August 3, 2003, 10:45 A.M.
Another soldier was killed on Saturday in Iraq, bringing the total U.S. soldiers killed by hostile fire in the war in Iraq to 167, 20 more than were killed in the first Gulf war and 53 since the President declared an end to major combat operations on May 1.
Through the use of overwhelming firepower in the form of tanks, helicopters, RPGs and machine gun and rocket equipped Humvees, two of Saddam’s sons, Uday and Qusay, were killed in Mosul on July 22. Despite the elimination of these two brutal thugs, and a $25 million bounty on their father's head, ambush-type attacks on U.S. soldiers by Iraqis are continuing and are now occurring at the rate of about 12 per day. There is no end in sight as this guerrilla war continues.
Killing Saddam’s sons was an obvious strategic victory over the remnants of the old regime. The problem is that, despite the killings, it appears that decapitating Saddam’s regime may not be enough to subdue Iraqi resistance to the American occupation. There is also evidence that attacks are coming from groups other than the old regime. What happens if we capture or kill Saddam and the attacks continue or increase?
This could very well happen because it is not only the old Ba’ath party that wants us out, but fundamentalist Muslims want us out, other political factions want us out and countless other groups looking for a piece of the Iraqi pie want us out. So it seems that attacks from all of these quarters may continue long after Saddam himself is neutralized.
Bing West, former assistant secretary of defense, maintains in his editorial in last Sunday’s Wall Street Journal that American media is too focused on the number of casualties, and further, that the casualty rate is to be expected. He contests the notion that our situation in Iraq is in any analogous to Viet Nam or Somalia, and that in fact things are going swimmingly for us, especially for the Marines. He goes on to predict:
“The shootings will diminish dramatically when Saddam is put to rest and as the Iraqis establish a governance that treats Saddam loyalists as their enemy. The open terrain does not favor guerrilla bands, and the shooters, far from swimming in a sea of friendly people, are hiding their identities. As the killing of Uday and Qusay reveals, the Iraqi people are willing to give them up. President Bush has it right: If radicals sneak into Iraq to attack Americans, they will die there. That's better than having them plot against New York City. A quagmire refers to organized resistance supported and sheltered by a willing population. In Iraq, the vast majority of the people welcomed the American forces.”
Apparently US Civilian Administrator L. Paul Bremer