It seems that maybe even more bad guys are on thier way to attack our troops in Iraq.
The top American administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, was quoted on Sunday as saying that intelligence reports indicate that hundreds of Islamic militants who fled the country during the U.S.-led war had returned and were planning to conduct large-scale terrorist attacks. Bremer’s comments follow another day of violence in Iraq, during which at least four U.S. soldiers were wounded in separate attacks.
Although I certainly don’t want any of our guys hurt or killed, this is actually good news if it’s accurate. Every militant anti-American fighter we take out of action is one less enemy to worry about.
BREMER TOLD The New York Times that hundreds of fighters from Ansar al-Islam, a militant organization that the United States had sought to destroy during the war, had escaped to Iran and then slipped back into Iraq after the cessation of major combat.
The group is believed to have links to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network, blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
Although I’m usually skeptical of claims about direct ties to al-Qaeda, these guys certainly have a common enemy. Us.
Something that a lot of people miss when they’re being critical of the casualties we’re sustaining in post-war Iraq is the fact that we’ve had a great deal of success agianst these irregular fighters. We’ve done a good job so far in rooting out the larger organized groups, killing or capturing many of their front-line soldiers (and they ARE soldiers, not terrorists), depriving them of many weapons and hiding places, and driving the survivors to ground. Yes, we’ve taken some casualties, and yes, we’ve made some mistakes. But our overall progress has been good, and, to be honest, numbers of fighters returning to Iraq from places like Iran and Syria plays right into our hands.
You want to make Vietnam analogies? How about this one: This is like the NVA and Viet Cong crossing over from Cambodia, but not going back when we react to their presence. As far as that goes, I think that we should allow anyone into Iraq that wants in. But we should do everything we can to prevent anyone from leaving. For all of the critical comments about our strategy, this is a war of attrition that we will win, both numerically (like in southeast Asia) and politically (unlike southeast Asia). 600 protesters in San Francisco won’t make one damn bit of difference in anyone’s mind.
That being said, we need to keep the pressure on and be prepared to do what it takes to defeat our enemies.
Ansar al-Islam was of particular concern, Bremer said, because of the scale of its past attacks. “They do big stuff,” he told the newspaper. “They don’t do chickenfeed-type stuff.”
The basic strategy for fending off guerrilla attacks, Bremer said, was to press for new intelligence and mount raids to pre-empt them.
You don’t beat these guys by retaliating whenever they kill one of our soldiers or a couple dozen civilians. You beat them by taking the war to them. If they want to make that easier for us by coming out of their sewers and caves, bring them on.