MSNBC on WMD
It’s Colin Powell’s turn this week as lead dog pulling the administration’s PR sled in Iraq, describing our occupation there as part of the WarOnTerrorWarOnTerrorDon’tAskQuestionsWe’reFightingAWarOnTerror:
He said the security situation remains challenging, with a “major new threat” coming from “terrorists who are trying to infiltrate into the country for the purpose of disrupting this whole process.”
The secretary gave a rough estimate of 100 such infiltrators and said he was confident that the U.S. military can handle the problem.
Wow. If 100 foreigners in the entire country are the cause for 150-plus dead Americans, the 1,200-plus wounded, the destruction of Iraq’s water and electricity infrastructure and more, I’m not sure our military can
handle these terrorist supermen!
The fact, of course, is that foreign “terrorists” are at most a small fraction of the problem our military is dealing with. This Knight-Ridder article (link via Juan Cole) shows the real nature of the resistance, from a reporter who interviewed actual guerrilla cell leaders:
The two cell leaders said their fighters primarily were former Iraqi army officers and young Iraqis who had joined because they were angry over the deaths or arrests of family members during U.S. raids in the hunt for Saddam Hussein and his supporters.
The group also shelters remnants of a non-Iraqi Arab unit of Saddam’s elite Fedayeen militia force as well as foreigners who slipped across the country’s long and porous borders to battle American troops, they said. Abu Abdullah, who directs the camp near Baquba, said he came to Iraq shortly before the United States invaded it last spring.
Both cell leaders said they were willing to talk because they didn’t want the story of what was going on in Iraq to be told only from the American military’s standpoint. Abu Abdullah said he wanted to tell people he didn’t consider himself a terrorist, but the enemy of “U.S. imperialism.”
. . . Both spoke disdainfully of “Wahabbis,” as hard-line Sunni Muslim followers are called. Abu Mohammed said there was no contact with members of al Qaida at his level; Abu Abdullah broke off the interview before the question could be asked. But he said his fighters were too valuable to participate in suicide missions, a hallmark of al Qaida, and he rejected the label of terrorist.
“Can you describe a man who defends his country as a terrorist?” asked Abu Abdullah, who said he was 31. “Iraq is the land of prophets and the birthplace of civilization. We will fight until we shed the last drop of our blood for this country.”
This is really a fascinating article, by the way, with glimpses of how the guerrillas operate — I strongly recommend reading it.
Another example of how revenge feeds the anti-U.S. resistance is shown in this article on the funerals of the Iraqi policemen we killed a few days ago:
Mourners gathered under tribal banners and vowed to spill “the blood of the American killers” for the death of an Iraqi policeman and eight security guards killed when US troops opened fire during a high-speed police chase.
Many of the scores of gunmen in the town 50 kilometers (30 miles) west of Baghdad wore masks. A few carried rocket-propelled grenade launchers (RPGs) and one pledged “we will conduct an operation tonight to avenge the martyrs.”
And they were as good as their word, with one American killed and three wounded
near Fallujah that very evening.
Meanwhile, the killing of the Iraqi police is bound to encourage the “terrorist” sympathizers in other police departments:
KHALDIYA, Iraq, Sept. 13 — The convoy of U.S. military engineers had just entered this rough-and-tumble town when disaster struck. They had a flat tire, stopping the convoy along a ribbon of desert asphalt some Iraqis have nicknamed “the highway of death.”
Soon after, masked guerrillas fired two rocket-propelled grenades. Machine guns crackled across the late afternoon sky. When it ended an hour later, witnesses said, homes were gouged with large holes, two U.S. vehicles were burning, and the soldiers had beat a retreat.
On the sidelines throughout the clash Thursday were Khaldiya’s police, who are supposed to be the allies of the U.S.-led occupation in restoring order to Iraq. Not only was it not their fight, several said this week, but the guerrillas fighting U.S. soldiers had their blessing.
“In my heart, deep inside, we are with them against the occupation,” said Lt. Ahmed Khalaf Hamed, an officer with the 100-man force trained, equipped and financed by U.S. authorities. “This is my country, and I encourage them.”
And I guess these people are more terrorists
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Black-robed women wept for lost sons. Old men brandished death certificates with photos of bombed homes and scarred bodies. Jobless men begged for work.
As Secretary of State Colin Powell visited the main U.S. headquarters in Baghdad Sunday, desperate Iraqis kept up a daily ritual at barbed wire barriers outside.
Knowledge that Powell was just a stone’s throw away — meeting Iraq’s U.S. governor Paul Bremer inside one of the former palaces of deposed President Saddam Hussein — heightened the clamor beyond the gates.
“He must be told that the Iraqi people have gained nothing from the American war. Now it is much worse than under Saddam,” said Mushtaq Talib, 28.
A message from the cluephone for Secretary Powell: Until your administration admits that its problems in Iraq are homegrown — and often of our own making — it’s going to be very hard to believe that you’re serious about solving them.