Tuesday, November 29


We have exchanged one murderous regime for another. And all for the low, low price of more than 17,000 Americans killed or wounded and 200 billion taxpayer dollars and counting.

If these Iraqi soldiers are as efficient as they are being touted to be by the Sunnis, looks like they'd be just fine if we left -- they should have no trouble wiping out the insurgents, using the same methods that they're employing on the Sunni neighborhoods. Surely Rush and Sean would approve!

The chief suspects, according to Sunni leaders, human rights workers and a well-connected American official here, are current and former members of the Badr Brigade, the Iranian-backed militia controlled by the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a principal part of the current government. Since the fall of the Hussein government in April 2003, Badr gunmen are suspected of having assassinated dozens of its former officials, as well as suspected insurgents.

Since April, when the Shiite-led government came to power, Badr fighters have joined the security services, like the police and commando units under the control of the interior minister, Mr. Jabr, who is also a senior member of the Supreme Council.

With Badr gunmen operating inside and outside the government, the militia can act with what appears to be official backing. It is not clear who is directing the security services, the government officials or the heads of the militias.

"The difference between the Ministry of the Interior and the Badr Brigade has become very blurry," the human rights investigator said.

"You have these people in the security services, and they have different masters," said the American official in Baghdad. "There isn't a clear understanding of who is in charge."

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