CoRev, a frequent commentator and sometimes guest-poster here at Angry Bear, has, at his site, a video taken in Iraq. It was obviously taken by American troops, and shows an American soldier telling a taxi driver who is stopped at a check point to go tell his insurgent friends to come attack because he’s itching to get in a firefight.
CoRev thinks its funny. Having spent some years in military dictatorships, I see something different than he does. I see a scared guy at a checkpoint, being mocked by a soldier. In seconds, he could be dead or on his way to prison, purely on the whim of the soldier at the checkpoint. Some of the taxi driver’s relatives have, in fact, disappeared or died – and he doesn’t know any of the circumstances surrounding how it happened. The thought probably entered his mind, as he pulled up to the checkpoint, that maybe one or two of those relatives might have disappeared after pulling up to a checkpoint like this one, manned by soldiers like these. So he was already afraid when he pulled up to the checkpoint and the soldier had him roll down the window to answer questions. But once the mockery began, he became terrified. And one more thing – if he didn’t already hate the soldier at the checkpoint and all the other soldiers like him – he does now.
I wonder how many times that scene plays out every day in Iraq, and I wonder how many frightened taxi drivers there are.
Here is Max Boot:
Obviously we cannot keep 170,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely; we will be down to 130,000 (15 Brigade Combat Teams) by mid-July on current projections. And as Iraqi security forces grow in capability it may be possible to withdraw more troops without compromising the security gains of recent months. But it would be the height of irresponsibility to pledge, without knowing what conditions on the ground look like, the withdrawal of all combat troops in less than two years.
Imagine what would have happened in the Korean peninsula if the U.S. and its allies had withdrawn all combat troops in 1955. What are the odds that South Korea would have remained independent? Probably no higher than the odds in South Vietnam, where we did withdraw all combat troops in 1973. Within two years the war was lost.
Consider what he is writing… if the US had withdrawn from Korea in 1955, yes, the North Koreans, and more importantly, the Chinese PLA would have over-run South Korea. Now… to which of these entities would Boot like to compare Al Qaeda? The 260,000 thousand strong North Korean military of 1955? Perhaps the 780,000 troops China sent into battle? And let’s not forget the 26,000 “advisors” sent by the USSR. Oh wait… if we insist that the enemy in Iraq is Al Qaeda – all of the above. And we can come up with a similar set of numbers for Vietnam.
Al Qaeda is what the Italian Red Brigades would be if fast-forwarded a few decades and stripped of Soviet help. The way to get rid of Al Qaeda is also the way the Red Brigades were brought down – good old fashioned police work.