According to the Associated Press (AP), gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms burst into the home of a Sunni Arab sheik Wednesday, killing him, three of his sons and a son-in-law. The sheik, who lived on the outskirts of Baghdad, was the leader of a branch of the Dulaimi tribe, one of the biggest in Iraq. Police said the attack may have been aimed at discouraging members of the minority from participating in next month’s election.
What’s going on (my view) is only peripherally associated with the elections, but is mainly the opening salvos of all-out war between warlords who intend to run the country according to their power bases. In War With Iraq Is Not the Problem, a piece I wrote in September, 2002, some eight months before we attacked Iraq, I suggested:
“Iraq is a warlord society, as is Afghanistan. Saddam Hussein, much as we dislike him and wish him to be otherwise, is the Tito of Iraq, the only man capable of the power to keep Iraq’s warlords in check. He’s done it brutally, efficiently, ruthlessly. We are not prepared to be brutal and ruthless. We expect, and for some reason continue to expect in the face of the bloody evidence at hand, that wise, popular, even-handed Iraqis are merely awaiting liberation to turn their country into a Jeffersonian democracy.
It simply is not going to happen and we are on our way to expanding Muslim extremism, where it is our hope to contain it. Iran may well follow Iraq into the hellish factionalism that now overpowers our best efforts in Afghanistan.”
So, we needn’t wait for or fear civil war in Iraq . . . we are there. To paraphrase the words of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, We have trampled out the vintage where the Grapes of Wrath are stored, We have loosed the fateful lightning of their terrible, swift sword. It has come true as I wrote that it would and there is no pleasure at all in the reminder.
Those who find it inconceivable that a percentage of Iraqis look with nostalgia on Saddam’s reign need only to look at the daily bombings of street markets, mosques, police stations and even weddings. Saddam kept the grapes of warlord wrath stored all right, but now we’ve loosed lightning big-time. We keep losing occasional soldiers to car bombs, almost as a reminder that we are occupiers in their nation, but the thrust and focus of these bombings has turned to disrupting civil law. Disrupting civil law by means of arms is civil war.
Iraqis know we’re about out f their country, one way or another, and they’re positioning themselves for the war to come.
AP reports U.S. intelligence agencies say foreign terrorists represent a minority of the insurgent forces; the vast majority are Iraqis. Classified findings by U.S. intelligence agencies are reflected in a study by Anthony H. Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, released yesterday, which estimates that at least 90 percent of the fighters are Iraqi. These are no doubt the Iraqis our Vice President claimed would meet us in the streets with chocolates and flowers slipped into our gun barrels.
Snarling at those who say the administration lied us into war about banned weapons, Dick Cheney said, “I repeat that we never had the burden of proof; Saddam Hussein did." The American Enterprise Institute, where the Dick-man made that statement and was once a research fellow and trustee might swallow that kind of talk by an alumnus, but it makes me wary of the quality of their research. Boasting about attacking another sovereign nation without proof, carrying America to war with mere allegations is not only his personal shame, it should be an indictable, impeachable offense.
Dick Cheney’s Untruth is Marching On.