Saturday, February 02, 2008

Every Hero Needs A Villain

At least 91 people were killed today in two separate suicide bombings in Baghdad:

Two women described as mentally disabled and strapped with remote-control explosives — and possibly used as unwitting suicide bombers — brought carnage Friday to two pet bazaars, killing at least 91 people in the deadliest day since Washington flooded the capital with extra troops last spring.

Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, Iraq's chief military spokesman in Baghdad, said the women had Down syndrome and may not have known they were on suicide missions, but gave no further details on how authorities pieced together the evidence. He also said the bombs were detonated by remote control.

The coordinated blasts — coming 20 minutes apart in different parts of the city — appeared to reinforce U.S. claims al-Qaida in Iraq may be increasingly desperate and running short of able-bodied men willing or available for such missions.

But they also served as a reminder that Iraqi insurgents are constantly shifting their strategies in attempts to unravel recent security gains around the country. Women have been used in ever greater frequency in suicide attacks because they often encounter less scrutiny by security officials.

The same folks who told us the surge worked because violence was down are now swearing up and down that the surge worked because violence is up again. In particular, they point to the fact that the suicide bombers were women with Down's Syndrome as proof that Gen. Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy is a success:
These attacks today are not the first time al Qaeda in Iraq has stooped to using female suicide bombers. They have been used several times, including twice earlier this month in Diyala.

This tells us several things.

First, it tells us that al Qaeda in Iraq recognizes that attempts to use male suicide bombers and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), their preferred method of suicide attacks for those seeking martyrdom, are no longer effective. These attacks fail because the combination of coalition military forces, Iraqi security forces, and neighborhood militias, known as "concerned local citizens" (CLCs) creating a security system that increasingly works, and makes it very unlikely that these preferred attacks will succeed. There is also some speculation that the influx of would-be foreign suicide bombers into Iraq is drying up.

Today's attacks also tell us that al Qaeda in Iraq is getting very desperate in seeking the high-casualty attacks that they so value. They were forced to scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel, and use not only women (which they'd prefer to subjugate), but mentally disabled women at that, suggesting that finding willing volunteers is becoming ever more difficult.

These attacks today serve to show that al Qaeda in Iraq is not quite finished, but then, that is something we already knew. What is does show us is just how desperate they are to retain relevance in a war that is going very badly for them.

Far from today's attacks being a sign of the "surge" in Iraq failing, the extraordinary lengths al Qaeda was forced to take to carry out these attacks show that the "surge" and the COIN doctrine implemented by General Petraeus are working precisely as we'd hoped.

Is Bob Owen trying to tell us that he and his fellow war and more war supporters were hoping for the kind of attack that happened today?

Bryan at Hot Air is hoping that his "liberal readers" will now see that it was all those jihadis blowing up young women with Down's Syndrome in Iraq before 2003 that forced Pres. Bush to invade, and and that they will abandon their delusion that there were no suicide bombings at all until Saddam Hussein had been overthrown and the U.S. military occupation put in place:
I also bring all of this up in the hope that liberal readers might finally extract their craniums from their backsides and realize that whatever you think of Bush, he’s not the problem. He didn’t start the war and he’s not the cause of the jihad. Animals of the type who would blow up innocent mentally disabled women to kill scores of other innocent people cannot be reasoned with. There’s nothing to talk over with people like that. They live in a state of violent depravity that puts them beyond reason barring some massive change in their own minds. We infidels aren’t going to make that chance [he means "change"] by playing nice. We have to defeat them.

Libby Spencer tries to inject some rationality into the discussion:
... For the record, assuming it's true, I think it's just horrible that whoever was behind this latest disaster used Down's women to perpetrate the bombings but I don't see it as a sign of desperation. I see it as a sign of adaptation and a brilliant one at that. Perhaps Mr. Owens can educate me on how our troops are supposed to counter this new evil tactic? That would be helpful.

and gets this response, in comments:
A "brilliant sign of adaptation". You seem very eager to give cowardly fascist murderers who used helpless pawns praise. Why don't you just slap yourself in the head a few times for writing something that stupid.

The "conversation" continues in that vein. Apparently what we need to do is scream insults at the AQ terrorists and call them names. That's much more fun than facing the real problem (Libby, in comments):
... We've got a brass heavy, stationary military force fighting roving bands of nimble guerrillas. By the time we adapt to their tactics, they're already moving on to something new.

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