Jumping the Guns?

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I'm a little shocked by the certitude some U.S. officials are expressing that the deaths of Saddam's sons will knock the wind out of the Iraqi resistance. Do we know that Odai and Qusai were somehow directing the attacks, or have they just been running for their lives?

The successful U.S. raid certainly demonstrates that no one is beyond the reach of Washington, and no doubt is a psychological blow to Iraqi fighters and a big boost for U.S. troops. But that does not automatically mean that the guerillas' command and control system—if there is such a thing—has sustained a mortal wound. In fact, in the near term a sharp increase in attacks might be the response to the raid, in order to demonstrate that the resistance is still alive.

Long term, here's hoping all the positive spin is correct, but it does seem to be more hope than experience.

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  1. If it wasn’t a decapitation strike, it was a pretty awesome castration strike. We got ’em in the balls and cut their fucking nutsack off. Saddam’ll be shit out of luck trying to find a pair now.

  2. What, may I humbly ask, would be unqualifiably good news to you?

    Oh, right, I forgot…

    There is no such thing.

    And that lovely subtext: ‘no one is beyond the reach of Washington’! Oh, sweet. Nail a couple of fascist scum…and it proves your own fascist reach…

  3. I?m a little shocked at the knee-jerk pessimism some of our journalists are expressing towards our military efforts at stamping out a very nasty group of people.

    I know its quite a stretch for our government to have linked such polar opposites as Osama and Saddam but in light of our soil being breached on such a scale, I say roll the dice and take ?em out.

    If we?re wrong, Iraq is better off anyway, right?

  4. A local guy whose son was killed last year by some skinheads decided to hire investigators and offer a cash reward and so on. Once those guys were caught he decided to just go after skinheads in general. I like that idea.

  5. Geoff:

    If Odai and Qusai are the balls, does that make Saddam the dick?

  6. Well, prior to the allied invasion of Iraq, Hussein and his immediate family held essentially all the power in Iraq. Many, possibly most, of the “resistance” is people trying to earn brownie points in the event that the Hussein regime returns to power. If the Husseins are dead, that won’t happen.

    So it’s reasonable to think that the deaths of Hussein’s heirs will be a crippling blow to the “resistance”.

  7. The last sentence of Jeff Taylor’s post is absolutely correct. This is indeed a case of people expressing hope, and we have no experience with anything like the current situation in Iraq.

    My guess is that the deaths of Saddam’s two sons will in fact have a major impact on the security situation, as the air goes out of the idea that a Baathist restoration is ever going to happen. In the short term, the effect of getting these two may be to increase the fear of Iraqis fighting coalition forces of being betrayed, and this may be reflected in more violence against Iraqis thought to be working with the Americans.

    But this is only a guess. I really have no idea what will happen. To Stateside observers it looked like a foregone conclusion months ago that the Baathists were done, and if it looked that way to most Iraqis too the demise of the leading Baathists may not have much impact. From what I can tell, many Iraqis were a lot less sure of this than we were, and if that is true the fear of the terror state’s return took a big hit today. We’ll see.

  8. Zathras;

    Smite the shepard and the sheep shall scatter.

    This is a mop up action. Violence happens.

    The only stateside observers who thought this was all over when a couple of statues fell were the armchair generals and those biased enough in their prejudices against this country to listen to them.

    I know that sounds over the top to you and Jeff but it is not natural to watch ?your team? score a decisive touchdown and your immediate action is to worry about the opposition will do next.

    ?No one is beyond the reach of Washington.? How absurdly petty and we?re supposed to perhaps not notice such drivel because he wrote something peppy towards the end; ?here?s hoping.? Hoping for what? More violence against our forces to vindicate your jaundiced ideology?

  9. I thought to explain the armchair generals comment in light of the heavily biased company and their inability to see clearly.

    No one capable of rational processes thought that this was going to be over as soon as the statues came down. Most people that I personally know, veterans and non-veterans alike, were waiting for the other shoe to drop as the Iraqi forces melted into the populace in so many instances. Conquered Germany saw some scattered guerilla activity and the very reason we atomized Hiroshima was because we knew that even if we (conventionally) dusted Tokyo and the Japanese hierarchy, we would have been digging Japanese soldiers out of the hills for years to come.

    The Bush administration was very careful not to announce anything over enthusiastic for this reason. However, the media immediately began to build up unrealistic hopes for ?winning? the peace to the extent that no time frame for completion could be soon enough.

  10. In the Soviet-Afghan War, most of the mujhadin killing Soviet teenagers weren’t Aghans or even central Asians. Like Osama bin Laden, they were bored rich kids from the Arab world who decided they’d go fight the infidels.

    Is it at all unlikely that most of the “Iraqi resisters” aren’t Iraqis? There are plenty of muslim fighters in this world; former Yugoslavia and Chechnya have trained and brainwashed hundreds of thousands of them.

    Nonetheless, I think that the deaths of Saddam’s sons and grandson Mustafa will improve US-civillian relations.

  11. Kevin;

    No, by armchair generals, and I thought I was explicit enough in this, the ones who were creating unrealistic expectations of winning a final peace.

    I never broached the subject of how the initial action was fought though, on that matter, Rummy was right on the mark.

    Gen. Franks is actually a huge proponent of special forces and special operations (in the case of Marines) and it is either ignorant or dishonest of you to portray Franks and Rumsfeld as being on separate sides of the strategic issue.

    I remember well the fabricated stories of how our troops were bogged down and going without food, low morale and how Rummy had really screwed up and, whoops, wait a minute. The 1st Marine Division are cakewalking down main street Baghdad. Never mind. Rumsfeld?s practice of a smaller, more efficient force was in fact the correct tack to take.

  12. Mike Joyce;

    It?s a bit of a stretch to say that ?most? were not even from central Asia though of course there was a huge contingency of foreign fighters.

    Also, hundreds of thousands is probably a little high if you?re only counting men and women, trained and ready to fight (relatively speaking).

    On that point however, send them in. Not only does it bring the fight to where we already are, but it drains other areas of badly needed guerilla forces.

  13. Ding-dong the witch is dead…

  14. This is what happens when you have two mutually opposed groups whose opinions are based largely on abstract bits of ideology. They will both fish for what they want to see, and ignore what is contrary to their ideological predilictions. Wait two years and then decide about the US actions in Iraq; until that time, this is all so much mental masturbation.

  15. Ray

    This is a mop up action. Violence happens.

    This may be a mop up action, and violence definately will happen, but this mopping can go on for the next 20 years. The history of America’s forays into other countries suggests that the American public, 1. Will not support an extended military operation, no matter how small, where body bags come home on a regular basis and 2. Will not support the ruthless methods necessary to exterminate our enemies. Arab fanatics have certainly shown us one thing these last 50 years or so, they never give up. Not with the current methods used against them. They need to be killed, or beaten so far back that they will never raise their putrid heads again. As well as their kids, their kid’s kids, and on, and on forever.

  16. My side didn’t kill anybody based on said masturbation.

  17. My brain stem is like a rhino’s horn right now, man.

    My limbic system is bigger than your limbic system!

    …sorry, I’m spent. That’s all I got.

  18. Or we could just leave them ALONE!!!!!!!!

  19. 2 more soldiers dead and 9 wounded today.

    Seems like not much has changed.

  20. “In the Soviet-Afghan War, most of the mujhadin killing Soviet teenagers weren’t Aghans or even central Asians. Like Osama bin Laden, they were bored rich kids from the Arab world who decided they’d go fight the infidels.

    Is it at all unlikely that most of the “Iraqi resisters” aren’t Iraqis? There are plenty of muslim fighters in this world; former Yugoslavia and Chechnya have trained and brainwashed hundreds of thousands of them.”

    I’m mainly reacting to the last sentance there…but you are aware that our entire military is composed of similarly inclined individuals, right? There really isn’t any need for things like “brainwashing” – humans naturally have certain impulses and desires to fight; the reasons come later, just as one comes up with reasons why one wishes to have sex with some person but not some other person, or eat some food but not some other food – more of this has to do with rationalizations than genuine reasoning of actual causation.

    The fact is that humans have desires and impulses to eat, have sex, and to fight. The reasons change, but the impulses don’t. These men and boys (and, to a seemingly far lesser extent, women and girls), are volunteering to join someone else’s fight, for actual reasons that are not much different than why a fight in a bar can turn into a brawl, or why Americans join the Army, or why young men join Jihad, or why some will not dodge the draft, or what have you. The arguments, rationalizations, and effects may be very different – but the actual causes and reasons are almost completely the same.

  21. “The only stateside observers who thought this was all over when a couple of statues fell were the armchair generals and those biased enough in their prejudices against this country to listen to them.”

    Does an aircraft carrier off the coast of California count as “stateside?”

    Mike,

    “Most” mujahadeen were Arabs, not Afghans? Most?

  22. “2 more soldiers dead and 9 wounded today.”

    Nothing has changed in less than 24 hours. Time to call a general retreat. Run for your lives!

  23. Jeez, at least when Kucinich does it, it’s a metaphor.

  24. joe: That depends on your definition of “Arab”.

  25. The ex-Baathists and Republican Guards are still sniping at our troops in hopes that they can discourage the US enough to pull out, leaving the way open for a return to power of Saddam and his regime and put them back on the gravy train. By removing the sons, we demonstrate to them that the bad old days are not coming back, not now, not ever. Now, if we bag Dad, there will be no reason for them to fight. Thus, our troops are safer…get it now?

  26. I just heard a report this morning that said Saddam may now be in the company of “Chemical Ali”, the bad guy reportedly killed back in April but later found to be mis-identified.

    Is it possible they’ve done the same thing again? Will the military put pictures of mangled bodies out as proof? Maybe they can hang them up in the town square for all to see.

  27. “Do we know that Odai and Qusai were somehow directing the attacks?”

    Yes, we do. They had $50 million in cash, lists of fedayeen leaders, satellite phones and radios, and, of course, have been the leaders for years of the intelligence and militia outfits now sniping at our boys.

    “Or we could just leave them ALONE!!!!!!!!”

    We’d love to, if they’d only quit trying to kill us. Do me a favor – Go to Google, type in “9/11 World Trade Center,” and get a clue.

    “2 more soldiers dead and 9 wounded today.

    Seems like not much has changed.”

    Some of you people either (a) have a serious medical problem that manifests itself as the attention span of a mayfly; (b) can hardly wait for the US to lose this war amid a huge pile of dead Americans,; or (c) are utterly ignorant of history.

  28. I just googled 911. No mention of Iraquis so far but have only 874,345 more sites to search.

  29. Sniping aside, I think this is good news for those of us who, having been anti-war, are now anti-occupation. Getting rid of Saddam’s sons removes one of the major political obstacles to ending the occupation. Furthermore, it will separate out the Iraqis who oppose the occupation because they actually want Saddam to return from those who oppose it because they just don’t like foreigners telling them what to do (e.g. the Shiites who demonstrated in Najaf the other day). The former group will be weakened and the latter strengthened– and a real, non-Baathist, anti-occupation “Iraq for the Iraqis” movement is a harder thing to resist, politically, than some remnants of the old armed forces.

    All in all, this increases the chances that our boys will come home sooner rather than later, which is good for our liberty and the Iraqis’ too.

  30. My statement was regarding the near term (remember this from the post? “in the near term a sharp increase in attacks might be the response to the raid”).

    All I meant was it doesn’t look like they are coming guns blazing for retaliation…and yes, I know it has only been 1 day so shit could change either way.

    I didn’t say I was anti-war/occupation, you guys just assumed that. I was just making a statement about the past 24 hours.

  31. Ray,

    By “armchair generals” are you by any chance talking about the community of cakewalk forecasters centering on Rumsfeld? The ones who wanted to cut the invasion force down to mainly special forces, seize an airfield, and wait for the Baathists to fall to the local resistance like the Taliban did? Seems to me, if Rummy’s armchair generals hadn’t had to compromise with Tommy Franks, they’d still be waiting for that “national uprising.” It’s sure enough make the present situation look like a cakewalk.

  32. “I just googled 911. No mention of Iraquis so far but have only 874,345 more sites to search.” — Lefty July 23, 2003 11:21 AM

    Reminds me of my favorite old bureaucrat who said, “If it’s not in the computer, it doesn’t exist.”

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