The battle against Darth Sadr has picked up steam, and the unthinkable has happened:
Qays al-Khazali, chief spokesman for al-Sadr, who has led a bloody rebellion against the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, showed the damage — four holes in the shrines golden dome — to journalists after six hours of heavy fighting.
If I were Qays al-Khazali, I’d be more worried about preventing holes in my own golden dome.
The mosque in question is the Shrine of Imam Ali.
In all this talk of mosque damage and offense to Muslims and holy sites, I haven’t seen two things
The Shrine of Imam Ali seems to be a magnet for bad guys.
Why don’t some of these reporters go visit the US troops currently fighting in Najaf and ask them to please be more careful so as to not offend local sensibilities while engaged in urban combat? Are they afraid of a little “friendly fire”?
An important holy shrine in an important holy city has been damaged during a battle. That’s news. It deserves a little coverage. But let’s get the whole story out there.
The military’s record with this sort of thing is pretty good. They have exercised caution above and beyond what anyone should expect, including risking the lives of our soldiers, in order to minimize damage to places and things deemed holy by the natives. Have we been perfect? Of course not. Will some Iraqis decide that we’ve insulted them and their beliefs? Of course they will.
But if I want to hear slanted, incomplete stories about irreverent Americans damaging holy sites in Iraq, I’ll tune into Al Jazeera. Why can’t the American media be a little more even-handed?