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Ear to the Ground

Sadr Returns to the Spotlight

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Posted on May 25, 2007
Sadr
news.bbc.co.uk

Moqtada al-Sadr emerged on Friday from months of laying low to lead 6,000 Iraqi worshipers in chants against the United States: “No, no for Satan. No, no for America. No, no for the occupation. No, no for Israel.” Always a crowd pleaser.


BBC:

Moqtada Sadr, the radical Iraqi Shia cleric, has appeared in public for the first time in months.

US officials said he had gone into hiding in Iran in January, ahead of the US troop surge in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. This was never confirmed.

The cleric appeared at Friday prayers in Kufa, in eastern Iraq, surrounded by bodyguards and aides.

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By atheo, May 30, 2007 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment

@ Forkboy,

First, few Jews can claim roots in Palestine beyond the 1940s, the difference between Israelis from the US and those from Europe fades when you consider that US residence is available to all of them.

Second, the aggression seem pretty much one sided:


How did the 1967 war begin?

The war began on the morning of June 5 with devastating Israeli air strikes on the Egyptian airforce, most of which was destroyed on the ground. Arab nations then came to Egypt’s defense. Israel’s first-day success brought air superiority which enabled it to decimate numerically superior ground forces.


What was the outcome?

Israel quickly defeated the Arab armies, and seized the Syrian Golan Heights, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip, and the Sinai Peninsula. Israel’s rapid victory stunned the international public. But Israeli and U.S. intelligence had both predicted an easy Israeli victory, even in a battle waged on multiple fronts.

How did Israel justify its attack?

Israeli UN envoy Abba Eban initially claimed to the United Nations Security Council that Egyptian troops had attacked first and that Israel’s air strikes were retaliatory. Within a month, however, Israel admitted that it had launched the first strike. It asserted that it had faced an impending attack by Egypt, evidenced by Egypt’s bellicose rhetoric, removal of UN peacekeeping troops from the Sinai Peninsula, closure of the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, and concentration of troops along Israel’s borders.

The Soviet Union introduced a resolution to the UN Security Council naming Israel the aggressor in the war. This resolution was blocked by the U.S. and Great Britain. Thereafter, the U.N. failed to rule definitively on the legality of Israel’s actions, although it called for Israel’s withdrawal from territories it seized in the fighting.

 

Is Israel’s version of the facts universally accepted?

Israel’s claim of an impending Egyptian attack has been widely accepted in the West. The Israeli public had been led to believe that it faced a threat of imminent attack, and perhaps even annihilation. However, the veracity of Israel’s claim is increasingly questioned.

A number of senior Israeli military and political figures have subsequently admitted that Israel was not faced with a genuine threat of attack, and instead, deliberately chose war. Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli army chief of staff during the war, later stated: “I do not believe that Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent into Sinai on May 14 would not have been enough to unleash an offensive against Israel. He knew it and we knew it.”  General Mattityahu Peled, a member of Israel’s general staff in 1967, opined that “the thesis according to which the danger of genocide weighed on us in June 1967, and that Israel struggled for its physical existence is only a bluff born and developed after the war.” Menachem Begin, not yet prime minister but a member of the Israeli cabinet, allowed that: “The Egyptian army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.”

 

If Israel’s claimed reasons for the attack were false, what were its true objectives?

One objective may have been territorial expansion. Some Israeli politicians and military leaders, such as former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan lamented the failure to seize East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1948 war. Before the war, Jordan’s King Hussein told the American ambassador: “They want the West Bank. They’ve been waiting for a chance to get it, and they’re going to take advantage of us and they’re going to attack.”

http://imeu.net/news/article005371.shtml

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By Forkboy, May 30, 2007 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

atheo,

I’ll gladly check into the articles and links you have provided.  I would also concede that Israeli’s too have an inglorious past in many areas regarding occupied territories, attacks on Palestinians, etc.

But let’s consider that not every Israeli is a settler from NYC and to suggest such sounds awfully close to the same sort of bigotry of which you originally called out RAE, don’t you think?  Not every Israli attacked by radical factions from within the Palestinian territories is a settler in disputed lands either.

Let us also not forget that the mass-think Israeli’s might feel regarding Palestinians (and the rest of the Arab world) is bore out by the military aggressions committed against Israeli in the past by it’s Arab neighbors and the continuing support of the radical elements within the Palestinian lands by the same Arab nations.

Look, I’m not saying that only Israel is right and that the Palestinians are, in mass, terrorists.  I don’t like everything Israel is doing or has done.  But there is plenty of blame to go on the other side (Palestinian as well as pan-Arab).  Ultimately, and I’ve said this in a comment on another article in the not too distant past, I genuinely believe that the Israeli’s and Palestinian’s could have a very good relationship if three primary things would happen:  1) Israel pulls out of the occupied territories and STAYS out, 2) the Palestinian people crack-down and eliminate the radical elements within their population, and 3) the Palestinians realize that they are mostly pawns of the pan-Arab states (in an attempt to be a thorn in the side of Israel because they are unwilling to do it themselves).  Oh, and a fourth) the U.S. expect and demand that Israel treat the Palestinian people as they would want to be treated.

Pie in the sky, I know, but it’s what I believe.

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By atheo, May 29, 2007 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Teaching hate: Israelis and their supporters should look in the mirror
Israel And Friends, Look In The Mirror

Published on 5/28/2007

The worldwide media campaign charging that Palestinians teach their children hate led Nathan Brown of George Washington University to investigate their textbooks.

His report established that the charges are false. (See http://www.geocities.com/nathanbrown1/CAJE.htm)

Another investigation by Le Monde Diplomatique concluded the textbooks’ real error was to refute Israel’s version of Palestinian history. (Log onto http://mondediplo.com /2001/07/11textbook.)

While many Israelis and supporters terrorize Palestinians, they demonize all Palestinians as terrorists. While they teach intolerance and hate, they claim Palestinians teach their kids hate. Human Rights Watch documented the discrimination against Palestinian-Arab children in Israel’s schools. (Log onto http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/israel2/)

A study by The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs concluded Israeli textbooks and children’s literature promote racism and hatred toward Palestinians and Arabs. (See http://www.washington-report.org/backissues/0999/9909019.html.)

An article by Dr. Peled-Elhanan of the Hebrew University put it this way: “Palestinians — both the lawful citizens of the state and the ones living under occupation — are presented stereotypically, in racist vocabulary and racist visuals, as a demographic threat . . . their discrimination is represented as a national necessity. . . occupied territories are depicted as part of the state of Israel but their Palestinian inhabitants, cities and cultural sites are missing from maps, photographs and graphs. The books promote the ideal of an Arab-free land as a condition for the existence of the Jewish state.”

Is it any wonder 18-year-old soldiers manning checkpoints beat and humiliate Palestinians old enough to be their grandparents? Many American-Jewish students are likewise indoctrinated during all-expense-paid trips to Israel called “Birthright Israel.” This led some unprejudiced Israelis to offer the educational program “Birthright Unplugged.” Alas, they do not have the resources of the Birthright folks and, to learn the truth, the kids will have to pay their own costs.

Editor’s note: The writer is a board member of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition (http://www.icahdusa.org)
Hassan Fouda

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By atheo, May 29, 2007 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

@ Forkboy

You say:  “let’s not forget that Israeli’s would also be likely to suffer from some sense of mass rage after having been surrounded by enemies hell-bent on their destruction”

RE: The biggest difference in excusing the rage is that the Israeli “settlers” are there by choice. They could have stayed in New York. But they opted to go to the West Bank armed with night vision goggles and high powered rifles (supplied gratis by Jack Abramof) so that they could partake in picking off peasants attemting to harvest their olives on their ancestral lands by moonlight. It’s time for Americans to face up to the one sided criminality of support for Israel. If Israeli settlements are justifiable so is US occupation of Iraq. Which side are you on?

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By Forkboy, May 29, 2007 at 7:33 am Link to this comment

Atheo & Matt,

Matt, I concede your point regarding mass rage, etc.  But let’s not forget that Israeli’s would also be likely to suffer from some sense of mass rage after having been surrounded by enemies hell-bent on their destruction AND having made this clear by attacking them in the past and by supporting the work of terrorist groups within the Palestinian lands.  There is plenty of hate to paranoia to go around on both sides. 

Atheo, I appreciate the opportunity this forum provides folks like yourself to engage in discourse with others, such as myself.  It’s clear we disagree about what RAE said (or more accurately how he said it), but that’s the great part about all this:  we have the chance to communicate our disagreements in a reasonable fashion. 

I would also agree that I have seen things written that lead me to believe that some folks may have hatreds for particular groups of persons.  But I would hardly indict the entire website as you seem to do.  Again though, you are entitled to believe what you do and to post as such.  While I disagree with some of what you have said I also appreciate that your postings (as well as Matt’s comment) have given me pause to consider my position. 

Thanks for keeping the debate and alive.

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By atheo, May 28, 2007 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

Thanks for your comment Matt,
I’m new to this forum and frankly got the impression that it is a haunt of hate filled supremicists. I’m glad that some participants have your level of awareness.

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By Matt, May 28, 2007 at 9:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Forkboy writes:

“...we don’t see this sort of behaviour (as indicated by RAE’s metaphor) from the Jewish community, but we do see it in large swaths of the Islamic communities around the world”

Atheo responds:

“My guess is that your TV stations aren’t showing Israeli settlers assaulting Palestinian children.”

I applaud Atheo, and I add this:

Displays of mass rage also tend to reflect the frustration of an impotent group. The Israelis have a powerful military, a huge nuclear arsenal, enormous wealth, and the slavish, near-suicidal devotion of the world’s sole superpower. This makes it even more contemptible that Israeli settlers behave so abominably - and with complete impunity.

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By atheo, May 28, 2007 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

@ Forkboy
The origin of your impression of muslims as violent and fanatical would probably be MEMRI, this organization distortsreality by presenting scenes out of context and piecing together snippets of quotes or outright mistranslation.

RAE promotes killing a leader “and millions like him” who are “all insane” after comparing them to insects. If you can’t grasp the implications I’m floored.

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By Matt, May 28, 2007 at 7:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sadr is admirably unwilling to sanction the US seizure and destruction of his country, to be used as a base for further wars of aggression to benefit Israel (next victim: Iran).

I find Sadr’s “fiery”, “anti-American,” and anti-Israel speeches to be entirely appropriate.

Just about any person in his place would be similarly outraged and “fiery”.

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By Forkboy, May 27, 2007 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment

atheo,

It would seem we simply disagree on the particulars of the way in which RAE wrote in his comment.

Personally I would have been more pleased with your reply if you had instead asked if he (RAE) had thought his comments were racist instead of simply calling him out as a bigot.  So far your comments seem to spend as much time demeaning the messenger as they do trying to make your point/counter-point.

I would counter that your notion that using the bees simile is somehow dehumanizing as completely over the top.  But I wouldn’t tell you that you cannot believe, feel and writeyour opinion.  I would, however, suggest stating opinion without resorting to name calling.

And yes, I do see Israeli’s doing wrong in and around their nation.  However, I do not see the wholesale education of large portions it’s populace to hate and despise the Palestinians.  There is plenty in the way of error and blame to be heaped upon both sides of this ongoing issue.

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By atheo, May 27, 2007 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

@ forkboy

Suggesting a “resemblance” to any animal is offensive and racist. It contributes to the dehumanisation which is required to create an atmosphere which condones genocide.
You seem to have been subjected to demonization propaganda, which resulted in this remark:

“My only retort to your reply would be that we don’t see this sort of behaviour (as indicated by RAE’s metaphor) from the Jewish community, but we do see it in large swaths of the Islamic communities around the world”

My guess is that your TV stations aren’t showing Israeli settlers assaulting Palestinian children. Perhaps you should question why your media source is trying to make you into a bigot.
All in all, I would have to say that this site appears to attract people who at the very least approve of participating in a forum which is clearly hostile to those of other religions. I guess you could call it a liberal Democrat hate site.

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By Forkboy, May 27, 2007 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

Ah, touche atheo.

My only retort to your reply would be that we don’t see this sort of behaviour (as indicated by RAE’s metaphor) from the Jewish community, but we do see it in large swaths of the Islamic communities around the world. 

That completely aside, RAE uses this SIMILE (my apologies - I meant to say “simile” but instead suffered from some sort of brain fart and used “metaphor” - RAE used the word “like”; thus it’s a simile and not a metaphor) referring to bees to relate to the perceived actions of Muslims following Sadr’s lead.  RAE isn’t calling these Muslims bees (much less insects), but stating that their behaviour is like that of a hive. 

I believe there is a marked distinction between saying “..Muslims are bees…” and “...Muslims acting like bees…”:  one could be construed as bigoted while the other is simply “a figure of speech that expresses a resemblance between things of different kinds (usually formed with “like” or “as”).”*

* wordnet.princeton.edu

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By atheo, May 27, 2007 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

Well, Forkboy, does this seem like “clever” metaphor?

“find someone who could explain to me why millions of his fellow Jews flock together like bees in a hive, all buzzing the same bullshit ready to swarm on command and commit mayhem in the name of a thug/rapist of a prophet and an imaginary god. The whole damn bunch of them is insane.
If I were a King for a Day, I’d sure find a way to facilitate a meeting between him (and all like him) and his Maker - toot sweet!

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By Forkboy, May 27, 2007 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

Atheo,

The use of a metaphor to describe the collective actions of a group is not bigotry.  It was, in my opinion, a clever metaphor to associate the hive-mind-set of unthinking reactionaries to the world of insects.

The metaphor in this instance is, again in my opinion, both accurate and relevant.  Would you have objected had RAE made a statement more along the lines of “Far right-wing conservatives and believers in Pat Robertson work together like bees in a hive, all buzzing the same bullshit (they know not why), ready to swarm on command and fill Senate seats with like-minded neo-cons.”? 

Besides, from what I’ve read of bees they are a pretty smart bunch of insects so I can hardly see how equating anyone with bees is bigoted.

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Gabir's avatar

By Gabir, May 27, 2007 at 1:00 am Link to this comment

I can only sympathize with Moqtada al-Sadr . The Bush “administration” took our Military into Iraq for bogus reasons , and in the process , every aspect of daily Iraqi life is worse than the day when we “liberated” Baghdad .
    It might be helpful for some people to imagine reversing the entire scenario - what would it be like if this was happening here in America instead of in Iraq ? How would we handle door to door searches , bombs and rockets blowing away the landscape , the smell of death everywhere , not knowing if we would be returning home alive after leaving in the morning , a corrupt government created by a corrupt government pretending to lead the country , etc…..............
    As long as we occupy Iraq , I find no evil in this man .

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By THOMAS BILLIS, May 27, 2007 at 12:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sadr’s back means the surge is the big joke it always was.He is the guy who is going to run the country when we leave and he does not seem too terrified by the surge.I do not care what Petraeus or any other General says if Sadr is back nothing we are doing in Iraq is working.By the way is he still wanted for murder.

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, May 26, 2007 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment

““Aggressor”!? WHO invaded and occupied WHOSE country, you cretin!? “

Thanks Matt. Nice to hear from those who think so highly of me.

If you’ve read any of my offerings on TruthDig you know I’m OUTRAGED at the bullying and arrogance of the USA’s foreign policies and actions.

All I was trying to point out here is that Sadr’s tirades, his whipping the masses into a frenzy (which doesn’t seem all that hard to do in Moslem countries), is hardly contributing to the possibility of PEACE.
————————————-
atheo comes right out and labels me as a bigot.

My dictionary defines a bigot as “one obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his own church, party, belief, or opinion.”

If being absolutely intolerant of rabble rousing, threatening, hate-mongering, “religious” freaks is being a BIGOT, then I plead guilty, and proud of it.

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By DennisD, May 26, 2007 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Moqtada al-Sadr will become the new Saddam as soon as we’re gone. He’ll quickly align Iraq with Iran and the Middle East’s worst nightmare will become real - courtesy of Bu$h Inc. I don’t think we can even imagine the extent of the train wreck that will inevitably take place. In their never ending quest for the almighty dollar, George, Dick, Karl and their band of merry Neocons have f**ked things beyond anyone’s imagination.

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By atheo, May 26, 2007 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

@ Forkboy

Identifying a group of people as insects is the height of appalling bigoted hate.

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By Forkboy, May 26, 2007 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

Atheo,

I would hardly consider it bigoted to suggest that a group of persons are ‘insane’ as did RAE.  Is RAE really that far from the truth?  Certainly the Islamic world has much in the way of those who hate the West and America in particular.  Schools and mosques throughout the Muslim world preach hatred and jihad against us. 

I do not like dumping large numbers of persons into such categories (i.e. considering Muslims as terrorists), but to ignore this situation or assume it’s simply bad to say so because it’s not politically correct isn’t necessarily clever or correct either.

And please, look at my comments sprinkled throughout Truthdig; I’m no Republican by any stretch of the imagination.  Hell, on socio-economic issues I’m damn near a socialist.  I despise the W junta.  I want us OUT of Iraq NOW.  But I’m not adverse to seeing someone suggest that folks who blindly follow a cleric (or whatever one wishes to call Sadr) who spews venom and hatred as insane.

After all, I KNOW that J. Falwell was insane.

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By atheo, May 26, 2007 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

“millions of his fellow Muslims flock together like bees in a hive, all buzzing the same bullshit (they know not why), ready to swarm on command “

RAE - you are a bigot.

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By Matt, May 26, 2007 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RAE whines:

”...lead 6,000 Iraqi worshipers in chants against the United States: “No, no for Satan. No, no for America. No, no for the occupation. No, no for Israel.””

You label Sadr as a “cleric” - a religious leader - a person who counsels others about God and about being a good human being.

As soon as leads with “no, no for America, etc.” he CEASES to be a “cleric” in my view. He becomes what he really is… a military aggressor hell bent on the destruction and death of anything he doesn’t like.”
—————

“Aggressor”!? WHO invaded and occupied WHOSE country, you cretin!?

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By Matt, May 26, 2007 at 10:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So he sounds hateful and “anti-American”. Come on, he has a right to!

The US invaded and occupied Iraq in a fraudulently justified war of aggression.

If Russia did this to us (if they could), would American resistance leaders make sure to express their objections in non-hateful, non-“fiery” language?

Imagine the speeches:

“... My fellow Americans - let me begin by saying that I CERTAINLY don’t mean to sound like I HATE RUSSIA or anything like that…”

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RAE's avatar

By RAE, May 26, 2007 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

“...lead 6,000 Iraqi worshipers in chants against the United States: “No, no for Satan. No, no for America. No, no for the occupation. No, no for Israel.””

You label Sadr as a “cleric” - a religious leader - a person who counsels others about God and about being a good human being.

As soon as leads with “no, no for America, etc.” he CEASES to be a “cleric” in my view. He becomes what he really is… a military aggressor hell bent on the destruction and death of anything he doesn’t like.

If I were a King for a Day, I’d sure find a way to facilitate a meeting between him (and all like him) and his Maker - toot sweet!

Then I’d find someone who could explain to me why millions of his fellow Muslims flock together like bees in a hive, all buzzing the same bullshit (they know not why), ready to swarm on command and commit mayhem in the name of a thug/rapist of a prophet and an imaginary god. The whole damn bunch of them is insane.

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By Spinoza, May 26, 2007 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

Get the USA and Israel out of the Mid East Now.

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By Jim C, May 26, 2007 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

This can’t bode well .

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, May 26, 2007 at 1:21 am Link to this comment

‘INFORMED COMMENT’

Juan Cole 5/25/2007


“CHENEY CONNIVING AT IRAN WAR SAYS BUSH CANNOT BE TRUSTED”


“Cheney and his staff are colluding with the Neoconservatives at the American Enterprise Institute and with Israeli hawks to sideline Condi Rice’s negotiations with Iran by getting up an Israeli cruise missile strike on Iranian civilian nuclear research facilities at Natanz, in hopes that this move will push the US into a war posture with Iran.

Clemons is very well connected in Washington and assures me he has multiple-sourced this story. It seems entirely plausible to me.”


http://www.juancole.com/labels/Iran.html

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By yezbok drahcir, May 25, 2007 at 8:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I do not believe that Bush and his cronies in the merging war and oil industries really want stability in Iraq.  By keeping the violence alive, they maintain an excuse to remain and continue pillaging.  I believe that Bush wants al-Sadr right where he is – alive and well as a star of “the enemy” camp.

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By Hammo, May 25, 2007 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

The goal of establishing permanent US presence and military bases in Iraq, reportedly an objective of the invasion and occupation, is going to be very costly for US troops and their families.

Many or most Iraqis and people of the region do not want US forces occupying Iraq, and they will keep fighting our troops.

We can’t win and we can’t pull out ... or maybe we can, and will end up pulling out in some gradual way similar to Vietnam.

Much depends on how much American blood we are willing to spend on this terrible blunder by Bush-Cheney and their neocon and war-profiteer associates. (The occupation of Iraq remains very profitable for many of the American businesses involved in the occupation.)

For perspective, check out:

“‘Nam War, ‘Raq War: Similarities, Differences”

http://www.populistamerica.com/nam_war_raq_war

-  -  -

“Going in circles: Vietnam, Iraq, calls for impeachment”

http://www.populistamerica.com/going_in_circles_vietnam_iraq_calls_for_impeachment

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By Fixer, May 25, 2007 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

U.S. forces leave Iraq? Hey, that’s what I want, too - and I don’t feel radical. And if all the U.S. forces left Iraq, Sadr could do whatever he wanted and anyone outside of Iraq wouldn’t have to care.

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By atheo, May 25, 2007 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

“Moqtada Sadr, in a characteristically fiery anti-American sermon delivered in Kufa, demanded that US forces leave Iraq.”

Fiery eh? I think the reason the warmongering propagandists choose to demonize these leaders is the same reason that the U.S. attempted to assasinate him, he demands sovereignty.

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By QuyTran, May 25, 2007 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

What for ? More blood shed ?

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