mr. zilla goes to town

Saturday, October 15, 2005

you go to war with the army you have

"As you know, you have to go to war with the Army you have, not the Army you want."

You may recall these choice words used by US Defence Secretary Rumsfeld in December 2004, when publicly questioned by a US soldier in Kuwait about why his battalion was heading into Iraq in vehicles they were being forced to up-armour with scrap metal from landfills.

It came immediately to mind -- along with a deep chill down my spine -- as I read quotes from Shiite soliders serving in the US-supported Iraqi Army this week:

"There are two Iraqs; it's something that we can no longer deny," [Major Swadi] Ghilan said. "The army should execute the Sunnis in their neighborhoods so that all of them can see what happens, so that all of them learn their lesson."

"In Amariyah last week, a car bomb hit a U.S. Humvee and their soldiers began to shoot randomly. They killed a lot of innocent civilians. I was there; I saw it," said Sgt. Fadhal Yahan. "This happens all the time. If they keep doing this, the people will attack them. And we are part of the people."

Sgt. Jawad Majid chimed in: "We have our marja'iya and we are waiting for them to decide when the time to fight (the Americans) is, when it is no longer time to be silent."

"The people of Hurriyah deserve to be doused with gasoline and set on fire," said 1st Sgt. Khalid Jabar, while driving through a local Sunni neighborhood last week. "When they kill Shiites no one asks why. But when they found out it was their turn to be killed they ask the whole world to help them."

Last week, as Sgt. Hussein Jabar manned a checkpoint underneath a bridge, a sniper's bullet pierced his left side, tore through his organs and flew out his right side. Iraqi troops carried him away, his body limp and pouring red onto the sidewalk. Two days after the shooting, Sgt. Ahmed Sabri stood outside the Umm al Qura mosque, home to the militant Sunni Muslim Scholars Association. The mosque is just down the road from where Jabar was shot.

"Every man we've had killed and wounded is because of that mosque. Thousands and thousands of Shiites are being killed, which is why they're joining the army," Sabri said. "Just let us have our constitution and elections in December and then we will do what Saddam did - start with five people from each neighborhood and kill them in the streets and then go from there."

With the army you have, you go to war.


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