The Ire of Iraqi Guardsmen

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The latest carbomb in Baghdad provoked a very telling reaction that was captured by ABC News. I'm paraphrasing as I have no use for RealNetworks SuperPass to watch the video again, but one irate, distraught Iraqi guardsman rushed up to the camera to declare that if the bombers want to fight then they need to meet the Iraqi forces in the field like men.

I have no idea how widespread this sentiment might be, but it is exactly what is needed to build an Iraqi security force capable of beating back the terrorists.

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  1. fatpunk,
    Wash my hands; yes
    Bury my head; no

    I am acutely interested in the ebb and flow of power in the Mid-East. That is precisely why I say we should stay the fuck out of it. IMO those who suggest that sending bombs and bullets into the region will make things better are the ones who have buried their heads…(wait for it) Up their ass!

    PS Who are the John-Johns?

  2. Huh. That Iraqi guardsmen reminds me of someone…yes, yes, history is tickling the back of my brain here.

    Didn’t some famous British General make a similiar complaint in the late 1700s? It was in some rebellious little British colony.

    I’m sure the Brits sorted that one out quick.

  3. Warren,

    …(wait for it) John Kerry and John Edwards perhaps?

    —-

    I agree that it is a good sentiment to see coming out of an Iraqi guardsman. What I see the sentiment portraying is an outrage against a cowardly method of fighting. Is that not a good thing when some express that it sucks to be snuck up on? That it sucks to see innocents die in the name of horror? I think if more indigenous people expressed their disdain towards the cowardly methods of blowing up innocents purposefully, then the population would have less of a desire to harbor these thugs. Popular opinion is everything. When…(ahem)…if…we ever have a revolution in this country, I just don’t see using these types of tactics to overthrow our oppressive…(ahem)…generous…government. Would it not make more sense to target infrastructure and military targets? What would you do if you were here and being oppressed by a government? Blow up a shopping mall to prove how bad the U.S. sucks? Or take out an array of satellite communications disks? Or an electrical junction post? Or a field of petroleum storage tanks. Of course, this is simply a matter for discussion…

    I am not glad we are in Iraq, but I do see it as a necessary task. But, that isn’t the discussion in this thread. The opinions of the people in Iraq, who have to live there the rest of their lives, is what really matters to the people of Iraq.

    If it got to the point in this country where an oppressive government was attempting to quell the populace, and we were able to gain the aid of another country to help in our rebellion, I would take the help…oh yeah, that did happen a couple of centuries ago.

    (dons flame-proof suit)

  4. In Iraq, there’s one side attempting to build a stable, liberal society and another attempting to subvert that attempt and to establish their own primacy through violence and chaos.

    And this differs from the situation in Israel how, exactly?

  5. Whatever else suicide car bombers lack: common sense, humanity, intelligence, reason etc., one cannot claim they lack courage. SO the IRaqi guardsman’s statement is welcome, but we’ll have to see if there is more action than rhetoric. Unfortunately, Arab societies seem to thrive on rhetoric ..

  6. one cannot claim they lack courage.

    I can. It’s only a courageous act if they actually value human life. To them and their backwards mindset, their lives are already forfeit to the cause; they seek only to hasten their ascendancy to paradise for the benefit of 72 virgins.

    If they die in one-on-one combat – confronting and attacking their actual enemy face to face, then you can say they died courageously. Blowing up a car hoping to kill whatever you can – enemy or not – so that you might be welcomed by your invisible man in the sky is cowardice.

  7. rst,

    So the secular – nay, atheist – Marxist suicide bombers from the PFLP WERE displaying courage?

  8. Ahh, the Fair Fight Fallacy. Who wants to fight fair when an advantage is available. When lacking superior arms or numbers, any combatant with his wits will strike with surprise and cunning, although name calling hardly ever works.

  9. So the secular…

    No, why would they have been?

  10. ‘I can. It’s only a courageous act if they actually value human life. To them and their backwards mindset, their lives are already forfeit to the cause; they seek only to hasten their ascendancy to paradise for the benefit of 72 virgins.’

    My Webster definition of courage says

    “The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.” It makes no qualification for whether someone valueshuman life or not, or what their expectations for the afterlife are.

    There have been lots of very brutal people in history (Alexander, Ghenghis) who were indisuptedly extremely brave. Even Hitler, for all his savagery, did apparently display courage in WW-I.

    Most of us like to cling to the fiction that evil people cannot be courageous. It ain’t so.

    ‘If they die in one-on-one combat – confronting and attacking their actual enemy face to face, then you can say they died courageously. Blowing up a car hoping to kill whatever you can – enemy or not – so that you might be welcomed by your invisible man in the sky is cowardice.’

    They’re facing danger and certain death. That’s not cowardice except by a standard that assumes that courageous people have to be good.

    And what if they’re secular ? The original suicide bombers, Japanese kamikaze bombers, were not really motivated by religion. Similarly, the original modern-day suicide bombers were the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, and they are secular as well. If you don’t believe in a glorious after-life, does that change your definition of courage.

    I’ll also point out something thats politically incorrect here. For the most part US soldiers rely on advanced technology (smart bombs, sophisticated aerial attacks and armor) to ensure that they have the upper hand in a combat situation. Everyone, regardless of inner courage (and certainly US soldiers possess a lot of it) try to calibrate the battlefield to their advantage. Someone facing US soliders could well claim that what the US calls face-to-face attack is actualy not face-to-face becaue of the US techonology advtange and that they would attack in a way and manner that suits them.

  11. Didn’t Israel actually provide some support to Hamas in its very early days as some sort of useful counterpart to the then more radical PLO, as Hamas was perceived as being a largely charitable organization ?

  12. I have no idea how widespread this sentiment might be, but it is exactly what is needed to build an Iraqi security force capable of beating back the terrorists.

    HUH? That has to be the dumbest post I’ve ever seen on H&R. The sentiment is so ubiquitous throughout the whole of the Mid East (and for all time). It is also precisely the approach to ensure continued terrorist attacks. It’s the exact same sentiment the Israelis express to justify helicopter attacks on Palestinian Villages. And the Palestinians for their part say exactly that, when justifying terrorist bombings.

    The people of the Mid East are determined to kill each other. You can have either Tyranny or Civil War.

  13. Warren,

    I’m not sure why you’re comparing the killings in Iraq to those in Israel. You’re probably right that a lot of the violence in Israel is caused by the two sides’ simple desire to kill each other, but that isn’t completely the case in Iraq. In Iraq, there’s one side attempting to build a stable, liberal society and another attempting to subvert that attempt and to establish their own primacy through violence and chaos. Guerrillas, terrorists and insurgents are most effective when the population supports them and hides them. If the population is fundamentally opposed and outraged by them, it should be harder for the terrorists to hide and achieve their goals. Furthermore, anger and resolve are absolutely more productive hear than, for instance, terror.

  14. So you just wash your hands of the whole thing and bury your head in the sand eh Warren?

    Nice plan, you dont work for the John-John’s do you?

  15. Slim Jim,

    Regarding Hamas;

    Not sure about actual support but credible sources including former U.S. ambassadors confirmed the Israelis were “pleased” at the emergence of Hamas as a competitor to PLO. I seriously doubt they ever viewed Hamas as not being a threat but more as a useful element in a divide and conquer strategy. Friends with contacts in Israeli intelligence were telling me in the mid ’80’s that Islamic fundamentalists were scaring the hell out of them because, unlike the secular PLO, PFLP, etc guys who broke under relatively little pressure, the Islamists were true believers who did not break easily.

    The divide and conquer idea seems to be validated by the Israelis’ “Operations Defensive Shield.” The stated objective was to destroy the terrorist infrastructure on the West Bank after numerous Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al-Aqsa Martyrs suicide bombings. However, more than a few IDF reservists were confused when they were instructed to trash Palestinian Authority ministry offices and did not really do much against Hamas, IJ and Al-Aqsa facilities.

    I’ve actually heard of Hamas leaders quite openly talk to journalists about their strategy of not confronting the PA directly but simply attacking the Israelis and allowing them to further weaken the PLO/PA in their reprisal attacks.

    Israel seems to have shifted tactics and attacked the Islamists directly now that the PA is probably weak. Since I don’t believe the Sharon government is stupid, I find the idea of them weakening the relative moderates to avoid potentially negotiating with them and losing the opportunity to grab more land and water plausible.

    Regarding bravery;

    Great point. Maintaining the delusion that our enemies don’t possess qualities we admire is not only stupid but dangerous and potentially self-destructive. I would add that the equally delusional flip side is the assumption that our allies do possess the qualities we admire.

  16. “No, why would they have been?”‘

    Because in your earlier definition, you argued that faith in a pleasant afterlife meant that self-destructive attacks required no courage. Ergo, those with no such faith would have to be courageous in order to carry out such an act.

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