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Thursday, October 26th, 2006

Time Event
"To him, the two ideas do not conflict."
Has anyone else listened to the Anne Garrels piece that aired on the second hour of yesterday's All Things Considered on NPR?

She profiled a Baghdad neighborhood, Hourria (SP?), "where Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army are killing and expelling Sunnis;" the most instructive portion of her story begins at 6:21 minutes into the 7:39 running time of the archived audio:

ANNE GARRELS: "Yet even Hassan, whose family was forced to flee their home, and whose brother-in-law was killed by Sadr's militia, does not blame Sadr himself."

TRANSLATOR relaying HASSAN'S INTERVIEW: "He only fights the Americans, and we are with him on that. He has never approved the killing of Sunnis."

AG: "Despite his hatred of the American forces, and his support of attacks on them, Hassan says he wants the American troops to stay in his neighborhood to protect him. To him, the two ideas do not conflict."

TRANS. for H: "I wish that they would stay, so that no one would dare pick up arms in Hourria; because if they leave, it will be like Afghanistan, with everybody armed to the teeth."

It seems to me that Hassan sees the U.S. troops as the equivalent of a stalking horse: something to draw the fire of the Shi'ite thugs who might otherwise direct their fire at him and his family; this seems to dovetail nicely with Bush's "flypaper" theory (otherwise known as "we fight them there so we don't have to fight them at home;" never mind the distinct possibility that we'll be fighting them at home because we fought them and gave them on-the-job-training "over there"...).

Maybe this is an emotional reaction, but I don't see how using U.S. troops as stalking horses is a tenable strategy in an open-ended "war on terror;" shouldn't we be thinking seriously how to pull out of Iraq without leaving all of our materiel, particularly weapons and ammunition, behind? Any thoughts?

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