Terror in Baghdad
Le Monde | Editorial
Tuesday 28 October 2003
"We re in an insurrectionary situation with people who strike and run. We didn t think that it would be so intense and so long. We re still at war. This is about Iraq. The man who describes it this way is no savage opponent of the Bush administration. It s Colin Powell, the U.S. Secretary of State. And he was speaking before the five suicide attacks perpetrated Monday October 27 right in the heart of the Iraqi capital!
"Do we succeed in capturing, killing, and dissuading more terrorists every day than the Madrassahs and religious radicals recruit, train, and send against us? Must we establish a large and concerted plan to stop the next generation of terrorists? In sum and in substance: aren t we busy magisterially deluding ourselves? That question is posed by one of the pillars of the Bush administration, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Two moments of sincerity, two instants of lucidity that demonstrate doubts and disarray and contrast sharply with the way the White House seems to cultivate blindness in the face of a situation, which, far from improving as George W. Bush says, seems to be getting worse. Because we ve witnessed an increase, not a reduction, in attacks against American forces the last three weeks: from a half a dozen a day to nearly thirty What s unreal is not the way the press reports this security fiasco, but the Cou (t.n.: positive thinking) method the White House practices and the accusations it launches against journalists. The situation in Iraq is not much like what the Vietnam War was, except in one regard: the White House desire to impute to the press a too pessimistic portrayal of what s happening on the ground. That has to be seen as a further sign of disarray. Iraqi Kurdistan in undoubtedly calm and the Shi ite region is perhaps on the road to normalization. But United States is challenged in the Baghdad region and at the very heart of the capital itself.
They are challenged by an enemy devoid of scruples, as the attack against the Red Cross demonstrates. An enemy that targets the Iraqi population-most of the 43 dead Monday were Iraqis- at least as much as the American forces. An enemy whose talent for coordination was demonstrated by the simultaneity of the attacks. An enemy, finally, with two heads: Saddam Hussein partisans still on the run and militant Islamists who have entered Iraq by the hundreds since the American occupation began. It s from among the latter that suicide bombers are recruited.
And that s not the least paradox of this war started in the name of the war against terrorism. With the motive of finding the still undiscoverable weapons of mass destruction, this war was launched against a regime guilty of crimes against humanity, but that offered no base of support for radical Islam. Six months later, Iraq is one of the major theatres of operation for Islamic terrorism.
Translation: Truthout French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher
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