From US News and World Report
U.S. raid on Shiite shrine served as a warning
By Kevin Whitelaw
The U.S. military was trying to send a "little reality jab" to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr when American and Iraqi troops raided a Shiite community center and shrine over the weekend, says a top U.S. military official.
The joint assault killed at least 16 people, most of them believed to be tied to Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army. U.S. officials insist the center was being used as a base for insurgent activities and was not a mosque. But many Iraqis say the complex did indeed include the Shiite equivalent of a mosque, and the raid has drawn harsh condemnation from Shiite politicians and prompted Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, to launch an investigation.
The mayor of Baghdad promptly cut off cooperation with the U.S. Embassy, and Shiite politicians suspended their negotiations to form a new government. The U.S. military has long contemplated taking tougher steps against Sadr and his troublesome militia but has held off in the past because it did not want to antagonize his many fervent supporters. This raid, officials say, was intended as a reminder to Sadr of the U.S. military's reach in Iraq.
U.S. officials had been quietly praising Sadr's group in recent weeks because of its calls for calm in the wake of the bombing of a Sunni mosque in Samarra that sparked a wave of sectarian violence.
First the military praises Sadr's group for their calm, then they attack them to send a message. What exactly is their message? That praise from the U.S. is fake? And the military doesn't think that this message they are sending with this attack that killed 16 people won't make Sadr's group at the least angry?
They praise them for calm after the mosque bombing. You have to wonder when the next major bombing comes whether calm will be even considered now. I'm beginning to believe that President Bush WANTS Iraq to be in a civil war. At this point what does Bush even care? He has publicly stated that the Iraq War will be passed on to the next president. These kind of mixed messages will certainly ensure that the next president will indeed have to deal with Iraq.