In Iraq, Guerrilla War or Killings for Hire?

(Department of Defense) Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz reported on his just-completed tour of Iraq: The entire south and north are impressively stable, and the center is getting better day-by-day. So far, the Shi'a extremists and the Iranians don't seem to be getting much traction in the Shi'a heartland. There is no food crisis. Hospitals nationwide are open. Oil production has passed the 1 million barrels per day mark. There are local town councils in most major cities and major districts of Baghdad, and they are functioning free from Ba'athist influence. There is no humanitarian crisis. There is no refugee crisis. There has been minimal damage to infrastructure. In the security area, there are three factors that are worse than anticipated. First, no Iraqi army units of any significant size came over to our side so that we could use them as Iraqi forces with us today. Second, the police turned out to require a massive overhaul. Third, it was difficult to imagine that the criminal gang of sadists and gangsters who have run Iraq for 35 years would continue fighting what has been sometimes called a guerrilla war. This will go down as the first guerrilla war in history in which contract killings, killings for hire, going out and soliciting young men for $500 to take a shot at an American, was the principal tactic employed.

2003-07-24 00:00:00

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