Saturday, October 28, 2006

Colbert I. King: The Grand Ayatollah Behind the Curtain - The Washington Post

David Seaton's News Links
This article isn't very deep and its analysis isn't very penetrating, but it does ask exactly the right question... What was the war really for? This is a question that will keep us busy for years and I don't think there is a simple answer. My hunch is there were/are several conspiracies running simultaneously and perhaps not even fully aware of each other's existence. That is the only explanation I can find for the moment for such a long running balls up. DS

The Grand Ayatollah Behind the Curtain - The Washington Post

By Colbert I. King
October 28, 2006

Abstract: The question directed this week to the National Security Council press office was straightforward: "Has the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani met with any American official, either military or civilian, since the U.S. invasion in 2003?" The answer reveals the extent to which the Bush administration is now, and always has been, out of its depth in Iraq.(...) Frederick Jones, the NSC's communications director, said yesterday that no American official has ever met Sistani. But how, you might ask, can that be? After all, since Hussein's statue was pulled down in 2003, Iraq has been visited twice by President Bush. Vice President Cheney has been there, too. Two different secretaries of state -- Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice -- have dropped in. So have Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, countless high-ranking Pentagon brass and enough U.S. senators and members of the House of Representatives to warrant a congressional annex in the Green Zone. How is it possible that leaders of the world's most powerful nation -- a country that has generously sent 140,000 of its finest sons and daughters to fight, suffer and die to free Iraq from the Baathist grip -- have not met the Iraqi leader with the most to gain from Hussein's defeat? It's because the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani has designated himself off-limits to Americans. He will not let Bush, Cheney, Rice and company in to see him because they are non-Muslims and thus he considers them to be kafir, or infidels. Sistani regards himself as too good to meet with those who freed him.(...) Sistani's chief competition is not the United States but an anti-American Shiite cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, and his Badr Organization, which has infiltrated Iraqi military and police units. The Iraqi parliament, truth be told, responds to the calls of the firebrand cleric. What have we come to? In addition to al-Sadr, today's Iraq is under the influence of a Muslim cleric, Sistani, who, according to Newsweek, forbids music for entertainment, dancing and playing chess, and forbids women from shaking the hands of any men other than their fathers, brothers or husbands. His whole purpose is to promote Shiite theology and keep Iraq as a democratic, but decidedly Islamic, state. Billions spent, thousands of Americans dead or maimed, U.S. armed forces exhausted, stretched thin and working around the clock -- for that? Is this what George W. Bush had in mind? READ MORE

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