When I saw that the movement led by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr was the big winner in Iraq’s recent elections, my heart kind of sank. I don’t really care one way or the other about him, but I thought of all the American troops who fought and saw comrades die trying to corral him back in the spring of 2004, and I wondered what they thought.
So I asked around. Here are the responses I got from veterans and some others:
Bill Edmonds, Army Special Forces: “It's like all of the pain and loss were for nothing. Very similar to how I felt when Daesh retook Mosul. But in the case of Daesh, Iraq didn't have a choice. Sadr, however, killed Americans; his rise is a betrayal.”
Brian Berrey, a retired Navy SEAL: “Way too complex and in-depth for any American to grasp unless they were there and remember the kidnappings, bombings/counter bombings, and operated outside the wire (i.e. not FOBits) or lived in the red zone.”
Another security contractor: “The Sunnis aren’t going to like it.”
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Tony Taguba: “This was inevitable.”
Babak Rahimi, director of the Program for the Study of Religion and Third World Studies, University of California-San Diego: “I'm not surprised at all. He has been working for this victory since 2007. He finally did it. But more important are his new ties to Iran and his diplomatic clout in the region.”
Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni: “An answer to Iran's prayers.”
Retired Army Gen. Sean MacFarland, after stating that Sadr may not prevail in post-election bargaining: “Who would support Sadr from outside Iraq given his hostility toward both Iran and the West? The only two candidates are Russia and China. Neither would be good. So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed."
It's a photo for the ages: a Marine NCO, a Greek god in his dress blues, catches the eye of a lovely young woman as her boyfriend urges her on in distress. It's the photographic ancestor of the much-loved "distracted boyfriend" stock photo meme, made even sweeter by the fact that this is clearly a sailor about to lose his girl to a Devil Dog.
Well, this photo and the Marine in it, which hopscotched around Marine Corps Facebook and Instagram pages before skyrocketing to the front page of Reddit on Thursday, are very real.
The photo shows then-Staff Sgt. Louis A. Capozzoli — and he is absolutely not on his way to steal your girl.
GREENBELT, Md. (Reuters) - A U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant accused of amassing a cache of weapons and plotting to attack Democratic politicians and journalists was ordered held for two weeks on Thursday while federal prosecutors consider charging him with more crimes.
An undated image of Hoda Muthana provided by her attorney, Hassan Shibly. (Associated Press)
Attorneys for the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America have filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Attorney General William Barr and President Donald Trump asking the court to recognize the citizenship of an Alabama woman who left the U.S. to join ISIS and allow she and her young son to return to the United States.
U.S. soldiers surveil the area during a combined joint patrol in Manbij, Syria, November 1, 2018. Picture taken November 1, 2018. (U.S. Army/Zoe Garbarino/Handout via Reuters)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will leave "a small peacekeeping group" of 200 American troops in Syria for a period of time after a U.S. pullout, the White House said on Thursday, as President Donald Trump pulled back from a complete withdrawal.