I’ve been watching this trend for a month or so. Not the trend of suicide bombers in Iraq being foreign, but the trend to note such things. It will probably go on for a little while longer, then mysteriously disappear. At that point we will begin hearing about how normal, everyday Iraqis are taking up arms and fighting the infidel occupiers. The cycle seems to go back and forth between natives and foreigners and, to be honest, I can’t see any rhyme or reason to it. More significant than the headline, to me at least, is this:
The key role of foreign fighters in suicide attacks is one reason many senior military officials, including the top U.S. general in the Middle East, tend to view the war in Iraq as slowly developing into an international struggle against militant Islam.
To be honest, I’m flabbergasted that this sentence made it into a Legacy Media story.
This sentence sums up what I think this war has been about for the past twenty-five years. It claims that the senior military officials think it’s “slowly developing” into this, and of course we can bicker about when the war really started. But I think this has been the strategy from day one. From before day one, really, if you want to call 9/11 ‘day one’.
This war is not just about 9/11, not just about WMD, or not just about bringing democracy to broken lands. This war is about defeating the medieval forces, whether they are state governments or loose networks of terrorists, that threaten everyone on the planet. 9/11 was a harsh wake-up call to those who didn’t want to see the threat. WMDs are a horrific weapon that must be strictly controlled. And democracy is the weapon that we’re using to attack the root of the problem.
Direct action, either military or covert, against the jihadist leadership and their terrorist minions is a holding action at best. But you don’t react to a burning house by changing building codes or installing more smoke detectors. You send in the firefighters to save the occupants and extinguish the flames. Then you find out why the fire started and make adjustments.
You need to live until tomorrow to set a lifetime plan into motion.
One thing that this underscores is the whole Islamic Civil War theory. The Fourth World War (as I call it) isn’t so much West against Islam or Anglosphere against Jihadists as it is 21st Century against 11th Century. It just so happens that many on the 21st Century side are Western Anglophiles and many on the 11th Century side are Islamic Jihadists.
This war is a War of Ideas to a far greater extent than other world wars, and those that subscribe to the ideas that freedom and equality matter are fighting those that do not.
For the past two years the brunt of the military battle has been shouldered by the USA-UK-Australia Anglosphere and the Poles, supported by many other nations to greater or lesser extents. As times and situations change, so will the batting order. Lately, a hot new young prospect has been called up from the minor leagues, and though they’re still struggling to adjust to the majors, the Iraqi forces will soon also be prominent players. We hope.
The article also includes
The trend doesn’t mean Iraqis aren’t part of the bloody insurgency: On the contrary, Iraqi insurgents are thought to be responsible for much of the violence and fighting in the country, although most of those are non-suicide attacks.
“I still think 80 percent of the insurgency, the day to day activity, is Iraqi — the roadside bombings, mortars, direct weapons fire, rifle fire, automatic weapons fire,” said Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East expert with the Congressional Research Service, which advises U.S. lawmakers.
First of all, as has been continually noted and continually ignored, the vast majority of unhappy Iraqis are Sunnis, particularly Baathist Sunnis. These are the folks that had it good under Saddam at the expense of everyone else. They’re bound to be sore, their leadership particularly so.
But the flip side is that, being Iraqis, at some point many (if not most) of them are going to realize that they’re better off playing along than they are fighting US Marines. They’re going to see things getting better for the Shiites and the Kurds, and they’re going give up. This has already started to happen, especially since the January elections, and lately there have been more negotiations between Coalition forces and insurgent groups. Many of them are simply looking for a way out with honor, and if a deal can be brokered much bloodshed can be avoided.
The suicide bombers, not beholden to Sunni leaders in Iraq, won’t ever give up. But they cannot win. They cannot even significantly alter things besides headlines. Look at Israel. They’ve been under attack by waves of suicide bombers for decades. Despite virtually no direct help from outside and an international opinion that makes George Bush’s America look like the the class president, Israel has never been close to capitulating to the bombers.
I’ve never been convinced that the “fly paper” theory was, in fact, the plan all along. But there’s no doubt that the situation in Iraq has turned into exactly that. And I think we adjusted early on to sail that tack.
The suicide bombers are making great headlines for the “if it bleeds it leads” Legacy Media, but they aren’t really changing things in Iraq. If anything, they’re harming the cause of the Iraqi insurgency by turning the average Iraqi against the violence.
(Don’t suggest that Legacy Media is pointing out that suicide bombers are mostly foreign as a way to keep the Iraqi insurgency from suffering. I just don’t want to contemplate that right now.)
It’s big that foreigners make up the vast majority of suicide bombers makes the news. There are times when the media doesn’t even want to admit that there are foreigners fighting US forces in Iraq at all. And it’s big that the media reported the growing opinion that the war is against militant Islamic extremism.
We knew it all along, of course. And they knew it all along, as well. It’s just nice to see that they’re publicly admitting it. Sort of.
I’ve got some other thoughts about the recruiting of young men into the suicide bomber ranks and how that squares with criticism of US military recruiting, but this post is already ten times longer than I originally intended. It’s going to have to wait.