Seeing how the Sadr thing turned out, it might be a good time to look at what people have said in the past. The above tech central article is a great look at the other side of the coin for Al-Sadr.
"So is Najaf really the right spot to be fighting Moqtada al-Sadr and his Shia militia? To fight, and possibly kill-either on purpose, by accident, or as a consequence of his own self-martyrdom--this new hero of the Shia, admired by 68 percent of Iraqis, according to a poll taken last May by the US government? "
first off, we did not pick the place to fight, Sadr did. Secondly, we are not the ones wanting to fight, Sadr is.
But the article does bring up some good points that need to be looked at.
"The Western Allies who occupied Germany after VE-Victory in Europe-Day, May 8, 1945, suffered precisely zero fatalities in the course of their peacekeeping duties. If that doesn't square with some distant memory you might have about the aftermath of the US entry in Baghdad in April 2003, that's because you might be carrying a false-meme planted by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice at the time. For whatever reason, purposeful or accidental, Rice tried to minimize and contextualize then-erupting anti-Americanism by planting an incorrect historical precedent in the minds of Americans; she claimed that diehard-Nazi "Werewolves" kept the bloodshed going for years after Germany's surrender. This tale of Germany in the '40s might have succeeded in making Americans feel better about taking losses in Iraq in the '00s, but it was just that: a tale. Which is to say, not true. "
I heard this differently, but I did hear it only from right wing circles, so I could be wrong about what I thought it was like after WWII. I will need to put this on a to list to look at.
Whatever one thinks of the Jaysh al-Mahdi, the Sadrist fighters in Najaf, they are nothing like the Nazi Schutzstaffel, or its battlefield wing, the Waffen SS. The SS was the product of the centralized, industrialized, and hierarchalized Nazi state. The SS was actively evil, but when Hitlerism collapsed, it did, too.
The origins of the Nazis and the al-Mahdi are not the same, but their goals are. Each want to forcefully deploy their lifestyle on others, weather they like it or not. Oh and do not forget, kill everyone that is different from you. In some ways the al-mahdi are worse than Nazis, they back their hate with religion. I am sure their was a healthy dose of religion for the Nazis, but the Sadr fighters have much more. This guy makes a good stab at trying to reduce the negative connotation surrounding Sadr, and his merry band of brothers, but it does not quite cut it for me. The bush administration has made mistakes in the Iraq war, but pointing out their mistakes does not change the fact that Sadr is a radical cleric, who might be backed by Iran, a fact that was missed by this article.
But we might remember that the stated reason for our being in Iraq-other than, of course, the WMD-threat-was not to take out Moqtada; we were there, we said, to help Iraqis, 60 percent of them Shi'i. And we are also there, presumably, to make sure that a pro-American government wins a democratic election.
He only mentions the real reason why we are in Iraq in passing, to install a democracy. If you are against democracy, you are against the Iraqi people and the US. It does not matter if they are proamerican or anti-American. If the elected officials uphold human rights, justice, and freedom, I don't care if they like us. As long as they let us train the military, and use some land for military bases to contain Iran.
I just laugh now when I see lines like this, seeing how things really turned out, this was not the case at all.
Here's one man's reason for fighting:
Ayad Ali, a militiaman in Baghdad's Sadr City slum, claimed his brother was run over by a U.S. tank. "I would fight the Americans until the last drop of my blood," he said, echoing a sermon al-Sadr has delivered in a funeral shroud, symbolizing his readiness to die in battle.
This guy was right about one thing.
Instead, Americans have found themselves in a lose-lose situation. Kill al-Sadr, create a martyr, and lose what little remains of Iraqi hearts and minds. Or else, don't kill al-Sadr, and see credibility of the whole US military mission undermined--in Iraq, and maybe around the world.
I don't know how to get the US out of this box. But I do know this much: the neocons, who got us into this mess on the basis of false evidence and false analogies, are not the ones to get us out of the box, either.
No it was not America that solved the Sadr problem, it was Iraqis (or one Iraqi to be exact). This should be pointed out to the Iraqis every where, that is a powerful message that could save a lot of lives (American and Iraqi).
Only they have the power to solve their own problems.
Also, I realized why we played it right in Najaf. There have been a few that have advocated taking over the shrine, which would mean brutal fighting inside the shrine. Some have also wanted brutal take down of those rebelling.
We are in a war, and in war it is simply stated that you must win. Normally you win by destroying you enemy, and that is in fact what most people think about when they think of war. In fact, you win by not giving you enemy what they want. If you enemy wants to take over your land, you kill them. The have to live, if they want to enjoy your land. If you enemy wants you to kill them, you do not kill them. You imprison them, or make peace. Sadr wanted us to kill him, and we won by not falling into his trap.