Friday, April 02, 2004

The Day After

oday we got some of the answers to Yesterday's questions. The four men were employees of this company. The families of the dead are of course a subject no one can approach but the people near where they live are contemplating events like the rest of us:
At Carolina Fanny's, a cafe in Moyock, co-owner Shellie Langley said the brutal killings were the talk of her establishment all day today.

"I've been here since a quarter til 6, and that's all people are talking about," Ms. Langley said. "They're saying how they would like to know what Bush is going to do now. Will he go back in and take it or how is he going to handle the situation?

"It's hitting close to home.," she said. "It's like losing your neighbor. Oh yeah, people are mad."
And apparently, Jonathan wasn't the only one wondering why the military didn't make an attempt to restore order sooner. Officials had to answer that question:
"Should we have sent in a tank so we could have gotten, with all due respect, four dead bodies back?" said Col. Michael Walker, a civil affairs commander. "What good would that have done? A mob is a mob. We would have just provoked them. The smart play was to let this thing fade out."
On this subject, the PBS Newshour had yet another commentator with incisive and pertinent remarks in their first panel (realaudio 18:08) of the evening. U.S. Army Colonel W. Patrick Lang, a former special forces soldier and head of HumInt for the DIA in the 1990s. He said:
I don't think any kind of approach to this as a criminal action is going to be very productive, either in terms of rendering justice or in terms of improving our situation in Iraq. In fact, I think you have to treat the Fallujah area and the larger Sunni triangle as an area under enemy control and concentrate forces in there and begin a process of going through the place a block at a time, developing your own intelligence in order to break the back of the resistance there. If we don't do that, we're going to look awfully bad in the rest of Iraq and indeed the rest of the Arab world.
Earlier in the same segment, Deputy Director of Operations for the Occupation forces Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said:
We're not going to do a pell-mell rush into the city. It's going to be deliberate. It'll be precise and it will be overwhelming. We will not rush in to make things worse. We will plan our way through this. We will reestablish control of that city and we will pacify that city. We will be back in Fallujah. It will be at the time and place of our choosing. We will hunt down the criminals. We will kill them or we will capture them and we will pacify Fallujah.
I hope Brig. Gen Kimmitt's thinking isn't too far from Col. Lang's. The Times also quotes Colonel J.C. Coleman of the First Marine Expeditionary Force as saying "We were going to roll in there all quiet like the fog." The second Times story linked to above has the following blind quote from an "occupation official" who said that Fallujawis "are acutely aware that Falluja now has a reputation as the worst place on earth." Indeed, the Times Jeffrey Gettleman reports from Fallujah that many embarrased not by the killing but by the behavior of the mob. According to the AFP, however, Bagdadis are as horrified as the rest of us:
"I was shocked and very pained by the scenes of violence that I saw (on television). These people should have been buried, not cut up to pieces," said Assaad Jassem, a 33-year-old elementary school teacher. "I feel ashamed and I believe that those who did this will regret it because these people were human beings like us, with families and children. What was done violates the teachings of Islam," he added. ..."How will the families of these people think of Muslims and Islam after this ugly action?" said Jassem.

Khalaf (27) was convinced that what happened in Fallujah "will harm the reputation of Iraq's people for years to come" but he insisted those who carried out this act were not representative of the Iraqi people."They do not represent the real Iraqis," said Khalaf, declining to give his full name. ...

Iraqi journalist Khalil al-Azzawi (50) was outraged by what happened and dismayed that the horrific scenes from Fallujah were shown on television across the world.

"What happened will reflect badly on the Iraqi people as a whole, but not on those who carried out these barbaric acts," said Azzawi.

"Television networks will exploit these ugly images in order to portray Iraqis as criminals. But that is not the reality. Iraqis are peaceloving people who wish to live in harmony with all the countries of the world," he added.
Meanwhile, Juan Cole had this rather facile analysis:
What would drive the crowd to this barbaric behavior? It is not that they are pro-Saddam any more, or that they hate "freedom." They are using a theater of the macabre to protest their occupation and humiliation by foreign armies. They were engaging in a role reversal, with the American cadavers in the position of the "helpless" and the "humiliated," and with themselves playing the role of the powerful monster that inscribes its will on these bodies.
I'm hoping for something more helpful from Iraqi commentators but so far, few of them have written on the matter. Fayrouz, of Live From Dallas, can only muster the strength to register her horror and disgust. I was touched to read what Firas' had to say over at Iraq & Iraqis. He says he felt "anger, disgust, terror, depressed, pain in stomach, and even guilt, I am sure I wasn’t thinking clear so I waited a while before I left back home. ¶ But Now I know that I want to tell the world that me and the Iraqi people I know and those whom I saw since yesterday all shamed of what happened and refuse it and want to do something to stop things like that. Of course we need the help of the coalition to do so but we will do our best.?"

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