lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Sep 27 09:05:57 MDT 2002
NY Times Op-Ed, Sept. 27, 2002
Fighting Street to Street
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
BASRA, Iraq To understand why an invasion of Iraq may not be the cakewalk
that the White House expects, pay $20 (round trip) and board an Iraqi
Airways flight that soars from Baghdad straight through the
American-enforced "no-flight zone" to Basra on the southern tip of Iraq.
Instead of protecting its borders, Iraq will hide its army within its
cities, where air strikes are effective only at an unacceptable (for
America) cost in civilian deaths. Saddam has a hiding place for himself
that is better than Osama bin Laden's caves at Tora Bora: the teeming city
of Baghdad, with five million inhabitants, where he already never spends
two consecutive nights in the same place.
"The Americans are good at bombing," one Iraqi official mused. "But some
day, they will have to come to the ground. And then we'll be waiting. Every
Iraqi has a gun in his house, often a Kalashnikov. And every Iraqi has
experience in fighting. So let's see how the Americans do when they're
fighting in our streets."
That could be a nightmare. As the last gulf war showed, a bombing campaign
can knock out bridges and barracks, but unless we're incredibly lucky, we
won't kill Saddam, trigger a coup or wipe out his Republican Guard forces.
We'll have to hunt out Saddam on the ground which may be just as hard as
finding Osama in Afghanistan, and much bloodier.
Our last experience with street-to-street fighting was confronting
untrained thugs in Mogadishu, Somalia. This time we're taking on an army
with possible bio- and chemical weapons, 400,000 regular army troops and
supposedly seven million more in Al Quds militia.
Karar Hassan, a 22-year-old member of the militia in the city of Najaf,
said he had just completed a training session in street fighting, including
fighting house to house and even from trees. "I'll fight them till my last
drop of blood," he added, in the kind of boast that is heard everywhere in
"If someone tries to threaten us, we know how to respond," said a farmer
named Hakim al-Khal in the bazaar of Karbala, and then he reached under his
shirt and brandished a handgun.
PLEASE clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.
More information about the Marxism