It's been six months since Al-Sadr kidnapped an American soldier and George Bush left that soldier to die. Where is he?
by John Aravosis (DC) ·
CNN's Jack Cafferty summed up the story last November, right after our soldier was kidnapped by them and abandoned by us:
Iraqi Shiites celebrated in the streets yesterday when American soldiers lifted those checkpoints around Sadr City in Baghdad.You don't hear about that American soldier at all anymore, because he's an example of everything that is wrong with this war and its leadership in the Pentagon, the White House, and the then-Republican Congress. George Bush and the Republicans, and their generals at the Pentagon, don't care about the troops unless they're props at a White House photo opp. If they're real American soldiers in the war zone, wounded American troops back in the states, or American heroes slain in battle, George Bush and the Republicans in Congress don't care about them much at all.
That area had been blockaded, while U.S. and Iraqi troops looked for a kidnapped American soldier. But Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki demanded the American checkpoints come down. And they did.
And who controls Sadr City? Muqtada al-Sadr, the commander of Iraq's most feared militia. Al-Sadr made it clear this week, if those checkpoints were not removed, his forces might retaliate. And the prime minister knows that he needs the support of al-Sadr and his militia, if he wants to successfully govern Iraq.
The American Embassy in Baghdad insists the decision to remove those checkpoints was made after a meeting between al-Maliki and top U.S. officials. And a military spokesman was adamant that U.S. soldiers removed the checkpoints on their commanders' orders.
But it doesn't really matter, does it? By removing the checkpoints, the United States is, in effect, handing over the fate of the kidnapped American soldier to the Shiite militia. This country has a long and proud tradition of never abandoning its soldiers on the battlefield. And we ought to be ashamed of ourselves for this little stunt they pulled.
The question is this. Who's calling the shots in Iraq, the United States, the Iraqi government, or the militias? It's a disgrace.
Take the much vaunted Republican Rep. Sam Johnson. You remember him. He's the guy who got a standing ovation from Republicans a while back when he gave a speech in the US House excoriating Democrats while saying that the only reason we lost in Vietnam is that the Congress didn't spend more money and send more troops. Yes. We would have won in Vietnam had we just stayed longer and sent even more troops. This kind of crazy talk gets a standing ovation in today's Republican party and you wonder why we're losing in Iraq? Well, I was reading a short clip about Johnson in today's Washington Post. Here's what it said is motivating him:
[F]or [Johnson], the Iraq debate is like a flashback. By the time Congress cut off funds for Vietnam, the war was largely over, but Johnson still languished in prison, fearing that his nation had abandoned him.He's afraid that Democrats want to leave our troops behind. Okay. Well, I just did a Google on Sam Johnson and the kidnapped US soldier, Ahmed Qusai al-Taei, and here are the results: A bit fat zero (well, a link to an old story that's now gone). Yes, how many times do we find our American patriot Sam Johnson speaking out in an effort to help this poor US soldier kidnapped and left for dead in Iraq? Zero.
"I know what it's like to be on front lines for country when fellow countrymen don't support you," he said, vowing it will never happen again.
But Sam Johnson is an honorable man. So are they all - George Bush, Dick Cheney, the generals at the Pentagon who all too quickly caved when Bush told them to leave one of their own for dead, and the Republicans in Congress who continue to rubber stamp this disaster of a war - all honorable men.
I'll close with a quote from Johnson's standing-ovation floor speech:
"The pain inflicted by your country's indifference is tenfold that inflicted by your ruthless captors."You're right, Mr. Johnson. So where is our soldier? And why don't you seem to care?