Hope amid the carnage

March 22nd, 2007
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I don’t claim credentials as a foreign affairs guru, but I couldn’t help noticing several recent threads in Iraq that seemed to form an intriguing pattern – one downplayed or ignored by the mainstream news media, of course.

Readers will be familiar with the general background: The U.S. five-brigade “surge” of extra troops into Baghdad – more important, the well-thought-out security plan that goes with it – appears to be working, so much so that even regular journos have remarked on it. Even if “working” is the wrong term, it’s having dramatic effects, such as throwing the battlefield outside Baghdad wide open as the terrorists scuttle for new hiding places and are exposed and thrown off-balance as they establish new networks and operating methods.

Now for the less-noticed stuff. First, we have a triple-attack by Al Qaeda in Iraq using trucks loaded with tanks of chlorine. That’s right: a chemical weapons attack. Mainstream journos yawn, and continue to repeat the lie that the Saddamites “never had” chemical weapons.

Except of course when they gassed the Kurds in 1988. And, uh, right now. But never in-between, certainly not when George W. Bush claimed they did. A good report on the gas is on Bill Roggio’s website, the Fourth Rail, under this link.

Even more important than the chemical weapons talking point was the target: in all cases, fellow Iraqis, and not even the Shia enemy, but fellow Sunnis. That’s because the Sunni tribes in Al Anbar province are organizing against Al Qaeda, fighting pitched battles numbering hundreds of warriors. Al Qaeda, which has grandiosely proclaimed the nucleus of a new “Caliphate” in Iraq, has been reduced from the glorious mission of resisting the “occupier” to slaying members of another faction from the same sect – merely to stay alive.

Roggio has far more on the resultant warfare among Sunnis.

Next, we have a car bombing in Baghdad. Quite ordinary by most standards. A non-descript car, a coupla’ regular Iraqi dudes, some explosives, and some generic target like a market, a post office or a police outpost. The car slipped through successive road-blocks even under the new tightened “Operation Imposing Law”. Incompetence on the part of the culturally witless American occupier?

Well, only indirectly. The vehicle was also carrying two children, young boys. The soldiers figured that meant it couldn’t possibly be a suicide bomb vehicle. And strictly speaking, it wasn’t: this one was a pure homicide bomb. When the grown-ups had reached their target, they leaped out and fled. Then the car blew up. With the two young boys inside. They certainly hadn’t intended to commit suicide – the decision was made for them.

Is there any doubt that this is pure, unalloyed evil? Are there many depravities lower than killing one’s own offspring? Why can’t the western news media and the left name it such, just this once?

Amid all of this depravity, there is a pattern: Fewer and less effective attacks on American forces, fewer even on armed Iraqi forces, but more and more focus on the purely defenceless – and on internal rivals. The Iraqi “civil war” appears to be devolving into a murderous factional bloodbath.

The redoubtable brothers at Iraq the Model nail what’s happening here: Al Qaeda’s position has degenerated to the point where its main business is “making enemies” among Iraqis.

Thus preoccupied, the terrorists could become far less effective. Though evil is afoot in Iraq, I’d say the prospects for victory look better than they have in over a year.

Finally, we had mainstream news media reports of an “anti-war” demonstration in Washington, D.C., at which the usual suspects denounced the “occupation” (you mean the one by Al Qaeda? Didn’t think so.). Two days later our own CTV got around to “covering” the protest. By this time, though, even the most superficial research made it clear that the counter-demonstration – organized in favour of seeing the war through to victory – attracted as many as, and by some counts, three times as many, demonstrators as the original protest. But that wasn’t considered worth mentioning.

This ties in with polls suggesting that, much as they’ve soured on how the war was being fought, most Americans still want to win. 

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