April 09, 2008

Tom Ricks Can't Help Talkin' Smack

It's not even subtle anymore. Tom Ricks is now calling us Small Wars Journal's "rogue cousin." Let's get something straight, Ricks: We here at Abu Muqawama are no blog's rogue cousin. It's not our fault the crew at Small Wars Journal plays it straight. We keep it real, broadcasting live from the mean streets of Walthamstow where a low-level insurgency is taking place right outside our window.

While we're on the subject of Lebanonization, though, here's another historical analogy that Amb. Crocker missed. In Lebanon, in September 1983, the U.S. lent direct support to what it assumed was a national institution, the Lebanese Army, in the battle at Souk el-Gharb. By doing so, it became, in the eyes of the rest of the Lebanese population, just another militia and thus fair game. What happened next? Ask any U.S. Marine.

Now we all know the situations in Iraq and Lebanon are not exactly the same, but Souk el-Gharb was running through Abu Muqawama's head during the battle of Basra two weeks ago when we were lending our support to the "national" army of Iraq in its fight with the Sadr crew. To us good-natured Americans, it may have looked as if we were lending our support to the legitimate, national institutions of Iraq. But to other Iraqis, it probably looked as if we were taking sides in the intra-Shia political dispute between ISCI and Sadr in the run-up to this fall's provincial elections.

At least the senators yesterday didn't let Crocker and Petraeus get away with talking about the "Iran-supported Sadr Militia." Yes, Ambassador, Iran does support Sadr and his militia. But they also support our allies. What a fine mess we've gotten ourselves into.

Update: Charlie, here. We may not be anyone's cousin, but we are rogues, right? Right?