BAGHDAD — A cease-fire critical to the improved security situation in Iraq appeared to unravel Monday when a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr began shutting down neighborhoods in west Baghdad and issuing demands of the central government. Simultaneously, in the strategic southern port city of Basra, where Sadr's Mahdi militia is in control, the Iraqi government launched a crackdown in the face of warnings by Sadr's followers that they'll fight government forces if any Sadrists are detained. By 1 a.m. Arab satellite news channels reported clashes between the Mahdi Army and police in Basra.
The freeze on offensive activity by Sadr's Mahdi Army has been a major factor behind the recent drop in violence in Iraq, and there were fears that the confrontation that's erupted in Baghdad and Basra could end the lull in attacks, assassinations, kidnappings and bombings.
As the U.S. military recorded its 4,000th death in Iraq, U.S. officials in Baghdad warned again Monday that drawing down troops too quickly could collapse Iraq's fragile security situation.
Pentagon officials said that military leaders are watching for any signs of backsliding as they consider whether to keep drawing down troops below pre-surge levels.
President Bush spoke about the death toll, saying, "One day, people will look back at this moment in history and say, 'Thank God there were courageous people willing to serve, because they laid the foundations for peace for generations to come.' "
Even as he spoke, the situation on the ground was rapidly worsening.
On Sunday, a barrage of at least 17 rockets hit the heavily fortified Green Zone and surrounding neighborhoods, where both the U.S. and Iraqi government headquarters are housed, according to police. Most of them were launched from the outskirts of Sadr City and Bayaa, both Mahdi Army-controlled neighborhoods.
Keep your eye on the ball. Providing natural cover, the election has taken the place of the mis-information campaign. We have all had that sinking feeling when our hopes are held high for change, then some incident happens that takes it all away and all that is left is that empty feeling of quiet desperation to re-do the moment an put the evil Genie back in the box and hope once again.
We will commemorate the next thousand dead with the same indifference paid to the 4000 now, sure we talk about it, sure we are sad, but despite that this illegal and totally morally wrong war continues unabated with no end in sight. We hope and we hope but sometimes hope is not enough.
Youth of America, despite what you might think is a just and noble cause joining the military, it is not.
Cheney himself said of the war dead and injured, "they volunteered".
So my push is to get the word out to STOP volunteering! These people do not care about you or your family or you.
You are the means to an end for THEM, thats it, nothing more.