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The Return of Moqtada al-Sadr

Monday, Apr. 09, 2007 1:10 PM


Prior to the escalation surge in the Iraq War, the highly-visible and outspoken cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, was reported to have fled to Iran, because, well, we were going to kick his ass sooooo bad.

He's baaaaaaack.

This time, to exhort his followers to protest the American occupation of Iraq, and asking Iraq's army and police to join him in defeating 'your archenemy'. But to show that al-Sadr isn't just the leader of a bunch of thugs with guns, crowds estimated to be in the 'tens of thousands' took to the streets in a peaceful march in the cities of Najaf and Kufa.

Of course, we're all about finding the diamond inside the turd, and Colonel Steven Boylan praised the demonstration, pointing out that Iraqis couldn't have done this four years ago – that there was no right to assemble, no right to free speech.

So this must be progress.

Except we've not been terribly adept at gauging success in Iraq. Senator John "Strolling With Troops" McCain, in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, asserted that al-Sadr was in hiding (therefore, the surge is working).

The surge is working! All hail the surge! Surge! Surge! Surge!

This is the true reason Bush and the buffoons in the White House don't want 'benchmarks' – it's accountability, pure and simple. If there are no goals, no objectives to which one can point and say we failed, why, then anything can be spun into part of a grand strategy for success that will work if we just give it time.

Incidentally, protesters did burn the American flag – so when Iraqis do it, it's freedom of speech … but in our own country, it's a horrible act that has to be legislated against, because, well, freedom of speech doesn't cover that.


From the U.S. Attorney scandal comes this latest gem: New Mexico's U.S. Attorney David Iglesias was dismissed because … he was fighting terrorism!

Seriously.

Justice Department documents released to justify Iglesias' dismissal talk about Iglesias being an 'absentee landlord,' and spending too much time away from the office. Except that time away from the office consisted of Iglesias fulfilling his obligations as a Naval Reserve officer.

In fact, he was teaching foreign military officers about international terrorism.

And, incidentally, it's illegal to dismiss an employee – even one that serves 'at the pleasure of the President' – for fulfilling their obligations to the National Guard or the Reserves.

You'd think that the fracking Attorney General and the crackerjack team of Regent University graduates would know that.


In order to keep sensitive issues off the books (i.e., the White House e-mail servers), the Republican National Committee hit upon a clever idea. They would issue laptops and other devices that administration officials could use alongside their government-issued equipment.

Except the Democrats are now investigating whether or not that system violates federal record-keeping and disclosure rules.

The system came to light when one of Karl Rove's deputies sent an e-mail from an RNC-maintained domain to communicate with the Justice Department about one of the dismissed U.S. attorneys.



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