Tue, 29 Jul 2003

Guerrilla warfare and Iraq

The Issue: Are American troops in Iraq part of a peacekeeping operation or embroiled in a guerrilla war?

The Spin: President Bush declared the war over and won back in May. Civilian leaders like Defense Secretary Rumsfeld have talked of the continuing low-level attacks on Americans as the work of a few "remnants" or "bitter-enders" engaging in essentially uncoordinated, opportunistic attacks on random targets.

The Unspin: Count on the military to see reality. The new commander of U.S. forces in Iraq called the situation "a classical guerrilla-style campaign."...

Unspin Two: Foreign occupying forces almost always encounter hostility from the natives. The organized nature of resistance in Iraq underscores the importance of leaving Iraq as soon as possible. Doing so, however, demands giving up the always- unrealistic goal of converting a country with no democratic tradition into a perfect democracy in a year or so. Our interest is a government that doesn't harbor terrorists who can hurt the United States, not utopia.

-- Orange County Register, Orange County, California