The president also hailed the operation as a sign of progress, emphasizing that the decision to mount the offensive was al-Maliki’s.

“It was his military planning; it was his causing the troops to go from point A to point B,” Bush said. “And it’s exactly what a lot of folks here in America were wondering whether or not Iraq would even be able to do it in the first place. And it’s happening.

That’s “happening,” not “a happening,” and if by “happening” he means …

  • The Mahdi militiamen are holding government troops at bay, and parading US-supplied armoured vehicles they had captured in front of television cameras.
  • “Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pledged ‘no retreat’ in the fight against Shiite militias in the Southern city of Basra, as [tens of] thousands of protesters demanded demanded he resign over the crackdown and extremists fired rockets [and motars] into the U.S.-protected Green Zone.” [Robert H. Reid/AP]
  • “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.” [James Hider/The Times (London)]

  • “…the military situation in the city is a scene of real chaos because thousands of soldiers who are natives of the governorate–there are about 16,000 soldiers who are refusing to fight Al-Mahdi Army’s gunmen. The source stressed the gunmen were still in control of some police stations in the city’s neighbourhoods which the government forces were unable to control completely and asserted that Al-Mahdi Army seized dozens of Iraqi army military vehicles and wrote Al-Mahdi Army on them.” [Usamah Mahdi/Elaph]

… ah, must be the dissonant chords of freedom on the march or some shit like that. But wasn’t Dick Cheney in Iraq just a couple weeks ago? Why, yes he was, only 11 days ago, to be exact, in what was billed as a “surprise trip” before the 5th anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq. Big Dick didn’t go just for the cake. Maybe he prodded Maliki to make a move, expiration date of the Bush Administration coming due and all.

I’m certain Big Dick is telling the truth when he says he really doesn’t care what the American people think, and this civilian/executive-seizing-control-of-the-military approach Maliki has taken seems right out of the Big Dick playbook.

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