April 5, 2004
This was not a good weekend in Iraq. In riots started by the fiery Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr, 7 US soldiers, an El Salvadoranian soldier, and lots of Iraqis were killed. What's possibly worse though is what it showed about the power of an (illegal) uprising. Apparently, as soon as the al-Sadr militia advanced on the police checkpoints, the police abandoned their posts. This, I'm sure, is a huge disappointment to the Coalition forces who will be relying on the common police forces come July, after they've turned over command.I wish I had a good solution. I don't. I think the laws need to be enforced, but who's going to do it? The insurgents are too intimidating to the police. And we all know they're willing to use their weapons. They don't respect life. I can see a real disaster coming when the turnover happens on June 30. Not only will I turn 28 that day (probably not as much of a disaster), but the Coalition military and political presence will be greatly diminished. Al-Sadr, and I'm sure others, have countless violent men at their disposal, and seem eager to combat the government. I'd give it a pretty darn slim chance that things will improve when the hated Americans leave. They're just an excuse for the people wishing chaos on the country. As much as I want the Coalition to go through with the transfer plan, I can't help but think it's bad news awaiting. Things just aren't stable. There are too many rebels and not enough enforced law.
Posted by charr at 10:33 AM
I can't say I'm surprised that things are turning out this way. I had hoped against reason that things would calm down there, and Iraq could return to governing itself peacefully, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen anytime soon. Further intervention on our part may not make things any better, either. We broke it, and we can't put it back together.As an aside, I was amused by your parenthetical denouncement of the uprising as 'illegal'. Under what conditions would an uprising be considered legal? By definition, an uprising is an attempt to overthrow the established authority, which authority defines the laws. A government that considers its own violent dissolution as something to be allowed would be an interesting one indeed.
Levi, I must chuckle myself at the "illegal" remark. I meant it in reference to the fact that the rebels were bearing illegal arms, and thus the uprising was illegal (as opposed to a non-violent demonstration). I should have been more careful.
Den Beste says that all of this last week isn't necessarily bad. I don't know if I agree with him or if I want to agree with him. Anyway, his analysis of last week's events is interesting. As for the whole reconstruction of Iraq, I'm on the fence and have a "wait and see" attitude about it. We can't just leave now, but I'm not as convinced that it will be as easy to reconstruct as predicted.
I'm not sure how much I agree with the guy. The problem I see is we're dealing with a massive bunch of little kids with guns, albeit kids that are 15-45 years old. They don't see the big picture, rather they act on the moment, and do it sans thinking.