighting. And it would spawn a round of internecine fighting that would do much of the needed dirty work of dismantling the Mahdi Army.

But, realistically the task will fall upon Iraq's security forces. While the Iraqi Security Forces - the police and Army - have been accused of corruption and facilitating the violence, one thing is clear: they fight and dies at a rate greater than that of U.S. and Coalition forces. Iraq Coalition Casualty Counts puts the number of police and Army killed at 4310 since January of 2005, and estimates 5,610 were killed fighting the insurgency and militias since May of 2003. Their effectiveness can be questioned, but their bravery should not. They have fought Sadr's forces in Baghdad, Balad, Baquba, Diwaniyah, Amara and elsewhere. Let them finish the job. Maliki needs to make the call.



Advertisement:


READER COMMENTS: "Mahdi Army, Iraqi Police Battle in Baquba"

Posted by Neo-andertal at October 26, 2006 8:49 PM ET:

I agree with a big ramping up of pressure on Sadr. They must take some care how they proceed though. There are pitfalls they must avoid.

First, they are relying on the Iraqi army and police to take the brunt of it. They must do it in a measured way. They could easily get the Iraqi forces into too much heat all at once. The goal is to make your enemy crack not the allied troops on your side. This Iraqi army still is untested to a degree. Given time they'll get better at it, but you don't want to put their loyalties on the line right from the start.

Second, they want to avoid shocking the system. Much of the Shiite part of the government is at least nominally allied to Sadr to a greater or lesser degree. They also fear him and his Iranian backers. Also Sadr is also publicly revered within the population because of his family history. A sudden bloodbath would blow right back at us. In political warfare gradual escalation and violence allows even greater escalation, which allows even greater violence by stages. AQ certainly has used the same principal to great effect. If they had resorted to mass civilian and mosque bombings from the very beginning of the war the whole population would have recoiled in horror, including most of the Sunni population. By gradually escalating they can keep their base behind them.

Unfortunately this is part of the nature of warfare. It also is why you want to finish wars quickly if possible. You don't want allow an enemies population to become hardened to battle. The US waged a gradually escalating grinding battle to knock Sadr down the first time around. They will probably repeat a similar tactic of pressure, escalate, and isolate.

Posted by Dave E. at October 26, 2006 10:18 PM ET:

Bill-I'm curious about something you write here:

"The fighting in Baquba follows last week's violence in the nearby city of Balad, where Iraqi and U.S. Army units drove off Mahdi Army fighters that were battling Sunni insurgents during a 4-day period of sectarian violence that killed over 90."

Last week and again this week in his operational briefings in Baghdad, General Caldwell stressed that it was Iraqi security forces and political/tribal/religious leaders in the area that quelled the violence. Coalition forces provided recon and intelligence assets, but from what he said were not actively involved in restoring order. They played a support role for sure, but the violence was stopped by Iraqis.

Caldwell is touting that as progress in both the ISF and political areas. The media seems pretty determined not to include that in their reporting. In fact, the FOX report you link to above seems to directly contradict Caldwell:

"Mahdi fighters killed scores of Sunnis in massacres last week in the nearby city of Balad, forcing U.S. troops to return to the area after Iraqi security forces were unable to stem the bloodshed."

I'm interested in your perspective. I agree with you that much of the ISF is performing bravely. I also sense a big uptick in MNFI press releases that show growing effectiveness on the part of the ISF, which makes me a little, and very cautiously, optimistic. Is that misplaced?

Posted by C-Low at October 26, 2006 10:29 PM ET:

Been awhile since I posted but glad to see you back to your original site Bill, GREAT WORK KEEP IT UP.

But this Sadr situation is just what the CIA was made for and used to thrive at back in the day pre-70's when the LLL's gutted and nuetered them. A black OP albeit car bomb or sniper whatever with crumbs leading back to oblivion or better AQ or X rival (one we don't like anyway) then sit back and enjoy the popcorn.

WAR is hell WAR is ugly and the only rule is WIN. A dirty win or ugly win is still a WIN. Our way of life is on the line the Islamic Radicals are playing for keeps it way past time we wake up and drop the BS.

Posted by remoteman at October 26, 2006 11:22 PM ET:

The interesting thing to me about the fighting in Baquba is that it is Iraqi police, not Army that is purported to have done the fighting. While the kill ratio was pretty even, they killed a lot of the mahdi fighters. This is a big step forward for the police.

I wonder who initiated the battle. My guess is it was the Mahdi boys. Seems like the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is doing all that it can to stir up at least the illusion of a civil war just before the election.

Posted by Boghie at October 26, 2006 11:40 PM ET:

This is probably another case of an Iranian surrogate exceeding the desires of his patron.

Hamas did so in Gaza - with the result that they are partitioned from civilization and require permanent assistance from their patron.

Hezbollah did so in Lebanan - with the end result of Iran having to foot the bill to rebuild the infrastructure and remedy the personal losses from a war their client 'won'.

Now the Mahdi Army traipses around Iraq in 'units' large enough to cause damage, kill innocents, and become a target of government and coalition forces.

Looking at the placement of pieces on the board al-Sadr probably sees this as his best and final shot. My guess is that his is both right and wrong. He cannot wait and he cannot win. And, Iran will have to fund another loss.

Posted by Jim Harris at October 27, 2006 12:22 AM ET:

These last few posts about Sadr and Maliki are phrased to assume Maliki's loyalty to Western-style democracy, or some loyalty to the American mission in Iraq. For example, if you say "Maliki needs to make the call", that implies that he agrees that Muqtada al-Sadr is a problem and that he sees some kind of decision or "call" to deal with the problem.

But where is the evidence that Maliki has any such loyalty to either American interests or Western ideals? Maliki's biography has loyalty to political Shia Islam written all over it. In fact he is a 35-year member of an Iraqi Party called "The Call", except that the call that they have in mind is the call of Islam. I do not see anything in his life to indicate that he is a moderate, a reformer, or a pro-Westerner.

Sure, Maliki has been talking lately about dealing with militias, but where is the evidence that he means it? He has a habit of bending every hopeful goal from Washington into an accusation against Sunni Arabs. I do not doubt that he mistrusts Sunni Arabs, but if anyone expects him to face down the Mahdi Army or any other Shiite militia, this is not promising.

I also do not doubt that Maliki is afraid of Sadr and his ilk. If he ever strongly turned against the Shiite militias, they probably would try to kill him and his family. But the first question, more basic than whether or not he is afraid of the militias, is whether he is on their side. In fact whether he has ever really had even one foot on our side. If he never has, then he probably doesn't care about these hard choices that we imagine he faces.

Posted by Bill Roggio at October 27, 2006 6:47 AM ET:

Dave E.,

Even with US forces worked in a supporting role in Balad, it is still a joint op no matter how you look at it. The US Army had to return to the city and patrol. I'm not contradicting MG Caldwell here.

Jim Harris,

I've provided evidence of the Iraqi security forces opposing Sadr's Mahdi Army. In each instance SOF was used against Mahdi, Maliki signed off. Perhaps you consider it token. Personally, I'm not sure if Maliki has the courage to pull the trigger on Sadr. I've said as much as well. But both he and the ISF have shown a willingness to fight Sadr to a degree.

I never said Maliki has "loyalty to either American interests or Western ideals." What's important is does he have loyalty to Iraqi interests. Sistani would never approve of his candidacy if he didn't.

I'm not going to get into a debate with you on the Najaf vs Qom schools of Shia Islam and their view of the place of Islam in governance. The Iraqis have conducted election, a peaceful transfer of power and and [painfully] formed a government. Despite the dominance of the Shia population, the UIA only received 47% of the seats. And the UIA contains some very moderate factions, so to intimate it is a unilateral Islamist group is wrong. The UIA formed a government via political compromise. That's all a good start. If the political process continues along these lines, that is a good thing. Coalition governments have a way of moderating extremists in the coalition. They also often produce feckless leaders. Maliki may be one. We'll see. And if he can't provide for Iraq's security - if Mahdi gets so far out of control the unity government dissolves, it will be an important step if the Iraqis can form a new government and transfer power yet again. People want perfection in 3 short years and that's just absurd to me.

I understand your position clearly. I disagree, and I won't debate it further.

Posted by don surber at October 27, 2006 8:27 AM ET:

I'm with Ralph Peters. Just take out Mr. Sadr

Posted by Bob Young at October 27, 2006 9:07 AM ET:

On the one hand, if the U.S. kills Sadr, we've created (the perception of) a martyr. On the other hand, if the U.S. keeps tiptoeing around the issue, it is seen as being weak, indecisive and afraid to use its power. These two things cancel each other out. The U.S. can't let itself be paralyzed by the perceptions of others. The U.S. should take out Sadr for the following reasons: 1)To make sure the job is done right 2)To get the Iraq effort moving forward again 3)To remind everyone who is running and financing the show 4)Because it's the right thing to do 5)Because the U.S. doesn't ask others to do it's dirty work. The debate on this as well as the comments above clearly show why the Iraq effort has bogged down.

Posted by Solomon2 at October 27, 2006 10:21 AM ET:

Even if Sadr doesn't become a martyr, if American troops take him out a precedent will have been established that I wish to avoid: that ultimately it is up to the U.S. to remove evil from the world, therefore no one else needs to lift a finger to do so, and indeed everyone else is free to profit from the situation as they like.

Wherever possible, Churchill insisted on local justice - not assasination or Army justice or national tribunals - for war criminals as the British Army advanced through Italy in WWII. If the Iraqis don't have the guts to condemn one of their own violent leaders, why should we continue to support them?

Posted by Dudley Smith at October 27, 2006 10:55 AM ET:

The US waged a gradually escalating grinding battle to knock Sadr down the first time around. They will probably repeat a similar tactic of pressure, escalate, and isolate.


Hopefully they won't repeat the same result.

I'm with C-Low, this is where the CIA, or whatever black ops teams we have need to get the job done on Sadr. Why is it that only the other side knows the value of a well-placed IED or car-bomb?

Posted by Charlie at October 27, 2006 10:59 AM ET:

Why not take out everyone around Sadr. If he doesn't have a militia he is a toothless tiger. Eventually they will figure out that if they join Sadr they will be destroyed.

Posted by cjr at October 27, 2006 11:33 AM ET:

Charlie:

That is basically the plan

Posted by Jim Harris at October 27, 2006 11:34 AM ET:

I've provided evidence of the Iraqi security forces opposing Sadr's Mahdi Army. In each instance SOF was used against Mahdi, Maliki signed off. Perhaps you consider it token.

The people who decide these operations favor a certain public supposition about who wanted them. They aren't necessarily interested in a public airing of the real channels of influence in Iraq right now. General William Odom calls it "colonialism by ventriloquy". I don't know if he is right about that, but I don't know that he is wrong either.

What I do know is that Maliki has spent many more years as a spokesman for a Shiite militia than as a politician who claims to oppose Shiite militias. I agree with you that we're not in a position to debate Maliki's present intentions -- neither one of us can prove much about them. Even so, he is one of the recurrent themes of your recent posts. Given that, I don't think that it makes sense to just discuss the last three years of career. You ought to be looking at his whole life. The man is 56 years old, after all.

I also don't mean to single out Maliki on this point. I would say the same about his predecessor, Ibrahim Jaafari. Judging by their life histories, Maliki and Jaafari look like peas in a pod to me. You say that they achieved a peaceful transfer of power, but how much of a transfer was it really?

What's important is does he have loyalty to Iraqi interests.

Surely the question about any of these men is how they define Iraqi interests, not whether or not they think of themselves as pro-Iraqi. Even Kim Jong-Il is loyal to his own conception of his country's interests -- it's just not a conception shared by outsiders.

Sistani would never approve of his candidacy if he didn't.

I don't understand the logic in this inference, which again is not really a question about Maliki. Sistani is an Iranian Shiite cleric, not an Iraqi nationalist. He has also lately been disgusted with Iraqi politics and I don't know that he ever approved or disapproved of Maliki.

Posted by Bill Roggio at October 27, 2006 11:48 AM ET:

Jim Harris,

Maliki's Dawa isn't a militia, it is a political party.

Sistani isn't "an Iranian Shiite cleric." You should do some research on the differences between the Qom school (Khomeini - Islamist theocracy) and the Najaf school (Sistani - clerics shouldn't interfere with government). You're exposing yourself here by calling Sistani a Khomeinist.

It's for this reason Sistani has taken such a small role in the formation of government. Sistani's only real role is to council the Shiites to remain united, which is the only point the UIA agrees on. His approval is sought after by the political parties and he does consult, but he does not make open proclamations. That's because he leads the Najaf school... His comments about "disgust with the political process" were of course entirely taken out of context by the media, surprise surprise. It's political season after all.

Posted by Jim C. at October 27, 2006 12:12 PM ET:

"Maliki needs to make the call."

But he HAS made the call. He's decided to side with Sadr. So now what?

Posted by Cover Me, Porkins at October 27, 2006 12:37 PM ET:

People want perfection in 3 short years and that's just absurd to me.

Rightly so, Bill, because it is.

Why is it that most of those who either live or have been in Iraq, or listen to the appeals for patience from Iraqis and MNF troops, are the most confident? Wait, that's a rhetorical question.

Posted by Jim Harris at October 27, 2006 12:46 PM ET:

Maliki's Dawa isn't a militia, it is a political party.

That's what Dawa is now. When Dawa bombed the American embassy in Kuwait in 1983, it was a militia, as well as a terrorist organization. Maliki joined Dawa in 1969.

Sistani isn't "an Iranian Shiite cleric."

Sistani is indeed Iranian. According to Wikipedia, he was born in Mashhad, Iran. His ancestors are from Sistan province (now Sistan and Baluchistan), also in Iran. Hence the name "Sistani". There is a famous quote from Sistani back in the time of the CPA: "Mr. Bremer, you are an American and I am an Iranian. I suggest we leave it up to the Iraqis to devise their constitution."

What is true is that Sistani is not "Khomenist". Not all Iranians are. But you shouldn't make too much of religious philosophies, since after all Sistani's philosophy is to stay out of politics. If I may make an analogy, Pope Paul VI's philosophy was at least as moderate as Sistani's is, but that didn't have much bearing on the attitude of his followers in the Irish Republican Army.

Posted by TallDave at October 27, 2006 12:56 PM ET:

Patience, people. A free Iraq will not be built in a day.

As the government gets stronger, the militias will increasingly knuckle under; this is classic Arab "strong horse" psychology. Sadr is hedging his bets, but looking more and more political and less and less military.

Maliki understands that time is on his side. Another six months, and the ISF will be that much more trained, equipped, and loyal. Maliki's hope is that open conflict will be increasingly unnecessary.

Posted by TallDave at October 27, 2006 1:02 PM ET:

Here, for instance.

KUFA, Iraq (AFP) - Radical Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has threatened rogue commanders in his Mahdi Army militia with the wrath of God, his principal mouthpiece told worshippers at prayer Friday.

The Mahdi Army is one of the most powerful armed Shiite groups in Iraq and has been implicated in a number of recent battles with police, despite orders from Sadr to his followers not to spill Iraqi blood without permission.

The ISF have been proving that only will they fight the militias, but thanks to much better training they tend to kick their butts as well. They usually seem to have 5-10:1 kill/capture ratios.

Posted by DJ Elliott at October 27, 2006 1:20 PM ET:

"Another six months, and the ISF will be that much more trained, equipped, and loyal. Maliki's hope is that open conflict will be increasingly unnecessary."

Tall Dave:
More importantly: Fully Manned.

- What we have been doing is forming the IA Bns and fighting them without replacements because the system was maxed out training, equipping and forming new formations. Some of the Bns ceased to exist and some are Company strength.
- The announcement last week of the plan to train 10,000 every two months as "Individual replacements" was significant because it means we have finished the new Bns and are bringing the forces up to strength. Actually, overstrength since the plan is to man combat Battalions at 110% to offset the leave policy.
- This will go faster since we already have existing units and are replacing their privates to bring them up to strength.
Think filling out a unit that is at Cadre strength.
- In six months, the IA will be at 110% manning. They are only 30,000 short.
- In six months, seven of the nine INP Bdes will have been thru QLII. That Purges them, "re-blues" them, re-trains them, re-equips them, and provides replacements to bring them up to strength as well...

As to Sadr: Best sudgestion I have heard was "food poisening". Mo martrydom. Just a common act of allah. Someone should look at "accidentaly" arranging that event...

Posted by Bill Roggio at October 27, 2006 1:24 PM ET:

You're referring to Dawa as if it still maintains a militia, Jim. Read your own words. Sistani is Iranian born, but he's an Iraqi. Saying he's an "Iranian cleric" implies he's a tool of the Iranians, when in fact he isn't. That's the point I was making.

And another point: "but how much of a transfer was it really?"

The Kurds and other parties approved of the transfer of power as well. Remember that 67% of the parliament need to approve of the new prime minister, of which the fractured UIA only makes 47%.

Your Pope Paul VI / Sistani analogy is another bad one, for different reasons. Sistani has taken a powerbroker role, but reluctantly, and his words have real influence.

Posted by Jim Harris at October 27, 2006 1:56 PM ET:

You're referring to Dawa as if it still maintains a militia, Jim.

So what you're saying is, it may be true that Dawa suicide-bombed the American embassy in Kuwait in 1983 -- and bombed the French embassy and the airport -- and it may be true that Maliki was a Dawa official at the time, but he and Dawa now deserve the benefit of the doubt because they spun off their terrorist branch?

I know that TallDave has called for patience in this endeavor. But this level of patience reminds me of the Monty Python line, "Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who." I would have a lot of trouble trusting a spokesman for a terrorist organization that suicide-bombed an American embassy. I would have trouble trusting the organization too. If Dawa isn't terrorist itself any more, I would first ask whether it is just holding terrorism at arm's length.

As for Maliki and Jaafari themselves, I might not be all that upset if they merely wanted to enroll at Yale or something like that, but even half-trusting such men as prime minister is a pretty tall order.

Posted by Bill Roggio at October 27, 2006 2:18 PM ET:

Well, Jim, I'm reading the same Wikipedia entry you are: "The party would later claim that the perpetrators of these attacks were agents who had been "hijacked" by the intelligence directorate of Iran's revolutionary guards. In any case al-Daawa and its sympathizers make great efforts in distancing their movement and party from these violent acts." I'm not making any excuses, but this isn't a path Dawa continued. They obviously didn't like the results.

Fine, you want to give up, as you obviously have. Keep your poor sense of humor, terrible analogies and snide remarks to yourself.

Posted by Pat Casey at October 27, 2006 2:25 PM ET:

Taking out Sadr in a black op would be a great feel-good move that would give a huge appearance that we're winning, but only until the next hotspot flared up and it would flare up. It would be hugely counterproductive to the strategic goal of establishing a stable moderate Iraqi government. All it would show is that if you don't like the way a guy thinks, take him out. But taking out Sadr alone would not disband the Mahdi Army any more than capturing Saddam disbanded the Ba'athist insurgents. And the feel-good-we're-winning boost to morale it would cause would last about as long.


For a democratic government to succeed, it has to demonstrate that it holds the monopoly on military force in the country and will enforce that monopoly if necessary. In a country that has been ruled by a strongman like Saddam for a long period of time, it's hard to get away from the belief that if I don't get what I want from the political process, I can just round up my neighbors that agree with me and our guns and take it from those that don't anyway. For people to get away from that mindset that they've grown up with all their lives, they have to see that their approach hurts more than it gains for them. That will take some time for some particularly hard-headed groups to recognize. Until they do, the national forces have to be strong enough to keep applying the two-by-fours to their collective skulls to get to the proper teachable moment. Ultimately, for Maliki's government to succeed, he has to show that it is strong enough to suppress the Mahdi Army, The Ba'athist insurgents, the Al Qaeda cells that have invaded, as well as clean up the criminal mobs Saddam turned loose just before running off to become a taxi driver. That's a tall order, but it would apply to whoever was in charge, not just Maliki. And it's only going to be apparent that it is happening over time.


So what do we look at to see if it is happening over time?


It looks to me like most of the dismay over the fighting in Iraq is because we can't tell if we're winning or not so the news media is able to paint it as if we're losing. It's hard to see metrics that indicate we're winning because we're looking in the wrong places.


The metrics of victory in a political struggle such as in Iraq or Afghanistan have to be defined in terms of whether the people are rejecting or supporting the militias and insurgents over the national forces or not. Can the government survive forceful rebellious challenges from those that didn't get their way in the elections? In that regard, I'm not sure where things stand because all I get from the news is how many US soldiers died in the month. An absolutely useless figure for judging any kind of progress one way or the other at all. But then the news organizations were never interested in showing us anything that might look like we were actually accomplishing anything anyway. They appear to do everything in their power to keep those bits of information as far away from the American public as they possibly can.


Standing back and looking at things from the long view instead of the myopic one the newspapers want us to see, it does look like major progress has been made in the past three years though. Saddam was defeated but the Fedayeen rose up and started to wreak havoc. Then their pickup trucks turned out not to be that great of a match for M1 tanks and Bradleys and they got beat up. So then they went to trying to take over towns and Mosul and Fallujah and Ramadi became major no-go zones. But we managed to get Iraqis trained to police and patrol those cities and none of those three are as bad as they had been (a lot still needs to be done it seems in Ramadi, but it seems to be getting better). Now the crisis-du-jour is Baghdad and the militias trying to take over sections. So they're addressing that now. Still, things are different today than they were three years ago and they'll be different a year from now than they are today. Progress?


Dafydd ab Hugh wrote an interesting article on his blog the other day that likened the war in Iraq to sailing against the wind, where the only way to make progress toward the goal is to keep sailing off-course and tacking. This looks like we are never headed the right direction, and it requires travelling further that the straight line, but even so, the boat keeps getting closer to the destination. I think it seems to map what we've been doing in Iraq fairly well.


In this situation, I think the best way to deal with Sadr and the Baa'thists is for the Iraqi's to grind down the militias and insurgents both until the politicians that want to use them to back up their internal politicking are toothless and have to turn instead to persuasion. This may take a while and ultimately, it's not something we can do for them, or the minute we're gone, it will just come back again but worse. Overall, this seems to be happening little by little. And it looks like tacking. First it seems like the Sunni insurgents are getting the upper hand so they get lots of attention and start to weaken, then the Mahdi Army decides they can get on top as a result and rises up. So the national forces tack and start to focus on them instead. It takes time and it doesn't always feel like a winning strategy even when it is.


Ultimately, they both have to be put down in favor of the national forces.

Posted by Michael at October 27, 2006 11:15 PM ET:

12 million Iraqis voted, many for the first time feeling true freedom, maybe not all sides we consider well.

There are some good signs which Bill has pointed out and which none of us actually here in the mainstream media like CutNruN, or Oprah, or the View, or Olber-rated.

All the liberal media does each day is attack our administration. CutNruN has the audacity to run a program with the name of BrokenGovernment this week. The name even shows up in the listing on Cable.

It is outrageous to hear the nonsense being spewed forth from these talking heads.

Imagine if instead of CutNruN showing a suicide bomber killing 10 in a market, then they actually showed the Iraqi Army and Coalition Forces killing 20 of the militias, or capturing the insurgents and AQ in Iraq?

Because they do every day!!! If you look at the daily, weekly battles there is one clear outcome. Our guys win! Every single time! They either capture, kill or run off the enemy.

But you never, ever hear this reported "in a repetitive manner" like they do the other.

Just like a car crash or a murder in our country. They'll run the car crash and murder all day long, while millions drove safely and lived!

Unfortunately however, organizations like CutNruN have become more sinister. It was not enough to cooperated with a tyrant like Saddam Hussein to coordinate their news from Iraq. Now CutNruN orders propaganda media from our very enemy!

Wolf Blitze got caught in a double take today with Mrs. Cheney. He stated in a Kerry-esque way, "It was not propaganda" first before he said "It was propaganda." Poor guy could not make his mind up. And thats what happens when you do not take "sides" as a so-called "international" media conglomerate. They're going schizo in front of the American public.

Do not let the legacy media infiltrate your minds with the blather they repeat like a mantra every day. They are biased to the core and have only one goal in mind. Defeat our President and get the Demoncrats back in power.

CutNruN can then have Hilary back on to discuss ways to decorate the Pentagon in pink chaffon as it is important our military reflect the modern world which is more metro-feminine.

;-)

The President always said this would be a long, tough war. And in this politically correct world we live in, we could not blitz Iraq like we did Germany. Maybe, if we get attacked severely, more than 9/11 in the future, that day will come. But for now, we fight the insurgency with gloves on sometimes. It makes for a long drawn out war.

But as others have pointed out, progress is being made every single day. Our old world media does not reflect this. But we do get it great insight from radio, blogs like Bills, Fox, and military outlets like CENTCOM and MNF directly, Milblogs and others.

Thankfully, or CutNruN would have us losing the war within the first three weeks. Anyone remember?

Patience and Support! Our side is winning. And they are rebuilding a nation, not just brick and mortar, but ethics, liberty, free media. Training an army to serve, not to oppress. To protect, not to slaughter. This takes time.

Posted by Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at October 28, 2006 7:18 AM ET:

Only Iraqis can win in Iraq.

The job of the US military is to make sure the pro-democracy Iraqis, who are willing to fight for democracy, are the winners.

The success of the Kurds show the success of Bush -- the failure of Iraqi Arabs is because too many Sunni and Shia Arabs are willing and able to murder others.

The killing is because of the Arabs. They have to choose to stop the killing.

I think the Sunnis will stop killing sooner when the Sunni supported terrorists are actually being tried, convicted, and punished.

Until then, Death squad justice is better than none. The US can't give the Iraqis justice. The key is not the majority Shia, it is in stopping the minority Sunnis from their bombing murders. After the Sunnis stop murder, the Shia militias will not be so difficult to disband.

Posted by yankeewombat at October 29, 2006 2:07 AM ET:

Great to see people discussing what is going on in Iraq in a context which allows positive factors to be be realistically discussed along with the problems. I just want to go back to an earlier comment by Jim Harris that downplayed Sistani's religious philosophy.

What is true is that Sistani is not "Khomenist". Not all Iranians are. But you shouldn't make too much of religious philosophies, since after all Sistani's philosophy is to stay out of politics.

While I agree that he is not "Khomenist" his religious philosphy is to me all important because it contains a home grown Muslim understanding of separation between church and state. I do not know specifically of a similar tradition among Sunnis but I do know that Sunni Sufi orders were outlawed under the Ottomans because they became too involved with politics and power. Muslims have wrestled with this problem and it is important to understand Muslim thinking on the subject of church and state. Particularly when trying to help them initiate democracy. It is very clear from the Wikipedia article that Sistani moved to Najaf as a young man to study, married and raised a family there, and eventually rose to become the leader of the more apolitical side of Shia Islam. It is just this kind of religious phililosophy that has a sense of boundaries between God and worldly power which will allow the Muslim world - whether Shia or Suni - to fully enter the Modern world while remaining Muslim. The currently popular alternative which fanatically calls for the way of jihad to impose medieval Islam on the world is cultural suicide.

Posted by Tincan Sailor at October 31, 2006 3:38 PM ET:

We need to cut off the head of the snake.
The body will wiggle for a time but with
out the head you can chop up the rest of
critter...We need some one like Carlos
Hathcock to pull of a 2500 yd head shot on
Sadar. We had him once, we best do it right
this time...

Posted by Rolando Hopson at November 26, 2006 2:47 AM ET:

Pioneering screenwriter Nigel Kneale, best known for the Quatermass TV serials and films, dies aged 84...

Posted by Carson Worden at November 29, 2006 3:40 PM ET:

London-born rapper Sway is to be honoured at the BET Hip-Hop awards in the US...

Posted by Carson Worden at November 29, 2006 3:43 PM ET:

London-born rapper Sway is to be honoured at the BET Hip-Hop awards in the US...

Posted by Marcelo Sterling at December 11, 2006 1:42 PM ET:

Jonathan Ross is dubbed "risque" by Ofcom but not in breach of rules over an interview with David Cameron...

Posted by Marcelo Sterling at December 11, 2006 1:44 PM ET:

Jonathan Ross is dubbed "risque" by Ofcom but not in breach of rules over an interview with David Cameron...

Posted by Marcelo Sterling at December 11, 2006 1:45 PM ET:

Jonathan Ross is dubbed "risque" by Ofcom but not in breach of rules over an interview with David Cameron...

Posted by Edgar Olson at December 11, 2006 2:02 PM ET:

The judge who put coded messages in his Da Vinci Code plagiarism trial ruling has written another...

Posted by Clifton Charles at December 11, 2006 3:22 PM ET:

Doctor Who takes three prizes at the National Television Awards in a repeat of its success last year...