So why is it missing? And where’s the part about Moktada being an acknowledged jackass? You tell me. Maybe one reason is that the reporters interpreting Iraq for Western readers can’t speak Arabic and don’t understand much of what’s going on around them. Maybe some, like Allam, can greet people and say some basics. But surely if they understood what Moktada Al Sadr rambles on about, if they knew his “theories” about the evils of soccer and the benefits of swimming, they would long ago have been embarrassed by their own story lines.
Iraqis know he’s an ass. Lots of people in the region know he’s an ass. (One of Lebanon’s leaders referred to Moktada the other day while speaking to the press. Comparing him to Hassan Nasrallah, he called Moktada “the deranged one.”) The fact is that Iraqis, after decades of living in fear under Baathist thugs, are simply afraid of Al Sadr’s terrorist gangs. But why waste time on determining how many Iraqis really believe Al Sadr’s drooling speeches, when you can provide space for those who lie on his behalf?
The essence of the Mahdi gang isn’t that they deliver cooking gas, it’s that they kidnap our relatives and hold them hostage until we pay tens of thousands of dollars. The Mahdi thugs don’t look after our interests, they threaten us and murder our neighbors and loved ones. There’s nothing noble about them. They’re criminals, and romanticizing them only aids and abets them in their crimes.
And if you missed IraqPundit’s assessment of Michael Scheuer’s grip on Islamic terror, go back and read it as well. Conclusion:
I think Scheuer has that backwards. It isn’t that Atwan’s conclusion “should deeply unsettle” U.S.leaders. These U.S. leaders should be deeply unsettled by Scheuer’s discussion of Atwan’s book. Because if this is the kind of person we’ve been relying on for analyzing and advising about terror, we are in even more trouble than we realize. You know, the CIA kept Scheuer’s unit secret. Maybe they were embarrassed.