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The Worst Of Times

by Geraldo Rivera | Jan 22, 2007

It is the worst of times in Iraq. With most Americans disapproving of the way the President’s handling the war, this has been one of the bloodiest weekends for American forces over there…a total of 27 GI’s dead in just two days, and at least 78 Iraqi civilians killed by two nearly simultaneous car bombings.

For the President, the orgy of bloodshed in Iraq could not have come at a worse time. With a confrontation with Congress looming over his plan to surge more than 20,000 additional forces into bloody Baghdad, a recent poll shows that the war in Iraq has become our country’s biggest worry, and that 2/3rd’s of those surveyed disapprove of the way the President is fighting it.

With Iraq as the number one issue, and the nation awaiting the President’s State of the Union address tomorrow night, many are looking to the leading Democratic presidential prospects to find a way out.

“Let’s talk about the right end to the war in Iraq,” said Senator Hillary Clinton in her announcement of the formation of an exploratory committee. Until recently, she supported the war, but now opposes the planned surge of forces.

“…Rather than an escalation of US troops, which I do not believe will contribute to long-term success in Iraq, we should be beginning a phased redeployment of US troops, as a way to put pressure on the Iraqi government to take responsibility for its own security and future.”

Even as the first of the surge units, the Second Brigade of the crack 82nd Airborne Division begins arriving in country, the former First Lady says she will lead a senate effort to condemn any escalation. But while Democrats would be expected to oppose the surge, the President’s biggest problem may come from members of his own party, like Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, who spoke yesterday on ‘Face The Nation’.

“We have been there almost four years and you know all the numbers that the investments that we have made in blood and treasure and we are worse off today in Iraq than we were at any time over the last four years.”   

I think the gravest problem in Iraq is that we are confused about who the bad guys are. Like last week’s attack on a leading Baghdad University that killed 65 innocent students, these latest car bombings are evidence of a renewed campaign of Sunni violence against Shiite targets.

And to me that is the biggest flaw in U.S. policy over there. That we’re treating the two sides in the conflict as if they were equally guilty. And that is wrong. Most of the worst bad guys are Sunnis. Period. They’re the Al Queda terrorists, and they’re inflicting most of the savage violence against civilians.

Sure the so-called Shiite death squads also have blood on their hands, but most of their violence is measured, calibrated and in retaliation for what the Sunnis are doing to them.

While doing whatever we can to protect the rights of the minority Sunnis, we have to recognize that Iraq is a majority Shiite country, and that the majority should rule.

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