Time to Get Mad

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Eric Martin reviews the latest out of Sadr City and waxes indignant:

So let's recap the scene: the US military and its Iraqi "allies" are laying siege to a sprawling neighborhood in Baghdad housing roughly 2.5 million Iraqis, launching air strikes, artillery attacks, tank shells and other assorted ordnance, shutting down hospitals and bombing others, cutting off the supply of food and walling off entire sectors of the embattled region, causing a refugee crisis by their actions - and now actually pursuing a policy with the intent of creating a larger refugee crisis!

For what reason: because a majority of residents in these regions support a political movement, and militia, that oppose our presence. Can't have that. Because we have to keep 150,000 troops in Iraq to safeguard the Iraqi people. After all, whose gonna set up the tents in the refugee catch basins we so magnanimously helped set up to receive the overflow from our relentless assault on political movements that would make it harder for us to stay in Iraq. To safeguard the Iraqi people.

Indeed. One of several perverse elements of the U.S. presence in Iraq is that the presence itself is, at least in part, a cause of violent conflict in Iraq. The big achievement of the past 18 months, after all, has been to convince many Sunni insurgents to stop allying with Al-Qaeda in Iraq. But the alliance with AQI only commenced in the first place because Sunni Arab groups wanted to take up arms against the American occupation and were seeking allies in that cause. Now our guns are aimed at the Sadrists because they want us to leave. And naturally, we can't leave until we've achieved "victory" defined as killing everyone who wants us to leave.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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