once again there's trouble in najaf. once again shiite cleric muqtada al-sadr (the name translates to: he whose turban leaks) is whipping up the tempest in the teapot. once again he promptly got his head handed to him by american and iraqi forces. and, once again, after swearing up and down he'd fight until his last drop of blood had been spent, he's gone running for his mommy and begging for peace talks.
he is rumored to have taken some shrapnel although it isn't immediately clear how he could have when we've been avoiding his oh-so-holy imam ali shrine like the place has tested positive for ebola. the only word we have on al sadr's supposed war wounds come by way of his aides, so it's more than possible that the whole thing has been cooked up in an attempt to allow for a face-saving retreat.
which, sadly, seems to be exactly what allawi is offering him. the details of the negotiations between al sadr and the IGC aren't known, but a public statement from allawi on thursday called for "all the armed groups to drop their weapons and return to society," in other words, put down your guns, walk away, and let's all just forget this ever happened.
will al sadr himself be offered the same deal? why not. they gave it to him last time. and it's not like his army is going to surrender without him. my hunch is that allawi will throw some tokens of appeasement al sadr's way, enough so that he can walk off claiming a victory, and that will be that.
until another three or four months go by and, once again, najaf is in revolt and, once again, al sadr is holed up in imam ali and, once again, our armies are sent into harm's way with one hand tied behind their backs to risk death against a foe they've already bested twice.
if iraq is going to have a strong democracy then it will be born of strong leadership. men like al sadr, a cheap huckster, a two bit thug, and a coward, need to be smacked into place--preferably into their eternal place--not molly coddled out of fear of offending the sensibilities of their deranged supporters. and if shiite islam in general is offended, well, that just means democracy never had a prayer in iraq to begin with. because iraq ain't big enough for democracy and no good varmints muqtada like al sadr, and what's needed is a new sheriff who's willing to lay down the law.
b.t.w.: what's the real reason al sadr is apparently going to be given the ol' get out of jail free again? iran, the elephant in the living room, is pumping men, munitions, and millions into his revolt, and confronting al sadr means tacitly acknowledging who and what is really responsible for him in the first place. as far as i'm concerned, that can't happen quickly enough.
locdog hopes we'll soon give iran exactly what they fear
turns out we live in a democracy after all
the CSSC thwomped would-be czar of san fran gavin newsome today by ruling that he overstepped his bounds in authorizing gay marriages. those gay marriages which occurred during newsome's reign of error, numbering nearly 4000, have been voided.
is this a victory for stodgy, homophobic moralists and fundamentalist wackos like myself who consider "gay marriage" a contradiction in terms?
yes and no.
no in that the ruling was so narrowly construed as to be essentially worthless as gay marriage precedent. really it was just about the authority a mayor does or does not retain and--surprise!--it turns out that he cannot willy nilly override the legislative and judicial branches, nor can he simply ignore state referendums that don't jive with the sensibility of his local constituencies.
now for the yes. you may be surprised to learn that i do not think the "yes" resides in the nullification of 4,000 marriages which, as far as i'm concerned, never existed in the first place. this is simply because the fact that these were gay marriages had nothing to do with their court-decreed illegitimacy, except in the tangential sense that at the time newsome authorized them, gay marriages happened to be illegal. had he married four thousand people to their washing machines, the eventual outcome would have been identical and identically useless to the marriage debate on the whole.
where the yes resides, what little of it there is, is in the fact that one *cough* backdoor entry to gay marriage has been sealed. should gay marriage ever become a reality, it will not be through the will of the people, but through the actions of a renegade politician like newsome or, more likely, a renegade judge.
not that anyone cares, but my own pet solution to this problem is to get the state out of marriage altogether. leave "married" a religious distinction that the church alone applies. states can only offer the civil aspects anyway, so why not formalize it? civil unions for all, gay or straight. if your church wants to call it marriage, fine, you go ahead and be a heretic. just don't force the whole society to go along with you by rewriting the law books.
osama the ABB
john kerry supporters fall into one of two categories. the first are people who genuinely like john kerry and are eagerly awaiting the day when he will lead us all into a glorious new chapter in american history. there are maybe four or five of these people in existence. the second group, which has about fifty million members, are the ABBs.
ABB stands for "Anybody But Bush," a handy acronym that occurred to me while watching the democratic national convention. unlike the true, die-hard kerry supporters, united as they are by debilitating mental handicaps, the ABBs have little in common. this group runs the gamut from hard core communists who think that kerry is about .001% better than bush to environmentalists who can't countenance another suicidal nader vote to yellow dog democrats who would vote for vlad the impaler before they'd vote republican.
i can't say that i agree with the ABBs, but i get them. most of these people never got over losing the 2000 election and everything that's happened since has only worsened their condition. and, understanding the mind of the ABB as i do, it came as little surprise to me that osama bin laden is among their ranks.
what i don't get, though, is how osama's fellow ABBs reconcile this knowledge with their core principles. according to everything they've told us since afghanistan, osama should be delighted at the prospect of four more years of dubya.
ok, not all of them. it must be admitted that many of kerry's liberal base supported our efforts against the taliban. but many others argued that by attacking an islamic government, bush was giving bin laden exactly what he wanted. as afghanistan was pushed off the front page by iraq, more and more liberals joined the chorus. bush is osama's boy. osama wiggles the strings and bush dances. bush is a walking al qaeda recruiting poster. he's sowed the seeds of discord and anger. he's bolstered the terrorist ranks. he's strengthened their resolve to harm americans. while bush has been asleep at the switch, osama has been growing stronger. everything bush has done in the war on terror has been exactly what osama wanted him to do.
well, ok, if that's the case, then why does osama want him out? everyone knows that osama wants to strike before the november elections, and everyone knows there's only one possible reason for doing so: defeat bush and get john kerry into office. we don't need to guess. we don't need to speculate. we've seen him do it in spain, where he killed hundreds of spaniards days before national elections, and the spanish people, dutiful sheep that they are, handed power over from a conservative government to a socialist one which promptly pulled them out of iraq.
of course, to hear the ABBs tell it, osama doesn't care about iraq. if he cared about anything at all, he cared about afghanistan and bush has been ignoring that--not true in the slightest, as osama well knows, but we'll play along. so as the ABB would tell it, bush is ignoring the war on terror in favor of a pointless action in iraq fought over weapons that don't exist and osama has been flourishing in the meantime, except, for some inexplicable reason, osama is desperate to get bush out of office.
could it be because bush has kicked the hell out of osama's organization, capturing or killing 70% of its senior leadership and decimating its ranks of followers? could it be because he's eliminated two terrorist-friendly governments and all the support they might have provided? could it be because he's closed down their front organizations and charity groups and seized hundreds of millions of dollars in al qaeda funds? or maybe it's the fact that the united states is now a harder target than ever, that thanks to the patriot act, the department of homeland security, increased airport security measures, the enacted recommendations of the 9/11 commission, and dozens of other changes and improvements, osama has an increasingly tough time planning and carrying out his operations, and that when he does get to plan, we've gotten wind of it and disrupted things ala mr. khan's laptop. or maybe osama's just a tired, sickly old man who's sick of sleeping on the rock floor of a cold, damp cave like the hunted animal he is when he should be lying in a hospital bed somewhere.
could it be that osama knows that if bush wins, he's in for what teresa heinz kerry so aptly described as four more years of hell?
locdog is voting ABO: anyone but osama
best sentence ever
easily the best i've ever read in an AP story, anyway:
"A group known as the League of Human Dignity helped arrange for Deuel to be driven to a local livestock scale, where he could be weighed."
emphasis added. more here.
locdog couldn't top that if he tried