Tuesday, May 11, 2004

And now, a brief break from the irony and snark: Prof. Juan Cole's blog is indispensable. Today it features a write-up of interviews with the new Spanish defense minister, Jose Bono, in which it's revealed that Spanish troops refused an order from the Americans -- probably coming from Dubya himself -- to capture Muqtada al-Sadr "dead or alive". That sort of major operation in Najaf would risk putting all the Shiites in the country in arms against us. (Gosh, is that why they wanted the Spanish as fall guys?)

Perhaps I'm not the only one to hear odd echoes of this of the Falluja situation, where the on-scene commander apparently took his superiors in the Pentagon and even Baghdad by surprise, by negotiating a settlement which avoided an armed assault amid a hailstorm of tough talk about deadlines and "all necessary action" from Washington...


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