A grim reminder

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In recent months the mainstream media paid scant attention as the U.S. troop surge substantially reduced levels of violence and casualties in Iraq -- actually bringing a measure of peace and tranquility to most of that war-torn country

But now that violence and casualties are on the uptick again, coverage of the war is once again all over the news.

To be sure, anytime the war worsens it's bad news. But the nature of this new round of fighting in Basra, Baghdad and the oil-rich south does carry with it a silver lining.

The bloody clashes are not between the rival Muslim factions of Shiites and Sunnis so much as it is between radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and Iraqi security forces, the latter comprised mostly of Shiites. Standing firmly behind his security forces is moderate Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who promises, "No retreat."

A cynic might say that Maliki is talking tough because he's got U.S. warplanes backing up his forces with air strikes in Basra, and Hellfire missiles and U.S. troops in Baghdad and elsewhere. An optimist would counter that Maliki -- who has always backed off from a fight with the anti-American, pro-Iranian al-Sadr -- is now taking him on, even in Sadr City, the radical cleric's stronghold. This is what started the latest round of violence.

Maliki's bold leadership should warrant an apology from those war critics, especially top Democrats, who denounced him as being too weak a leader to ever confront his fellow Shiites. But don't hold your breath.

Even so, there is no telling how the internal Shiite conflict will play out, or how it will affect the Sunnis and Kurds. What is known is that al-Sadr's months-long cease-fire and cooperation with what he calls "the forces of occupation" has virtually collapsed, not withstanding that the truce has not officially been called off, and he has indicated a willingness to renew negotiations.

The new round of violence is a jarring reminder, after months of calm, that there is still a war going on in Iraq, and much of it is being fueled by Iran's radical Shiite regime's close ties to al-Sadr.

Tehran's stirring of the pot is certainly designed to increase its influence, if not dominance, over Iraq after the "occupation forces" leave. And the sad truth is, if Iran's rulers can keep the violence going until November they may actually succeed.

There's no doubt that the regime's mad mullahs and their front man, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, would prefer Americans elect a cut-and-run government than a tough and resolute one. Let's pray the voters disappoint them.

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JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 03/30/08 - 05:24 am
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The Augusta Chronicle is

The Augusta Chronicle is passing pure Republic War Party partisan talking points as pearls of wisdom. Every claim made in this editorial is highly disputable. Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki is a warlord just like Moqtada al Sadr. It is arguable that Shiite factions aligned with Maliki are closer to Iran than is al Sadr. Maliki is an impulsive leader. His party faces elections in October. Sadrists see the offensive in Basra as a grab for political power & a move to disenfranchise them. Control of oil rich south Iraq is also a factor. Many experts say Maliki's move surprised President Bush. This was originally billed as an Iraqi operation. Bush tried to spin it as an "opportunity" & cast civil violence in his usual binary "good Maliki vs evil Sadr" ideological framework. Then Maliki's offensive stalled. He called in U.S. & U.K. forces which deepens U.S. involvement. The U.S. surge has failed just as Maliki's ill advised offensive in Basra has failed. The surge did not serve to stem violence, pacify, stabilize & reconcile Iraq or Iraqis. Bush blames Iran for his failed war in Iraq, for his faulty decision to escalate the war by "surging" U.S. troops & for his latest blunder in backing the immoderate Maliki's machinations in Basra.

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 03/30/08 - 06:34 am
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Professor Juan Cole writes:

Professor Juan Cole writes: "Ned Parker of The Los Angeles Times does a good job in clarifying the rivalry between the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (with its Badr Corps paramilitary) and the Sadr Movement (with its Mahdi Army paramilitary). The Iraqi government is supporting, and supported by, Badr. An ISCI cleric, Jalal al-Din Saghir, openly admits that the conflict is over control of the provinces." I pointed out in my first comment that it is arguable that the Badr Corps is more closely aligned with Iran than is Moqtada al Sadr and his Mahdi Army militias. The Chronicle is negligent in any effort to inform the American people about the intricacies, complexities & political undercurrents in Iraq that too few Americans even begin to fathom. Telegraph.co.uk reports that instead of Sadrist militias turning in their weapons as Maliki demanded in his ultimatum, elements of the Iraq army & police have turned in their weapons & equipment to Sadr's forces! Maliki's offensive in Basra is a complete & utter failure! The Mahdi Army is now driving around in 7 American-Issued Humvees! To quote Commander in Chief George W. Bush "What an opportunity!" You are doing a heckuva job of "winning" in Iraq, Georgie Boy!

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 03/30/08 - 06:59 am
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The pro-Iranian Democrats

The pro-Iranian Democrats continue to flood the media with anti-American propaganda that provides plenty of fuel and justification for the stimulation of the Iraq conflict during crucial political times in the U.S.. I'm sure it's just coincidence that the Democrats and Shiites want the same end to the war just as I'm sure it just coincidence that their efforts are so well coordinated. Now, if we could just get those dang Americans to tuck tail and run, then we could get on with business as usual. Vote Democrat!!

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 03/30/08 - 07:28 am
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Experts say the Badr Corps of

Experts say the Badr Corps of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq headed by Abdul Aziz al Hakim is more closely aligned with Iran than is Moqtada al Sadr. George W. Bush made the fateful decision to invade & occupy Iraq. The political realignment of Shiites in southern Iraq was precisely the reason that the Bush 41 administration did not march to Baghdad in 1991 & take out Saddam. Even Dick Cheney argued at that time that it was unreasonable to do so because no one knew what would happen afterward. Bush 43 was not nearly as prudent as his father. The war in Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with the attacks on 9/11, with any Iraqi threat to United States, with WMD, or with the fight against Muslim extremism. United States invading & occupying Iraq strengthened Iran. NOBODY wants us there except maybe the Kurds because they want us to keep Iraqi Arabs, Turks, Iranians & Syrians off their back. Democrats are not fomenting violence in Iraq. Democrats are not "pro-Iran". You are grabbing at straws & making lousy efforts to blame others for Bush's blunders. Bush blundered into Iraq, blundered by "surging" & now blunders by bailing out Maliki with bombs & U.S. special forces in Basra.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 03/30/08 - 07:32 am
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Kill the Americans! Vote

Kill the Americans! Vote Democrat! Act Shiite! (Hey Cain, I can't out stupid you, but I can almost out-radical you)

The_Last_Word
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The_Last_Word 03/30/08 - 07:36 am
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PT, Good insights. It's a

PT, Good insights. It's a scary thing when one party is bent on the defeat of the US military. One would think Vietnam was enough to satisfy their thirst for the white flag.

christian134
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christian134 03/30/08 - 07:43 am
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Thank you Chronicle for your

Thank you Chronicle for your insightful and right on target report. Sometimes biased media coverage will alter the truth to suit their own needs, more attention means more monies in their pockets. You, however, for the most part seem to dig into a subject and report the truth whichever way that path leads. Thanks again....Our military needs strength and support not cowardly attitudes the media is spewing just for a dollar...

JohnRandolphHardisonCain
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JohnRandolphHardisonCain 03/30/08 - 08:03 am
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One reason Americans allowed

One reason Americans allowed a dolt like George W. Bush to lead this country into an unnecessary & disastrous war is because of the lack of thinking evidenced by the 3 previous posters: patriciathomas, The Last Word & christian134. They are not interested in understanding the complexities of the political currents in Iraq and the region. They want everything cut and dried. The Chronicle obliges them by feeding them intellectual snack food. It is so simple in their minds: America is good. The "evil doers du jour" are bad. Cheer for America because it is the greatest country in the world, and it's supreme leader can never be wrong. Every excuse in the world has been offered for why United States is not winning in Iraq after 5 expensive years. There is no end in sight to this conflict. The crisis sparked by Maliki's offensive in Basra is no more a "defining moment" of this war than Bush's declaration of the end of major combat beneath a "Mission Accomplished" banner on May 1, 2003. At least not in any positive sense of the expression "defining moment". Keep on cheerleading. Stay the course. Elect St. John McWarrior as Commander in Chief & continue the war for the next 100 years. It's good for war profiteers & the war dependent U.S. economy until the whole shebang collapses.

WHATDIDIDO
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WHATDIDIDO 03/30/08 - 08:27 am
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It is sick to use the

It is sick to use the military as a polictical football. The reason why so many are turned off by the Republican party is that you all make an ignorant statement like " One party is bent on the defeat of the military". I mean we all know that there are no Democrats in the military, nor do we have any relatives that are serving. When you stick to the facts for or against any war, it help to get your point across, otherwise it shows an obvious agenda on that person part.

deportem
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deportem 03/30/08 - 08:30 am
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The Mahdi army decalred a

The Mahdi army decalred a truce and took 6 months off to regroup and rearm. Meanwhile, idiots like Senator Lindsey Graham declared the "surge" a success. All the "surge" did was to answer the question, "What if you had a war, and nobody came?"

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 03/30/08 - 08:49 am
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Run away, Run away! Face the

Run away, Run away! Face the facts, real Americans run away to show we're real Americans. Not supporting our country shows we're exercising our right to fight the Republicans. Down with America! Vote Democrat!

JohnCarllStrauss
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JohnCarllStrauss 03/30/08 - 09:00 am
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Anyone wondering about the

Anyone wondering about the outstanding moral character of JohnRandolphHardisonCain, read his response when pressured to tell the truth and to back up his accusations. "I hope I've answered your d*** question. Now f*** off!" Can't answer with the truth so he resorts to profanity. He didn't bother to censor either.

The_Last_Word
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The_Last_Word 03/30/08 - 10:20 am
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JRHC, It is probably a

JRHC, It is probably a mistake to even acknowledge your presence on this board - but here goes. If anyone is being simplistic and not "understanding the complexities of the political currents in Iraq and the region" - it is you and your fellow Democrat talking point readers. Not ONE word in your regular diatribes is original. I dare say I know more about Iraq (past and present) than you will ever hope to (or want) to know.

JohnCarllStrauss
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JohnCarllStrauss 03/30/08 - 10:23 am
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Last word....Cain has the

Last word....Cain has the most original cut and paste of anyone I know.

Republicant
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Republicant 03/30/08 - 10:37 am
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I find it appalling that we

I find it appalling that we have just passed 4000 U.S. deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Republicans want to blame Democrats for all of them. It will be really interesting to find out what the Good ole boys of the rep. party will do when there is a dem. in office. Are they going to back the new President like the "Patriots" they say they are? Or will it suddenly become Un-American to back your president? It brings me great joy to know that any candidate we have, the likes of PT and her "ilk" will be displeased.

JohnCarllStrauss
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JohnCarllStrauss 03/30/08 - 10:42 am
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While any American casualty

While any American casualty is sad, 4000 deaths for a war this long and this important is incredible. Remember Normandy?

WHATDIDIDO
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WHATDIDIDO 03/30/08 - 10:48 am
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If we had the technology back

If we had the technology back then like we have now, I doubt the numbers would have been half as high. Like comparing the Apollo space ships to the Space Shuttles. IMHO

JohnCarllStrauss
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JohnCarllStrauss 03/30/08 - 10:50 am
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Good point Hypo. We lost one

Good point Hypo. We lost one crew on Apollo and 2 with the Shuttle. Oh wait....that contradicts your analogy.....nevermind.

WHATDIDIDO
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WHATDIDIDO 03/30/08 - 10:58 am
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Yeah, but which would you

Yeah, but which would you ride on today? By the way when was the last time you flew on a plane? I am willing to bet that somewhere in the world, one crashes everyady. But I trust a 757 -V- the one the Wrights Brother flew, ANYDAY. Hey just having some fun.

JohnCarllStrauss
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JohnCarllStrauss 03/30/08 - 11:01 am
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Astronaught Story Musgrave

Astronaught Story Musgrave says HE would far prefer to use Apollo or Gemini craft because they are far safer. I'll go with his advice.

WHATDIDIDO
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WHATDIDIDO 03/30/08 - 11:02 am
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Yeah, I would love to fly in

Yeah, I would love to fly in a matchbox, with no fire fighting system anyday. So, I guess you will take the advice of the Diaper weearing Astronaught also? LOL

JohnCarllStrauss
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JohnCarllStrauss 03/30/08 - 11:08 am
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Come on.....Musgrave has

Come on.....Musgrave has wonderful hair! LOL

dani
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dani 03/30/08 - 11:14 am
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Does it matter to you that

Does it matter to you that the Shi-ite cleric has this morning called for a cease fire and has ordered his men to lay down their arms. Probably not. To the Democrats there can be nothing good happening in Iraq, we can't give our military any credit-it might carry over to the Commander in Chief.

JohnCarllStrauss
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JohnCarllStrauss 03/30/08 - 11:17 am
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dani....are you saying that

dani....are you saying that maybe the surge is working? Nah...that couldn't be it?

JohnCarllStrauss
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JohnCarllStrauss 03/30/08 - 11:41 am
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Cain...how about for once you

Cain...how about for once you stop using dishonest language like "Republic War Party?" People might take you a little more seriously if you weren't such a transparent distorter of truth.

sjgraci
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sjgraci 03/30/08 - 12:57 pm
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4,000 Lives Wasted. Three

4,000 Lives Wasted. Three Trillion Dollars Wasted. 100 More Years!

JohnCarllStrauss
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JohnCarllStrauss 03/30/08 - 12:58 pm
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Wasted? Nice way to show

Wasted? Nice way to show your respect for our troops. Being a vet, I must say "nuts to sjgraci".

jack
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jack 03/30/08 - 03:02 pm
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Hypocrap, if (God forbid)

Hypocrap, if (God forbid) either the exposed liar and socialist Cliton or the other exposed liar and racist, anti-American socialist Osama be elected, you bet your arse we Repubs will NOT support them in any tuck tail and run maneuver both have promised. THAT will be the patriotic thing to do. However, I don't think we have to woryy too much about them getting elected as they continue to destroy each other and their own credibility.

JohnCarllStrauss
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JohnCarllStrauss 03/30/08 - 03:02 pm
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I wonder if Cain is out

I wonder if Cain is out searching the Daily Kos, and other far left hate blogs to find more of HIS original thoughts to cut and paste on here.

jack
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jack 03/30/08 - 03:04 pm
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Sigraci, 4000 lives wasted 3

Sigraci, 4000 lives wasted 3 trillion dollars waste ONLY if we tuck tail and run.

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