It is good to see the mainstream media picking on the senseless and misleading linkages the Bush Administration is making in the Middle East.
Reading "Fiasco," Thomas Ricks's devastating new book about the Iraq war, brought back memories for me. Memories of going on night raids in Samarra in January 2004, in the heart of the Sunni Triangle, with the Fourth Infantry Division units that Ricks describes. During these raids, confused young Americans would burst into Iraqi homes, overturn beds, dump out drawers, and summarily arrest all military-age men—actions that made them unwitting recruits for the insurgency. For American soldiers battling the resistance throughout Iraq, the unspoken rule was that all Iraqis were guilty until proven innocent. Arrests, beatings and sometimes killings were arbitrary, often based on the flimsiest intelligence, and Iraqis had no recourse whatever to justice. Imagine the sense of helpless rage that emerges from this sort of treatment. Apply three years of it and you have one furious, traumatized population. And a country out of control.
The entire article, which is yet another not-so-disguised review of Ricks' FIASCO, is certainly worthwhile. Although it is somewhat disappointing this review is a "web exclusive", making me wonder how or if the broadcast coverage & magazine may be influenced by this.
UPDATE: as I come across or hear about critiques about this MSNBC article, Ricks' book ("another Monday morning quarterback"), and moral problems I feel it is important to understand the contemporary situation as events unfold. A book (to be reviewed here in the not too distant future) that is worth looking at for this is Ahmed Hashim's Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Iraq. Hashim, a Professor of Strategic Studies at the US Naval War College, has what is surely a more technical and detailed description of the cause and effect merry go-round based on what I've read of Ricks (reviews and his news piece) and his target audience and the to-date brief reading of Hashim's book.