Monday, April 12, 2004

What needs to be done in Iraq

Chicago Sun Times writer Mark Steyn has accurately summed up what the coalition forces need to do in Iraq: rattle some teacups. The line comes from inside his editorial, which brilliantly illustrates a fact about Arab society, particularly a country like Iraq. And that is that its citizens back the strongest player in the game. They may not like them, but they back them.

Right now that is the US and her allies. Yes, we have lost almost 70 servicemen and servicewomen since the latest fighting in Fallujah and Najaf started. But the insurgents lost over 700. And the fact is that we could have lost fewer men and killed more insurgents if not for the fact we are trying desperately not to cause civilian casualties. This means we hold fire in instances where it costs us a life or a chance to kill insurgents.

This is understandable from a viewpoint of that we want the Iraqi population at large to like us. But odds are most of them will never like us.Culture differences, status of women in society and a myriad of other factors dictate that. But as long as we are the top dog, they won't turn on us. Yes, there is the violent minority that is fighting us. But they are just that: a minority, and a small one at that. As Steyn points out, in Fallujah when the contractors were killed, that mob had maybe a hundred men in it. That is out of a city of 300,000. If hatred of the US was a dominant feeling, that crowd would have been much larger.

So the coalition must maintain the upper hand against the insurgents. And if that means blowing up a few more buildings than normal, so be it. Doing so will guarantee the compliance of the Iraqi citizenry. It will also be adequate insulation against news organizations like CNN and the NY Times, who make it sound as if the whole country is up in flames and whose inaccurate reporting could cost support from the people of Iraq if the US effort falters.

It also acts as insulation against amazingly stupid comments from bozos like that fat lush Ted Kennedy, who said that Iraq is "Bush's Vietnam." Not only is that statement incredibly crass, but it is wide of the mark. Vietnam was a 10,000 day war started by a government that had no clear vision and interfered with the fighting of the war on a regular basis. You may not like Bush or his plans for Iraq, but he has a clear vision. And he lets the generals fight the war on their terms.

Iraq is not a failure by any means. After a year, we are farther along in restoring self-rule to Iraq than many thought we would be. But we'd be even closer if we got a little more aggressive in suppressing these insurgents. As long as we act like the top dog, we'll have the backing of the people of Iraq.

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