Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

The Iraqi Insurgency


A homemade videotape given to a French journalist showed...about a dozen men standing in an open field, several of them wearing checkered headscarves over their faces. A Black Hawk helicopter flew nearby at an altitude of about 350 feet, but appeared not to spot the men. Three cars were parked nearby.

One of the men raised a shoulder-fired missile, whose type could not be determined. The gunner aimed and launched the missile at an unseen target. Trailing white smoke, the missile initially climbed almost vertically, then executed a sharp right turn as it gathered speed.

The tape continued to roll, but showed the men scrambling to their cars. After a time, the camera was again pointed to the sky as the stricken airliner, trailing flames and smoke, descended toward the airport.

Hack on a previous Iraqi insurgency:

It's tough for know-it-alls to suck it up, admit they were wrong and confront the problems at hand. Not a particularly happy proposition, since guerrilla-fighting history isn't on our side. And putting down an insurgent movement is a strategy fraught with high risk in which the counterinsurgent needs the support of the people. Bombs and shells slamming down on the wrong targets will quickly feed an already-hot fire, producing still more recruits for the cause.

All of which the British learned the hard way in 1917, when they marched into the former Mesopotamia and soon found themselves knee-deep in an ugly occupation. By 1920, casualties by the thousands had mounted on both sides, and the Brits - looking to cut their losses but keep the juicy oil profits pumping – took a pen to a map and created the new country of Iraq: Kurds in the north in Mosul, Sunnis in the center around Baghdad, and Shiites south in the vicinity of Basra. All three groups hated each other, but unfortunately for the Brits, they hated the occupiers and their appointed puppet rulers even more.


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