500-Pound Guerrilla


New at Reason: Jeff Taylor discovers that the guerrilla war in Iraq is the Banana Splits by other means.

NEXT: Tentacles

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  1. fydor, there is a mixture of criminals, loyalists and jihadists in iraq. it isn’t one unifed group. also, there were GIs killed in Austria well past 1945.

  2. anon @ 1:09 PM,

    Re: “there were GIs killed in Austria well past 1945”

    Well okay, but what I’m wondering is if it was a nearly daily occurence as it is currently in Iraq and whether there was a resistance that had the earmarks of being organized as this one does. If so, well let’s hear about it! That would be a much better argument against taking the current problems too seriously than information from someone’s no bullshit friend!

  3. “If so, well let’s hear about it! That would be a much better argument against taking the current problems too seriously than information from someone’s no bullshit friend!”

    Agreed. I also tend to trust the opinions of people who use their real names rather than ones that use handles, pennames, etc. But hey, that’s just me. Perhaps you just have more faith than I do.

  4. the postwar situation in Japan was quite complicated, maybe partly because of who MacArthur was. at one point the Japanese government petitioned to become the 51st state; on the other hand, on the day the surrender was announced tens of thousands committed suicidse: housewivs, teenagers, grown men, even small children.

    i think that comparing iraqiresistnace to german or japanese resistance is kind of sophistical, because the cultures are so different. one would expect angry young men in the arab world to kill white occupiers with bombs; thats the cultural legacy of the intifadeh. On would expect Japanese to committ suicide when their government surrendered; their national persona, combined with a collectivist culture, combined with a religious attitude towards the emperor, meant that japan losing was to apan was what Nietschze’s claim “God is Dead” was to europe.

  5. tim stich, i think i’ll make good on your suggestion to put full name especially considerinbg that i share a first name with mr sullum, who occasionally posts as “jacob” as well, and i wouldn’ want to get things confused.

  6. The Iraqi opinion poll shows most Iraqis are in favor of punishing Saddam – so are we (well maybe not all of us, but I am). That would suggest most of the Iraqi public is on the same page as the United States. As has already been stated, and seems pretty obvious to me, the people with RPGs and mortars are not your everyday working people of Iraq. They are the same people responsible for much of the misery we’ve read about since the near-collapse of the Bathist regime.

    My use of quotes around “occupation” is probably incorrect. I have a hard time using the term by itself, knowing how loaded it is with negative connations. Canada is occupied territory, and so is the United States and Mexico and pretty much any place where the inhabitants came from somewhere else. I’m sure every square mile on earth has some group claiming true ownership based on some historical or cultural history. Possesion is 9/10, as they say. How about the “occupied territory” in Isreal? Is it really an occupied territory? They were attacked by genocidal enemies and won. Now the land is theirs – right. Just like Texas (sort of).

    Jacob – “white occupiers”?

    Our armed forces might visually appear to be mostly white, but the diversity of the forces has been widely reported on as of late. “Whites” may even be under-represented in some areas. What other whites are Arabs used to murdering? Jews? Iranians? Australians?

    If someone could post a list of people we can officialy label as white – maybe that would be helpful – not.

  7. Nice to meet you Jacob Dreyer. It’s good to use one’s real name I feel. Everyone at REASON does, why not us? We can troll anonymously.


  8. anon at 3.17:

    whites is bad.sorry, the meaning is better conveyed by “westerners,” especially given that, say, most hindus think of themselves as aryan yet are not white nor are westerners, some turks are completely white yet are not aryan nor are they westerners whereas some americans are not white nor are they aryan but they are westerners.

    sso bad word. didn’t mean to attach racial connotations; i meant more: “arabs have seen people of like self-defined ethnic group attack wesern occupiers with suicide attacks in response to occupation of land in the past, hence arba-israel conflict is a better metaphor for iraq-american conflict than american-japanese conflict is as metaphor for iraq-america conflict.

  9. btw anon- point taken regarding “everyones an occupier.” for what itsworht, i am a staunch supporter of the jewish state, and, despite the fact that i draw a metaphor b/w their situation and americas, that is merely in the external situation not the justification of their situation. hence my pro-israel tendencies shouldn’t eb also taken as pro-war tendencies. however just in case you care if i am a frantic moron or not, this might help clarify.

  10. Tim Stich,

    Sheeeesh. Okay, my real name is David Lichtenberg. Happy? Fyodor is a nickname that many of my friends use. You can use it too! 🙂

    Jough (at least I assume that’s you @ 3:17),

    Methinks that’s pretty slim pickins for showing that Iraqis are on the same page as Americans.

  11. “Methinks that’s pretty slim pickins for showing that Iraqis are on the same page as Americans. ”

    yeah but it is clear that they prefer us to the alternatives

  12. Jacob Dreyer,

    Interesting you should say we shouldn’t compare Iraq to Japan or Germany. That’s exactly what many anti-war types said to those who backed the war by saying that we didn’t have any trouble occupying Japan and Germany and converting them to democracy! Ultimately time will tell and all our bickering will be meaningless. But I would think that understanding the level of post surrender resistance after WWII might help put perspective on the current level in Iraq. Of course, if you’re right that we can’t compare the two, perhaps that has ominous import for what that ultimate outcome in Iraq will be….

    (but hey, ignore what I say because I’m not posting my legal name!!)

  13. For the record, I always preferred “Danger Island”…

  14. Re the issue of “occupation.”

    Ironically, what makes it occupation is that we’re not doing something clearly worse: annexation! (Same goes for Israel)

  15. fyodor: not neccesarily.

    see (and i hate to say this because i is so open to misinterpretation that i’m a neocon) i think most decent iraqis realise that the US is better than saddam. i think that most decent iraqis probably refrain from RPG attakcs. however, i also think that they refrained from hitting saddam statues with sandals. as far as i can tell from my knwoledge of human nature, the people who were involved in those two different activites are overexcited teenager boys. and thats FINE- but i dont think its valid to say that they are so very representative of iraqi reality.

    i think probably roughly the same thing will happen to iraq as happened to germany and japan (and korea) fifty years down the line: we’ll still have tens of tousands of americans in baghdad (as we do in germany, in japan, and in south korea) most teenagers will hate the troops, most adults will think “eh, it was unpleasant while it lasted but all things considered the americans are OK and shouldn’t withdraw” and things will be generally OK, with nobody really losing out- except, of course, the american taxpayer who will foot continuing subsidies to iraq and pay for the soldiers billeting, to maintain a “presence.”

    see, i think that you CAN kinda predict societal tredns. i think its pretty foolish to suggest that iraq will be clamoring to enter as the 51st state, “East Texas,” as some seemed to think. i think its pretty foolish to suggest that all irais are filled with an all consuming ahtred of americans. probably, i would say, teenage boys are enigng in obnoxiosu, aggressive behavior, as they do everywhere, which under the leadershp of irresponsible minsters, etc, becomes suicide attacks, and most people are pretty confused about what the hell is going on, which i hink could be fairly said of most people in general not justin iraq.

    in summation: iraqi teenagers are pretty unpredictable in the short to medium term, but i think things will be neither disastrous nor spctacular in the long term (unless you think the current state of adffairs globally is disastrous or spectacular.) as usual, i think iraq is primarily a scam on the american taxpayer, but with so many others already existing, i’m tempted not to care that much.

    and why wouldn’t i respond to you because of your name? *I* think fyodor is a cute name. (not intended to be smarmy) it reminds me of russian literature and is in any case far etter than just a “david” in its distinctiveness. I only really added my last name because i’d already been in a thread where jacob sullum was posting as jacob, and i realise that many people would confuse jacob the random poster from central virgina with Jacob, seniro reason writer.

  16. David Lichtenberg,

    Yes, I am happy to know your real name now. If you like, I can send you a copy of my friend in Baghdad’s latest report. It’s wrying amusing and also terrible stuff. But you’ll have to agree not to redistribute it. Make of it what you will. It serves as another data point to me. I trust the person writing not to lie to himself, so he probably won’t lie to me. We grew up together as well.

    Oh yeah, my nickname is perhaps not exceptible to print in classy blogs such as this one. But I’m sure you’ve heard it before while driving in traffic. 😉

    Nice to meet you.

  17. Jacob said:

    “and why wouldn’t i respond to you because of your name? *I* think fyodor is a cute name. (not intended to be smarmy) it reminds me of russian literature and is in any case far etter than just a “david” in its distinctiveness.”

    Sure. Pseudonyms are fun and I know a lot of people who use them. My favorite guy in the world online is called Dingus Milktoast. Good guy. But I did eventually want to know who he was. I even saw a picture of him recently. I just took fyodor to task for his jab at my anonymous friend in Iraq. 🙂

    Take care all.

  18. Tim Stich,

    Ah, I knew I must have pressed your button somehow!! No, I wasn’t dissing your friend for being anonymous–or you for referencing him–my point was simply that his was just one opinion–however much you value it yourself–and I was looking for a broader perspective. That’s all! As for “meeting” me only now, what’s in a name? I think it’s good enough that I post as fyodor consistently. Occasionally I post my URL and don’t do so more often only because it has nothing to do with political discourse. But feel free to check it out, if you REALLY wanna know what I look like… (heh)

    jacob dreyer,

    First, my paranthetical remark about using fyodor was aimed at Tom Stich, as he apparently surmised, not at you. But thanks for the props!

    As for the rest, sigh, well I hope you’re right, and I’d probably put more money on that than anything else. Still, I find the situation in Iraq troubling, even if it is only a minority responsible for the agitation. And sure, history repeats itself, but no one knows WHICH history will do so till it IS history. I’m not quite as confident as you that Iraq won’t turn into our own Palestine.

  19. This is nonsense. The attacks are minuscule, sporadic and only known about because the world press, which was so wrong about the ability of US troops to overthrow Saddam, is hysterically intent on proving that the resistance is serious. It’s no Vietnam, not even a hundredth as serious as Algeria, the Congo, Liberia, Ivory Coast and a dozen other low-level insurgencies.

  20. Oh, and it’s “guerrilla”, not “guerilla”.

  21. “Most ominous is the use of mortars by the attackers, which suggests a level of training and direction a step above your basic rabble.”

    It also suggests the attacks are not coming from “joe Iraqi” who is unhappy to see Saddam gone.

    There have been more murders in Chicago this year than US military deaths in Iraq. Somehow I think that if the average Iraqi opposed our “occupation” there would be quite a few more dead US soldiers.

    Here is link to an Iraqi opinion poll:


    Contrast that to “journalist’s” headlines claiming such things as “MANY IN IRAQ OPPOSE U.S. PRESENCE”. When you read the full story, it always turns out that “many” is a couple of former security officers who are anxious to talk to a Democrat, er, excuse me, I meant reporter.

  22. Jeff, you wish.

    “U.S. officials could say, yes, there appear to be elements in Iraq who have entered the field bent on driving us out. But that would contradict the liberator line.”

    Why? Please explain. It seems obvious to me that the people who stand to benefit from these attacks are those from the former regime. Do you really think Joe Iraqi is going to blow up new police recruits? Where’s the contradiction?

    “As the architects of Iraq campaign did not allow for any dissent from the mission, any dissent is illegitimate and to respond to dissent would only grant it legitimacy.”

    If you can crank out lines like that, you have a golden future as a lefty.

    “As a result, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brands elements of the Iraqi resistance “Saddam loyalists” despite evidence that would-be jihadists from other Arab countries were among the most dogged fighters the U.S. encountered in Iraq.”

    I’ve only heard Rumsfeld et al say a thousand times that such elements are at work in Iraq. You seem to believe that the two are mutally exclusive. Why? Because it improves your argument?

    Why can’t you use reasoned arguments instead of paper thin silliness to make your point? I expect better from Reason.

  23. What’s the point of your link, Jough? That poll says nothing about Iraqi attitudes toward the U.S. occupation (and why the quotation marks? Even if you think the occupation is good, is there any doubt that’s what it is?), and I’m actually a bit shocked that only 55% of Iraqis would want Hussein punished (although exile I suppose is a form of punishment, albeit relatively mild).

    I imagine there’s as many opinions in Iraq about our occupation as there are Iraqis. The problem addressed here is that some of those who oppose it are armed and organized. Perhaps this resistance will present no more obstacle to the success of our mission than common murders do to the functioning of a major US city, only time will tell. But bear in mind, common murderers do not have a political goal as the Iraqi resistance does. A more enlightening comparison (and better than Viet Nam as well) might be to what lingering resistance may have existed in Japan or Nazi Germany. Anyone know? Of course, it likely helped in those occupations that the Emperor unconditionally surrended and Hitler offed himself. Neither of those conditions apply in Iraq.

  24. Robert:

    You must be living in an alternate universe where the skeptical, pit bull press is constantly on the lookout for government deception. Most national news stories are based entirely on press handouts and direct quotes from the suit behind the podium. And most of the questions asked at Pentagon press conferences are vague, general softball questions with no follow-up (the chickenshits are more interested in making sure they get to come back than in performing a watchdog function). Shit, you might as well have Baba Wawa asking Ari and Rummy questions.

    The only reason they’re asking mildly pointed questions now: the Bush admin’s face is so red over WMDs and the ongoing casualties that even this emasculated press is experiencing a trickle of testosterone.

    Intent? They’re “intent” on selling readers to their advertisers. That’s it. Sometimes it’s OJ, JonBenet and Laci. Sometimes it’s the “America’s Bravest” wall. But tough investigative reporting costs money and it doesn’t sell.

  25. Kevin:

    “You must be living in an alternate universe where the skeptical, pit bull press is constantly on the lookout for government deception.”

    That would pretty much the universe I live in as well. Or have you not been following the endless foofaraw over the Niger uranium forgery? Were you not watching the press conferences in Qatar during the war, which were notably anti-American and anti-military in tone? Did you miss the endless thimbsucking about “where are the WMDs”? Howsabout the claims in the press that Bush should be impeached for the way he made the case for the war? Do we even need to review the instantaneous claims of “quagmire” beginning on day 3 of the war? Have we forgotten the “its all about oil” mantra, the “its all about Halliburton” charges?

    Need I go on? The notion that the US press was some kind of lapdpg, or that any dissent anywhere was squashed (as opposed to being vigorously opposed by others exercising their First Amendment rights) is a lefty fairy tale, cooked up to hide their abysmal failure to deal seriously with Saddam Hussein and the rest of the terror merchants.

  26. Jeff,

    I’ve been getting detailed reports from a friend in the service stationed over there right now. You are missing the mark by painting with such a wide brush, but I think many of the others here have also stated that as well. My friend is a no bullshit kind of guy and his reports are detailed and factual. I can confirm that the people upset are the ones missing out on the old perks and payoffs. They are the ones rioting, grumbling, and causing grief.

    The whole “Saddam Loyalist” label is stupid, however. The label should simply be “those heavily invested in the good old boy system.” Bush would perk up when he said that and immediately understand.

  27. ugh.

    well i certainly hope not. and at any rate, at least there isn’t the geographic proximity- iraqi suicide bombers can’t hop on the sbuway to new york, but palestinians can do the equialent in israel.

    but of course, you’re right- ignoring the worst case scenario is usually an injudicious option.

  28. If you want an apt, bad, 60’s cartoon that ran on NBC, you can’t beat “Super President.”

    Is there a better example of Kennedy-worship? And it ripped off Metamorpho, the Element Man!

    The RealVideo link is a hoot, even on dial-up.


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