"Half of them are JAM. They'll wave at us during the day and shoot at us during the night," said 1st Lt. Dan Quinn, a platoon leader in the Army's 1st Infantry Division, using the initials of the militia's Arabic name, Jaish al Mahdi. "People (in America) think it's bad, but that we control the city. That's not the way it is. They control it, and they let us drive around. It's hostile territory."
...."All the Shiites have to do is tell everyone to lay low, wait for the Americans to leave, then when they leave you have a target list and within a day they'll kill every Sunni leader in the country. It'll be called the 'Day of Death' or something like that," said 1st Lt. Alain Etienne, 34, of Brooklyn, N.Y. "They say, 'Wait, and we will be victorious.' That's what they preach. And it will be their victory."
.... After U.S. units pounded al-Sadr's men in August 2004, the cleric apparently decided that instead of facing American tanks, he'd use the Americans' plans to build Iraqi security forces to rebuild his own militia.
....His recruits began flooding into the Iraqi army and police, receiving training, uniforms and equipment either directly from the U.S. military or from the American-backed Iraqi Defense Ministry.
Friday, February 02, 2007
The consequences of not withdrawing
Though opponents of withdrawal like to mislead themselves and others by ascribing the consequences of a misguided war to the act of disengaging from that war it should be remembered that staying in Iraq has some real negative consequences over and above keeping our troops in harms way for no good reason. Via Kevin Drum some junior US officers say that the main mission of training the Iraqi Army is just choosing sides in a civil war: