So now that the Civil War in Iraq has flared up again, it seems (again) we’re siding with the more pro-Iran faction (Maliki) against the less pro-Iran faction (Sadr). Not only are we arguably backing the less palatable of the two sides, but as this Times of London story (which I’ve seen linked to in several places already) indicates, even that is being done poorly…
Abu Iman barely flinched when the Iraqi Government ordered his unit of special police to move against al-Mahdi Army fighters in Basra.
His response, while swift, was not what British and US military trainers who have spent the past five years schooling the Iraqi security forces would have hoped for. He and 15 of his comrades took off their uniforms, kept their government-issued rifles and went over to the other side without a second thought.
I guess this goes a long way toward answering the question of why, after five years of training, the Iraqi military still can’t deal with the insurgents.
But it raises the question… if the administration truly has chosen the least palatable side, how should Americans feel about it? Assuming Iran really is a big problem, do we root for Maliki’s side… knowing he’s going to be far more buddy-buddy with Iran than he is with us (and than Sadr would be)? Or, do we root for Sadr, who at this point has to be pretty damn anti-American, but at least he might dislike (according to various reports) the Iranian regime even more than he does us? Does “my country right or wrong” work when my country is shooting itself in the foot? American soldiers are fighting and dying, but what if they’re fighting and dying for a cause that, if it wins, will cause even more American soldiers to fight and die?