Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Who is Fighting?

Michael Yon's newest piece is out.

He talks about the different Iraqi components of the fight against the terrorists in Mosul.

He is particularly upset about the abuse of two words. Suicide and martyr.

Michael on the use of the word suicide:
Suicide is a term that should evoke empathy, if not sympathy, for a lonely and despairing act. A distressed soul, harboring a crushing, agonizing lebensmude, weary of the strain of a terrestrial existence, perhaps seeking mere relief, or just an end to psychic pain, may be contemplating suicide. If this person straps a bomb to his or her chest and walks out into the solitude of the desert and detonates, they would then be properly called a "suicide bomber." But when the media reports every day on "suicide bombers," they are talking about different people.
Source: Michael Yon's Online Magazine - The Battle for Mosul: Reality Check

Michael is no happier with martyr:
Calling homicide bombers martyrs is a language offense; words are every bit as powerful as bombs, often more so. Calling murderers "martyrs" is like calling a man "customer" because he stood in line before gunning down a store clerk. There's no need to whisper. I hear the bombs every single day. Not some days, but every day. We're talking about criminals who actually volunteer and plan to deliberately murder and maim innocent people. What reservoir of feelings or sensibilities do we fear to assault by simply calling it so? When murderers describe themselves as "martyrs" it should sound to sensible ears like a rapist saying, "she was asking for it." In other words, like the empty rationalizations of a depraved criminal.
Source: Michael Yon's Online Magazine - The Battle for Mosul: Reality Check

Words are important. Remember the screaming that went on when FOX News decided not to call the bombers of Sbarro's Pizzarias "suicide bombers" but "suicide murderers"? However, those that bomb Sbarro's Pizzarias are nothing but murderers.

Anyway, Michael says the Iraqis are more and more able to do the work themselves. He reminds us we no longer hear stories of Iraqi police stations being cleared out by the terrorists.

The most helpful thing is he talks about the two components of the terrorist campaign as well. Former regime elements and the Jihadis. The former regime elements (FREs) are former baathists who no longer have a lock on power and therefore wealth. They are not happy. He notes the FREs and the Jihadis would normally be fighting each other (and we frequently hear of incidents where they do just that) but are loosely bound by opposition to Iraqi liberty.

Read his magazine. Very riveting.