The Day We Lost Amarah

|

The Shiite militia run by anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr seized total control of the southern Iraqi city of Amarah on Friday in one of the boldest acts of defiance yet by one of the country's powerful, unofficial armies, witnesses and police said.

A full AP report. It certainly provides some helpful context for this report on the future of the U.S. in Iraq from the Washington Post. The money quote:

Richard N. Haass, a former Bush administration foreign policy official, told reporters yesterday that the situation is reaching a "tipping point" both in Iraq and in U.S. politics. "More of essentially the same is going to be a policy that very few people are going to be able to support," said Haass, now the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. He added that the administration's current Iraq strategy "has virtually no chance of succeeding" and predicted that "change will come."

I had been–and still am, somewhat–skeptical that public disenchantment with the war would prove decisive in next month's congressional elections. But may the New York Times be right and me wrong.

NEXT: Asking the important questions...

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Is it a civil war yet, Mr. Rumsfeld?

  2. I don’t think the war issue will be decisive, except in a few swing districts.

    Unless, of course, Al Queda & clones decide to help the GOP once more by pulling off a spectacular attack between now and Nov 7.

  3. I’ll never understand why we didn’t put a bullet in al-Sadr when we had the chance.

    The fact that we didn’t is one reason why I would respond to any poll on “are you satisfied with the way the war has been handled” with a resounding “no”.

    Which would of course be spun and misrepresented as “anti-war”, when I’m really more “anti-losing-the-war”.

  4. De Stijl, I say no.

    But, I define a civil war as a war that breaks out as a result of the standing government spliting. I use our own civil war as an example. This has yet to happen, but it keeps getting closer.

    Civil war is not necessary for Iraq to go belly up. The sectarian violence can destroy the country on it’s own. The government need not break up, just become ineffective and moot. That is what’s happening.

  5. Well, damn.

  6. Maybe the Brits and Yanks could divvy up Iraq and make some new countries. That always works out well.

  7. But R C, let’s say we had killed al-Sadr when we had the chance. Maybe, maybe this town wouldn’t have been taken over. But don’t you think we killed or captured just about everyone we’ve had the chance to?

    I guess I’m wondering if our failure over there has less to do with not being tough enough and more to do with not having planned enough and the implications of the fact that many, if not most, of the civilians in charge don’t know the difference between Sunni and Shia.

  8. I’ve got nothing against a dead Muqtada al-Sadr, but what good would it have done?

    Allowed him to be replaced by someone who wasn’t a dilletante at guerilla tactics? It’s not as though the Mahdi Army would have gone home and taken up needlepoint.

  9. RC Dean initiates the next phase of “why we lost” silliness: we didnt kill the right (soon to slide into “enough” )people. Its a regular hobbyhorse of the “we COULD have “won” in Viet Nam if” bunch.
    Yup, we coulda offed the guy. And then, what? as pointed out above, the guy is a crackpot & amatuer. His soldiers are deleuded cannonfodder. But he’s an Iraqi, I cant help but notice. Last I looked, the Serious Thinkers behind this idiot bloodbath arent.
    FURTHERMORE, our usual high explosive bigfoot tactics (we HAVE no actual strategy) generate support for our putative enemies, NOT support for the US military (us, in this case)
    And I say “putative” because, frankly, Iraqis fighting to throw out a foriegn occupying army are not my enemy. To be my enemy, they would have to threaten my liberty.
    My liberty is threatened by political forces here.
    Every act of repression makes his movement stronger.
    Every excuse to turn the US into a “national security state” makes my REAL enemies stronger.
    Iraq used to be a well educated secular tyranny. With HUGE US support. Then our mad dog slipped his chain. Surprise surprise.
    I think we’ve killed more than enough Iraqis, & got killed more than enough of our kids……or aint this enough blood for you?

  10. MUTT wins.
    (the comment page, the war, eh, ain’t no winners, yet, if ever.)

  11. MUTT:

    Ditto.

  12. God damn, the light at the end of the tunnel IS a train.

  13. “I guess I’m wondering if our failure over there has less to do with not being tough enough and more to do with not having planned enough and the implications of the fact that many, if not most, of the civilians in charge don’t know the difference between Sunni and Shia.”

    Les, which civilians are you speaking of, the Iraqi civilians in charge of the Iraqi government, or the civilians in the US government, or some other bunch of civilians?

  14. which civilians are you speaking of, the Iraqi civilians in charge of the Iraqi government, or the civilians in the US government, or some other bunch of civilians?

    I would hazzard to guess “George Bush”

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.