(Photo credit for this heartbreaking shot to Damir Sagolij/Reuters.)
I am shaking with rage at the moment. American soliders do not abandon their own. Unless, of course, someone orders them to do so. Which is exactly what happened when the Bush Administration — via it's envoy Zalmay Khalilzad — agreed to lift the eight day long blockade and search and rescue mission for the captured American soldier…on the demand and order of the Iraqi government.
You read me correctly, the US envoy in Iraq has decided that our US military personnel should take orders from the Iraqi government and abandon one of our soldiers to the Mahdi Army. That this decision occurred abruptly after Stephen Hadley's visit to Baghdad yesterday raises a whole host of questions in my mind — and the press had better damn well be asking for some answers from the Bush Administration today.
The move lifted a near siege that had stood at least since last Wednesday. U.S. military police imposed the blockade after the kidnapping of an American soldier of Iraqi descent. The soldier's Iraqi in-laws said they believed he had been abducted by the Mahdi Army as he visited his wife at her home in the Karrada area of Baghdad, where U.S. military checkpoints were also removed as a result of Maliki's action.
The crackdown on Sadr City had a second motive, U.S. officers said: the search for Abu Deraa, a man considered one of the most notorious death squad leaders. The soldier and Abu Deraa both were believed by the U.S. military to be in Sadr City.
The Bush Administration has been encouraging Iraqi-Americans to become more involved in the "liberation" of Iraq. The American military needs more soldiers with regional language fluency, and Iraqi Americans have an understandable interest and personal stake — with many relatives still living in the war torn nation — in working to make things better. The American soldier who was captured is of Iraqi-American descent, he was wearing the uniform of the United States…and we have abandoned him to Moqtada Al-Sadr's Mahdi Army and Sadr City's rage as of yesterday.
We do not abandon our own.
Unless, of course, you are the Bush Administration — which, apparently, has decided to let the Iraqi government start calling the shots for the US military. I hear George Bush will be on Limbaugh's show — wonder if he'll be asked about his decision to abandon a US soldier to Al-Sadr's militia, with their penchant for torture, on the orders of the Iraqi head of state?
The corporate media had better start asking questions about this, because the American military taking orders to abandon one of their own from a foreign government is something that every single person with friends and family in Iraq right now will want to know about…immediately. How many American soldiers are we now willing to leave to the mercies of Al-Sadr's Army and other torture-wielding militants with no love for the American military presence in the name of propping up Maliki's government? George Bush does not get a pass on this one. Period. The time for accountability is now.