The WarRight: "This week, Chicken Littles like Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd were ranting that Iraq is another Vietnam. Pundits and sages were spinning a whole series of mutually exclusive disaster scenarios: Civil war! A nationwide rebellion!
Maybe we should calm down a bit. I've spent the last few days talking with people who've spent much of their careers studying and working in this region. We're at a perilous moment in Iraqi history, but the situation is not collapsing. We're in the middle of a battle. It's a battle against people who vehemently oppose a democratic Iraq. The task is to crush those enemies without making life impossible for those who fundamentally want what we want.
The Shiite violence is being fomented by Moktada al-Sadr, a lowlife hoodlum from an august family. The ruthless and hyperpoliticized Sadr has spent the past year trying to marginalize established religious figures, like Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who come from a more quietist tradition and who believe in the separation of government and clergy. Sadr and his fellow putschists have been spectacularly unsuccessful in winning popular support.
Over the long run, though, the task is unavoidable. Sadr is an enemy of civilization. The terrorists are enemies of civilization. They must be defeated."
Left: "I refer to this entire mess as the second Intifada of Iraq. The first Intifida was last August in Fallujah when US soldiers killed 15-17 Iraqis and Fallujah fell into revolt. Vehicles are being hit where they are easiest to find and the security firms who are here to protect the Westerners are taking casualties because the US Army and Marines are literally stretched thin throughout the country and quite over their own capacity to stop the violence. The resistance's combat operational center of mass is and will continue moving from known mass resistance organizations (such as uniformed Badr Brigade) to small leaderless or autonomous teams or supporters who are now deciding to do what they please to the first target available. Those targets are easy ... Westerners. Any and all. This burst of energy won't last long though ..
I suspect we will have a cool down period in the next few days or within a week but it will be simply to "re-arm and re-fuel for re-strike and re-venge." A true sustained explosion of violence has yet to be coordinated by the myriad of resistance teams but as the independent or semi-centralized resistance groups form, choose leadership and communicate at the internet cafes, you can be pretty sure the second wave of violence is going to come and it will be equally, if not more, dramatic. This time it won't be men in black uniforms, they have learned that lesson in Najaf ... They will shift to urban terrorism and un-uniformed attacks. God forbid if Sadr is killed or captured ... then we have an entire second front that won't give up until we leave."
Iraqi: "A whole year has passed now and I can't help but feel that we are back at the starting point again. The sense of an impending disaster, the ominous silence, the breakdown of most governmental facilities, the absence of any police or security forces, contradicting news reports, rumours everywhere, and a complete disruption in the flow of everyday life chores.
All signs indicate that it's all spiralling out of control, and any statements by CPA and US officials suggesting otherwise are blatantly absurd.
The chaos and unrest have rapidly spread to several other cities in Iraq such as Mosul, Ba'quba, and Kirkuk. The situation in Fallujah looks terrible and bleak enough from what Al-Jazeera is showing every hour. Ahmad Mansour reported that they keep changing their location for fear of being targetted by Americans. The town stadium has turned into one large graveyard, and the death toll is 500 Iraqis until now with over a thousand injured, a huge price to pay for 'pacification'. The insurgents in Fallujah who are using mosques and house roofs to wage their war against the Marines are equally to blame for the blood of the civilians who have been caught in the crossfire. A ceasefire has been announced by the Americans and is supposed to be in effect but Al-Jazeera reports that fighting continues. What kills me is the absence of any serious effort by Iraqi parties, organisations, tribal leaders, or clerics to intermediate or try to put an end to the cycle of violence. All we hear is denunciation and fiery speeches as if those were going to achieve anything on the ground. "
Right: "Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching tonight. A short "Talking Points" memo because we want to get right to the Condoleezza Rice (search) testimony. Once again, the elite media have misled you. On the front pages of The New York Times, The L.A. Times and The Washington Post, the words "uprising in Iraq" are featured.
One problem, it's not an uprising. The Berlin Wall (search) deal was an uprising. The regular folks rebelling against an entrenched authority is an uprising. Militant attacks in Iraq are an insurgency, not an uprising. This kind of stuff makes me angry. The elite media often spins information to make editorial points. And that's really wrong.
Today in Iraq, there was less fighting and no uprising. "Talking Points" is confident the American military will crush the al-Sadr militia and subdue the town of Fallujah. Again, somebody alert the elite media. There is no uprising in Iraq. "
Left: NEW YORK, April 7, 2004 -- It's the oldest story in the world: what goes up, comes down. All the bluster, PR, "positive" press, bullying, distortion, deception, and military tough-guyism cannot keep a flawed policy afloat. The invasion of Iraq, sold as the "liberation of the Iraqi people," was always a movie with a bad script, flawed characters, and no third act.
Despite all the Bremer ballast served up about how only a handful of Saddam-worshipping, al-Sadr-loving, Al-Qaeda-following fanatics stand in the way of a US-imposed democratic paradise, the reality on the ground suggests otherwise. A Sunni-Shia opposition movement is emerging, and gathering steam."
Iraqi: "We've taken to sleeping in the living room again. We put up the heavy drapes the day before yesterday and E. and I re-taped the windows looking out into the garden. This time, I made them use the clear tape so that the view wouldn't be marred with long, brown strips of tape. We sleep in the living room because it is the safest room in the house and the only room that will hold the whole family comfortably.
The preparations for sleep begin at around 10 p.m. on days when we have electricity and somewhat earlier on dark nights. E. and I have to drag out the mats, blankets and pillows and arrange them creatively on the floor so that everyone is as far away from the windows as possible, without actually being crowded.
Baghdad is calm and relatively quiet if you don't count the frequent explosions. Actually, when we don't hear explosions, it gets a bit worrying. I know that sounds strange but it's like this- you know how you see someone holding a rifle or gun and aiming at something, ready to fire? You cringe and tense up while waiting for the gunshot and keep thinking, "It's coming, it's coming...". That's how it feels on a morning without explosions. Somehow, you just know there are going to be explosions... it's only a matter of time. Hearing them is a relief and you can loosen up after they occur and hope that they'll be the last of the day."
The MemoOn the Right: "If Democrats on the 9/11 commission are still looking for a smoking gun to hold to the head of President Bush, they're going to have to look somewhere other than that Aug. 6, 2001, presidential briefing memo released Saturday night.
Oh, the title is shocking enough: ``Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US.'' But it was entirely as national security adviser Condoleezza Rice described it, an historical document, recounting a series of vague threats bin Laden had been making since 1997 - including in television interviews - that he wanted to ``bring the fighting to America.''
The now declassified memo also said, ``After US missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Ladin told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington.''
Another possible target referred to in the memo was the foiled millennium plot to attack Los Angeles International Airport.
In short, much of this ``shocker'' could have been put together by any semi-literate Web surfer who Googled bin Laden - which sadly says much about this government's intelligence operations prior to Sept. 11."
To the Left: AN EASTER BUSHISM....President Bush this morning: the August 6 PDB said "nothing about an attack on America."
Huh? How about the title, "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US"?
How about "After US missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Ladin told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington"?
How about "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York"?
How about "The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related"?
Look, I know there's a perfectly good case to be made that the PDB merely states generalities and doesn't warn of a specific, impending attack. That's fine as far as it goes, and it's the spin I'd expect the White House to put on it.
But "nothing about an attack on America"? The whole document was about al-Qaeda's desire to attack America. How does he get away with saying stuff like this?
The Stats.Number of Muslims in the world: 1.3 billion
Percentage of them that are Shiite: 10
Number of Shiites in the world: 130,000,000
Population of Russia: 144,000,000
Distribution of Shiites: Majority in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Azerbaijan; Plurality Lebanon; about 15% in Afghanistan, Pakistan; 5% of Indian Muslims;
Percentage who would be enraged by a US Marines assault on the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf: 100
The Promise."The US military has said it will capture or kill Iraqi Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr.
"The mission of US forces is to kill or capture Muqtada al-Sadr," Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, commander of US ground forces in Iraq, told reporters in the United States in a video link from Baghdad on Monday. "
The Advice:Those original flash movies should have loaded by now. Might as well have a laugh at this point, right?
And finally, last, and most certainly least, some real advice, if I may be so bold.