. . . Wednesday August 11, 2004

Sticks and Stones vs Words and Symbols?

The U.S. has delayed a final assualt on militant holdouts in Najaf. The delay could be due to a rising level of concern from Iraqi leaders (and leaders from other countries in the region) that an attack in a holy city would be a disaster.

On Iran state television, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the case: “The United States is slaughtering the people of one of the holiest Islamic cities and the Muslim world and the Iraqi nation will not stand by … These crimes are a dark blemish which will never be wiped from the face of America. They commit these crimes and shamelessly talk of democracy. Shame has no place in their vocabulary.”

And logic has no place in his. After all, aren’t the militants the ones who are not only driving the course of the battle but also the ones who set up shop at the holy site in the first place?

These groups use religious sites and human shields and then complain of attacks on both. This should be a clear reminder of a serious communication barrier and more importantly that almost every battle has a major propaganda component.

I mean an Iranian leader being concerned about the welfare of an Iraqi city?

Concentration is important!