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May 11, 2005

"If they fail in Iraq, Osama and his whole crew are finished"

One of the climactic moments in The Dark Knight Returns -- Frank (Sin City) Miller's brilliant graphic novel about an aged Batman coming back out of retirment -- was his triumph over a particularly loathsome and large "mutant" gang member.

The gang leader was quicker, more nimble, and more innately vicious than the old crimefighter, and beat the hell out of Batman at their first encounter. Realizing he can't beat the quick and vicious thug on the thug's own terms, Batman baits him into fighting in a sludge-pit at a quarry. The gang leader soon finds himself to be as slowed by the sludge as Batman is slowed by advanced age, no longer having any sort of advantage over the much-older man.

And then Batman starts using all the dirty little in-fighting tricks he's learned over a long career of kicking ass and taking names. As he starts to break his young opponent's bones and tear his tendons, he explains, "This only looks like a mud-pit. It's an operating table. And I'm the surgeon."

Iraq is beginning to look like an operating table, too:

The war in Iraq is increasingly looking more like a showdown with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda followers than a battle primarily against Saddam Hussein loyalists.

The shift is making the fight a focal point of the U.S. global war against Islamic terrorists and one that might dictate whether the U.S. wins or loses, said a senior official and an outside expert.

"If they fail in Iraq, Osama and his whole crew are finished," said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney, a military author and analyst.

The changing dynamic was highlighted this week when the U.S. military launched a major offensive in western Iraq, primarily against foreign jihadists who crossed the border with Syria to join the al Qaeda network in Iraq led by Abu Musab Zarqawi. In a troubling sign, U.S. officers said Zarqawi's terrorists seemed well-trained and well-equipped.

The U.S. offensive, code named Operation Matador, entered its third day yesterday in the dusty border towns west of Baghdad near Syria. The command said three Marines and more than 100 enemy fighters have been killed.

"In the Muslim world and extremist world, this fight for Iraq is their key battle," said Gen. McInerney. "If they lose it, they lose the war. And so the imams are inciting young people, not particular well-educated, to head to Iraq. Most are going through Syria via Damascus.

"This is why Iraq is such a fundamental part of the global war on terrorism. When we finally defeat Muslim extremists, it will be the battle in Iraq that defeats them."

Five years from now the debate will be whether Bush and his "neocon madmen" actually planned this flypaper/mudpit strategy or if they merely blundered into it. It seems immaterial either way-- the basic strategy of the Bush Administration was to actively fight these bastards, rather than waiting for Americans to be butchered. Luck, as they say, is the result of good planning. Or good instincts.

And an epilogue to the Batman story: The "mutant" gang, made up of vicious nihilists who had simply chosen violence and mayhem as a means of filling their hopeless lives with meaning, disbands after their leader is humiliated in the mud-pit.

And, in fact, many of them, still looking for a "strong horse" leader, side with the new strong horse in town, Batman himself, joining his new "gang" of Guardian Angels-like protectors of the city.

Nihilistic Mutant Thugs Update: Terrorists kill 50 more civilians in bombings.

Do any of these maniacs believe they can actually win anything by these inhumane and counterproductive tactics?

I don't think they give it much thought. They are killing just out of rage, not to achieve any political purpose.

Perhaps the media is right to shun calling them "terrorists." Yasser Arafat was a terrorist. At least there was a rational (although evil) scheme to his murderings.

These aren't insurgents. And they aren't even terrorists. They're not even organized criminals, who at least kill for money, and only when necessary.

They're simply homicidal maniacs who've decided to join a club.


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posted by Ace at 09:54 AM

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