Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Zeyad Near Despair

Zeyad of Healing Iraq posted the following comments earlier today:

    "I have to admit that until now I have never longed for the days of Saddam, but now I'm not so sure. If we need a person like Saddam to keep those rabid dogs at bay then be it. Put Saddam back in power and after he fills a couple hundred more mass graves with those criminals they can start wailing and crying again for liberation. What a laugh we will have then. Then they can shove their filthy Hawza and marji'iya up somewhere else. I am so dissapointed in Iraqis and I hate myself for thinking this way. We are not worth your trouble, take back your billions of dollars and give us Saddam again. We truly 'deserve' leaders like Saddam."

I wouldn't presume to criticize a man who is watching his country fall apart around him, but I would gently suggest that what is really needed is a stronger show of force by the coalition. The agitators are obviously trying to demoralize the support for the transition to a federal democracy in Iraq, but they are taking a bigger risk than perhaps they realize. If the coalition forces are able to suppress this insurgency, then it will have demonstrated the ineffectiveness of such tactics. If this really is a carefully planned attack, it seems to represent the last hope of the anti-democratic forces.

But that hope rests in two possible outcomes, neither of which seems to be unfolding. The first, and most obvious, would be to cause a premature pull-out of US forces. But, despite the similarity to the catastrophe in Mogadishu that everyone is noting, this is almost certainly not going to occur. First because we have learned that lesson and second because we have far more at stake in Iraq than we had in Somalia.

The other possible outcome, which few seem to have remarked on, is that the US would discredit itself by over-reacting. This also seems to have been avoided, as witness these stories from CNN: "Our concern is precise," said Lt. James Vanzant, a Marine spokesman. "We want to get the guys we are after. We don't want to go in there with guns blazing." So it looks like we have learned that lesson, too. (And note the call for more troops in the first story.)

Zeyad's update suggests that his vision of a coup may have been premature. And the reaction of the US military gives grounds for a guarded optimism.

UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan makes a similar point but Instapundit notes that the fighting continues.

UPDATE2: Guess I should have read further down the page. Evidently Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has quite a list of commentary on this subject, all mostly optimistic.

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