Friday, July 09, 2004

According to this Salon article, the Iraqi insurgency is bigger than previously thought (by the Bush Administration). Gee, isn't that a surprise! (If you're not a Salon subscriber, you'll have to sit through a short ad to get a day pass to read the whole article, but it may be worth it since this isn't the only Salon article I'm posting on today)
The Iraq insurgency is far larger than the 5,000 guerrillas previously thought to be at its core, U.S. military officials say, and it's being led by well-armed Iraqi Sunnis angry at being pushed from power alongside Saddam Hussein.

Although U.S. military analysts disagree over the exact size, dozens of regional cells, often led by tribal sheiks and inspired by Sunni Muslim imams, can call upon part-time fighters to boost forces to as high as 20,000 -- an estimate reflected in the insurgency's continued strength after U.S. forces killed as many as 4,000 in April alone.

And some insurgents are highly specialized -- one Baghdad cell, for instance, has two leaders, one assassin, and two groups of bomb-makers.

The developing intelligence picture of the insurgency contrasts with the commonly stated view in the Bush administration that the fighting is fueled by foreign warriors intent on creating an Islamic state.

"We're not at the forefront of a jihadist war here," said a U.S. military official in Baghdad, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official and others told The Associated Press the guerrillas have enough popular support among nationalist Iraqis angered by the presence of U.S. troops that they cannot be militarily defeated.
So much for winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people!

Quote for the Day: "Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events."--Sir Winston Churchill

Idiotic Quote for the Day: "I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence and the speeches I have given are backed by good intelligence."--George W. Bush, July 14, 2003 (via Atrios).