Leaving a Soldier Behind? (Updated)

humvee_stayback_pattiea.jpgDid the United States just abandon an abducted soldier by removing road blocks around Sadr city at the command of Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki? That's what Andrew Sullivan and Josh Marshall have been asking.Today's Washington Post has details:

The move lifted a near siege that had stood at least since last Wednesday. U.S. military police imposed the blockade after the kidnapping of an American soldier of Iraqi descent. The soldier's Iraqi in-laws said they believed he had been abducted by the Mahdi Army as he visited his wife at her home in the Karrada area of Baghdad, where U.S. military checkpoints were also removed as a result of Maliki's action.[...]U.S. soldiers in Humvees had used concertina wire and sandbags to close off all bridges and other routes into Sadr City, home to 2.5 million Shiites, from the rest of Baghdad. The U.S. troops, backed by Iraqi soldiers, admitted vehicles only one at a time after searches. The blockade caused hours-long backups, and Sadr City's largely working-class residents complained that the cost of food and fuel was soaring. [...](U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan)Withington said the lifting of the blockade "does not stop our search for the soldier. We're dead serious about getting him back, and that won't stop because of these checkpoints." He said at least seven U.S. troops had been injured in the search for the missing American.
Is it really as simple that political pressure from Shiite militias caused the order, or might this be part of some back room deal to release the soldier where the ransom paid is the political humiliation of the U.S.?Share your thoughts in the comments.Update: The Army has identified the kidnapped soldier as 41-year-old reservist Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie. Three carloads of armed men kidnapped him while he was visiting his wife and her family on October 23. (Washington Post)- Ryan SingelBig Ups: JZ, Photo: patteia
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