January 25, 2005

The Iraqi Chimera

Juan Cole notices that perhaps the claims that the Allawi government captured a key aide to al-Zarqawi is a bit over the top.

The announcement of the arrest of a key associate of the shadowy Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was accompanied by hype that he was behind most of the spectacular car bombings in Iraq for the past 18 months. That seems silly to me, almost an insult to our intelligence. How could one man be behind so many attacks? Isn't it much more likely that they were the work of numerous Baath military and Salafi cells? My guess is that the interim government in Iraq is attempting to convince voters that it will be safe to come out on Sunday. This arrest will make virtually no impact on the guerrilla war, which is likely to go on for at least a decade.

That seems right. In fact, it was just last week when Riverbend noted that the American media (and the Pentagon) were really pushing the idea that al-Zarqawi was now the boogie man who single-handedly was causing almost all the trouble in Iraq.

Zarqawi very conveniently entered the picture.

Zarqawi is so much better than WMD. He's small, compact and mobile. He can travel from Falloojeh to Baghdad to Najaf to Mosul… whichever province or city really needs to be oppressed. Also, conveniently, he looks like the typical Iraqi male- dark hair, dark eyes, olive skin, medium build. I wonder how long it will take the average American to figure out that he's about as substantial as our previously alleged WMD.

Obviously, he will be "free" until he has no more value in explaining what's going on in Iraq.

Posted by Mary at January 25, 2005 06:33 AM | War on Terrorism | Technorati links |

The media does continue to insult our intelligence. Even if Abu Omar Kurdi was a key man responsible for many of the car bombs, do they think that there is no one else in Zarqawi's network that can fill this role? Are we supposed to believe that? The Bush foreign policy just breeds more Kurdi's and Zarqawi's.

The Pacific Daily

Posted by: dsmoore at January 25, 2005 08:28 PM

Johnny Cole said:

"I wonder how long it will take the average American to figure out that [Zarqawi]'s about as substantial as our previously alleged WMD."

Well, and I hope we do it soon, so all those damned captives will quit beheading themselves...

Posted by: Alois at January 26, 2005 01:50 PM

Whoops, sorry. Above quote was attributable to Riverbend, who is even more of a lunatic than Cole (I was beginning to think that Cole had finally gone completely around the, er, riverbend...)

Posted by: Alois at January 26, 2005 02:02 PM

Alois - Of course, you don't sound like a lunatic at all by suggesting that Riverbend, who lives in Iraq, knows less about what's happening than you do. Do you think Zarqawi is the only person on the planet capable of figuring out that it really scares westerners to see people getting beheaded on video, particularly in a part of the world where beheading is the local standard form of execution?

Posted by: natasha at January 27, 2005 06:12 PM

I don't know why it doesn't seem to have occurred to you (or a lot of other lefty bloggers) that Riverbend is a shill for the Ba'ath Party. Compare her writings and perspective with those of just about any other Iraqi bloggers (you can even ignore Mohammed et al. at Iraq the Model if you so desire) and it's not hard to see my point.

I've a friend who just got back from spending the last year-and-some in Iraq (USMC). He's not nearly so sure that all the Iraqis hate us and want us to leave. He kinda liked most of the folks he met over there, in fact.

Posted by: Alois at January 28, 2005 07:39 AM