The word militia is interesting because usually it only means Shi’ite groups. It is a used as a bad term when labeling groups. The people usually talk about the militias as the Badr Brigades of SCIRI or the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr, two Shi’ite groups. Sometimes people say that the Kurdish Peshmerga also as a militia. What about the Sunni Arab militias? Well, I guess they don’t exist, because we never hear about them. This is interesting because the majority of the victims of sectarian violence have been Shi’a according to Talabani, who said that Shi’a are much more than 50% of the dead. Maybe militia means people from groups who were oppressed by Saddam and now have some guns and power.
Shi’a get killed in massive bombings and are killed on the streets or at fake checkpoints. I guess the people doing this aren’t labeled as militias, they are called insurgents or rebels or something like that. They are the pride of the Arabs and Sunnis worldwide, this is the resistance, noble unlike those filthy militias!
It is true that the Badr Brigades and Mahdi Army have been involved in killing civilians, Sunnis, targeting them for being Sunni and that is it. Do I need to say that this is criminal? Murdering innocents is criminal and that is certain. But also these groups in some places of Iraq have acted as security forces, protecting people who otherwise would be targeted by the Sunni terrorists. So there are people who would hate to see these militias shut down simply because the militias are the only thing that is between them and death. I can say it in one other way, if the only thing stopping you from being slaughtered is a bunch of bastards, then you will probably support those bastards. Unless there is an impartial security force that is there to protect Iraqis regardless of whether they are Shi’ite or Sunni or Arab or Kurd or pretty or ugly or anything else then people will have to depend on those who are providing them with security.
There are stories from people Baghdad about militias, especially the Mahdi Army. I have heard people say they are so grateful for the Mahdi Army because they provide protection to them and take brave steps against the Sunni terrorists. I know people who have had their family kidnapped by the Mahdi Army. I know people who have had the life of a friend saved by the Mahdi Army. One person was rescued by the Mahdi Army men who took a guy out of a car when the Sunni terrorists were taking him to be executed. Another guy I know tells about how the Iraqi police refused to help when some Mahdi Army men decided to kill a bunch of innocent Sunni civilians. All I am saying is that there are two sides to the militia story. It would be nice if there was a different situation and one side was good and one side was bad and that would be so easy and the good people could take the good side and sleep without worry. But in many cases in Iraq that isn’t how it is. Nothing is so easy especially in Iraq. Both sides are bad and this is the reality of life and death in Iraq.