By RAWYA RAGEH The Associated Press Thursday, August 3, 2006; 6:52 AM
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Hundreds of followers of a radical Shiite cleric left a southern Iraqi city on Thursday to join a rally in the capital condemning Israeli attacks on Lebanon, while at least 13 people were killed or found dead in the latest sectarian violence.
Muqtada al-Sadr, a firebrand anti-U.S. cleric who commands a large militia, has called on his followers from around the country to congregate in Baghdad on Friday after the weekly prayers. The rally, scheduled to be held in the Shiite slum of Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, will show support for the Shiite Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah in its fight against Israel.
Some 20 buses, accompanied by police vehicles, left from the southern city of Basra, carrying young men, mostly unarmed members of al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia. Many were draped in the white shrouds that Muslims use to wrap their dead _ a symbol of their willingness to die for Lebanon.
1. "al-Sadr, a firebrand anti-U.S. cleric who commands a large militia"
I am tired of all the cut and pasting our MSM uses in "reporting" the news. Haven't you noticed how al-Sadr is always tagged with the "firebrand anti-U.S" label? This is the same label that WaPO & NY Times always use on Venezuela's President Chavez.
They do the same thing with Cuba. Everytime that Cuba is in the news, it is always referred to as "the communist run island."
This repetitious propaganda has the effect that whenever the public hears about al-Sadr or Chavez, the little voices inside their collective heads hears "firebrand anti-U.S," and when they hear any mention of Cuba, they hear "communist run island."
This is why a large number of Americans still believe that Saddam was involved in 9-11!
5. Because they're not charged with or convicted of war crimes.
Whereas Sadr is a verifiable firebrand and a verifiable anti-US cleric according to the standards of his own religion vis a vis Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani.
The MSM is a target rich environment for criticisms about propaganda. This is one of the least egregious offending situations I can recall. Sadr never stopped being a firebrand. He just became a more powerful and influential firebrand.
He's trying to not give al-Sadr a monopoly on the outrage because it'd undermine his position as Grand Ayatollah. This is not rocket science.
Look, I understand your frustration, but al-Sistani is the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dyke, and water's been flowing through for quite some time. To a large extent, Sadr's Mahdi Army is the water pouring through. That the sea itself hasn't broken through is something we ought to be thankful for, and shouldn't expect to last forever.
12. I used to read Hackworth's stuff a lot, and I read Cole's all the time.
And I would say I fully agree, Sistani is GENERALLY not one to make idle threats - and he really doesn't appreciate when someone tries to twist an implicit threat into an idle one, like over Iraqi elections (which the US eventually buckled on). And up till now he has been well... supportive? More like, optimistically neutral and opposed to open hostility against the US like, oh, the Shiite uprising against the British in 1920, which led to long-term Sunni domination of Iraq.
Frankly, the better way to read what he said is, "I can't keep this firebrand, anti-US cleric al-Sadr under wraps forever if you keep poking a stick into the eye of Arab Shiites everywhere." THAT is why I don't think firebrand & anti-US is an inaccurate way to describe Sadr.
11. Excuse me, did someone say Sadr is a war criminal in the MSM?
No? Next please.
...Look I just don't wanna turn the guy into a hero here. Just because I'm no fan of Bush's does not mean Sadr is on my side. Or yours. He's on his side, and that's the best we're gonna get out of it. No need to carry water for him over calling him a firebrand. He is. Or anti-US - thanks to the Iraq war/occupation, he damn well is.
It's like listening to Homer rattle on about "rosy-fingered dawn" over and over again. When I was 16, I always wanted to meet this "Rosy-fingered Dawn".
It is propaganda plain and simple, both the selection of descriptive adjectives and the endless repetition. Do we hear Bush called "the warmongering US President, who commands a vast, aggressive military machine". Bah!
Whether Moqtada is a "firebrand" or not is very much a matter of opinion, time, and place. There is no "objective" standard to assign such adjectives to one person or another, and Moqtada's role has varied over time. The constant name calling is propaganda, you can tell who is on the shit-list by who it is applied to. There are loons running around in Iran that are far worse, but nobody bothers with them, they are not on the shit-list right now.
Reportage about Latin American figures is similar, if fact I think that's where this sort of bullshit was developed.
Hezbollah in Lebanon Gets Show of Support From Key Iraqi Shiite Cleric
(BAGHDAD, Iraq) -- A radical Shiite Iraqi cleric is urging his followers to gather in Baghdad tomorrow for a rally in support of Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.
Muqtada al-Sadr, who commands a large militia, is one of the Iraq's most influential Shiite leaders. The rally is to be held in the Shiite slum of Sadr City.
Buses that left the southern city of Basra today carried young men draped in white shrouds. Those are the garments Muslims use to wrap their dead and are a symbol of the willingness of the men to die for Lebanon.
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