Wisdom worth repeating

Jules Crittenden:


Iraqi Maj. Gen. Mohammed Abdul-Latif was addressing tribal elders in Fallujah on the killing of American soldiers and resistance to Americans efforts to establish security, prosperity and freedom to Iraq.
``We can make them use their rifles against us or we can make them build our country. It's your choice,'' Abdul-Latif said. ``They were brought here by the acts of one coward who was hunted out of a rat hole [Saddam], who disgraced us all. Let us tell our children that these men came here to protect us.
``As President Bush [related, bio] said, they did not come here to occupy our land but to get rid of Saddam. We can help them leave by helping them do their job, or we can make them stay 10 years and more by keeping fighting.''


Abdul-Latif's words remind us that what is happening in Iraq has nothing to do with prisoner abuse. It has nothing to do with whether the United Nations or the United States is running the transition to sovereignty. The violence will doubtless continue after a democratically elected government is in place and the last American soldier is gone. What is happening in Iraq is what was always destined to happen in the absence of Saddam's iron hand, in large part due to the inter-ethnic rivalries he played on. Iraq is tearing itself apart. Marginalized factions and opportunistic thugs are vying for advantage, which they can best achieve through terror and chaos.
The fear of ordinary Iraqis, the simmering anti-occupation resentment and the active assistance of some Iraqis support the thugs and spur them on. The involvement of the United States and those allies who have chosen to take part has given Iraq the chance to avoid all-out civil war and anarchy.
Here in the United States, voices like Abdul-Latif's are drowned out by the clamor over prisoner abuse by a handful of soldiers . . . humiliation intended to soften up suspected killers for interrogation in the midst of a violent insurgency. In Washington, the hot-ticket hearings are not about how to boost security in Iraq, how best to make our occupation and the transfer of sovereignty successful. The hearings in fact have had little to do even with the welfare of Iraqi detainees or the administration of justice. They degenerated immediately into a highly politicized argument over who should pay for it.

The quagmires of the liberal mind.


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