Posted by Lexington Green on July 22nd, 2003 (All posts by Lexington Green)
Everyone throughout the wide realms of Blogistan will have their opinions about the killing by our troops of Uday and Qusay.
I am elated. This is good news for America, Iraq and the world. One of the secretaries at my office told me about it. She’s the only other hawk I know of there. She has a niece in Iraq.
This sends a powerful message to the whole world in a language Neanderthal man would have understood. These guys took on the USA and its allies, and now they are dead. That will help quell further bad behavior from any number of sources. Plus, its plain justice that these mass murderers have been killed. Anyway, they were participating as commanders in an ongoing war against the USA, so they were military targets. Another factor is the ongoing fear in Iraq that the regime will return, that the US and the other Coalition countries will just cut and run. Hunting down and killing Uday and Qusay sends a message to the Iraqi people that the victorious powers are serious about tearing out the former regime root and branch. That will help create confidence and cooperation among the Iraqi people. All in all this 100% good news.
I will add that this is further evidence that (as I said here and here) the news media are liars by omission, and that the United States and its allies are winning this part of the war — the rat hunt, the roundup of Saddam’s cronies, dead-enders, and foreign trouble-makers.
Strategy Page has a good summary What Is Really Happening In Iraq?.
A lot of the “combat” is now taking place in the shadows. Special Forces, Delta Force and SEALs are doing what they’ve been doing since before the war began; sorting out the Iraqi underground. This mélange of criminals, Saddam’s secret police and various Baath Party big shots (including Saddam and his sons) terrorized and plundered Iraq and are trying to get back to the good old days now that the war’s over. … Special Forces and military intelligence troops have been creating a growing network of informers and anti-Saddam Iraqis. … SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has more Civil Affairs troops than it does Special Forces. And that’s no accident. Special Forces has been practicing, for over half a century, to deal with what is happening in Iraq today.
So much for the quagmire. (This item: How to interrogate Iraqis, also provides some good insights.)
Now, get that last ace. Get Saddam.
Update: den Beste weighs in.
Update II: Phil Carter notes that this may or may not lead to any decrease in the guerilla activity. Hmmm. OK, but it cannot possibly hurt that our people killed these two dirtbags. No. It is a win. How big a win is yet to be determined. (via Instapundit).
Update III: Steven Green at Vodkapundit has an excellent post (also via Instapundit). He takes on two topics I have been mulling but have not had the time, discipline or willpower to research and post: (1) the long “trailing edge” of sporadic violence that follows most wars, and (2) the uselessness of any comparison between Iraq and Vietnam. On (1) In addition to the post-WWII cases he cites, I’d also note that there was a long period of irregular warfare after the Franco-Prussian war, after Napoleon III’s regime had been sh*tcanned, including a siege of Paris. There was a lot of mob and irregular violence following the American Civil War, by the Klan and by others. After Napoleon lost finally at Waterloo, his army disintegrated into bands of brigands who raised Hell for a long time. In other words, this is all pretty normal post-war activity. Wars don’t end neatly. On (2) he notes that there were a few successful communist guerilla campaigns, backed by the USSR, but “The difference to our country is: Russia was too smart to strike New York, and the Islamists weren’t.” One thing I’d add to his list of factors differentiating Iraq from Vietnam is the fact that the Vietnamese communists had become battle-hardened experts in guerilla war by the time we got involved. There is no comparison between the skill, courage and determination of the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese regular troops and the human detritus which is still running around in Iraq. There is no Giap or Ho Chi Minh among their leaders, either, count on it. The Americans and their coalition allies and the forces they will construct in Iraq are going to impose peace on Iraq, within months, not years. Another difference is that there is no way any of the neighboring countries will allow themselves to be major bases for guerilla activity, such as the Vietnamese communists were able to employ. There will be no equivalent of Cambodia, with enormous bases and arms caches which the US will choose not to attack out of some psychotic devotion to formal legalism. If Syria or Iran were stupid enough to try that crap, the US would attack them and make them pay a heavy price, and they know it.
The United States is a powerful, wealthy, successful country. That means, human nature being what it is, and original sin being what it is, that most people looking at us will hate us for these things. Sad, maybe, but inevitable. Under Clinton we were hated, but despised as weak. Now under Bush we are hated, but also feared. Hated and feared is better for the safety of Americans and the peace of the world. It would be nice to be respected, but we can live without it, as long as we are feared.