Thursday | July 31, 2003
Another day, two more dead
By Steve Gilliard
Two American soldiers were killed and five wounded on Thursday in attacks in and around the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
The US military said a member of the 1st Armoured Division was killed and three of his colleagues were injured when their armoured personnel carrier hit a landmine on a road in Baghdad.
But eyewitnesses said the vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade or rocket fired at close range.
As was said here last week, the Mosul battle to kill Uday and Qusai was hardly relevant to the daily conduct of the war. They were, for lack of a better word, freaks, raping women and killing and torturing their friends on a whim. No self-discipline, no common sense. No one who valued their life over slavish devotion would follow them into a toilet, much less battle. They were soft and pampered and the business of guerilla warfare is for the hardest of men.
Killing Saddam won't end the war, cut the flow of money off or any such nonsense.
When critics like David Hackworth want to establish some sort of Iraqi defense force, they miss the larger point: there is no government to serve. They would be no better than an Iraqi Quisling Force. They would be a force serving the occupier. The Vietnam-era local defense forces served an established government. The US is asking Iraqis to serve the CPA, not the Iraqi state. In essence, they're asking people to be collaborators.
What should come as a surprise is not that they would ask this, but that a society so riddled with snitches and police goons is so unforthcoming to the US. You cannot ask Iraqis to serve in a force which has one purpose, to prevent Americans from getting killed.
The US is setting up a system which could lead to civil war. The Baathists have managed to keep their heads down. People may want to try them, but they've kept the lynchings to a minimum. But no one will have mercy on a collaboration force. Because it exists only as the tools of American power. When the Americans leave, these folks will either have to go with them or fight to survive.
It's one thing to be a policeman, who are already targets by the guerillas. It is another thing entirely to join a force created by the CPA to help hunt and kill Iraqis. Iraq is not Vietnam. You're not choosing sides in a civil war, you're choosing to protect Americans by hunting and killing Iraqis. That is not a place to be if you want a long life. Anyone siging up for the Iraqi defense units has, for whatever reason, decided to protect the occupation. Many Iraqis, regardless of their feelings, will want little to do with such a force.
The main problem with the old warriors solutions is not that they don't or won't work. They make sense in some situations. It is that they need a government to defend and ideas to support. Viceroy Jerry's words and intentions are not nearly enough to stand for.