November 20, 2005

Armando: Zarqawi Wasn't a Problem

Ever willing to downplay any strides towards peace or a more stable Iraq, Armando at Daily Kos is downplaying the significance of Musab al-Zarqawi's possible death after a protracted gunbattle today in Mosul:

The death if Zarqawi would be a positive step in fighting terrorism and, one hopes, suppressing the violence in Iraq.

What it will not be however, is a solution for our troubles in Iraq, whose roots are political in nature. Zarqawi is not and has not been the source of our troubles in Iraq. It is the intractable political problems of the sectarian power struggle between Shia, Sunni and Kurd. [emphasis added]

Will the death of Musab al-Zarqawi (if confirmed) put an end to all violence in Iraq? Of course not. But the vast majority of terror attacks again primarily civilian targets was the direct result of al Qaeda in Iraq attempting to ignite a civil war. If al-Zarqawi did die today along with senior members of the al Qaeda leadership in Iraq, it is reasonable to suspect that suicide attacks against Iraqi civilians will severely decline.

As increasing acceptance and participation by Sunnis the last round of elections proved, the struggles between ethnic factions is not "intractable" as Armando asserts. Shia and Kurdish interests are now being joined en masse by Sunni political groups that realize that ballots, not bullets, will ultimately determine the future of Iraq.

Armando considers defeating terrorists where they live versus where we live "empty rhetoric."

The majority of 25 million free Iraqis might just disagree.

Update: Generation Why? has more.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at November 20, 2005 05:50 PM | TrackBack

I do wish the comments screen would remember my personal info.

Now that that is out of the way...

How come it's not important that we may have toasted Zarqawi, but bin Laden on the loose is an indication that we (that's the conservative we, that's the military we, that's the Executive Bransh, etc.) are not being effective in fighting the war on terror?

For a moment there I lost my head... I asked a question to which I knew the answer if I had just thought about it for a minute. It's the old double standard thing, isn't it?

Posted by: Old Soldier at November 20, 2005 06:57 PM

To claim "But the vast majority of terror attacks again primarily civilian targets was the direct result of al Qaeda in Iraq attempting to ignite a civil war." is to ignore the fact ath a) al-Zarqawi is not synonymous with Al-Quaeda and b) the number of foreign fighters in Iraq is quite low and most of the violence is by Sunni Baaathists. You wish for a magical point which will break the back of the insurgency but he have passed any number of those points and the insurgency chugs along. It is time to face the fact that it is more deeply rooted and intransigent than you hope.

Posted by: zen_less at November 21, 2005 10:52 AM

al-Zarqawi IS synonymous with the terrorist organization he officially named "Al Qaeda in Iraq." If you can't tell the players apart, buy a program.

Sunni Insurgents do carry out a statistical majority of the attacks in Iraq, but their attacks are usually against Coalition military, police and government forces.

al-Zaqawi's al Qaeda, on the other hand, performs a disproprtionate number of "pure" terror attacks against civilian targets, otfen using foriegn fighters, many drugged, and some kidnapped against their will.

Of course, you won't read that in the New York Times or Washington Post.

It doesn't help the team they are rooting for.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at November 21, 2005 11:06 AM

zenless, attempting to disassociate al-Zarqawi from al-Qaeda is like standing up and saying John Kerry and Hillary Clinton are not Democrats. By far the majority of al-Qaeda terrorists (insurgents to you) are coming from outside Iraq, but don’t let that fact stand in your way. They are being armed from outside Iraq, too.

At this point, in our war against radical Islamic terrorists, comments that encourage our enemy are treasonous. Yes, you certainly have a right to speak. I would not attempt to deny that right. But with that right comes a responsibility to accept the consequences. And being labeled a traitor by those willing to prosecute this war is one of the consequences.

Here’s a quote for you. Can you name the author? “Through dissent and protest [America] lost the ability to mobilize a will to win.” Care to venture a guess as to the author? It is Colonel Bui Tin, the Chief of Staff to General Vo Nguyen Giap, the commander of the North Vietnamese Army. Do you have any better appreciation as to why it is so important to not lose sight of the real reason for fighting the terrorists globally?

Posted by: Old Soldier at November 21, 2005 11:28 AM

Things like this are only "intractable" when your mind is so closed you refuse to see the universe of possible solutions arrayed in front of you.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at November 21, 2005 01:41 PM

I think the point about al-Zarqawi is that regardless of how black his heart is, he's evaded capture / death for a couple of years now, living in his enemy's shadow. He's not a fool. Do you think he hasn't already arranged what will happen after his death? When he's dead, we'll have a new name to remember. There will be no significant drop in attacks.

al-Qaeda in Iraq can be compared to the US government, it is an organization with goals. If GWB were assassinated tomorrow, would the White House close? No, he would be replaced and the tune would go on, unchanged. No different for Zarqawi. That's how I see is (and how I interpreted the statements quoted above)

Posted by: Dan Beaulieu at November 21, 2005 07:42 PM

Didn't I hear the same claims being made immediately after the capture of Saddam Hussein? At the time, the insurgents were believed to be politically motivated Saddamites, and we were told that Saddam's capture would "demoralize" them and attacks would begin to decrease.

Worked out well, didn't it?

I'm having trouble believing this time would be any different even if al-Zarqawi were dead. Terrorist cells don't operate that way. No amount of "cutting off the head" will actually stop the problem.

Posted by: Purple State Dem at November 21, 2005 09:36 PM

I think Armando has it about right.

If your remove Zarqawi, al-Q would be every bit as much of a problem as it is now. It is odd that those who are most prone to stress the enormity of the challange posed by al-Q also seem to argue that removing one leader would have huge consequence.
He is also right that the bulk of our troubles in Iraq are caused by the iraqi insurgency. If you could magically remove the foreign terrorists tomorrow, you might have an easing of the immediate threats of some significance, but the underlying problem of chaotic violence threatening to spiral into civil war, would not be changed.

Posted by: Observer at November 22, 2005 01:08 AM

how to begin ridiculing the adolescent reasoning that masquerades as debate on this site? Can I start by reminding you that assertion does not equate to evidence? Simply because you assert that Kos claims "Zarqawi not a problem" does not mean that his remarks actually state or imply that (and they don't). Your assertion that you know the motivation for "the vast majority of attacks" in Iraq does not make it so, unless you have some intelligence sources that the US Army and CIA don't have. Your assertion that " it's reasonable to suspect that attacks will decline" at Zarqawi's demise is another unproven assertion that is, in the end, as meaningless as similar assumptions about looting, Uday and Quasa, Saddam, "last throes" etc. etc. Note that you tout the Sunni's, Shia, Kurds etc when they support voting as proof of your position, but ignore them when they call for a timetable for US withdrawal. Note that you neglect to mention that Bin Laden is not demised, which, "it is reasonable to suspect" might really have some effect on Al Queda morale. Nice touch to offer the "truth" about drugged and kidnapped suicide bombers, which the evil terror-loving NYTimes (who showed their true colors after the WTC bombing by winning a Pulitzer Prize for their sympathetic coverage of victims) won't show, but which your secret sources presumably have whispered in your ear. Love also the "statistical majority" rhetorical trick - is there another sort of majority we don't know about? Keep whistling in the wind, pal - the world, the american public, and now the Iraqis themselves are way past you and your sad, backtracking cabal, and all the high-school debating tricks in the world won't change that.

Posted by: rickfman at November 23, 2005 01:35 AM

The NY Times won't show those drugged and kidnapped suicide bombers? I'd better let them know this article doesn't exist. Nor does this Associated Press article.

I never claimed Kos sadi anything about Zarqawi, so at least try to follow what I wrote, not what you think I wrote. Armando directly states, "Zarqawi is not and has not been the source of our troubles in Iraq." A reasonable person might read thas as saying Zarqawi is not a problem.

Really rickfman, give me something of a challenge.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at November 23, 2005 02:19 AM