April 13, 2004

Comment on Sadr from VDH

Victor Davis Hanson has some choice words about the "Iraqi" "Cleric" on his weblog bq. For about a year now, a baby-faced grotesque thug, Sadr, dressed up in a cleric's robes and backed by two or three thousand gangsters has held world-wide televised press conferences as he pompously boasted about his promised imposition of Iranian-style theocracy upon 26 million other Iraqis. bq. Forget that in most municipal elections in the first year of the reconstruction Iraqis had shown not much interest in his crackpot Shiite paradise on earth. Forget that this criminal was not a holy-man at all, but a murderer who shortly after the liberation of Iraq, had systematically put out hits on various rivals. bq. Forget that he was a coward who was a mouse under Saddam's fascist police, and roared as a lion only after the Americans, whom he daily slurred, at the cost of their lives and treasure had freed him and his Chicago-style Costa Nostra. And forget that he was hardly a nationalist, but an Iranian toady who did the bidding of Teheran and wished to ruin southern Iraq in the same manner that his kindred self-appointed mullahs had wrecked Iran. bq. But do not forget that for some strange reason the most powerful military in the history of civilization was not allowed to move on this latter-day Jugurtha before his venom infected thousands beyond his immediate Mafia. The moment there was good proof in the days following the toppling of Saddam that Sadr had ordered and killed various rival Shiites, he should have been arrested, tried, and, if found guilty, hanged—at a time when the United States military was fresh from victory and still in a combat mode. bq. There is a lesson in the saga of Sadr here that we really must relearn about this entire war. The United States, because it is militarily powerful and humane in the way that it exercises that force, usually can pretty much do what it wishes in this war against terrorists. In every single engagement since October 2001 it has not merely defeated but obliterated jihadists in Afghanistan and Iraq. The only check on its power has been self induced: out of a misplaced sense of clemency it has often ceased prematurely the punishment it has inflicted on enemies—at Tora Bora, in the Sunni Triangle, during the looting of Baghdad, and now perhaps at Fallujah—and relented to enter into peace parleys, reconciliation, and reconstruction too early. Posted by DaveH at April 13, 2004 6:34 PM