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Good News

It's not exactly a scientific survey, but if foreign fighters really are now reviled by Falluja residents then that's something to take encouragement from. It often seems that the best antitode to Islamism is to let the residents of a given area try it out for a little while and see how they like it. That's not much of a practical guide to action, though.

November 13, 2004 | Permalink

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Comments

Miss Allam sounds like she got rolled by Rumsfeld.

Posted by: tex | Nov 13, 2004 3:09:06 PM

If by Foreign Fighters, you mean the most commonly found ones in Iraq, the Americans, I am sure they are!

Posted by: Don Quijote | Nov 13, 2004 3:16:35 PM

Overall, there's nothing to be happy about here. Anti-American foreign fighters come in, provoke us into attacking, then leave as we commit atrocities against the civilian population. The local population may resent them, but they've accomplished what they set out to do, and they'll certainly repeat this in other cities.

--Rick Taylor

Posted by: Rick Taylor | Nov 13, 2004 3:45:02 PM

Another point is that one of the main reasons the "foreign fighters" are reviled is they didn't stay and help fight the Americas. Not exactly good news for us.

--Rick Taylor

Posted by: Rick Taylor | Nov 13, 2004 3:46:02 PM

Be careful about feeding into the whole "foreign fighters" thing. I doubt that they are a monolithic group, religiously or politically and I doubt that the Iraqi public is monolithic in it's views of them, either. The Iraqi public may not, generally care for fundamentalists of any stripe, but I would guess that they care far, far less for the Americans at this stage of the game.

Posted by: Jim G | Nov 13, 2004 4:03:52 PM

Logic tells you the Iraqis in Falluja, as well as elsewhere, would have no use for Americans. Why would they even be neutral about us? We invaded and conquered their country, placed a puppet government in power, destroyed many of their homes and much of their infrastructure, arrested many of them for no reason, and tortured some of those arrested. For all of that we should be admired????

Posted by: Vaughn Hopkins | Nov 13, 2004 4:58:29 PM

An Iraqi co-worker/friend was there this summer for a couple of weeks and told me as far as he could tell the insurgents are all either Baathists (esp. in places like Falluja) or non-Iraqi Arabs (esp. form NAfrica) and have no popular support in the rest of the country.

This is not to say he thinks the occupation has been handled well by the US, the list of stupid mistakes and lost opportunities overshadows what occupation forces have done right on a day to day basis.

Posted by: Michael Farris | Nov 13, 2004 5:26:55 PM

"Logic tells you the Iraqis in Falluja, as well as elsewhere, would have no use for Americans." Everyone has their own logic, I guess. Polls show that the vast majority of Iraqis want us to stay and finish the job.

Their are a lot of folks posting here hoping we (and the Iraqis) lose - why? How is that good for anyone but the head-hackers?

Posted by: Steve K. | Nov 13, 2004 6:05:02 PM

I think losing this one would be a very good thing for everyone - as it's the only way of stopping the next one.

Posted by: abb1 | Nov 13, 2004 6:11:37 PM

Mission Accomplished.

We are certainly exporting ... something to Iraq.

Posted by: praktike | Nov 13, 2004 6:27:20 PM

abb1,

How is it a good thing to have a coalition of Ba'athists and Islamicists in control of a huge portion of the world's oil supplies and the U.S. as a consequence too gun-shy to go to war the next time it is attacked?

Posted by: Andrew Reeves | Nov 13, 2004 6:28:34 PM

Cripe Steve K, how would you define winning? There isn't even an articulated measurable goal coming out of the administration. The limited polls, certainly months, perhaps a year by now, old showed that many Iraqis were fearful that the US would pull out before they were able to fully reclaim their govt and their security. The polls did not ask an Iraqi if they preferred that we stay and finish the "job" because there is no freakin defininition of what the job is.

Our intervention in Iraq was not just a military thrust designed to remove Saddam's regime. We inserted ourselves into every sector of its govt and economy. Hmmm. So does finishing the job mean we stay until we have completed selling off Iraqi state industries to foreign entities who are not required to keep the profits in Iraq? Do we stay until we have ensured that all, jobs in the transportation and construction sectors are filled with low wage workers from foreign countries? The so-called Iraqi insurgents are not all pissed off old Baathists. There are reports of newly pissed off Iraqi businessmen who help fund some of the destruction because they are angry that they can't compete against US firms like Bechtel, who in turn are giving jobs to low wage foreigners.

Furthermore, by screwing up their border security we allowed the foreign head choppers to insert themselves into this mess. Many Americans, the president included, make statements like, 'better to face the terrorists in Iraq than on the streets of New York.' They sound like the incoming rush of foreign terrorists is a nice fringe benefit.

So, I ask you, what could finishing the job mean, especially as the administration has worked so hard to include the Iraq liberation thing in with the war on terror. How long do you think it is appropriate to stay and blast away at the foreign jihadis who are inserting themselves into the Iraqi populace until we know the job is done? You may say until the Iraqis themselves turn the foreign jihadis away - but the cruel irony of this whole debacle is that the Iraqis never wanted them in, and the jihadis weren't particularly looking for an "in" until the American invasion. And, they will continue to come as long as the Americans stay.

Posted by: karol | Nov 13, 2004 6:40:00 PM

abb1,

How is it a good thing to have a coalition of Ba'athists and Islamicists in control of a huge portion of the world's oil supplies and the U.S. as a consequence too gun-shy to go to war the next time it is attacked?

A. Ba'athists and Islamicists are going to be in coalition as long as they have a common ennemy, the minute they don't, they'll turn on each other so fast your head 'll spin.

B. What the F*** are they going to do with all that OIL? eat it!

C.No one in Iraq has ever attacked the US.

D.The US gun-shy? are you on drugs? In the Last four years we have invaded two countries, overtrown one goverment & attempted to overthrow another. In the 90's we bombed the Balkans into submission, invaded Iraq, Somalia and Panama. In the eigties we invaded lebanon, Granada , ran a couple of civial wars in Central America, etc...

Posted by: Don Quijote | Nov 13, 2004 6:56:14 PM

"...and the U.S. as a consequence too gun-shy to go to war the next time it is attacked?"

One can only hope that the next time we are attacked we succeed in capturing those who attacked us so we don't have to see them popping up in videos over 3 years after the attack. And, that we don't have members of an administration that succeed in convincing a weak, uninformed president that the attack is a perfect pretense for taking on a different issue, in a different country, that didn't attack us but whom we could link with a wink and a nod and an appeal to people's fears.

I honestly can't fathom why no one seems to hold Bush and co. responsible for not taking care of bin Laden. That makes us look ineffectual at best, and turning Iraq into a free fire zone doesn't cover up the fact that we were not able to take out the mastermind of all the major terrorist attacks against us and our interests in the last 7 years. What do you think bin Laden and Zawahiri (sp?) make of our Iraq intervention? I'm sure they're grateful but, as pretty good strategists themselves they must be saying, 'what were they thinking???'

Posted by: altec | Nov 13, 2004 7:12:34 PM

"It often seems that the best antitode to Islamism is to let the residents of a given area try it out for a little while and see how they like it."

I hope that works, because we seem to be trying it, only with Republicans rather than "Islamicists"

Posted by: rea | Nov 13, 2004 7:50:01 PM

Let's hope this same formulation applies to red states living under Christian theocrats.

Posted by: Moo Cow | Nov 13, 2004 8:06:53 PM

Matt wrote:
foreign fighters really are now reviled by Falluja residents then that's something to take encouragement from."

I can't see why anyone would not be encouraged by our policies in Iraq, especially in Falluja, as for reviling foriegn fighters I think that has been going on for some time. Of course the sample size of those inhabitants interviewed in Falluja might be a bit "skewed" but that should soon be addressed by exposure, disease, and bombings.


Posted by: jay boilswater | Nov 13, 2004 8:17:05 PM

Cripe Karol! What's your solution? Pull out immediately? It ain't gonna happen.

Karol says:
"So, I ask you, what could finishing the job mean, especially as the administration has worked so hard to include the Iraq liberation thing in with the war on terror."

The answer is simple - finishing the job is doing everything we can to make the elections in January a success, then staying until the elected government says they no longer need our help. We have had tremendous successes in the GWOT so far, and there will be more, plus a lot of positive fall-out down the road.

I recommend everyone read "Why We Must Take Fallouja" in the LA Times by Mark Bowden (author of the book Black Hawk Down). http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-bowden12nov12,1,1554780.story?coll=la-news-comment-opinions
He certainly says it better than I ever could.

Posted by: Steve K. | Nov 13, 2004 8:20:26 PM

That is the good news.
The bad news is we have lost Iraq.
Either we leave and Iraq will remain unsafe for Americans.
Or we will stay and kill a lot more Iraqis and Iraq will still be unsafe for Americans.
Pick one.
-jonny

Posted by: bakho | Nov 13, 2004 8:30:32 PM

How is it a good thing to have a coalition of Ba'athists and Islamicists in control of a huge portion of the world's oil supplies and the U.S. as a consequence too gun-shy to go to war the next time it is attacked?"

Let me say this s l o w l y so you get it.
we
were
not
attacked
by
Iraq.

What part of that can you not understand?

Posted by: satan | Nov 13, 2004 9:33:33 PM

So, we have had great success so far in the GWOT. Now that one is hard to get a handle on. We haven't yet caught Osama. Al Qaeda remains in business, and is dispersed so as to make it even harder to identify them. Afghanistan remains under the control of war lords. We remain so afraid of terrorism in this country that we elect a failed administration to a second term because a new one might be worse. We are constantly being told that the GWOT will go on virtually forever, .....but we have had great success so far. Man I would hate to see what those folks would consider to be other than a great success.

Posted by: Vaughn Hopkins | Nov 13, 2004 9:47:17 PM

Successes in GWOT so far:

Elected govt in Afganistan
No safe haven or training camps in Afganistan
Pakistan our ally
Pakistan no longer selling nuclear technology
Libya gives up WMD programs
Al Qaeda decimated
Saddam no longer supporting terror groups

That's just for starters - I'm sure there are more. Surely an honest person can admit that these are positive developments, even if you want to believe that the negative outweighs the positive.

Posted by: Steve K. | Nov 13, 2004 11:16:16 PM

Steve,
In reverse order:
Saddam was never supporting terror groups.
Al Qaeda is not decimated, but is probably stronger than before by being dispersed, both in leadership and in "troops".
Libya's giving up of their nuclear program was an accomplishment.
Pakistan was spreading nuclear technology while supposedly our friend in the battle to prevent just that spread of nuclear technology through terrorism. Pakistan remains a very iffy ally.
Al Qaeda is now doing their training on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, not far from where they had their camps in Afghanistan. Not a big change.
The "elected government" in Afghanistan is a PR coup, but not a democracy by any definition. That "elected government" remains the government of only the capitol, not the whole country.
All in all, a very small selection of positives compared to the loss of life of 1500 or so US soldiers, tens of thousands of Iraqis, and untold numbers of Afghanis, plus tens of thousands of wounded, and at a cost of upwards of a quarter of a trillion US dollars and counting. Yes, the negatives outweigh the positives.

Posted by: Vaughn Hopkins | Nov 13, 2004 11:30:29 PM

I hate to wade into these situations where I'm contradicting litanies of claims that everyone is supposed to just accept as fact, but...

--Saddam wasn't supporting terror groups, according to the CIA and 9/11 Commission.

--Al Qaeda is only apparently decimated on the days that this administrations wants to celebrate its victories. On days they want to scare us, Al Qaeda is dangerous and regrowing. Whis is it?

--It's not clear in anyone's book that Libya gave up its WMD's as a result of anything but its desire to reach out to the civilized world as it had been for a few years. It wasn't named on the axis of evil and was at the very end of any known neocon short list.

--The Taliban has been regrouping and owns large swaths of Afghanistan. Karzai unfortunately cannot leave his city without a few legions to protect him. Do we know that there are not safe havens in the Taliban controlled areas?

--Pakistan. They are our ally. That is good. They are not selling nukes anymore that we know of. That is good. This actually may be one tangential positive result of the war on terror.

As someone who values honesty, I think Pakistan is a good result. And yes, the negative does outweight the positive by any objective standard. And the trend seems to be downward by any metric, including the fact that there have been record numbers of terrorist attacks around the world since the so-called War on Terror began.

How is that not a dismal failure? How is Beslan or Iraq or Abu Graib or Gitmo or the failure of Ashcroft to secure a single conviction not a dismal failure?

Posted by: Windhorse | Nov 13, 2004 11:39:21 PM

"Saddam was never supporting terror groups."

Well, not if you don't think Palestinian suicide bombers are terrorists, I suppose. A fairer statement would be that Saddam wasn't supporting terrorist organizations that went out of their way to kill Americans, as opposed to Jews.

Posted by: Brett Bellmore | Nov 14, 2004 12:14:46 AM

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