Where Do They Get These Guys?

BAGHDAD — The top U.S. military intelligence officer in Iraq said Abu Musab Zarqawi and his foreign and Iraqi associates have essentially commandeered the insurgency, becoming the dominant opposition force and the greatest immediate threat to U.S. objectives in the country.

"I think what you really have here is an insurgency that’s been hijacked by a terrorist campaign," Army Maj. Gen. Richard Zahner said in an interview. "In part, by Zarqawi becoming the face of this thing, he has certainly gotten the funding, the media and, frankly, has allowed other folks to work along in his draft."  WASHPOST

No! No!  Zarqawi did not make himself the "face" of the insurgent war in Iraq.  WE did!  By we, I mean all the journalists, spinmasters, sycophantic generals, tourist politicians and deluded Jacobin ideologues who keep insisting that he personifies the Global War on Terror (GWOT) in its Iraq manifestation.

If you read the post below on the "Sunni Insurgency in Iraq" you will see that it is extremely unlikely that Zarqawi’s "Al-Qa’ida in Iraq" has more than a few thousand people in action.  His group is responsible for most of the suicide bombings in the country but the insurgents are mostly other kinds of people, people who have very different goals than Zarqawi.

Zahner’s comment is unfortunate proof that we have not yet overcome our own fantasies in Iraq.  Until we do so we have little hope of dealing with the reality that is the war in Iraq.

Pat Lang


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15 Responses to Where Do They Get These Guys?

  1. b says:

    That General is about as intelligent as flat-world Friedman.
    Friedman in his NYT column today about the “Endgame In Iraq”:
    “That will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the Sunnis in Iraq intend to be. If they come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. If they won’t, then we are wasting our time. We should arm the Shiites and Kurds and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind.”

  2. rebecca says:

    It is fairly fascinating to watch the manifestations of the “media makes reality” belief. As you pointed out we did this image creation and now it’s treated as an objective fact.
    By a high ranking intelligence officer.
    A similar theme is common on the right where the press is accused of treason because if they just printed good news bad things wouldn’t happen. It’s been applied to Iraq, the economy and eveerything else.
    The thing I feel is that this isn’t just an insistance on “propaganda” as I understood the subject, a rational if misguided effort, but that there is something akin to the “sympathetic magic” we read about in anthropology. These people really believe that whoever describes reality controls it.
    Again not in the semi rational 1964 sense, but through some sort of supernatural power. This is the unstated assumption, one they would deny if confronted, but it shapes their thinking.
    It’s akin to “comical Ali” seeming to believe that if he said the invading army was lost in the desert it would be so.

  3. JT says:

    Good Post..

  4. McGee says:

    Hi Colonel,
    Great post – here’s a related blog piece enumerating the 33 “top Zarqawi aides and lieutenants” captured or killed in the past two-and-a-half years:
    Apparently he has enough lieutenants to staff a brigade or two, ergo MUST be leading the insurgency – talk about believing you own press releases….Cheers!

  5. b says:

    I did a piece on my blog in June giving a “Make Your Own” scheme to create your personal Centcom approved news of the killling of an important Zarqawi aid.
    There are also links to some 25 news pieces reporting the death of the “right hand of Zarqawi”. That guy is just the “Goldstein” of 1984.

    [top | important | most wanted | close | key] al-Zarqawi [aide | lieutenant | associate | “cell prince” | figure] [captured | arrested]
    (some date) (some place in Iraq)
    [Iraqi | US | US and Iraqi] forces have [nabbed | captured | arrested] [a | one | two] [senior | middle] [figure | operations chief | terrorist operative] of [Jordanian | al-Qaeda-linked | Iraq’s most wanted] terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi.
    (arabic name), also know as (other arabic name), was [detained | picked up] on (some date) during an [Iraqi police | US military | US and Iraqi] [raid | road block | operation] in (some place in Iraq).
    [spokesman | US General | Iraqi minister] said [“major catch” | “significant impact” | “big step forward”].

    That guy just isn´t real.

  6. Jerome Gaskins says:

    The movie Gandhi, as old as it is, continues to be my favorite for just this reason. So full of their righteousness and pomp, the British had no idea of what was going on in the country.
    We’ve always been plagued with these so-called leaders, and I fear that we always will.

  7. Pat Lang says:

    Friedman is basically just another Jecobin, somewhat like Brooks in his outlook.
    The childishness of wishing to punish a people for your own ineptitude is breath taking. pl

  8. tim fong says:

    I think they find these guys the same place that GM finds it’s upper management. I’m serious. Same failure to look outside their narrow outlook. Same NIH syndrome. Same belief that spin can manufacture reality.

  9. Curious says:

    I have srious feeling Zarqawi really doesn’t exist. He is like the ‘Goldstein’ in 1984. It’s a character in Pentagon propaganda script.
    If anybody notices, everytime Bush adminstration is in trouble the usual script always shows up. (omygawd. we gonna have big military operation. we win, we shot several hundreds insurgencies/terrorists, we capture al qaeda #2)
    so far:
    – election (it was al anbar operation)
    – (one more I forgot)
    – Katrina (Al Qaim)

  10. RJJ says:

    “The childishness of wishing to punish a people for your own ineptitude is breath taking.”
    WRT wrongdoing: a good man amends it; a bad one disowns it; but he who is neither will persuade himself that those whom he wronged deserved it.
    It is not that childish.

  11. Michael Murry says:

    During the American War on Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh died at some point. Immediately, Americans assumed that the Vietnamese would then abandon their decades-long fight for national independence and self-determination. Nothing of the sort happened, of course.
    Americans apparently need leaders and leader worship more than almost anything else — and just assume that other people do, too.
    If some foreign soldiers kicked down my front door and hauled me, my brothers, and father away for the crime of “being of military age” — leaving my sisters and mother home alone for the neighborhood criminals to rape and rob — I don’t suppose I’d have to check first with Osama bin Laden or anyone else to see how I should feel about things, or what I should then dedicate my life to avenging.
    Apparently, some intrepid wanna-be avenger just drove a car filled with explosives into the Green Zone (aka, “Emerald City”) in Baghdad the other day. I’d say this indicates a rather big “boom” coming soon now. I wonder if we’ll see “shocking” pictures of the US embassy’s Chief of Mission leaning out of a window, head bleeding, firing a pistol at all the “insurgents” swarming through the courtyard down below, sort of like Tet, 1968.

  12. zsa says:

    The suspicion that Zarqawi is an invention goes back quite awhile.
    Prior to the election my Baghdad-based relatives (mainly upper-middle class Sunni, but with intermarriage to Kurds, Shia, and a variety of western infidels :), reported that the common opinion among Iraqis was that Zarqawi was completely fictious. Basically a prop to justify on-going military occupation.
    Regardless, his deputies and lieutenants are like the red-shirt guys on the original Star Trek.

  13. bigfoot says:

    I see the use of the term “Jacobin”. Sorry, would some one please enlighten me?

  14. avedis says:

    “…lieutenants are like the red-shirt guys on the original Star Trek…”
    Ha ha ha. Funny. We’ve killed his 2nd in command over 30 times since all this started.
    However sports that brass is a bullet magnet.
    Talk about hazardous duty, does one volunteer to be Zarqawi’s 2nd?
    At any rate, each time we kill the guy the event is heralded as a major set back for AQ.
    Of course it never is.

  15. Pat Lang says:

    See “Jacobins, not Jacobites,” below. pl

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