Iraq: 160 dead, 570 injured

I’m a pretty jaded person. A part of me really wants to see George W. Bush fail for his folly. But I’m tired of reading about this shit. I don’t care who’s in charge, I don’t care whether it’s a Republican thing or a Democrat thing. Someone just stop these fuckers.

It’s pretty sickening shit what’s happening over there. You can’t go go a week without reading about a story about tens of dozens of people being blown up or mowed down. I can’t even begin to fathom the long lasting psychological trauma those people will endure for the rest of their lives.

The funny thing is that this (and the accompanying announcement about “Death to the infidel Shi’a”) is a formalization of what Zarqawi has been doing for quite a while already: he has declared war, not against the occupier, but against the Iraqi populace themselves. The longer this goes on, the more convinced ordinary Iraqis will be that they have two choices; die, or fight. And the more likely it is that anyone who happens to know of someone preparing such an attack will be inclined to act to stop it.

This is, in the end, the only way a humane victory can be won in the Middle East: by getting the general Muslim population off their duffs and into the fight on their own, rather than waiting for someone else to do it for them. In that regard the lackadaisical attitude the current administration has toward prosecuting this fight works in our favor in the very long run.

Yeah, militarising the Iraqi populace is in your best interests.

Good to know you agree!

Good to know you have the same long term aim as Zarqawi and Bin Laden.

What Zarqawi has been doing for quite a while already: he has declared war, not against the occupier, but against the Iraqi populace themselves.

Does this make you feel better? Because it’s ridiculous.

I heard about this today on the radio. Man, it’s just mindblowing. People looking for work are targets?

Do you guys even pretend to be logical anymore?

Here is what I am saying, nicely laid out in easy-to-follow steps:

  1. The terrorists/insurgents are going to be killing people regardless of the circumstances or available targets. The US is just a target that gets them more easily motivated than others might, and happens to be close at hand since it has troops in the region.
  2. The US does not have the army or the willpower to systematically eliminate the terrorists from the mideast using current tactics.
  3. Therefore, more soldiers from somewhere are needed.
  4. The terrorists happen to be mainly operating in Iraq. Therefore, Iraqis are the most convenient soldiers.
  5. The more Iraqis get into the fight against the terrorists, the more effectively the terrorists will be eradicated. The more generally accepted the idea that the terrorists MUST be fought becomes, the fewer recruits they get.
  6. Anything that mobilizes ordinary Iraqis to fight terrorists helps bring the end of this war closer.

And as a side point, ordinary people taking up weapons is absolutely a good thing. Isn’t that one of the fundamental stories about the USA, that ordinary people took up weapons and fought for the right thing? I know fighting for one’s country is unfashionable in the intellectual circles that prevail here, but it DOES instill a sense of loyalty to the country. Iraq can benefit greatly from that.

Where in “Does this make you feel better” is any of this demonstrated to be untrue?

I know I am wasting my time here, but: in a classical guerrilla war, the guerrilla attacks the occupier in hopes of provoking reprisals on the civilians, so as to motivate the civilians to side with the rebels against the occupier. In Iraq, the insurgents attack the civilians, causing the civilians to side with the occupier against a common enemy. They have adopted a strategy that leads straight to their eventual defeat. This is not a complex idea.

Is anybody on this board capable of understanding things like this anymore?

Probably, but I doubt they post in P&R with any regularity.

That’s a nice theory, but it’s wrong. The only thing that ends an insurgency is the withdrawal of the occupier. Your assumption that terrorists/insurgents are serial killers, and just need to kill, kill, kill, is fundamentally flawed. These people weren’t killing anyone before we got there, and they will stop when we leave, and the vestiges of our utterly stupid governmental idea are gone.

If they were attacking a unified Iraqi government that had been chosen by the people generations ago, then yes, there would be all that Red Dawn shit you’re talking about. Right now, though, there isn’t any feeling of ownership amongst the civilians, so what are they going to fight for?

Anyway, there are smarter people than me with footnotes and historical precendents saying the same thing. It makes sense, and has been proven again and again.
(too lazy to Google it up, have fun)

Even if this does mean that the terrorists ‘lose’, which I am a little doubtful about, it does not mean that anyone else wins. The attacks are either expressions of secterian animosity or calculated to cause it, either way I imagine they will escalate interiraqi conflict, which I doubt will benefit anybody much. I think you are a bit optimistic if you believe that the ordinary Shiites taking up arms will confine their responses to terrorists. Whoever is behind this most likely has some sort of objective in mind for doing it. He likely has at least as decent grasp of the Iraqi situation as you do. His objective is not to be wiped out but probably something much less accomodating. I think it is safe to assume that this attack has a fair chance of serving the objectives of the planners of the attack rather than work diametrically contrary to their interests.

Actually I believe Rollory is right, to a certain extent. The terrorists are using the same tactics they used in Algeria and it brought them nothing but failure there too. Eventually the people, like in Algeria, will become so outraged at the human civilian cost that they will stop supporting the terrorists, either directly or indirectly. The terrorists can’t survive without people at least allowing them to go about their activities unmolested, if not actually conniving with them.

What Rollory isn’t mentioning is the fact that this violence has been brought on by the American invasion: both in terms of removing a stable (if odious) government and then not replacing it with anything remotely capable of keeping a lid on the extremists in and about the country. The American occupation and invasion simultaneously gave the terrorists the opportunity to cause mayhem and murder, but also gave them a rallying call to bring in an abundance of idealistic young muslims who might otherwise have sat on the fence grumbling about the evils of “American Imperialism” rather than blowing themselves up.

The irony of the war on terror is that its results have been the complete opposite: it has breathed new life into a cause that was in its death throes due to its methods being as abhorent to ordinary muslims as they are to everyone else on the planet.

Count me in the “Rollory is partially right” camp too.

Unlike a traditional guerilla war, the al-Qaida (terrorists) insurgent faction doesn’t essentially care much about Iraq or who controls it. What they care about is who doesn’t control it - America and whomever they see as allies of America. They want to create anarchy and civil war. The more people shooting at each other, the more services deprived, the more general chaos, fear and forboding the better. They’re well aware that the only way the nascent government in Iraq can succeed, and America’s agenda with it, is for Iraq to be peaceful enough to develop an infrastructure and a national military.

But the reality is the jihadi “midnight bombers what bomb at midnight” faction isn’t all that big. Just well funded and coordinated and totally crazy enough to do the shit that grabs headlines. The real question is what the native Sunni fighters decide to do. They’ve also got good leadership and foreign funding - and more importantly they’ve got numbers and the support of local populations. On one hand, here Rollory is right, the killing of Iraqis, even Shi’ia, is pissing some of these guys off and creating some documented resistance to the jihadis. These guys do actually care what happens in Iraq because they, well, live here. On the other hand, there’s traditional ingrained mistrust of Shi’ia Iraqis because of their cultural and political ties to Iran, Iraq’s traditional regional enemy. This constitution ain’t helping matters. In some communities they’re organizing to vote peacefully against it, which could be a good thing, but I suspect if they don’t get what they want this Sunni-Baathist resistance will keep on keeping on.

The question is what effect Jihadi violence will have on the Sunni-Baathist resistance. If they can anger more radical factions amongst the Shi’ia they could trigger reprisals against the, easier to identify and blame, Sunni community at large. So far the mullahs have kept a lid on this, for the most part aside from southeastern Iraq, because like the Americans they want to have a pacified country before they kick us out (whether or not we really want to permanently leave our spanking new bases will remain to be seen). But there are some groups that are more violent and mobilized than others. They could pull the trigger and this could set off a very real civil war.

We don’t know how this plays out yet but the key thing to remember is that we are completely at the mercy of events beyond our control in Iraq right now.

Rollory, “blowing up Iraqis to create chaos and make the US leave” is not “declaring war on the Iraqi people.” “Declaring war on the Iraqi people” is the sort of bullshit freedom rah-rah phrasing Bush uses, because apparently the concept that your enemies can have rational plans is too much. They’ve got to be some sort of force of pure evil who “declares war on the Iraqi people.”

In Iraq, the insurgents attack the civilians, causing the civilians to side with the occupier against a common enemy.

Flat wrong. Have you looked at the polls in Iraq? They’re sure as hell not siding with us.

I don’t know, but have you ever heard of a place called Afghanistan, and what happened there in the 1980s when the US adopted your tactics to arm and fund the mujahideen?

As for the Algeria comparison, that doesn’t really hold water because the US is involved. The undeclared civil war is Algeria was lost (sort of – the radical groups are still around) because it was a fight basically on equal terms. Iraq, however, is shaping up to be the same sort of civil war, but one centred on an occupying power that both sides hate. So even if the US “wins” and takes out Zarqawi’s Sunnis, it will still lose in the end because the Shi’ites hate the Americans almost as much.

Also, remember that Algeria only defeated the radicals by rigging an election and clamping down on the population very, very harshly. Those aren’t options for the US in Iraq, as any such blatant manipulation would only turn the population against it even more.

There is no way for the US to succeed in Iraq. This war and occupation was crazy from the very beginning. The only possible end result is the US leaving in humiliation and Iraq fracturing into three parts.

Rational, perhaps, but the motivation at the top level is a quest for power, not justice, historically. And what logic there is in terrorism is cancelled out by its method of execution.

What I can’t help thinking is that our occupation appears to have created more violence than existed before in that region. While Saddam was certainly not an ideal ruler, he did keep this kind of thing in check. Now we have military forces attempting to police oil fields that before were not being sabotaged or otherwise preyed upon. And we have civilians caught in the middle who wonder (1) when their promise of liberty is going to arrive, (2) who is going to deliver it in the end and (3) why their cities have been turned into war zones. Again, Saddam was anything but benevolent, but there was a time of relative peace, despite the enforced poverty of the sanctions the US brought against them in the wake of the first Gulf war.

Google “Iraq morgue” sometime, by the way. It says a lot about the rationality of terrorism.

By rational plans I didn’t mean “not evil” or that their motivations are anything but appalling. I meant they have goals and plans to achieve them. They’re not just running up with no higher brain functions blowing up people because they hate the Iraqi people

In the main, the carnage in Iraq is the result of foreign (read: Saudi) terrorists moving from Saudi Arabia through Syria. (As evidenced by the arrest this week of a young Saudi man wearing a bomb belt on his way to a second Shiite mosque.)

Iraqis are angry that the U.S. invaded and destabilized their country, and are angry that the U.S. can’t seem to secure the place now, but their principal anger must be directed at the jihadis who keep detonating themselves in mosques and markets.

As both Brett Todd and Brian Rucker have pointed out, this insurgency (if one can even call it that, since the word implies a homegrown, indigenous resistance, and it’s increasingly obvious that the serious horror is coming from outside) has parallels with the failed insurgencies of Algeria and Egypt. There’s a lot of talk about “history” on this forum, but few seem able to discern between A) The history of insurgencies directed against occupying militaries for the purpose of dislodging them (which often succeed, though not always) and B) The history of terror campaigns directed primarily against civilians for the purpose of bludgeoning a population into submission (of which I’m not sure I can think of a single successful example in modern history, though there are plenty of examples – among them Algeria, Egypt, the Philippines, North Ossetia, Muslim terror in Punjab, etc. – of such campaigns failing.)

And it might be useful for me to rebut Brett’s argument about Algeria’s suppressed election – the election was indeed suppressed, but that doesn’t mean the masses were voting for radical killers. The GIA didn’t turn to terror until after the canceled poll…at which point the GIA became anathema to Algerians, as you’d expect of a group conducting indiscriminate terror against the same citizens it had proposed to govern. Talk to Algerians today and they will tell you they are just thankful to have the FLN back in power. (The parallel to Iraq, needless to say, is that no one would be “voting for” the Saudi terrorists if they ran in a general Iraqi election.)

I have a modest proposal for Iraq. They’re a sovereign government, yeah? So nothing’s stopping them from conducting their own military reprisals against Syria or even Saudi Arabia; a sort of courtesy fuck-y’all for those states’ complicity in funneling terrorists into Iraq.

Obviously the Iraqi military isn’t going to be conquering any foreign capitals in the near future, but any damage they can manage to inflict to the terror infrastructure along the Syrian border (with a more-than-helpful assist from U.S. intelligence and special forces, natch) would be a welcome development, and more importantly, might do wonders for the collective Iraqi sense of striking back against these jihadi fucks. Plus, such a military reprisal could go a long way toward framing this conflict in a more honest strategic context – a struggle between the Iraqi people and murderous Muslim neighbors.

In the main, the carnage in Iraq is the result of foreign (read: Saudi) terrorists moving from Saudi Arabia through Syria.

What’s your evidence for this? Does anyone really know?