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Snow: The ‘Bad Guys Backed Down’ In Basra ‘Because They Were Getting Crushed’

By Ali Frick  

"Snow: The ‘Bad Guys Backed Down’ In Basra ‘Because They Were Getting Crushed’"

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snow383.jpgHosting Bill O’Reilly’s Radio Factor today, Tony Snow accused Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of wanting the U.S. “to lose” in Iraq after she warned Gen. David Petraeus that she didn’t “want to hear any glorification of what happened in Basra.”

Snow was irate that Pelosi refused to declare “mission accomplished” about Basra. According to Snow, the six days of fighting last week resulted in an overwhelming defeat for “the bad guys”:

What happened was the bad guys backed down because they were getting crushed! … Moqtada al-Sadr is in hiding in Iran. That’s how tough it is.

Listen to it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/04/snowsadr.320.40.flv]

In fact, last week’s fighting may have actually emboldened Sadr’s hand. Reuters explained, “Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s crackdown on militias in the southern oil port of Basra appears to have backfired, exposing the weakness of his army and strengthening his political foes ahead of elections.” Experts agree:

Jonathan Steele: “Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki…has emerged with his authority severely weakened. … Meanwhile, Moqtada al-Sadr, the target of the assault, comes out of the crisis strengthened. His militiamen gave no ground and, by declaring a ceasefire that has successfully held since Sunday, Sadr has demonstrated his authority and the discipline of his men.” [LINK]

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE): “Here, Maliki says he’s going down and he’s going to take out all these malcontents, as well as take out Sadr and his Mahdi Army. And it looks to me like, at least on the surface, Sadr may have come out a winner here. You know, he lives to fight another day.” [LINK]

Juan Cole: “For the Iraqi government to depend on Badr and Peshmerga militias, however, weakens its independence and makes it hostage to allies of Iran…So not only did Iran gain stature and authority in Iraq by negotiating a (fragile) ceasefire between al-Maliki and Muqtada al-Sadr, but al-Maliki has is now more than ever dependent on Iranian clients.” [LINK]

Brian Katulis: “This was a thumpin’ for the Iraqi army and this was a thumpin’ from a political perspective for the Iraqis.” [LINK]

Snow is simply wrong. It was Maliki’s government — not Sadr — who traveled to Iran and requested the cease-fire, and it is Maliki’s government that remains close to Iran.

As for Snow’s claim that Sadr is “in hiding in Iran” because of “how tough it is,” just yesterday he called for a million-man march against U.S. forces — what ABC News characterized as “a massive show of strength.”

Anthony Cordesman, national security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, specifically warned that a good guy/bad guy framing like Snow’s is “a dangerous oversimplification.”

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