Colonel Steven Boylan, a US military spokesman ( wearing stylish rose colored glasses) and aide to the commander of all US forces in Iraq, praised the peaceful nature of the demonstration, saying Iraqis "could not have done this four years ago."
Boylan said: "This is the right to assemble, the right to free speech - they didn't have that under the former regime. This is progress, there's no two ways about it."
An Iraqi lawmaker saw things differently than the good colonel: "The enemy that is occupying our country is now targeting the dignity of the Iraqi people," said lawmaker Nassar al-Rubaie, head of al-Sadr's bloc in parliament. "After four years of occupation, we have hundreds of thousands of people dead and wounded." A senior official in al-Sadr's organization in Najaf, Salah al-Obaydi, called the rally a "call for liberation."
"We're hoping that by next year's anniversary, we will be an independent and liberated Iraq with full sovereignty," he said.
So it goes. Just another day in paradise.