05/19/2005: "Kill them all. God will know his own."
That seems to be our current policy for the Mess in Mesopotamia, as Fred Kaplan fills us in:
The most dismaying thing I've read in a while is a Page One story in the May 17 Philadelphia Inquirer, by staff reporters Hannah Allam and Mohammed al Dulaimy, headlined, "Iraqis Lament a Call for Help." If you want to know why we're not winning in Iraq, and why we're not likely to win anytime soon (if ever), there is no more brutally illustrative tale.Read the whole thing (and the Inquirer story it's based on); it's well worth it.
The story concerns Operation Matador, last week's clash between U.S. forces and foreign jihadists in the desert villages of western Iraq. Officials have portrayed the operation as a grand success. Allam and Dulaimy depict it as a grave disaster.
For months, they report, Iraqi tribal leaders in the area had formed a vigilante group called the Hamza Forces to stave off the Islamic extremists streaming across the Syrian border. Outnumbered, at least three of the tribal chiefs asked the Iraqi defense ministry and the U.S. Marines for help.
Rather than respond in a coordinated fashion, U.S. forces blazed in with armored vehicles and helicopter gun ships and simply pummeled the place. Fasal al-Goud, a former governor of Anbar province and one of the sheiks who had asked for assistance, told the Inquirer, "The Americans were bombing whole villages, and saying they were only after the foreigners."
Villagers who returned after the fighting were stunned to find entire neighborhoods destroyed. Men who had stayed behind to help were found dead in shot-up houses. Over 100 jihadists were killed, but so were a lot of Iraqis fighting on the side of the Americans, to say nothing of several bystanders caught in the crossfire.
Fasal al-Goud now says he regrets calling for help. Allam and Dulaimy heard confirming accounts and similar sentiments from two other tribal leaders, who asked not to be named because the jihadists (who, it seems, weren't expelled entirely) are still holding some tribesmen hostage.
Yep. Makes sense to me that the quickest way to victory in Iraq is to go in and whomp the shit out of our friends and enemies alike, without even any attempt to discriminate. And the bAdministration still thinks it's Newsweek that is the problem over there....
Len on 05.19.05 @ 10:35 AM CST