November 16, 2004


The brave Iraqi resistance (in this case, a big-mouthed Saddamite loser) vows to fight America all the way, while fleeing any current fighting:

One Sunni Muslim cleric, an aide to Abdullah Janabi, the wanted head of the "mujahideen council" that ran Falluja until the US assault, said the rebellion would intensify.

"Maybe the Americans will come into Falluja," said the cleric, who asked not to be named. "Maybe they will take it. But it is not the end. There are 18 provinces in Iraq and the resistance will continue to grow tougher ... America has taken its last breath."

The cleric, aged in his 40s spoke to the Guardian for two hours in a private house in Baghdad. He spent six years fighting in Saddam Hussein's army in both the Iran-Iraq war and the first Gulf war and largely supported the former dictator. In April last year he fought alongside Iraqi troops at Baghdad airport and has helped run the rebellion.

"I felt like every human being feels when someone comes into their country: sad and terrified. Now we have to fight to change our sadness to happiness," he said. He fled to Baghdad as the assault began last week.

With that sort of spirit, no wonder Saddam's men held on to Baghdad airport for so long.

(Via contributor J. F. Beck)

Posted by Tim Blair at November 16, 2004 02:07 AM

He should stand still - it is difficult to hit him while he is fleeing.

Posted by: jorgen at November 16, 2004 at 02:39 AM

Cue the "Knights Who Say 'Nee' music:

Arthur (after hacking off Black Knight's arms): "Look you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left"

Black Knight: "Yes I have!"

Arthur: "Look!" (looks at stumps).

Black Knight: "Just a flesh wound!"...

Posted by: Fresh Air at November 16, 2004 at 02:49 AM

I felt like every human being feels when someone comes into their country: sad and terrified. Now we have to fight to change our sadness to happiness,"

Another lefty talking point being used by the enemy

Posted by: monkeyboy at November 16, 2004 at 02:51 AM

"I felt like every human being feels when someone comes into their country: sad and terrified. Now we have to fight to change our sadness to happiness," he said.

Someone came into my country and made many of us sad and terrified. You know what makes us happy? Democracy. Arab democracy. Islamic democracy. Nice big juicy minority-defending constitutional freedom of speech and religion and press right to bear arms free market decentralized liberal democracy. Stability? Not enough.

Now we have to fight to change our sadness to happiness." Amen, brother. What the heck do you think we're doing in your neighborhood?

Posted by: Bob Pence at November 16, 2004 at 03:09 AM

Okay, technically only members of the family Ursidae have the right to bear arms.

Posted by: Bob Pence at November 16, 2004 at 03:13 AM

Just think of all the insurgents we could round up by simply putting tracking devices on Guardian, Al Jazerra, and BBC reporters.

Posted by: Brent at November 16, 2004 at 03:14 AM

>Okay, technically only members of the family Ursidae have the right to bear arms.

...and eat fresh salmon. Don't forget the salmon. Growl.

Posted by: JamesUK at November 16, 2004 at 03:19 AM

"Siblings! Let us not be down-hearted. One total catastrophe like this is just the beginning!"

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at November 16, 2004 at 03:29 AM

Or: "Bravely quaking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat." It's almost impossible to talk about these guys without resorting to Python quotes.

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at November 16, 2004 at 03:31 AM

"Just think of all the insurgents we could round up by simply putting tracking devices on Guardian, Al Jazerra, and BBC reporters."

I had the same thought. Certainly you'd have to track the reporters because you couldn't rely on their stories to reveal the locations of various 'freedom fighters'.

I doubt Janabi is still in Baghdad, if he ever was. I don't believe the reporter would have mentioned Janabi's location unless he knew Janabi intended to be elsewhere once the story was published.

I can imagine those reporters giving away coalition positions, but I can't imagine they'd be so careless in revealing where someone like Janabi is located. If they did this too often (revealing where people like Janabi have fled) they'd either be dead or denied future access to them.

Posted by: Chris Josephson at November 16, 2004 at 03:33 AM

the cleric, who asked not to be named.


Paul Zrimsek's almost impossible to talk about these guys without resorting to Python quotes.

Ain't it though?

Brave Sir Robin ran away.

I didn't.

Bravely ran away, away.

No, no, no.

When danger reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled,

I never.

Yes, Brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out
Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat
Bravest of the brave, Sir Robin
Petrified of being dead
Soiled his pants then brave Sir Robin
Turned away and fled.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at November 16, 2004 at 03:59 AM

Last time Falluja was attacked several ISM-like dorks got into the town to file reports to indymedia about the terrible fascist AmeriKKKans and their brutal assault on the gentle Baathist and Jihadi truck bombers.

This time nothing. Maybe CENTCOM is wising up to these idiots and intercepting them, maybe the marine corps snipers are just shooting them.

Posted by: Amos at November 16, 2004 at 04:23 AM

He has heroically passed up the opportunity of martyrdom and eternal bliss. Brave guy.

Posted by: rexie at November 16, 2004 at 04:36 AM

Still breathing here.

Posted by: Joe in Georgia (USA) at November 16, 2004 at 04:47 AM

This genius must have studied French military strategy. Or he may have been reading bin Laden's new tomb, "How to Fool the Press by Speaking Like a Badass While Remaining a Steadfast Islamofascist Pussy"

Posted by: Harry in Atlanta at November 16, 2004 at 05:02 AM

Fear not, writing in 'Arab News' the executive director of the Australian Muslim Public Affairs Committee seems to think that the battle in Fallujah is all about fighting 'oppression'.

Posted by: 9C at November 16, 2004 at 05:17 AM

Muslim leaders fight to the last drop of someone else's blood.

Posted by: perfectsense at November 16, 2004 at 05:49 AM

I felt like every human being feels when someone comes into their country: sad and terrified. Now we have to fight to change our sadness to happiness,"

Is it just me, or would nobody have blinked if this showed up in Margo's webdiary?

I mean, with a few misspellings thrown in.

Posted by: R C Dean at November 16, 2004 at 06:15 AM

Has The Guardian been embedded into the insurgents camp?

And if so where is Margaret Hassan?

Posted by: rog at November 16, 2004 at 06:25 AM

" all about fighting 'oppression'."

9C, pray tell, just who is oppressing whom in that article? Guessing is so mundane, y'know? :-)

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 16, 2004 at 06:43 AM

"I felt like every human being feels when someone comes into their country: sad and terrified. Now we have to fight to change our sadness to happiness."

They tend to forget that "they" did come into our country and killed "our" citizens. 3,500 of them.
Saddam's Iraq did not fly the planes, but certainly would have, given the chance.
The number of terrorists in Iraq from various countries of the middle east are very persuasive to the idea of iraq's complicity.

The ferocity of the typical American citizen has faded from the memories of most of the world.
51% of us are totally pissed off, right now. If terrorism does manage to come again to American shores, the gloves will come off.
I am still breathing, mr. terrorist, how about you?

Posted by: joe citizen at November 16, 2004 at 07:46 AM

In Iraq aren't women fighting for the right to bare arms?

Posted by: zed at November 16, 2004 at 10:29 AM

Spiner Norman - you left out the clip-clopping with the coconuts.

Posted by: Razor at November 16, 2004 at 12:05 PM

Don't forget that Sir Robin had the last laugh, when they ate Sir Robin's minstrels, "...and there was much rejoicing."

I don't think the Ba'athist pissants and the jihadi moonbats are going to have the last laugh however. That will go to the US Army infantry and the USMC, with some Iraqi Shi'a thrown in for good measure. It will be sweetest for the Iraqis, after Saddam's murderous reign.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at November 16, 2004 at 01:30 PM

Read The Arab Mind by Rafael Patai. One of his main observations is that for Arabs making a threat or grandiose claim is as good as carrying it out. I thought of how Saddam called the Gulf War "the mother of all battles" and got credit with a lot of people for winning it when he folded like a cheap tent and sent his fighters to Iran to prevent their being destroyed.

Posted by: AST at November 16, 2004 at 02:01 PM

I think your missing the point here. This is guerrilla war.
In the first place, we're supposed to own Fallujah. We've been conducting air strikes on a city we supposedly took years ago. Rumsfeld's cronies screwed up the occupation so totally that by April 2004 the insurgents had taken over the city, and we had the Marines, the same Marines who are hitting Fallujah right now, lined up on the outskirts ready to go in. And then, Bush's PR people called it off -- wimped out, because they knew there'd be lots of gore, which would be bad for the boss's reelection campaign.
So we've handed the insurgents six months warning that after the election when PR doesn't matter so much, we're going into Fallujah. I've had landlords who didn't give me that much notice.
That's not how you attack. You don't give the enemy six months to get ready for you. That's six months of preparing defenses -- those air strikes on Fallujah targeted "enemy fortifications," which means the insurgents have been digging in, organizing local militias, weeding out informers, plotting mortar zones...while our troops waited at the city limits waiting for Nov. 2.
Then we go through the whole farce of getting Allawi's government to "order" us to retake the city. Here again, it's politics over tactics. Politically it's important to make it look like the Iraqi government's in charge. But tactically, it just gives the dug-in rebels in Fallujah a 72-hour warning that we're about to attack. So much for tactical surprise.
No surprises: Marines retake Fallujah, insurgency leaders escape, disperse.
Conventional guerrilla-warfare strategy says that if your enemy is massing a huge conventional force to attack you, you disperse -- just vanish. Mao said, "Lose land and save people, land can be retaken. Lose people to save land, people and land both lost." In other words, don't risk your guerrilla force defending static positions.

The real pros, the brains of the insurgency, slipped out of Fallujah weeks ago. They're already attacking us from the rear, just like Mao suggested, going after the soft targets, like the Iraqi cops. They grabbed a police station way up North and killed 21 poor suckers in uniform the other day.

Meanwhile, we're running into "fierce resistance" in Fallujah. So who's still in town, shooting back at us? Well, guerrilla armies are like any other armies; they've got their elite, and then they've got a lot of cannon fodder. We're attacking the cannon fodder while the elite watches from a distance.

By cannon fodder I mean kids, local kids who can't wait to get their 64 concubines in Paradise by dying for the 'hood. On any other battlefield, they'd be pushovers. But here they're fighting in their own alleys and back streets. And they've had all those months of training, plotting out the best ambush sites, ranging their mortars, burying IEDs under every intersection. Amateur troops with good morale can be very effective defending their home ground. And it's urban warfare, where armor isn't all that effective.
So we're fighting in the worst possible situation: the people we're really looking for have already left town, but there are still enough wannabe-martyrs in town to kill a lot of our guys.
And the only way to get rid of the bastards is to hose down every shack in Fallujah with chain-cannon or tank rounds. Which means that along with the RPG-toting teenagers, we're going to end up killing a lot of toddlers and their mothers. Which does not look good on the Al-Jazeera Evening News.
We'll take the town, sure. But we'll lose men, piss off every Muslim from Frankfurt to Jakarta, and we won't find anybody worth capturing. The serious fighters of Fallujah are in safe houses around the Sunni Triangle or , munching pistachios with their big hairy feet up, watching the battle and laughing.

Posted by: M.D at November 16, 2004 at 07:01 PM

So what's your alternative solution, M.D? Armchair-quarterbacking with 20/20 hindsight is fun and all, but do you have anything worthwhile to offer that doesn't sound as though you're a movie critic reviewing a war performance?

Posted by: PW at November 16, 2004 at 07:43 PM

Well, you're in luck because the I've been on the job, brooding about Iraq full-time.
My solution may shock you at first, but you just ride out that first shockwave and you'll see it's golden.
We're losing this war, folks. We've got to do something radical. Right now, Iraq is ungovernable. We've installed one Iraqi puppet after another, and they've all failed. Some just didn't have the balls, some were blown up in their cars. And those were the lucky ones; some of the others, like the commander of the "Fallujah Brigade," were snatched out of their cars and taken to soundproofed basements where nobody could hear them scream, while Islamic torturers went to work on their fingernails and testicles.
Now we've appointed Allawi. It's a step in the right direction, because he is one mean son of a bitch. An interesting guy; he started out as a hit man for Saddam's Ba'ath Party, quashing dissent by blowing the dissenters' heads off. Then he decided he wanted to be a doctor -- maybe he got interested in medicine by seeing what people's brains looked like splattered all over the sidewalk, I don't know. Anyway, he went up to the head of an Iraqi medical school, Godfather-style, and said "I want an MD degree." They agreed with hardly any delay. It was the fastest qualification in history. None of those 50-hour shifts as an intern for Allawi; he graduated with honors in the time it took the Dean of Med School to sign the paper, trying not to let his hand shake too much.
Then Allawi had a fight with Saddam. Luckily, he was in London at the time. If you had a fight with Saddam in Iraq, you ended up in the dungeons getting cigarettes put out on your eyeballs. But London allowed Allawi a little more scope. So instead of hitting Saddam's enemies, he became a CIA asset and started putting .22 rounds in the back of Iraqi officials' heads. You know, putting his talents to the service of freedom.
By all accounts, Allawi is a talented killer. In his first week in office, he personally took out six suspected insurgents -- just lined'em up and gave each one a bullet in the brainstem. Him being an MD, he also performed the autopsies which revealed that the deceased died of heart failure, which was technically true -- your heart does tend to stop when your head's blown open.
This is the kind of guy we need to run Iraq. If Allawi had had a better start, he'd be fine. Unfortunately, he's way, way too closely identified with the Occupation. No Iraqi will ever trust him again. Right now he controls about ten square yards of Iraq -- the space covered by his special Delta-Force bodyguards. That's it. If he ever walks out alone, even in the middle of that downtown mortar range known as the Green Zone, he's toast.
What we need is somebody like Allawi, but not identified with the American occupation. Somebody double-tough, with plenty of experience in running Iraq.
That narrows it down to a pool of applicants consisting of exactly one guy.
I think you can see where I'm going here, folks. That's right: Bring back Saddam!
Look at the man's record! He came up from nowhere, a peasant boy from the boondocks (Tikrit) and took control of the craziest country on the planet. Better still, he kept control for decades. He survived every crisis a ruler could have: rebellions in Kurdistan and the Shiite zone, all-out war against Iran, American bombing and invasion, CIA assassination plots, blockade. None of it even fazed him. There were literally hundreds of attempted coups against him -- and the guys who planned them are fertilizing the desert now -- some of them taken out by our own guy, Doctor Allawi.
But Allawi was never more than hired muscle. Saddam was the brains of the outfit all along. We ought to realize that by now, after trying to run Iraq on our own. Saddam must be sitting in his cell mumbling to himself, "So, Yankees -- now you see what I had to deal with! Now you see it's not so easy, huh? Now you see you can't run Iraq on hymns and happy thoughts, eh, you sons-of-jackals amateurs!"
By hiring Allawi we've already pretty much admitted that Saddam was the right man for the job, because Allawi is just a midget version of Saddam with the beard shaved and the American flag stamped on his forehead. Which is why he'll never get the respect he needs to run the place -- the Iraqis see him as our puppet. Old ladies would tear him limb from limb if they caught him in the street without his Delta operators.
Nope, there's only one man for this job: ol' Soddom himself. Sure, there might be a problem explaining to the American voters why we blew a trillion dollars and a 1200 GIs' lives putting the guy we ousted back in power. But hey, just wrap the flag around Saddam. He won't mind, he's a flexible guy. And we'll fall for it. We'll fall for anything.

Posted by: M.D at November 16, 2004 at 08:04 PM

Someone has a little too much time on his hands.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at November 16, 2004 at 10:20 PM

"We'll fall for anything."

Sounds like you did.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 16, 2004 at 11:53 PM

How appropriate that he is koffee-klatsching with the Guardian: they can share their brilliantly winning anti-American and anti-Bush strategies.

Posted by: Sergio at November 17, 2004 at 02:01 AM

It's time to start shooting all moose-limb clerics, regardless of location. That means the ones running Dutch and British moskkks, the ones in Sadass arabia, the ones in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the US, and the ones in Iran and Syria. Most especially the ones in "palestine" and Lebanon. If we kill enough of them, I think the replacements will get the message we won't tolerate their "kill all the infidels" screeds and all their arrogant, stupid fatwas. We're being much too nice to this bunch of rogue jacka$$es. Time to use the hammer.

Posted by: Old Patriot at November 17, 2004 at 12:54 PM