The Corner

On Fallujah/Najaf

The Fallujah debacle was our fault, primarily Bremer’s and secondarily the NSC’s (Bremer called the White House in a panic because the Sunnis were threatening to resign, so he wanted to call off the Marines, and the NSC–read Blackwill and Rice–agreed.

Najaf is different. Here the theoretical decision-making power is with Allawi (the CIA’s factotum, remember) and now, to some extent, with a new “legislature.”

And in the background is the issue nobody much talks about: Bremer’s decision, endorsed by the NSC and unchallenged by the “hawklets” in the Pentagon, to bring back lots of Baathists and empower them. So if we were to destroy the Shiites in Najaf after permitting the (mostly) Sunnis in Fallujah to take over the city, the mass of Iraqi Shiites–including all those who hate Sadr–would see a clear tilt against them.

We shouldn’t want this. So, much as I hate Sadr, and much as I want him thrown in Abu Ghraib–there is an arrest warrant, after all–I think it’s wrong to call for effective force in the one case and not the other. It actually seemed a day or two ago that we were on the right track. I read somewhere that the Fallujah Brigade was being dissolved, and the Marines were preparing to go back at the fiends in Fallujah. But that doesn’t seem to be happening.

Meanwhile, will someone please explain to me once again why this administration lavishes so much attention on ex Baathists like Allawi and doesn’t do a damn thing for the poor Shiites in Sadr city? Like clean water, which still seems to be lacking, like electricity, etc. etc.

Oh yes, I remember. It’s because the real enemy is Ahmed Chalabi. The Congress has summoned him for testimony, right? No? You must be kidding…he called the CIA a bunch of liars, and the Congress is steaming forward with “reform of intelligence,” and they don’t want to hear him? Can’t be…

Michael LedeenMichael Ledeen is an American historian, philosopher, foreign-policy analyst, and writer. He is a former consultant to the National Security Council, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense. ...


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