Strategy Page has an interesting post on the ineffectiveness of the terror campaign in Iraq. One line really arrested my attention:
“Iraqis are hard to terrorize, but easy to piss off.”
I never really thought of it before but I would image that it would be hard to seriously rattle the average Iraqi with the odd suicide bomber. After 20+ years of Saddam would terrorist attacks seem, well, terrifying?
After seeing your sons marched off at gunpoint to be slaughtered like sheep in Saddam’s wars, after having entire cities wiped out by gas, after mass executions, after living day after day waiting for Saddam’s goons to randomly grab a family member and torture them to death, would the extremely minimal chance that you or your loved ones will get killed in a terrorist bombing really faze you?
Most Iraqis, and especially the Shia and the Kurds, have already lived through a hell which dwarfs anything the current conflict could throw at them. Strategy Page points out that the day after attacks on police recruits, even more recruits show up to apply. These attacks don’t seem to create any terror at all. Iraqis just seem to plow ahead, virtually ignoring them.
The long term danger is not that the majority of Iraqis will collapse in fear of the attacks but that they will grow exasperated and decide to teach the Sunni holdouts a bloody lesson. This may in fact be the terrorists’ true goal, but they may miscalculate badly.
An enraged Iraqi majority, trained and backed by the Coalition, could be a far more formidably force than the Sunnis reckon on.