Iraq

Light at the End of the Iraq Tunnel, Chapter XXIII

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AP, via Cincy Enquirer:

The U.S. military said Thursday it had captured the leaders of a Shiite insurgent network responsible for kidnapping and killing five American troops—one of the boldest and most sophisticated attacks on U.S. soldiers in the war in Iraq.

The statement said the arrests took place over the past three days in the cities of Basra and Hillah south of Baghdad. The military said the network was led by Qais Khazali and his brother Laith Khazali. Several other members of the network also were captured.

The network was "directly connected" to the January kidnapping and murder of the Americans in the holy city of Karbala, 50 miles south of Baghdad, the military said.

In the Jan. 20 attack, gunmen speaking English, wearing U.S. military uniforms and carrying American weapons abducted four U.S. soldiers at Karbala's provincial headquarters and later shot them to death. A fifth soldier was killed in the attack.

More here.

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  1. Why must every success in war be met with snarkieness here?

    Well, yea, I do it too, but on completly different topics 🙂

  2. Mission accomplished?

  3. Mission accomplished?

    Stop picking on the Navy for their cutsie choice in banner wording after returning from a long and successful tour of duty.

  4. What are you saying? The situation isn’t allowed to get any better… too many people would be proven wrong after they spent too much time proving everyone else wrong.

    Priorities, people.

  5. Guy & Cab,

    The headline is a reference to the fact that the war’s proponents jump on every bit of positive news from Iraq like a starving squirrel on the last peanut on earth.

  6. Guy- If you want the “rah-rah, go team” opinions about this story, tune in to Fox News tonight. I’m sure there will one or two stooges on there proclaiming that this is the greatest victory since Normandy.

  7. crimethink,

    No, silly, you are looking at it all wrong. The opponents jump on every death like a football score or a radio countdown while ignoring or making fun of the good news.

    I kinda like what the Vice President had to say when visiting Japan:

    “If the American troops pull out, withdraw, before we complete this plan, there is a possibility that the country might slide into chaos and the chaos could lead to a civil war,” he said, adding that it could also lead to regional unrest.

    That guy is one fine speaker. Maybe more news from him will creep into the pages of Reason?

  8. I’m sure there will one or two stooges on there proclaiming that this is the greatest victory since Normandy.

    As opposed to NBCBS where the greatest victory ever was Tet?

  9. I have a hunch the anti-war crowd just jumps on every bit of bad news from Iraq with equal zeal.

  10. strike ‘just’

  11. Wow, is it possible that somebody in 2007 could actually believe that the Lincoln crew decided to put that banner up?

    Cripes, Scott McClellan stood at the podium and admitted that they were ordered to put it up the President’s advance team. How does a person manage not to know that? It’s not as if it wasn’t beaten to death on the political blogs for six months.

    Hey, Guy, was Saddam Hussein involved in the 9/11 attacks?


  12. “If the American troops pull out, withdraw, before we complete this plan, there is a possibility that the country might slide into chaos and the chaos could lead to a civil war,” he said, adding that it could also lead to regional unrest.

    Let’s see; Bombings, shootouts, abductions, and everything else that is currently going on in Iraq does not already constitute “chaos” and “regional unrest”??

    Am I living in an alternate dimension here??

  13. There is plenty of jumping on news with zeal from both the pros and the antis, when that news suits them. I’m just not quite sure why you would come here if you are looking for something other than skepticism about this news.

  14. [sarcasm]
    New at Reason

    Quagmire in Normandy!

    Nick Gillespie | 6 June 1944

    US forces, going it alone with scant assistance from their so-called ‘allies’ have begun what some call a surge, more like an invasion of soverign [f]rance, reportedly against the wishes of their leader, the great General Charles de Gaulle in an illegal expansion of the war on Fascism . . .

    [/sarcasm]

  15. It’s certainly a good thing that this guy was captured, just as it was a good thing when Saddam and Zarqawi were captured. And it will probably prove to be just as important.

  16. The capture of enemy leaders is unimportant. Interesting.

    So presumably the failure to capture bin Laden is also unimportant. I presume we’ve heard the last of the snarking on that topic, then.

  17. R C Dean,

    Snark from us is wrong as the Leftist-surrender-monkeys own all snark with regards to all activities, foreign and domestic.

    See what happened when I snarked at the Navy above?

    I believe the title at Reason could be “All Your Snark Are Belong To US”, but they just used similar, so it will be a while before it will come back up in rotation.

  18. Guy,

    Your satire of Nick Gillespie’s coverage of World War II is way off base. He would have worked in a Kinks or Ramones reference somewhere.

  19. Your satire of Nick Gillespie’s coverage of World War II is way off base. He would have worked in a Kinks or Ramones reference somewhere.

    But they weren’t alive yet!

    How about: “In the Mood for a Quagmire at Normandy”?

  20. R.C. Dean,

    AQ is effectively dead as an operational organization (mostly because their go to organizational guy got captured). OBL and AQ at this point provide general inspiration to more dispersed groups of folks who they have little operational control over.

  21. “The capture of enemy leaders is unimportant. Interesting.”

    It is important. If it is the beginning of the end, great. The US flag hangs in front of my house every day and I’ve got a cousin in the marines that has been to Iraq a few times. I would like some sort of a positive outcome from this mess as much as anybody, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

  22. Guy Montag,

    That bit of sarcasm might work well if we had never made the breakout from Normandy in a relatively rapid fashion. Imagine if we were still fighting in Normandy in 1948.

  23. I really don’t mind snark from outlets which do not adopt any conceit that they are neutral reporters. As long as journalists are very frank as to where their beliefs and preferences lie, snark away. When they pretend to be observing events without a predisposition, they lose all credibility.

  24. Didn’t that guy already captured confess to being the English speaking American look alike responsible for killing the five servicemen? Sadly, more brave young men died today. Can Bush claim temporary insanity or permanent stupidity?

  25. “I kinda like what the Vice President had to say when visiting Japan:

    [boilerplate]

    “That guy is one fine speaker.”

    And one great American. I can’t wait to see the monument. Here’s a option; too bad it’s been done…. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4795832.stm

  26. “The U.S. military said Thursday it had captured the leaders of a Shiite insurgent network responsible for…”

    That’s great news!

    Cab – those people who rejoice like that really are sad. Disgusting that people here would do that.

    Abdul – nice one! “First Rule is! The laws of Germany” (there, some Ramones!)

  27. Where did my “n” go?

    stupid keyboard

  28. RC Dean,

    Still not getting the difference between the War on Terror and Iraq, I see. Everything’s just “enemies” in your mind. Kill enemies = Victory.

    In our war against Al Qaeda, destroying the capability of the organization is the goal, the purpose, the strategy, and the tactics. That’s the end game – when we disrupt Al Qaeda, we win.

    In Iraq, achieving a certain situation on the ground is the goal and purpose of the war. Killing and capturing bad guys may be part of the strategy and tactics, but is not by itself sufficient to achieve victory.

    It’s 2007, and you still haven’t figured this out?

  29. Seems like good news, but we have to get used to the reality that our enemies in Iraq are very decentralized.

    We heard the same “why must every success in war be met with snarkiness” comments when Zarqawi was captured, when the Iraqis voted, when Hussein was capture, when Hussein was executed, etc. And guess what, none of those events had any significant effect on the war. So basically, accurately predicting the future is “snark” reserved solely for Leftist-surrender-monkeys. On the other hand, go-team-go idealism has worked out pretty well in this war.

  30. P Brooks,

    And one great American.

    I believe you are thinking of the wrong Vice President.

    And, in the spirit of snark, your URL seems more appropriate for the poster than for the subject 😉

  31. Chris S.,

    So, the night club bombings in Germany in the 1970s were evidence of our failed completion of WWII in a timely manner?

  32. Guy,

    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I’m saying.

    For the record, although I oppose the war, I don’t look favorably on other anti-war folk who pretend to be exceptionally clueless hawks in order to make them look bad. Guy, if you want to argue against this administration’s policies, why don’t you just come out with it? No one is as clueless as you pretend to be. No one would actually compare 1970s Germany with the current situation in Iraq.

  33. Guy, what has opposing the war have to do with being a leftist? Who here is a leftist? It seems to me that it’s the leftists who trust the government to tell the truth and do things right after it’s lied and been incompetent.

    And how does WW2 have anything at all to do with the war in Iraq? I mean, I know they are both wars, but besides that?

  34. Guy, if you want to argue against this administration’s policies, why don’t you just come out with it?

    I am not against this administration’s war policy and when there is something I am against I do come out with it, or not even bother discussing it.

    We did have a lot of resistance in Germany for a long time after Germany surrendered. We also had a lot of trouble from outsiders in Germany for decades after their unconditional surrender. Eventually, we won, but it sure was not on or shortly after the end of major hostilities.

    Perhaps I was misreading what you meant in your post.

  35. Guy, what has opposing the war have to do with being a leftist?

    Seems to be the main group, along with Pat Buchanan, so it is not 100%

    Who here is a leftist?

    I give up, who? Probably everybody here is Left of me, but that may just be the special way I like to look at myself.

    It seems to me that it’s the leftists who trust the government to tell the truth and do things right after it’s lied and been incompetent.

    Oh, see we disagree here. I have not found the lies that are being accused to be lies at all. YMMV.

    And how does WW2 have anything at all to do with the war in Iraq? I mean, I know they are both wars, but besides that?

    Well, if the comments above don’t reveal what we (not just me, others see it too, look at their comments) are talking about here then I am not sure that I am bright enough to explain it to you, but I will give it a shot.

    The WWII posting in the style of how the current war is being written about is an example. Not sure what you learned in school about WWII, but bombings and shootings there did not end on VE day, they continued for several years. I commented some more on that above.

    Best I can do for you. Sorry if I did not clear it up very well.

  36. “Leftist-surrender-monkeys”

    Hey Guy,
    How do these leftist-surrender-monkeys compare to the surrender-monkeys who decided to leave Lebanon after the barracks bombing? Or are you just content to continue flinging jingoistic feces without adding anything of any substance to this discussion.

  37. “special way I like to look at myself”

    Yes Guy,
    You appear to be “short-bus” special, indeed.

  38. Probably everybody here is Left of me, but that may just be the special way I like to look at myself.

    I only ask because you referred to the anti-war folks here as “leftists,” which certainly isn’t the case, so I don’t understand the point in labeling anyone here as such.

    Oh, see we disagree here. I have not found the lies that are being accused to be lies at all.

    Well, that disagreement aside, do you actually believe that the occupation has been handled competently? See, if you ask a leftist if Social Security has been handled competently or if education is handled competently, they’ll ignore the failures and just point out whatever positive results they can find (the opposite of how systems improve).

    Also, how can you claim to not be a leftist while supporting an administration that has unapologetically bloated all areas of government?

    Not sure what you learned in school about WWII, but bombings and shootings there did not end on VE day, they continued for several years.

    I didn’t learn much in school (it was public, don’tchaknow), but since then I’ve learned that WW2 was, in almost every way, a completely different conflict than the one in Iraq. And even though we lost hundreds of times the number of soldiers, we were done fighting the Nazis, Japanese, and the Italians (who had actually attacked/declared war on us) within a short time of their surrender. Are you suggesting that we were taking serious casualties from one of those groups in 1949?

  39. Guy Montag,

    We did have a lot of resistance in Germany for a long time after Germany surrendered.

    There was some intermittent resistance for a short time after Germany’s surrender. We’re talking months instead of years when it comes to Germany, and very few operations during that period of time.

  40. Also, Guy, would you call this fellow a “leftist surrender monkey?” I mean, to his face?

    He gives an educational interview to Hugh Hewitt here.

  41. “Seems to be the main group, along with Pat Buchanan, so it is not 100%”

    Leftists + Pat Buchanan = 60%+ of the American public.

    ‘Kay.

  42. Still not getting the difference between the War on Terror and Iraq, I see.

    I see you’re still not seeing the connections, either.

    Leftists + Pat Buchanan = 60%+ of the American public.

    A good portion of that 60% isn’t happy with the war in Iraq because we haven’t fought it like we mean it, joe.

  43. how many iraqis do we have to kill before we’ve “fought it like we mean it”, whatever that means?

  44. um, all of ’em?

    Especially that fucking flip flopper sledgehammer peter gabriel mutherfucker mustardlooking fucker guy.

    that one. ketchup looking mutherfucker.

  45. peter gabriel? that ain’t peter gabriel. that’s peter MURPHY.

    saddam has left the bell tower/the victims have been bled

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=Kq2RXSboWMs

  46. Uhm…4 years of Bush getting anything he asks for to fight the war, and folks are already dusting off the “We’re losing because you whiny leftist cowards won’t let us fight it like we mean it” complaint?

    Fine, what’s the plan, nukes?

  47. Uhm…4 years of Bush getting anything he asks for to fight the war, and folks are already dusting off the “We’re losing because you whiny leftist cowards won’t let us fight it like we mean it” complaint?

    Oh come now,

    Everyone knows that the reason we haven’t found the Iraq pony is because the lefty anti-war crowd’s rhetoric is emboldening and providing aid an comfort to the enemy and dampening the spirits of our fighting men and women. If only these defeatists would STFU and clap louder then all the successes would start happening rather quickly, and the insurgents would lose all their aid an comfort and be so sad they would probably just all surrender.

    It’s really rather simple.

  48. “He (retired Gen. Wm. Odom) gives an educational interview to Hugh Hewitt here.” – Les

    That’s funny, because it seems like a good chunk of the interview is Hewitt asking Odom if he’s read X, or Y, or Z, and Odom saying “No.”

    How can that be “educational?”

  49. how many iraqis do we have to kill before we’ve “fought it like we mean it”, whatever that means?

    I find it amusing that the people who ask this also like to slap the administration around for not having had enough troops in Iraq right after the invasion.

    Until Bush sent more troops, and then they slap the administration around for not withdrawing fast enough.

    or something.

  50. That’s funny, because it seems like a good chunk of the interview is Hewitt asking Odom if he’s read X, or Y, or Z, and Odom saying “No.” How can that be “educational?”

    Well, he said he hadn’t read Mullah Yazdi. And he hasn’t read “The Looming Tower.” And he’s not familiar with Qutub, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. I hardly think that represents “a good chunk” of the interview.

    I found his insights on the difference between a democracy and constitutional order educational. I found his (very informed) opinions on why our military presence can’t prevent civil war or make constitutional order in Iraq educational. I found what he said about the history of Iran from the revolution to 1995 educational. I found his opinions on how the armistice of WW1 contributed to WW2 educational (I’m obviously unembarrassed by my ignorance of that history). I found his insights regarding the political limitations of congressional testimony by military leaders educational.

  51. “I’m obviously unembarrassed by my ignorance of that history”

    no – you just have the balls to admit it!

  52. I’m also unembarrassed by my balls. This has lead to uncomfortable situations.

  53. Some good astringent will rinse the broken glass right out of ’em!

    No worries!

  54. “I found his insights on the difference between a democracy and constitutional order educational.” – Les

    Then you should definitely read “The Coming Anarchy” by Robert Kaplan. I think that’s wehre Odom got most of his information on these points… One of the really ugly, but fairly plausible pieces of that book deals with whether democracy usually can succeed without certain other rather unpleasant periods.

    “I found his (very informed) opinions on why our military presence can’t prevent civil war or make constitutional order in Iraq educational.” – Les

    I guess it’s like reading an O. Henry story for the first time, after you’ve heard those concepts before they’re not as eye-opening as they are initially.

    “I found what he said about the history of Iran from the revolution to 1995 educational.” – Les

    He’s obviously on familiar territory there, and I think he’s right. Certainly having not made a study of it, I can’t find anything wrong in his analysis.

    “I found his opinions on how the armistice of WW1 contributed to WW2 educational (I’m obviously unembarrassed by my ignorance of that history).” – Les

    I think that might be the O. Henry thing again… But then I’m pursuing a master’s degree in Military History, so I’d have reason to be embarassed if I hadn’t heard those ideas before.

    “I found his insights regarding the political limitations of congressional testimony by military leaders educational.” – Les

    I think what comes through clearest on this is that most generals who came up during the Cold War seem incapable of persuading their civilian bosses. It also bothers me that he refers to them as “masters.” I think that betrays a certain approach to civil-military relations that I find disturbing. (But that’s just a personal thing with me, obviously…)

  55. rob, I found your post educational and I have the balls to admit it. I will definitely check out the Kaplan book, thanks. It sounds scary.

    However, I don’t have the balls to read O. Henry. Not yet, anyway.

  56. RC,

    Can I take your absence of a response to my point as assent? That you see why killing bin Laden would be a huge advance for our efforts against al Qaeda (because that’s what we’re there for), while killing leaders in Iraq is not (because we’re there to achieve quite different goals)?

    “I see you’re still not seeing the connections, either.”

    Actually, I do. The administration chose to make the invasion of Iraq part of their strategy to fight terror, and as a result, we are now faced with the threat of that country falling into the hands of a state and/or bands of jihadists that are our enemies. Hence, any plan to end the war needs to be part of a larger change of strategy in the War on Terror.

  57. “A good portion of that 60% isn’t happy with the war in Iraq because we haven’t fought it like we mean it, joe.”

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is the sound of intellectual bankruptcy.

    Back in 1984, it was “a good portion of that 60% is unhappy with the Democrats becasue we haven’t fought for liberal causes like we mean it.”

    Sure they are.

  58. Hey Les – um. I was admiring the fact that you said that. I wasn’t ripping you.

    Were you posting back when Dan Rather’s “Typeface gate” was raging?

    People would run to wiki, find stuff to support their claim – already staked out, of course – and continued the fray!

    Man! You never saw so many experts on typeface!

  59. Damn it the insurgency is in its last throes!!!!

    “””Stop picking on the Navy for their cutsie choice in banner wording after returning from a long and successful tour of duty.””””

    I believed that too, until someone in the Bush admin admitted to having a hand in creating it.

    Killing leaders, is good in and of its self, but they promote from within and at the end of the day all you did was knock off a couple of people. The insurgence probably have a new leader already. Think it would be a big victory would be a strategic and tactical error.

    By the time this hit the news, we are hunting for their new leader. So what did we gain in the big picture?

  60. I AM REPORTING ALL OF YOU TO THE AUTHORITIES FOR YOUR TRAITOROUS LACK OF ENTHUSIASM FOR OUR NOBLE EFFORTS IN ARABISTAN AND EYEROCK

  61. I second Robert Kaplan

    His stuff in the atlantic has been more on than off… meaning, his POV has generally been clearest re: Iraq, compared to many others…

    I think he was one of the first to recognize that Samarra bombing Feb16 2006 was the day the US war ended, and the Iraqi civil war began.

  62. I am not now, nor have I ever been, pursuing a Master’s Degree in Military History. I never even tried putting some peanut butter on a chocolate chip cookie to see if I could lure one into camp.

    The raid in question was a pretty impressive operation; insurgent commandos disguised as American/ Coalition troops bluff their way into a fortified compound where American and Iraqi officials are palavering, and kidnap several American soldiers. I suspect the badguys had something more than simple murder in mind, such as a prisoner exchange; they could have killed everyone there, at the compound, if that had been their ultimate goal.

    Obviously, killing or capturing the leaders of that operation is a commendable tactical success. However, I wonder how much long term benefit we will see; these men, most likely, have already been replaced. I also wonder how many potential replacements we ourselves (our troops and their leaders) have recruited through our ham-fisted occupation.

  63. Hey VM, I know, and I appreciate it. Sorry if my response made it seem like I didn’t. Me no communication sometimes so good really.

  64. Yoo talk pretty one day, 2?

    thanks, tho! The denseness is all on this side of the table!

    🙂

  65. P Brooks – I’d have to agree. For a guy who started as a journalist, Kaplan has made a pretty successful transition to academic. His analysis, IMO, is often more correct than either of the other two categories (journalists or academics).

    The biggest disappointment I had with “The Coming Anarchy” was that he gave fairly short shrift to what I thought were his truly innovative thoughts and the new lines of analysis he had come up with, vice the Robert Pelton-esque “World’s Most Dangeorous Places” travelogue bits.

    Well, that and the frustration I had with his citation approach, which was far more sloppy journalistic attribution than academic.

    IMO, his later books are much better in both areas of complaint, and I have to admit I’ve not only learned from them, I’ve actually enjoyed reading them. That’s quite a feat, in my experience!

    (Full Disclosure: I’m a bit biased, since Kaplan is a guy who studied English, became a journalist, and then eventually shifted towards being a member of History academia. It’s an eerily similar path, in certain respects, to my own.)

  66. VM & Les – Maybe we could all go to the “The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can’t Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff (Like Military History) Good Too.”

    I hear that they can train us to be ridiculously good-looking male models/assassins there!

  67. Awesome! That rocks that they can do the impossible!

    Happy Friday!

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