September 04, 2003


This guy just doesn’t make sense:

The brother of a cleric assassinated in a car bombing told 400,000 mourners yesterday he blamed the US occupation forces for the lax security that led to the attack at Iraq's most sacred Shiite mosque.

And how does he suggest the forces might improve security?

At the funeral for Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, his brother raged against the American troops and demanded they leave Iraq.

You know, it’s pretty difficult to police mosques in Najaf when you’re way over in the US. The Ayatollah’s bro seems to have some difficulty understanding the concept of “primary responsibility”, too:

"The occupation force is primarily responsible for the pure blood that was spilled in holy Najaf, the blood of al-Hakim and the faithful group that was present near the mosque," said Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, the ayatollah's brother and a member of the US-picked Governing Council.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 4, 2003 12:58 AM

Yeah, yeah. Whatever, pal. Take a number.

Jeez, I mean! It was just a few mullahs, there's plenty more where your brother came from. It's sort of a local tradition to blow up things, I'm told. Usually not shrines, true, but there's no shortage of them either...

Posted by: mojo at September 4, 2003 at 01:42 AM

Infidels are responsible to protect holy Najaf???

Posted by: Sandy P. at September 4, 2003 at 03:00 AM

You expected sense out of people who run their lives according to bronze age desert nomad stories about an invisible superhero from outer space?

Posted by: Elitism For The People at September 4, 2003 at 03:15 AM

I wish we could just just tell these ungrateful wretches to get lost. There wasn't a US presence around the mosque out of 'respect', at the request of the head honcho who got himself blown to bits. At least that meant there were no GIs killed in the blast.

Still, that seems pretty much par for the course. Total abdication of responsibility is the hallmark of these people. They're fundamentally puerile, and need to grow up, fast.

Posted by: David Gillies at September 4, 2003 at 03:16 AM

All true, but the rationale of having US troops there is to provide order and stability. If we fail to do that, it is not wrong for Iraqis to ask what our purpose for having troops there is exactly.

Critics of President Bush or the US in general will use whatever excuse is available to attack. We expect such contradictions.

However, it would be a mistake to simply dismiss the truth behind this man's statement. The continued legitimacy of US troops to liberated Iraqis (Kurds and Shi'ites as opposed to Sunnis) is based proportional to how well we maintain order. People will accept us if we do our job, but attacks like this does undermine our legitimacy. There is no substitute for victory after all.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at September 4, 2003 at 09:14 AM

This ain't hard. As the occupying power, America IS responsible for security. No ifs, no buts. Simple.

And Andjam I hope you get to this post - read the above and tell me again how there's no racism on this site...

Posted by: Nemesis at September 4, 2003 at 01:34 PM

The fact that the same people who are attacking American troops are attacking (actually, slaughtering) Shiites in Najaf would seem to have presented an opportunity for our side. As far as I know, though, no American offical in Baghdad troubled to make that point -- not to the international press and certainly not to Iraqis. Paul Bremer was actually in Vermont on vacation when the bombing occurred, and his office announced that he had no plans to change is schedule because of the bombing.

Even ideas that are no more than common sense cannot be expected to sell themselves, especially in a place like Iraq. And opportunities do not last forever.

I really am starting to wonder if the Bush administration is more concerned about defending its policy from domestic criticism than it is about making the policy work. OK, that's disingenuous. I've always believed that about a President obviously more comfortable raising money for campaigns than in the policy world. But surely even with this leadership there should be some room to improve the communication of our policy in Iraq to Iraqis. All reports right now -- from the American press, the international press, Iraqi and American military bloggers -- suggest that communication is at a lamentably low level of visibility and consistency. I can't think why no one seems to have figured out that in an Arab country the default position of someone who does not know what you are trying to do is Not indifference or neutrality, but suspicion and hostility.

Posted by: Zathras at September 4, 2003 at 01:42 PM

Bremer is ON HOLIDAY???? The clown only just started work!!!

Jesus Frigging Christ. These bastards are obviously really serious about reconstruction aren't they?

Posted by: Nemesis at September 4, 2003 at 02:26 PM

What racist remark Nemesis ?.

Posted by: Gary at September 4, 2003 at 02:39 PM