Canaries and beaches
I was over at Real Clear Politics and came across this headline "Kill Muqtada Now" by Ralph Peters. It's a very disturbing article. Peters writes near the beginning of the piece:
I lost faith in our engagement in Iraq last week. I can pinpoint the moment. It came when I heard that Maliki (the Iraqi Prime Minister) had demanded - successfully - that our military release a just-captured deputy of Muqtada al-Sadr who was running death squads.
Peters then goes on to tie that event to GWB's press conference and the current state of inside politics in Iraq:
As a former intelligence officer, that told me two things: First, Iraq's prime minister is betting on Muqtada to prevail, not us. Second, Muqtada, not the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, is now the most powerful man in Iraq.
At his news conference, Bush was asked about another statement made by Maliki just hours before. Our troops had conducted a raid in Sadr City, Muqtada's Baghdad stronghold. The Iraqi PM quickly declared that "this will not happen again." He was signaling his allegiance to Muqtada. Publicly.
Oh, Maliki realizes his government wouldn't last a week if our troops withdrew. He doesn't want us to leave yet. But he's looking ahead.
For now, Maliki and his pals are using our troops to buy time while they pocket our money, amass power and build up arms. But they've written us off for the long term.
The rest of the article is an analysis by Peters that portends no good. As I wrote a friend of mine the story reminds me a the canary in the cave that warned of poisonous gas, or the receding of water at the seashore that forecasts the soon to arrive tsunami.
Read the article. Peters has a solution to the problem. It's still a very ominous piece.