Tuesday, August 24, 2004

What, you again?

With so few states in play in the presidential election, some small towns in battleground states are being bankrupted by the security costs of the constant visits by Bush and Kerry. Some of them have taken to sending bills to the campaigns, which are never paid.

In Najaf, says the NYT, "Sadr’s loyalists appeared to be on the verge of collapse... American commanders said on Tuesday morning that they had been surprised by the lack of resistance to the attack and that they believed that Mr. Sadr’s forces were becoming discouraged." Maybe, but wasn’t that what we heard when Baghdad "fell"? Sadr’s followers were mostly not Najafians (Najafinos?), so leaving the town could be just a shift in strategy, a refusal to fight the type of war the Americans want.

The American problem is that the US military cannot remain in occupation of Najaf for very long, and I don’t imagine they can go knocking down doors in search of militia members and weapons, the way they did in Fallujah with such spectacularly bad results. Soon they will leave, and then what?

I’m still suspicious about how closely the timing of the Najaf campaign is being coordinated with the R convention. If Sadr is captured--or revealed to have already been captured sometime in the last week, when, like the integrity of Bob Dole and John McCain, he has seemingly vanished from the face of the earth--I won’t be especially surprised.

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