Friday, September 16, 2005

Hard to be the Bad Guy

On today's military news about Iraq from Strategy Page, there's an interesting article about the effects of the recent battles in Tal Afar and the significance of the increasing competence and capabilities of the Iraqi Army and police forces. An excerpt:

Meanwhile, in Tal Afar, ... thousands of local civilians are being hired for reconstruction jobs. American civil affairs units have been most aggressive with this tactic, developed and honed over the last two years. Even while the fighting is going on, civil affairs teams are noting what infrastructure is in need of rebuilding, or is getting damaged. As soon as Iraqi police declare a neighborhood pacified, hiring begins to help unload and distribute relief supplies, rebuild roads and electrical systems, and do any other jobs that need being done. Workers are paid daily, and given one more reason to stay away from the terrorist organizations. Not that a lot of unemployed Sunni Arabs need much encouragement there. By now, it’s almost impossible to get volunteers to attack the Americans, and prices to hire people for that work keep going up. Shooting at Americans is seen as suicide, because not only do the Americans promptly shoot back very accurately, but they then come after you. The Americans have those damn little planes in the sky, the ones with cameras, making it difficult for attackers to hide or get away. It’s much easier to attack Iraqi police or soldiers. But these guys are now wearing body armor, and will counter-attack as well. Worse, the Iraqi police will start questioning people in the area, put up roadblocks, and hunt you down. It’s getting so hard to be a bad guy in Iraq.

"It's getting so hard to be a bad guy in Iraq." I had to smile when I read that...

This sounds to me like Iraq is at, or on the threshold of, a "tipping point" — a point where historians will someday say "This is when Iraqi democracy turned the corner, when it became clear that it was going to prevail." If so, that's very good news indeed.

BTW, if you're not familiar with StrategyPage, they're well worth your time for an occasional visit. There aren't many places where one can find the kind of sober and balanced reporting that is on their pages every day.

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