Tap tap tap! Hello Decider? Can you hear them now?
Despite President Bush's recent insistence that al Qaida in Iraq is the principal cause of this country's violence, senior American military officers here say Shiite Muslim militias are a bigger problem, and one that will persist even if al Qaida is defeated.
"The longer-term threat to Iraq is potentially the Shiite militias," one senior military officer said, echoing concerns that other American officials raised in recent interviews with McClatchy Newspapers.
But didn't they say violence is down? Well, hear this, GW Cheney:
Military officers hail the fact that violence is down as evidence that their campaign against al Qaida in Iraq is succeeding. But there's no sign of reconciliation between Sunni Muslims and Shiites, the rationale the Bush administration cites for increasing the number of U.S. troops in the country.The military, THE MILITARY, says, no matter what, al Qaida or no al Qaida, the Sunnis will come back to fight the Shiites...and American occupiers. The president may be simple, but the mess in Iraq is not.
Few officials on the front lines, moreover, think that defeating the terrorist organization would end Iraq's troubles. They paint a far more complex vision of the violence than is evident in Washington-based pronouncements about al Qaida's involvement.Can...you...hear...them...NOW?
"We are worried about a power vacuum," said Salim Abdullah, spokesman for the Sunni Iraqi Accordance Front. "We have cases now . . . where people started to believe that al Qaida was what provided their security. We struck al Qaida in one place, and the militias became active. . . . We asked the army not to let militia activity increase al Qaida's popularity among people."Maybe he should switch to Verizon.