Sunday, July 27, 2008

Enemies With Benefits

Don't tell the pathetic non-serving members of the old media (and new media), but the surge wasn't wholly responsible for the drop in violence seen in Iraq over the last year. I have outlined the three main reasons violence has subsided, but one of the more important aspects is still largely misunderstood and mischaracterized by the punditry across the country.

The 'awakening group' movement first appeared in Anbar in late 2005 (or if you're John McCain, it started in a time warp before and after the surge) and has since grown to a large, lethal force that battles elements of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State of Iraq. That is usually where the media narrative leaves you, insinuating that these groups are patriotic volunteers casting out the demons of al-Qaeda. What they don't mention is both the original motivations for these groups and their history of battling American soldiers. One of the latest to operate (and propped up by my unit in Diyala Province) is the 1920 Revolution Brigade. I covered their nationalist history a year ago, citing their name was a throwback to the 1920 revolution to oust British influence. So this group in particular didn't start in 2005, 2006 or even 2007, but in 2003 for one reason: to attack and kill Americans.

They got pretty good at it. While in Baghdad in late 2006 and early 2007, any group that we battled that wasn't Sadr's militia was likely the 1920s. Their most dramatic act?







Above is the crash site of a Blackwater Security helicopter, downed by the 1920s Brigade. My platoon responded to the crash, found the crew members executed and were caught up in a firefight started by anti-aircraft guns in high rise buildings.

The insurgent group met us head on in Baqubah, being present in the attack that killed my friend and an IED ambush that resulted in four explosions on three Strykers in just seconds. Yet somehow, it was deemed not only acceptable but advantageous to work with these killers. Two months later, we began our first patrols with them.

Without any remorse on our part, many of the 1920s (called "concerned local nationals" at this point) were killed accidentally by our hands at the start of that shaky alliance. American rifle and helicopter fire was the biggest 'concern' of these local nationals until they began wearing reflective belts and brown t-shirts. Some even brought up the notion of killing them once they outpaced their usefulness. Our battalion surgeon, a well respected medical doctor in the civilian world, had the best idea: "kick the Stryker up to sixty and throw them out the open door."





Insurgent "Concerned local national" checkpoint stops a deadly kid on a bike as an old man looks on


Unfortunately, we couldn't take out the trash that easily. We grudingly worked with the 1920s as per our orders. We were moderately successful in tracking down al-Qaeda operatives (or possibly doing in-house cleaning) and caches. But the point isn't the success of turning over a new leaf with insurgents, though. We traded in our values, our self reliance to get things done, for $300 a head. We did not destroy our enemy but rather aided them. We secured not only their future success, but the future instability with the Iraqi government. Maliki and his Shia government adamantly oppose the Sunni groups and have said in the past that they will never become a permanent part of Iraqi forces.

But they don't pay the former insurgents, we do, as taxpayers. That's why they're trying to leverage the American military into giving them more money, the ol' "pay me more or I'm going back to killing you" ruse. And for their part, they'll probably be successful. Commanders know that they're important not for killing al-Qaeda, but for not fighting us. They're not allies, they're enemies with benefits. And they're holding the cards.

Why isn't there an outcry from the media and citizenry about these people? Quite simply, the military led the media by its nose when they characterized insurgents as "concerned" and proudly spoke of them as volunteers. To further confuse people, they were renamed 'Baqubah Guardians' and then finally 'Sons of Iraq,' each name a brighter shade of lipstick for the same dirty pig. They're only growing stronger and more experienced as time goes on, watching coalition forces close up, looking for every weakness. They've already discovered a big one: our over-reliance on their dirty, sectarian work.





A 1920s member who likely lifted a bullet-proof vest off a dead Iraqi policeman


You can only pay someone not to fight you for so long before they ask for more and more. We're past that point now, and approaching another tough reality on the horizon. If we're as successful as defeating al-Qaeda as the media says we are, who will our new friends fight, if not us?







The very definition of 'a friendship of convenience'



AH

44 comments:

Jeff said...

Even though you've written about this before, seemingly few have paid much attention. Perhaps with the recent reexaminations of the nature of the surge and the concomitant decrease in violence (at least against our troops), more will come to realize that we have made a deal with the devil. And they say that the devil always gets his due.

Dad

Queen of the Universe said...

Thank you for continuing to be a voice of sanity in a time that's just, well, insane. You are serving history well here and I thank you for my children. They will have the benefit of knowing more from different perpectives when they are in leadership roles as a result.

Sean said...

"each name a brighter shade of lipstick for the same dirty pig"

Well written, as usual.

Victor said...

What was weird is how they openly said they would go back to killing Americans once AQIZ is done with. Or how some of them said they knew where to aim on an American flak vest in order to produce the most damage. But what was even weirder is that sometimes you felt like you could be their friend. After all we're human. This whole situation just keeps getting more and more twisted and confusing.

Alex said...

Dodo!

What's odd about the situation to me is that we were put in a position to fight alongside people that, when it came down to it, we had hatred for at the worst and animosity at the best. If say, Payday got a grazing wound while a 1920s got his leg blown off, you better believe I'm busting open my aid kit for Pay-dizzle first. With that kind of disconnect and indifference, it seems odd to put us together. We didn't care too much for the IA or IP, but if they needed our help, we were there. But for the 1920s, I'd go out of my way to not help them.

sgtlejeune said...

Dude! Great post! You should cross-post this at vetvoice.

Victor said...

I don't know man. For the most part I thought they were scum bags, but there were a few that seemed alright. Having said that I still don't feel bad when the Apache opened up on their car that day in Tahrir.

RglrLrkr said...

You got linked by Spencer Ackerman over at his FDL joint; about damn time!

Great post, btw.

dan said...

Great stuff. Thanks for writing and telling the true story about what is going on.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 07/29/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Alex said...

Dodo,

Yeah, some were ok, but I thought to myself all the time: take away the money and the circumstance and put two of us in a room together. What would be the result?

Ditto on the car that got hit. I felt bad for the family in the mass grave, not the guys with AKs getting chopped to bits.

Anonymous said...

You sure look happy to be in the pic with the future terrorist. You even gave him your flak vest. How nice of you.

raven said...

Sounds like the Cheiu Hoi's to me.

Alex said...

"You sure look happy to be in the pic with the future terrorist. You even gave him your flak vest. How nice of you."

I don't classify insurgents as 'terrorists,' but at least get it the other part right - they're former, and future, insurgents.

We were forced to work with them, so of course there were jokes abound. We even joked about killing each other too. One of them famously befriended a guy in my platoon and told him one day, "when we attack you someday, raise your hand so I won't kill you."

Read an earlier comment by my friend in the platoon where he said "some were alright." We let humanity seep in a bit, but both groups never forgot the past of each other.

Jeff said...

Then there's the other great quote from AOD, shamelessly lifted without attribution last year by "The Ecomomist" magazine:

5/20 Soldier to 1920s Brigade stalwart:

"So do you want to kill me?"

"Yes, but not today."

Dad

Victor said...

Well said.

Jeremy said...

Hey. The surge started smack-dab in the middle of my deployment. I'm not sure how "working" is defined. Like most of the supposed "successes" that apparently came out of Iraq, those from the surge are spurious at best. The large focus was on stabilizing Baghdad so that the parliament would not have security lapses as an excuse for acting like a bunch of corrupt despots. The argument is that the surge has decreased violence in the city. Really, ethnic-cleansing and exodus has reduced (marginally) the violence in Baghdad. Many of the neighborhoods in the city were of mixed-ethnicity and sect before the conflict. Today, they are homogenous and walled-off from each other. This is because of the extra-judicial killings, intimidation, and mass emmigration that occurred for the four years prior to the surge. John McCain can kiss my ass! The surge brought nothing but more misery for our families and the denial of this fact is a tragedy.

Eric said...

So how strong do you feel the Mahdi Army is? Did they lay down their arms simply to regroup, political gain or a combination of both?

Thanks for your service and your writing.

Doug Robertson said...

I read your blog regularly. I never comment, I feel unqualified really to say anything not having ever been in your similar positions and also being an anti-war period kind of guy. But you are so fucking honest and throw shit to the fan when it should be thrown that for whatever reason never gets or ever got media attention, all I can say is God bless you. Dude. Seriously, keep this shit up, a voice from someone who actually knows what the hell they're talking about. You rock.

Ronster said...

Nice opinion piece but you are wrong about the payola scandal you think you have uncovered. The attached link is an NPR interview with the "architect" of the surge and he has some opposing views.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=93065894&ft=1&f=1001

So, if I have to choose between a retired general who knows his COIN and an increasingly disgruntled vet, I'm going with the former.
Dude, the sky is not falling.The glass is not half empty. Maybe it was my head bouncing off the hood of a hummer, but I think we have won the war in Iraq… and if the insurgents defect…they will be killed. We know who they are now.

Alex said...

Ronster,

I'm not sure that I'm wrong about the pay scandal since I cited a military.com story about it- unless the liberal media has now infiltrated that source. Whatever your view on the program is, there is at least one fact: members have proclaimed that they will go back to fighting us if we don't hike their pay. And a fact that I have personally observed, which is their remaining commitment to fight us anyway.

What I was trying to accomplish with the entry was to eradicate the dismissive attitude that the media, the pundits and clueless citizens like you hold. I'm not saying it didn't work, because it did. But to what end? Our self reliance was sacrificed. Our proclamation to never work with the bad guy, to stay on the moral high ground, has been diminished. And they're increasingly marginalized since taking a lot of the blows with hardly anything to show for it. They were promised jobs in the security forces (most were denied by the Shia government) and they will sit out the offensive that is taking place in Diyala right now. There are two choices: we can either give in to the threats, or go back to fighting them now. Either scenario is not so bright.

I'm not going to challenge a high ranking academic on the strategy, because it has proven to work. But it's a hell of a lot easier to sit in a leather chair and order men to work with killers than it is to work with killers yourself, to look them in the eye every day. And it's easier still to sit on the sidelines in the states proclaiming victory. I hope your grandchildren don't ask what you did during the war on terror, because you'll have to be honest and say "I trolled on a veteran's blog and called him disgruntled."

The war is won you say? Time to bring our boys home then, huh?

Anonymous said...

Dude,

Thanks for the inside dope. So the Bush administration is buying PR. It had to be something like that. Tthis is info we wouldn't hear from the monopolized media. You're the man. Keep on keeping on.

Curiously

Victor said...

How can you tell who insurgents are if more and more are bred each day. Kill one, more will take their place.
Five years into this war and insurgents numbers aren't dwindling. A military solution alone cannot be used for Iraq.

Joe said...

I hate these guys. They're absolutely suspect and I hate the way they grab their AKs from the ground and mean mug us when we roll through their checkpoints. Our briefs always say to treat them as if they were American forces. Yeah right.

--Blue Girl said...

Well said as always. I was one of those who was saying "calm down, this is what is going to happen and why" and having a holy hissy fit over arming and paying former insurgents when we first started renting the temporary loyalty of our once and future enemies.

I gotta remember to get over here in a more timely fashion. I think I will still look for a reason to link this.

DickC said...

Maybe I am just to thick to get it. What would be your solution?

I have read your blog from the first few days. I cried at your losses as I too have felt the same losses. I have watched you harden you opinions as you got back to the states.

With an open mind could you write in you next post what you would do instead of the awaking policy. I do not use the term surge because that is a separate issue. I will post my thoughts on that post.

Alex said...

dickc,

I generally don't dip into the analysis of political goings-on as far as solutions go. I leave that to much more capable guys (see The Long War Journal and Abu Muqawama). My intention with this blog is to take first hand experiences and try to relate them to you, the reader. Over at The Sandbox, I tried to explain what I think should've happened. Back in reality, I couldn't tell you where we should go from here. Obviously the groups should be dissolved, but it's just not that simple. We certainly have a predicament on our hands, and I don't think anyone thought this far ahead.

I was just a common grunt. I had no part in cultivating counter-insurgency strategy, I just carried out the leg work. I don't think a solution post is in the future. My bread and butter is "this is what happened, and this is what I think about it."

DickC said...

Fair enough, Let's use what you have seen to think this through then. What where the options in that given situation in 2006.

Kill them all. The first though of any airborne trooper. The option the 82nd tried in Fallujah in 03'. It is just not a viable option.

Kill all the 1920s, Bathests, Badr, Sadr, and any one else who attacks us. I think you would agree this must be seen at two levels. One is the strategic level. What will win the war. I cannot find any war where this has worked in long term. Even the most brutal suppressions fail over time. The second level is us ground pounders. How many of your friends would have to die to root out all these groups? Some of these groups would fight to the end unless they are given a different way out.

Leave them to sort themselves out. The problem I see here is we have no control over who becomes the dominate force in the area. AIQ may still have been kicked out over time because they really cannot govern. It's still a gamble with very bad odds.

The last option is a multifaceted counter insurgency.In my opinion the biggest part of the plan is using the oldest foundation in Iraq, the tribe. It is such a alien concept to the western mind. In Buhriz I heard after we got the tribe on our side they told there guys they would kill any of there own that fought with AIQ. They are men of there word, they killed there own. That is the power in Iraq now. As it should be.

I agree with you it would be very hard to stand shoulder to shoulder with someone who has tried to kill you, and you know hates you. I have always fought with absolutes. It is much easier for the Joe that way. I believe Iraq and to a greater extent Afghanistan cannot be fought that way. To that end you story works against what the final goal. You are demonizing the best strategy for a lasting piece. It may be a deal with the devil as you dad said but I disagree. The devil wants you soul, in this deal we keep our soul and maybe help a few other keep there's whole as well.

Warren Street said...

So, if I have to choose between a retired general who knows his COIN and an increasingly disgruntled vet, I'm going with the former.

Yeah, how'd that work out for you in Vietnam?

You're going to take the word of a perfumed prince over the word of a grunt who just showed you pictures of the guys he worked with, what they did to Americans, how they operated, and what they were saying to him while he was working with them?

I guess it is true--you guys are proud of being ignorant.

Alex said...

Dickc,

There's a bit of Monday morning quarterbacking here. The strategy of working with insurgents had positive results, but that doesn't mean other avenues would've automatically failed in an alternate universe. Above all, I believe compromising our integrity to give the surge a boost was our biggest mistake. Politicians suggest working diplomatically with the enemy is tantamount to treason, but we have no problem with dealing with the 1920s.

"We have no control who becomes the dominant force in the area."

That's a problem we exhibit with these groups as their numbers grow. As they come in, we take their names and take pictures of their faces and eyes, but we had no security net to catch past transgressors (like AQI) from infiltrating the ranks. I was the guy who did the biometric data entry for my platoon, and here's how it went: they wrote their name on a piece of paper along with their hometown, height etc. The terp gives us the info and we enter it into a system. Then we give them a reflective belt, a brown t-shirt and presto! A brand new, minted patriot. The problem is, what keeps those who quit the force from keeping what essentially amounts to uniforms, or from giving it away to AQI buddies? We leave it all up to the honor system, which is not advantageous when working with guys who steal cars and beat up locals with chains (problems we dealt with). We barely have control of their actions, and the Iraqi population sees it as the U.S. giving martial law authority to guys who were setting off IEDs a year ago. Us handing over that kind of power to a Sunni group in a Shiite government is more than a little strange to people.

You speak of a final goal, which is a professional IA/IP force and something resembling a democracy. However, taking the easy road and it working isn't better than sticking to your moral code. Like I said in The Sandbox post, dropping an atom bomb on Baqubah would have been easy, but it wouldn't have been right. Putting a solution to work with obvious long term shortcomings when a long term problem is presented is not a recipe for success. It may resemble something of a success now, but remember, we don't hold this truce together. They do. Like the military teaches you, never give the enemy higher ground in which to fight. Sadly, we gave that to them on a silver platter and called it a solution.

Army Sergeant said...

You make a really good point that isn't being talked about a lot. We are essentially paying for quiet, and paying not to be killed. We're paying tribute to our enemies, we're just not calling it that. I think it's because they are trying to pretend that things are "Working". But really, what does working mean? Great post.

pinkbunny said...

I can only hope that more and more people make an effort to read posts like yours, so that they can get a good perspective on what's really going on. A majority of Americans do NOT realize that we are paying the Iraqis to not be insurgents. Unfortunately, the Republican propaganda continues to just call out "surge" and "success".

I still go back to the mishandling from the onset of the war with Rumsfeld and his cronies who totally screwed up with the dis-banding the Iraqi army. Americans do not realize we basically sent people back to their homes - sending the message your help is not needed to re-build your own country!

I don't think people realize the two components we have to instill back to the Iraqis for any long term success is Financial Stability and Pride. It will be so easy to cultivate "terrorists" if they have no way to feed their families, and if they have no pride in their existence or future.

Dickc said...

Pinkbunny, Don't you see you have just made a circle of logic? Why would we not pay the clan leaders and there people to police themselves?

I like dude as much as anyone but he is not telling you what is happening now. He is telling you almost year old stories. Good stories that need to be told and documented. I have friends on the ground today. They tell me in the last year the change has been enormous. How ever it started it is looking like it will end well.

One guy I was talking with the other day compared it to giving the stray dog at his OP some MRE scraps to gain his trust. Eventually he did not need the scraps to become friends with the dog but he could not have started with out them. The dog sleeps under his cot now.


Dude, have you ever thought about a Michael Yon style trip?

Alex said...

Dickc,

I never brought up this issue as something that is happening now. You're more correct on the assumption that this is for documentation purposes. Having said that, someone who is deployed in 2008 and working with these groups has a much different history and threshold with the Sons of Iraq. They were sniping at us and laying IEDs one day, patrolling with us the next. When our relief unit arrived, we told them, "Here's a group of assholes we used to fight. Good luck." It's a big difference being once removed from that relationship, and the rift will grow as units leave and new ones come in. Pretty soon, it'll all be water under the bridge. That's why I wrote this, to show a snapshot in time and attempt to explain where I think this is all going.

I have thought about embedding if anyone would finance it. I'd rather do Afghanistan (an infinitely more serious and important conflict), but it'd be great to go back over with my old unit. And I wouldn't stay for a couple weeks in the Green Zone either. A few months would be nice.

Dickc said...

Alex,

I get it. I just wanted to make the point to some of the other readers.

It costs a lot to embed. My sister -in-law was a Army PR person in Afghanistan and said to get a good story she had to bribe every local to get anything done. If I had the talent I would do it. My talents are in other fields. If you can get the funding started I think you may find people are willing to help.

Anonymous said...

Dude, you suck. Write something new so this old shit goes away, or take down your blog.

Alex said...

Anon,

A tip: trolling on blogs is a lot easier than writing them. I have a full time job and a full time school schedule. If you want content every day, either send me a check or go somewhere else.

squidouttawater said...

You paint a grim picture. If I had not taken the time after reading this to read your archives, I would have taken this at face value. If I had not had experience there I would have taken the article at face value. Having worked with Sunni groups that are now "Sons of Iraq" that did not attack us at a regular basis. Upon the "awakening" as you call it, the Sunni's were both helpful and essential for us in hunting down Terrorists (the type from countries other than Iraq) and insurgents.
The problems with your generalizations are that you are portraying the few to be the sum of the whole, rather than vice versus. The "Sons of Iraq" is larger than that and draws a large number of people to it, more than just the groups that attacked your battalion. The 1920's as you call them, can become diluted into a larger group. As the group becomes larger, the bad becomes diluted. Heck, we had this problem with the IP, ING, and IA. But the problem fixes itself as they become more visible which is why the army was on overwatch. Weed out the bad, keep the good, remember your job.
Personal note on the blog, not sure whether you are serious or just pandering to your fans. If it is serious, I hope that you are using the blog to be cynical and not that way all the time. I have seen too many young soldiers (and old for that matter) that whine about everything and forget to see the good things going on around them.

Alex said...

Squid,

I might have to go on top of a tall building with a large megaphone and say this:

This strategy has worked, but it only provides short term gains, and it comes as a cost to our national conscious about dealing with the bad guys. I can't imagine the outrage if we called a truce with al-Qaeda and fought, say, Iran alongside them. The only difference is that AQ has a face and a long history of transgressions. The 1920s only have one that dates back to 2003.

My gripe is simple: no one seemed to identify the intentions nor the ambitions of the 1920s when it came to working with us. They didn't view them as a Sunni group wanting leverage in a suddenly Shiite government, and they didn't see the relationship with our government was beneficial for them in two very critical ways: to help rid them of a more dangerous enemy (AQ) and to get paid while doing it. I linked to an article that suggests blackmailing is in the works, now that they are being marginalized by the Iraqi government. Top commanders demanded higher pay or they'd go (and go back) to AQ.

Flash forward a month, and this doozy comes to light. Now the Iraqi government is taking their goodies away and we're keeping mum. The insurgency was fueled by Paul Bremer disbanding the Iraqi Army in 2003. He threw all those guys with military training on their ass, so it was no wonder they were happy to emplace IEDS for cash money. Now we have come full circle, ready to toss them out again. From the article:

"We fought the Americans for four years and we fought al-Qaida, too," said al-Safi, a former Iraqi army commando during Saddam Hussein's regime who fought in the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war. "We are an experienced armed group. We are fully capable of bringing the house down."

Something I have been saying for more than a year now. They got the guns, they got the money, and they got the experience thanks to us. When the time comes for a showdown, will it have been worth it?

Everyone has a different experience in Iraq, Afghanistan and anywhere else you might have been deployed. Those experiences shape your views more than anything. I have said repeatedly that I don't speak for anyone but myself. I don't suggest that my dealings with the 1920s should be used as a brush to paint the whole awakening movement. Truth is, at the beginning, we both hated each other. A guy in my platoon choked one out after he was mad dogging him from across the room. The 1920s stole cars, beat civilians and took over houses so often that we were ordered to detain them if we caught them doing it.

That was my view, my reality. It was grim, as you put it, as war often is. I get out my cynicism on this blog, but my life couldn't be better. I'm with a woman I love, I'm in school and work a job I enjoy. I smile every day at the memories I had in Iraq with my friends for life. Pandering to anybody would be a waste of time. I receive no compensation for writing here, as I shouldn't. I just tell stories and share opinions.

squidouttawater said...

It's good to hear that life is good and that you can vent.
As far as the acceptance of the enemies into the fold, you forget that this has been done in Germany and Japan. Despite all belief, troops had to continually be reminded that we are no longer at war with them.
The Sunni part of that nation, although many of us would like to forget about them, are still a part of that nation as are the Shiites, Kurds, Turkmen, etc. To exclude a group begs for violence, as we see throughout the world in every country.
We are not at war with Iraq anymore. You may not know the significance of the "Mission Accomplished" speech as you were not in, but at that time our ROE cards were thrown out the window and the people we were shooting at became the people we were training.
Leaders were removed, but the soldiers stayed the same.
This is how wars end. You are in a conquering army that doesn't want the nation it swept through. The result is you have to turn the country over to the people you once fought, keep it stable until its economy grows (Iraq Airlines is starting up for the first time in 30 years), and you make a deal with the new government in order to maintain your sphere of influence. We've done these things. We closed smaller FOBs and in some areas, pulled out completely, turning it over to the Iraqis. The deal made will give an alliance between our nations for years to come.
The people in "Sons of Iraq" will be payed their stipend until the economy will support them to do something else. That's the way it works. When you leave people to idle things is when problems arise.

Alex said...

I didn't forget about Germany and Japan becoming allies after WWII. I feel that conflict has little in common with Iraq. Those countries were sovereign nations bound by laws of war. They would have been no reason to start a guerrilla war after the Soviets reached Berlin, or after the second atomic bomb fell. Conventional wars end when one side cannot continue in a reasonable fashion, when giving up is more advantageous than pressing on. Though Iraq's military was resoundingly defeated in 2003, insurgent groups felt they could expel us by unconventional means (a problem every occupational force finds itself in). Their greatest strength is their avoidance of any rules or laws. They can disappear in any environment, they don't have uniforms or identifiable vehicles, and they can move much easier and quicker than us. I know you're aware of all this, but it's important to point out that when you put these characteristics together, it pushes to the right any identifiable and symbolic end to a conflict like Iraq. The war in Europe was considered over when Soviet soldiers raised their flag above the Reichstag. The insurgency got worse after the death of Zarqawi.

I don't disagree with the rest of your post. I agree that putting these people to work is the best way to keep them from shooting at us. But applying a military solution to an economic problem was a misstep. We gave them jobs that mirrored the ISF, but we knew it couldn't last forever. The best possible solution is for the 1920s to filter into the ISF. That is not happening thanks to Maliki. He obviously doesn't want a powerful and influential Sunni group to gain any more traction, especially when we have their back. They're being arrested, their OPs are being shut down, and they operate with little independence compared to what they had last year. Repeatedly they have threatened to go back to the bad old days, and we, along with the Iraqi government, are giving them the reasons to do that. With billions in surplus, they ain't exactly creating more jobs (working for KBR doesn't count). When we take away everything the 1920s gained without replacing it with a job in the ISF or somewhere else, then in idle they sit. And like you said, that's the most dangerous place to be in. Especially with a bad taste in your mouth and an AK in your hand.

squidouttawater said...

It is true about the lack of resistance in Japan but Germany was another matter. The great thing about Japan was they still had leadership to guide them. Germany on the other hand did have a slight resistance that had needed to be quelled, though on a small scale. But, unlike Iraq, Germany's new government included all ethnic groups. The reason of course being, the Iraqi's are in charge of there government, and the Allied forces were in charge of Germany's, so much so that their constitution was written by us and not them[Germany].

Iraq is a new beast with similarities of the old invasions, with an insurgency that was seen due to racism as in the one seen in the Philippines. (To save those who have little computer room time, I am using the early 1900s Philippines as a good example of a US controlled country with an insurgent problem. The Filipino leader attacking us, was the man that we brought into the country ourselves to help fight the Spanish. Later, we refused to give them their independence, instead pandered to the US businessmen who felt that it was a way into China. The Filipinos (our "little brown brothers" to quote Teddy Roosevelt) decided that they were going to fight against us. When they were overwhelmed by the marines, they undertook sabotage of the American businesses.) Although Iraq is not quite the same, the lessons learned from history is a valuable one. When we had said Hearts and Minds, we meant it. It is amazing the results we had made just by showing the Iraqi's respect. But of course
You can get more with a nice word and a gun than you can with a nice word.- Al Capone

Ryan said...

These days I rarely read anything except e-mails, but i took one look at your blog and couldn't stop reading. Thanks for the insights - truly well written.

jacob said...

these same guys would always shoot at us when we'd infil for skt's...they "thought we were dogs"
don't even get me started on the IPs