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[casi] Hard slog in Iraq

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Iraq occupation will be a "hard slog"

A September 16, New York Times article cites anonymous Defense Department
officials challenging the administration's characterization of the Iraqi
resistance. The article notes that  "Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who once again
today listed only "dead-enders, foreign terrorists and criminal gangs" as
opponents of the American occupation. The officials referred to intelligence from Iraq
that the military situation in Iraq would be determined by the popularity of
the resistance. According to these officials the key element of the insurgency
"will be the role played by ordinary Iraqis." And "recent intelligence
assessments give little reason to expect that the resistance will calm down soon,
the defense officials said. "It's going to be a hard slog, and it's hard to see
when or if the picture is going to get any brighter." The defense officials
spoke on condition of anonymity, saying they were concerned about retribution.

The Defense Department officials comments acknowledge the political failure
of the US occupation to win hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.

"As time goes on, if the infrastructure doesn't improve, and American troops
are still out there front and center, it's hard to see the public mood getting
any better..." and
"To a lot of Iraqis, we're no longer the guys who threw out Saddam, but the
ones who are busting down doors and barging in on their wives and daughters,"

In a similar vein this past week General Sanchez conceded that attacks on US
troops were related to the ongoing US counter-insurgency offensive. In an
interview in the September 17 Times of London, "We have seen that when we have an
incident in the conduct of our operations, when we killed an innocent
civilian, based on their ethic, their values, their culture, they would seek revenge."
Iraqis are funny that way.

Bob Allen
Philadelphia Pa

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