Wednesday, March 31, 2004
'Instead, Falluja's streets were thick with men and boys and chaos.'
'Boys with scarves over their faces hurled bricks into the burning vehicles. A group of men dragged one of the smoldering corpses into the street and ripped it apart. Someone then tied a chunk of flesh to a rock and tossed it over a telephone wire.'
'"Viva mujahadeen!'' shouted Said Khalaf, a taxi driver. "Long live the resistance!'''
'Nearby, a boy no older than 10 put his foot on the head of a body and said: "Where is Bush? Let him come here and see this!'''
'Many people in the crowd said they felt as if they had won an important battle. Others said they thought that the contractors, who were driving in four-wheel-drive trucks, were working for the Central Intelligence Agency.'
'"This is what these spies deserve,'' said Salam Aldulayme, a 28-year-old Falluja resident.'
. . .
'The fact that the attack on the civilian vehicles occurred in Falluja, an overwhelming Sunni city that is the most volatile stronghold of support for Mr. Hussein, and that it followed a 10-day offensive by United States marines aimed at gaining effective control of the city, suggested that the current war may, in practice, be an extension of the conflict that began last year.'
'Capt. Chris Logan of the Marine Corps said today that the city was becoming "an area of greater concern.'''
'He added: "This is one of those areas in Iraq that is definitely squirrely. The guerrillas in Falluja are testing us. They're testing our resolve.'''
'In a modulation of their assessments in recent days, the generals had begun to say that there may be a merging of diehard loyalists to Mr. Hussein and Islamic militants, with the two groups at least loosely coordinating their attacks.'
'On Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, spokesman for the American command, who had previously emphasized the growing role of Islamic terrorists in the conflict, said at a news conference that the military no longer considered the distinction between Saddam loyalists and militant Islamists to be so significant from the viewpoint of military operations.'
'"I'm not sure trying to over-classify these different groups is helpful,'' he said. "It might help somehow in the intelligence community, in terms of trying to find out where they come from and trying to find some trails onto them. But on the operations side we just call them targets.'''
These paragraphs are from the same article in the New York Times. I excerpt these parts to point out one of the fundamental flaws of U.S. thinking in Iraq. Note first off the description of the scene in Falluja, a Sunni "stronghold". The people attacking the car and the foreigners are townspeople. They vary in age and occupation. They're preception of the situation is that they've killed "spies", or people who were collaborating with the occupation.
Now, contrast their view of events with that of the U.S. millitary, as expressed in these two quotes. Capt. Chris Logan characterizes the residents of Falluja as "guerrillas" (I think it's interesting that the language of resistance has been so internationalized, and with Spanish of all languages. Note the Iraqi saying "Viva the resistance" and the U.S. captian using the word "guerrilla"), while Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt tries to downplay any differences in the groups and calls them all "targets". This gives us some insight into what's _really_ going on in Iraq, i.e. the resistance to the U.S. occupation is turning into a somewhat classic anti-colonization war. The "occupiers" can't be bothered to understand their targets and who they're really fighting (does the U.S. want to characterize all the citizens of Falluja as guerrillas and targets?). The "resistance" sees liberation from the occupiers as its main goal. Whether or not these characterizations can be generalized across all of Iraq (and there's too little information to know if these mindsets are shared elsewhere), it's a telling sign that the Coalition isn't the only group fighting for the "liberation" of Iraq. Which brings us to the more salient question -- who _is_ fighting for the liberation of Iraq?
Andrew 11:07 AM : |
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