Catfish and Cod
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
Defenders of the people, not of the regime.
(Link path: The Christian Science Monitor)
Many Iraqis, according to the Monitor, are beginning to accept the U.S.-trained protection services as legitimate. This directly leads to reduction of popular opposition, and even the beginnings of popular support, for such forces as the Facility Protection Service (FPS) and the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps (ICDC). And this is happening even in Fallujah, the center of what's left of the Sunni resistance.
The assumption behind opposition to these groups was that they would be American stooges. In particular, it was believed, these forces would be used against the Iraqi civilian population. Since such actions are indeed Standard Operating Procedure throughout the Third World, such assumptions were natural. And, naturally, people were opposed to such forces. The situtaion was analogous to that of a Tory auxiliary marching into Patriot territory during America's Revolutionary War. Such people were lucky to be only tarred and feathered when caught alone.
However, it is becoming clear to Iraqis that despite our faults -- and they are legion -- we actually are trying to stablilize Iraq. And that doesn't mean oppressing the Iraqis -- indeed, we have a strong allergic reaction to the very idea. (We also read our history books, and we know what mistakes the British made in 1920.) Instead, it means shutting down the car bombings, the kidnappings, the intimidation, and so forth, no matter who is causing them. Since the Iraqi people quite naturally don't like such things happening in their country, they support such efforts.
Now, that doesn't mean they like depending on Americans to do it for them. Simple nationalism accounts for much of the everyday hostility experienced by our boys and girls. But such sentiments only serve to strengthen support for the Iraqi protection forces among those who wish a stable Iraq.
Anyone who is willing to support mujahideen, of any stripe, has already made the decision that opposition to American forces is more important than Iraqi stability. Riverbend, I'm sorry to say, is an example of such thinking.
The Iraqi protection forces were created to fight those who blow up pipelines, and car bomb presidents, and topple power lines, and generally make life miserable for the ordinary Iraqi. If they continue in their mission, are not suborned by the new Iraqi leadership, and are supported by the Iraqi people, they will continue to defend Iraq and will increasingly succeed in its stabilization. Indeed, the more the Iraqi people support these forces, the less they will need to rely on American support. And, in fact, our prescence will soon be counterproductive (since we attract jihadis like flies to honey). One day they won't need our support in person at all. Then we can leave, with a stable Iraq at our backs.
And isn't that what everyone wants?