Day by Day

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Broader Conflict in Iraq

In the days and hours following the explosion which obliterated UN offices in Baghdad the bombing was blamed on Sunnis, Shiites, Ba'athists, Ansar al-Islam, al Qaeda, visiting foreigners, surviving Husseins, Syrians, insiders, outsiders, fat kids, skinny kids, and kids who climb on rocks. Suffice it to say, no one really knows who did the deed.

The latest official stab in the dark is that a remnant of the secular Iraqi secret service farmed out its resources to the fundamentalists in Ansar who actually carried out the attack. If true, this would demonstrate that nothing unites a country quite like invading it.

"Of course, ideologically they are not at all compatible. On the other hand you sometimes cooperate against what you consider a common enemy," General John Abizaid, head of the U.S. Central Command, observed.

And then there's this:

Second, offensive search-and-destroy missions are the only proven counter to insurgencies. If you are sitting around guarding pipelines or international aid offices you are not on the offensive. Which brings us to the third big problem with trying to prevent attacks on soft targets: You wind up making your troops vulnerable to attack.


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