Whatever happened to al-Sadr and Fallujah?

If you are asking this question, the answer can only be “nothing bad.” For if there were bad news on either front that had the media so breathless not long ago, there would be no need to ask — CNN and the rest would be taking time-out from the prison story to trumpet it. As it happens, Fox News reports that U.S. aircraft have bombed the office of Muqtada al-Sadr, where weapons were being stored, killing those inside. In addition, 35 militiamen were killed in gunbattles throughout the area that lasted from midday Saturday until 4 a.m Sunday. Finally, in Fallujah U.S. Marines began joint patrols with Iraqi forces Monday under an agreement that ended the siege of that city. So the crises of the week two weeks ago seem no longer to be crises today.
On the prison front, though, Fox tells us that Red Cross representatives claim to have seen American officers mistreating Abu Ghraib prisoners by keeping them naked in total darkness in empty cells. The Red Cross also said that up to 90 percent of Iraqi detainees were arrested by mistake. I wonder what the source is for the latter claim. Have the Americans said so, or is it simply that the prisioners claim to be innocent? If the latter, what sort of investigation did the Red Cross make to determine that the arrests were by mistake? In short, what does the Red Cross know, and how does it know it?


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