August 6, 2004


More than 1,200 militiamen surrender in Najaf: police (AFP, 8/06/04)

More than 1,200 militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr surrendered following fierce clashes with US and Iraqi forces in Najaf, the police general directorate said.

"Over 1,200 criminals have surrendered to Iraqi forces," it said in a statement, adding that the holy city of Najaf had been "secured." [...]

The US military said Friday that 300 militiamen were killed in Najaf since Thursday's fighting, while the province's coalition-appointed governor Adnan al-Zorfi said the number was as high as 400.

The military said also three US soldiers were killed and 12 wounded.

Folks who hate all Muslims and/or President Bush have seemingly brainwashed themselves into believing that any time this cheap thug gets a few guys to commit hari kari it signals a Shi'ite uprising. The first couple times they could fall back on the excuse of ignorance, but now they're just starting to seem kind of psychotic.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 6, 2004 5:24 PM

1200!!! Plus 300 to 400 killed since Thursday. Unbelievable.

Posted by: djs at August 6, 2004 5:42 PM

You're not asking the right question.

In most places, political suicides are a wasting asset. Not in Islam, not in Iraq and most especially not among Iraqi Shiites.

One nut is just a nut. 300 nuts is a movement.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 6, 2004 6:10 PM

In a Jim Jones kind of way--a movement, but a selkf-defeating and ultimately trivial one.

The right questioon, of course, is are 300 the best he could do in a nation of over twenty million. The answer is, obviously: yes.

Posted by: oj at August 6, 2004 6:27 PM

The ugly alternative is that they are not being psychotic but hopeful.

Posted by: Brandon at August 6, 2004 6:39 PM

Amigo, this is not a movement. This is a mob. It's like saying all Blacks in America were going to rise up during the L.A. riots in 92. Of course they were not. The majority of them were probably appalled. They went to work the next day because they had bills to pay and kids to raise. Lives to live.

I was listening to NPR this morning and the "news" announcer called the former Sadr uprising (last time, before Sadr started crapping himself and shut the hell up) a "widespread uprising." How uninformed can these reporters be? If it was a widespread uprising, the war would be lost. The fact is that most Shiite leaders were distancing themselves from this LOSER and telling the US to go ahead and whack him. Movement my infidel ass. Like Orrin said yesterday, some guys just ask to beg to get whacked.

Posted by: the anti-Harry Eager at August 6, 2004 6:55 PM

It's certainly clear that Mookie (as our troops call him; I love that) is not the sharpest tack in the box. This on-again-off-again uprising is a pretty stupid strategy: big enough for him to lose men and sympathy, but not big enough to accomplish anything. Wounding the king and all that.

Posted by: PapayaSF at August 6, 2004 7:03 PM

Very interesting thoughts from an Iraqi blogger over at Roger Simon's place, noting that Sistani is out of Iraq for medical attention at the present time. Since he'd probably feel obligated to issue one of his condemnations of fighting in the "holy city" were he available, his trip could be part of a plan to finish off Mookie once and for all.

Posted by: brian at August 6, 2004 7:57 PM

Maybe even fundamentalist whack jobs get tired of collecting LGBs the hard way.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at August 6, 2004 9:41 PM

At 300 to 1 (or, 1500 to 1), Sadr will run out of martyrs around next Tuesday. Even the loonies looking for virgins aren't going to keep fighting at those odds.

Harry - by your definition, the LaRouche clique is to be feared in American politics. I don't think so. Although, if they started carrying AK-47s.....

Sadr will be dead fairly soon (probably by some disillusioned follower, at this rate).

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 6, 2004 11:07 PM

Their problem is they aren't fundamentalists. They're contaminated with Khomeinism--a French import.

Posted by: oj at August 6, 2004 11:09 PM

Maybe I should have added 'self-renewing' to 'movement,' but I thought I had made that clear by the comment that ordinarily political suicides would be a wasting asset.

If nuts are a renewable resource in Islam -- as they obviously are -- then killing them off has no more effect on the organism than trimming your toenails has on your organism.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 8, 2004 3:18 PM

Politically suicidal nuts are plentiful in every society. Islam hasn't produced anywhere near as many as Revolutionary France, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, etc.

Posted by: oj at August 8, 2004 4:44 PM

Politically suicidal?

I thought we were talking about literally suicidal. In that context, Islam easily seems set to surpass WWII Japan in pursuit of the all-world outdoor/indoor freestyle Life Support System for Explosives competition.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at August 8, 2004 8:11 PM

literally suicidal for political reasons--how many Islamic militants have died since the establishment of Israel? several thousand? How many Bolsheviks marched into Stalin's maw for the cause?.

Posted by: oj at August 8, 2004 8:26 PM

I cannot think of any in our society, except maybe Corrie, though it isn't clear that's what she had in mind.

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