Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

They Don't Give Us Flowers Anymore
Not that they ever did. The violence of Fallujah has spread to Baghdad and the south of Iraq, with armed militias opposed to the American-led occupation controlling streets in some areas.

Iraq was racked today by its most violent civil disturbances since the occupation started, with a coordinated Shiite uprising spreading across the country, from the slums of Baghdad to several cities in the south.

By day's end, witnesses said Shiite militiamen controlled the city of Kufa, south of Baghdad, with armed men loyal to a radical cleric occupying the town's police stations and checkpoints. More than eight people were killed by Spanish forces in a similar uprising in the neighboring town of Najaf.

In Baghdad, American tanks battled militiamen loyal to Moqtada Al Sadr, the radical cleric who has denounced the occupation and has an army of thousands of young followers.

At nightfall today, the Sadr City neighborhood shook with explosions and tank and machine gun fire. Black smoke choked the sky. The streets were lined with armed militiamen, dressed in all black. American tanks surrounded the area. Attack helicopters thundered overhead.

"The occupation is over!" people on the streets yelled. "We are now controlled by Sadr. The Americans should stay out."
-- NY Times

Billmon, in an unfortunately necessary "I told you so," tells us that he did tell them so:

A more plausible risk would seem to be something comparable to the 1968 urban riots here in America -- a wave of civil unrest that breaks out in many cities at once, and quickly spirals out of control. The insurgents, no doubt, would be happy to fan the flames any way they can.

Such a scenario could leave the Coalition with two choices: Crack down very hard, with indiscriminate use of lethal force, or, let the riots burn themselves out before trying to restore order. Either way, the Bush administration would be looking at a PR disaster, one that would make it impossible to pretend that things are gradually "getting better" in Iraq.

To be fair, Billmon wrote this last October. But I'd have to say that it is never impossible for the Bushies to pretend. They've been pretending that Bush is a good president for three years; anything else (black is white, night is day, Iraq is getting better) should be easy by comparison.