"Iraq is a very wealthy country. Enormous oil reserves. They can finance, largely finance the reconstruction of their own country. And I have no doubt that they will." Richard Perle, chair, The Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, July 11, 2002
Let's just cut to the chase - American forces in Iraq aren't fighting jihadists. They are fighting an insurgency that is fueled by economics, not ideology - and the profits that fund it come from pilfered petroleum products that are diverted to the black market after being refined at facilities guarded by American soldiers.
From the New York Times today:
In fact, money, far more than jihadist ideology, is a crucial motivation for a majority of Sunni insurgents, according to American officers in some Sunni provinces and other military officials in Iraq who have reviewed detainee surveys and other intelligence on the insurgency.It's a Libertarian paradise over there, a black-market bonanza, a free-market free-for-all. And the American officers on the ground get it -
Although many American military officials and politicians — and even the Iraqi public — use the term Al Qaeda as a synonym for the insurgency, some American and Iraqi experts say they believe that the number of committed religious ideologues remains small. They say that insurgent groups raise and spend money autonomously for the most part, with little centralized coordination or direction.Money from swindles in Iraq and from foreign patrons in places like Saudi Arabia allows a disparate, decentralized collection of insurgent cells to hire recruits and pay for large-scale attacks.
John McCain is in Iraq right now - he will be back next week, slinging the same line of shit, my friends, that al Qaeda is in Iraq and we can't give up now. So read th whole thing and be ready to counter the coming media blitz.
Maj. Kelly Kendrick, operations officer for the First Brigade Combat Team of the 101st Airborne Division in Salahuddin, estimates that there are no more than 50 hard-core “Al Qaeda” fighters in Salahuddin, a province of 1.3 million people that includes Baiji and the Sunni cities of Samarra and Tikrit.
He said most fighters were seduced not by dreams of a life following Mr. bin Laden, but by a simpler pitch: “Here’s $100; go plant this I.E.D.”
“Ninety percent of the guys out here who do attacks are just people who want to feed their families,” Major Kendrick said.
The First Brigade’s commander, Col. Scott McBride, concurs. “I don’t know that I’ve ever heard one person say, ‘I believe in a caliphate,’ ” he said.
Abu Azzam, a prominent leader of American-backed Sunni militiamen in Nasr Wa Salam, between Baghdad and Falluja, estimated that only 10 percent of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia’s members adhered to extremist jihadist doctrines.“Many joined Qaeda for financial and personal reasons,” said Abu Azzam