Anywhere you look in the media covering Iraq today, you’ll find tales of the U.S. and Iraqi government forces targeting not the Mehdi Army of Moqtada Sadr, but the “Special Groups.” This capitalized designation refers, ostensibly, to “rogue” units of Sadr’s army, who have been taken over by Iran. Ambassador Ryan Crocker even refers to them as the “so-called ‘Special Groups’.” So-called by whom?
Well, according to Gareth Porter, the term “Special Groups” is not one used by any of the Iraqi forces or by the Iranians, it’s a term coined by the U.S. military. And Porter suggests there’s plenty of reason to be skeptical not just of the term, but of the notion it implies, i.e. that those fighting the U.S. and government forces in Basra and Baghdad are not part of the Mehdi Army, but are instead proxies of Iran.
What never ceases to amaze me, though, is how quickly the U.S. media embraces terminology tossed out — often with a politically loaded agenda — by the U.S. military. Indeed, much of the U.S. media has already dispensed with the quote marks. Do a search on google news and see for yourself.