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November 27, 2004

The Real Face of the Iraqi Insurgency

Over the last eight days, Coalition forces have discovered 65 bodies of Iraqis killed, execution-style, in Mosul. More than 20 of those killed have been identified as members of the Iraqi security forces, who were murdered because of their support for the interim Iraqi government.

As in South Vietnam, Algeria, and most other insurgencies, terrorizing supporters of the existing government is a key goal of the rebels. Unfortunately, this fact is overshadowed (at least in the foreign press), by the easier-to-cover stories about combat with American or other counter-insurgent forces. Thus the insurgents gain an international image as fighting against foreign oppression and occupation. Their ruthless murders of domestic rivals remain obscured.

While it is easy to blame the media for this imbalanced perception of the reality on the ground, it is not entirely fair. It is hard to locate family members of the murdered loyalists who are willing to speak up, for fear of reprisals by the insurgents. Similarly, it is very easy to interview family members or comrades of US soldiers killed or wounded in battle or to describe the physical carnage on the battlefield. Not surprisingly, the true human dimensions of the conflict remain hidden.

November 27, 2004 at 02:31 PM | Permalink

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