Despite the fact that I vowed to continue my research on the peasant problem and not allow myself to be distracted by events, things are moving so fast that I cannot help a short digression from the subject.
Regarding the present campaign by the government against the terrorists and the “insurgents” in Baghdad codenamed “Operation Lightening”, some of you might remember my proposals more than a year ago. Well, this plan is a belated realization of the points that I have explained then. However, there are matters that are essential that seem to be missing in this plan. As I said then, any counter-terrorist campaign must start with securing the Capital Baghdad and controlling the entrances and exits. In addition, it is essential to build a comprehensive database of all the inhabitants of the city as well as finding a viable and forgery proof means of identification of both persons and vehicles. It is in these technical details that the MNF can be most helpful. Also, I am wondering whether a technical solution to the remote detection of explosives in a car or a person cannot be found.
You see, each side of the struggle must try to use his strong points. The terrorist can hide and work like ghosts and melt away amongst sympathetic or intimidated population. He will strike like a snake and run away. His main weapon is this ability to hit, run and hide. His main strength is this invisibility, and of course, his utter unscrupulousness and cruelty, and willingness to destroy. Destruction is always much easier than construction; what is built in a year can be destroyed in a second. What are then the strengths of the anti-terrorist side? We must try to think hard and try to discover that and use it. Well, in this case, we have the world’s most advanced nations technologically coupled with the will and determination of the majority of a population. These are no small advantages. The guts and sacrifices will be gladly provided by our people and our security forces who are getting stronger and more determined everyday, and have proved to the whole world their resolution and acceptance of the sacrifices. The Great Friend’s most valuable contribution will eventually be this technical support aspect that is his strongest point, if he has the mind to it and the realization that it is in this way that he can be most effective and supportive.
The security presence and watchfulness must be sustained and permanent; otherwise, the terrorists will simply lie low and await the end of the blitz to get back to business. Also I have expounded before the concept of the courteous house to house searches and enquiry, which should be used when dealing with people who may well be innocent of any wrong doing. Meticulous “inventorying” of a troubled residential area or quarters will have to use a carefully planned mix of all kind of intrusions. Rudeness and intimidation tactics must only be used when necessary and not be the general rule.
Nevertheless, the “Lightening Operation” is already beginning to show results, and the terrorists are under real pressure in Baghdad. It remains to be seen if this operation can expand to include the other trouble spots.
I am personally convinced that the “insurgency” is not strong at all and that its continuation is mainly due to vacuum, ineptitude, errors and lack of serious effort. Any determined and sustained campaign based on correct strategies can produce astonishing results quite quickly.