I wanted to do something silly for April 1st and for my first article after taking a nice month off to catch viral bronchitis and work on the basement bathroom after I got home from work. But current events in Iraq cry out to be written up and commented on.
In the city of Fallujah, Iraq, four American contractors were ambushed and killed by thugs. Their burned, beaten bodies were dragged through the streets, and eventually two were strung up from a bridge. Some of the people involved in this celebratory rampage were little more than young boys.
Fallujah didn’t suffer as much as other towns under the reign of Saddam Hussein because they are predominately Sunni like Hussein. It is little wonder that this town has been so anti-American since they didn’t look at the removal of Saddam as liberation, but rather they are angry at the Americans stopping their gravy train. Unless something changes, you can expect to find more resistance from the angry Sunnis of Iraq. And their attitude is one of defiance. Ahmed al-Dulaimi, a resident of Fallujah, said, “We wish that they would try to enter Fallujah so we’d let hell break lose.” Another resident, Sameer Sami, said, “We will not let any foreigner enter Fallujah. Yesterday’s attack is proof of how much we hate the Americans.”
The hate is obvious. Yet the interesting thing is that Fallujah is a religious city. The people there are devout Muslims, but the proscriptions of their religion didn’t stop a mob from desecrating the bodies of the fallen. And this act is against the most basic tenets of the faith they hold so dear.
People have mentioned this act was very similar to what happened in Somalia, suggesting that Iraqis fearful and hateful of the U.S. are hoping to see a repeat of the American disaster there as portrayed in the film Black Hawk Down. But there is a difference between the events in Somalia and this event in Fallujah: we have a President in office who won’t bolt and run when evil men do evil things. The death of 18 servicemen in Somalia was sufficient to make Bill “stick a finger in the wind and see which way the polls go” Clinton order the military to turn tail. But President Bush understands that in a time of war, some of our valiant servicemen and -women will die. And we are in a war. Make no mistake about it.
If President Bush were as hot-headed as I sometimes get when I see the inhumanity of the thugs in Iraq, he would play right into the hands of those very same thugs. It appears that the original plan by the resistance in Iraq was to steadily and consistently slay an American or two each day. The steady drip, drip, drip of death would be played on the nightly news and cause the American people and leadership to lose resolve and leave. It worked in Vietnam, so why shouldn’t it work in Iraq? The Iraqi resisters were certainly aided by the liberal press who announced nightly each new death and the running total of lives lost. But this steady counting and recounting of death didn’t cause President Bush to waver in his resolve.
When Saddam Hussein was captured, he had in his possession $750,000 in cash. Yet the documents found with him were much more valuable — they outlined the leaders and followers in the resistance. Over the next few weeks, many swift arrests and raids led to the capture and death of the vast majority of the Baathist leadership. Since this time, the goals have switched from the steady slaying of a few Americans each day to typical guerilla-style warfare.
The main goal of this terrorist war is to cause the U.S. and coalition forces to react with the heart and not with the head. A guerilla needs the support of the people to hide and supply him. And without the people’s support, there won’t be any more recruits. In a guerilla war, the terrorist stings and torments his enemy in an attempt to cause a rabid response that will foment widespread hatred against the enemy. This is why I’m not in charge of the military in Iraq. When I see the thugs in Fallujah desecrate the bodies of the fallen Americans, I feel an immediate desire to carpet-bomb the whole town with MOABs. The end result would be to create more hate and more terrorist attacks. This is a good example of where my emotions at times temporarily override my thoughts. But President Bush and his leadership team are better soldiers than I am, which is good, since I am not a soldier.
“Yesterday’s events in Fallujah are dramatic examples of the ongoing struggle between human dignity and barbarism,”said the chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer. Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt echoed the commitment to continue in Iraq until the job is done: “We are not going to do a pell-mell rush into the city. It will be deliberate, it will be precise and it will be overwhelming. We will not rush in to make things worse. We will plan our way through this and we will re-establish control of that city and we will pacify that city.”
I am thankful that President Bush has advisers around him who don’t get carried away as I do. Even when my anger gets the best of me, eventually I calm down and recover. But more and more I am coming to agree with Jim Quinn that militant Islam is a mental illness.