Friday, March 31, 2006

"Reality Jab" Nation & World: U.S. raid on Shiite shrine served as a warning
The U.S. military was trying to send a "little reality jab" to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr when American and Iraqi troops raided a Shiite community center and shrine over the weekend, says a top U.S. military official.

The joint assault killed at least 16 people, most of them believed to be tied to Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army. U.S. officials insist the center was being used as a base for insurgent activities and was not a mosque. But many Iraqis say the complex did indeed include the Shiite equivalent of a mosque, and the raid has drawn harsh condemnation from Shiite politicians and prompted Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, to launch an investigation.

The mayor of Baghdad promptly cut off cooperation with the U.S. Embassy, and Shiite politicians suspended their negotiations to form a new government.

I'm beginning to feel that if I say "here's the problem in a nutshell" one more time my head will explode, but I just play them as they lie.

We are in control in Iraq only in the sense that a man holding a hand grenade from which the pin has already been pulled and discarded is in control. We have a limited ability to postpone the destruction, but we can't prevent it, and we can't do much of anything else while standing there holding it, either. So, Mr. Top Military Offical, we are not really in a position to deliver a very effective "reality jab." We jab; the political process (such as it was) grinds to a halt.

The reality is that we now need Sadr a lot more than he needs us. Sadr seems to hold the aces in the reality deck these days, and pissing him off while your philosopher-king debates the definition of civil war strikes me as a less than, well, realistic.

And from a stylistic point of you, methinks anyone in charge of much of anything in this man's Administration ought to steer well clear of the word "reality" for a while -- kind like the way "heckuva job" has lost its cache'.


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