Who's in Charge, Here?
A lot of ink is being spilled over John Kerry's bumbling delivery of a lame joke, and it's given the Repubs an excuse to divert attention from their own culpability on the war in Iraq. Kerry went on Imus this morning to apologize, but in the meantime we've got a real example of disrespecting the troops that's not getting near the same exposure.
A U.S. soldier was kidnaped last week in Baghdad, and U.S. forces had instituted a blockade and checkpoints in the Sadr City area to help search for him. That's caused some inconvenience for the Shiites who live there, and yesterday Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki demanded that the checkpoints be dismantled. According to The New York Times, American commanders were caught off guard by the demand, but they soon acquiesced. The Washington Post describes Sadr City as "the base of the country's most feared militia, the Mahdi Army, which answers to Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Sadr's strongly anti-American bloc is the largest in the Shiite governing coalition and was instrumental in making Maliki prime minister five months ago." So it shouldn't be hard to guess where the pressure on Maliki might've come from.
This seems like a huge story, the American military being told how they can keep order and search for their missing soldiers by Iraqi insurgents. And I've already linked to two major newspaper sources, but how is this being covered on TV? After searching, I found a story at CNN blandly headlined " Iraq's Prime Minister Eases Security Around Sadr City." I had a hard time finding the story on FOX's site, too, but at least when I did they had an accurate headline: "U.S. Forces Dismantle Baghdad Checkpoints on PM Al-Maliki's Orders." But where's the wall-to-wall coverage to match that for Kerry's gaffe? Is Bush aware that the Iraqi PM is issuing orders to his troops? If not, why not? If so, is he complicit--does this have his OK?
If they want to focus their time on charges of disrespecting the troops, they're ignoring a prime example.