Week 4 Linn
One of the things Warren explained to me in both of our interviews was getting al-Sadr’s militia out of Najaf. Before talking to Warren, I had never heard of Najaf or al-Sadr. But the way Warren talked about it, it seemed like the battle that took place is something I should have heard of. So, I decided to do some research.
Apparently, there was a man named Muqtadā al-Ṣadr who famously disagreed with American involvement in Iraq. During a 60 Minutes interview, he compared Saddam Hussein to a “little serpent” and America to a “great serpent.” This was in October of 2003. The battle Warren was involved in took place in April of 2004. Warren told me al-Sadr took over the Imam Ali Mosque as a military base. The mosque is a very religious site, so Warren and the other marines in the area were told to not damage it, despite the fact that al-Sadr’s men were targeting them from inside the mosque. The American government didn’t want to offend anyone by damaging such a holy site (according to legend, Moses and Noah are both in it, along with many other religious figures). Al-Sadr’s militia could shoot at the US marines from a politically protected space. According to Warren, in the end, they had to let al-Sadr and his men go. But, he said this was a learning experience for the US Military in that they learned that protecting the mosque and trying to be careful wasn’t the best strategy. He said the next time al-Sadr was involved with American troops, they were more assertive, which worked better. I found out that al-Sadr was branded an outlaw that April.