Monday, September 12, 2005

Great line of the day 

Is from Juan Cole at Informed Comment. He is writing about Tal Afar:
The latest US/Iraqi offensive in Tal Afar petered out on Sunday, as the invaders discovered that the guerrillas in the city had used tunnels to escape. The Iraqis and the US had been saying that they wanted to prevent the guerrillas from getting away, but now they just have to declare victory and go home. Most of the city has been emptied out. Most of the residents had not been guilty of any thing, but now they are refugees. These sweep operations such as have been conducted several times at Tal Afar and also at Qaim and even the Sunni parts of Baghdad have never really succeeded. It is like attacking water; it just flows around you and the situation ends up the same as before. Operation Lighting in early June in Baghdad was supposed to put an end to Sunni Arab guerrilla operations in Baghdad. It did seem to impede them for a brief period, but then they roared back. It seems possible, perhaps likely, that Tal Afar will revert again, too, when people come back to the city. The US/Iraqi government policy now appears to be to de-urbanize the Sunni Arab heartland by destroying Sunni cities one after another. The problem with such a tactic is that it will not actually reduce attacks on the US military or the Iraqi police. It will just seed ethnic hatred for decades to come.

The line I like is the one in bold, about attacking water. But I thought the whole post was worth quoting.
I haven't blogged much about Iraq because of the New Orleans tragedy, but I don't think things are going any better now than they were in mid-August. Cole also notes that the constitution is still a mess and the UN doesn't yet have a document that it can print for the vote which is supposed to be held in four weeks.
Also, it struck me as passing strange to hear reports that the US is blowing up bridges along the Tigris River, I think it was, to prevent Syrians from moving south. Isn't blowing up bridges something that armies do when they are retreating?

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