"As someone who knows Iraq, speaks Arabic, and spent seven years in the Middle East, if the Iraqis believe rightly or wrongly that we come only for oil and occupation, they will begin a long, bloody war of attrition. It is how they drove the British out. And remember that, when the Israelites invaded southern Lebanon in 1982, they were greeted by the dispossesed Shiites as liberators, but within a few months, when the Shiites saw that the Israels had come not as liberators but as occupiers, they began to kill them. It was Israel who created Hezbollah, and it was Hezbollah that pushed Israel out of southern Lebanon."Chris Hedges, May, 2003, in a speech to the graduating class of Rockford College, Rockford, Illinois, from Losing Moses on the Freeway (New York: Free Press 2005), p. 95.
Press Secretary Scott McClellan, today:
Q Scott, is the insurgency in Iraq in its last throes?
MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, you have a desperate group of terrorists in Iraq that are doing everything they can to try to derail the transition to democracy. The Iraqi people have made it clear that they want a free and democratic and peaceful future. And that's why we're doing everything we can, along with other countries, to support the Iraqi people as they move forward. The fact that they are making great progress on the political front is significant because that helps defeat the terrorists, because the terrorists don't want to see democracy take hold. They don't want lasting democratic institutions to be put in place. And that's why we are standing with the Iraqi people as they move forward on the political front.
Q But the insurgency is in its last throes?
MR. McCLELLAN: The Vice President talked about that the other day -- you have a desperate group of terrorists who recognize how high the stakes are in Iraq. A free Iraq will be a significant blow to their ambitions.
Q But they're killing more Americans, they're killing more Iraqis. That's the last throes?
MR. McCLELLAN: Innocent -- I say innocent civilians. And it doesn't take a lot of people to cause mass damage when you're willing to strap a bomb onto yourself, get in a car and go and attack innocent civilians. That's the kind of people that we're dealing with. That's what I say when we're talking about a determined enemy.
Q Right. What is the evidence that the insurgency is in its last throes?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think I just explained to you the desperation of terrorists and their tactics.
Q What's the evidence on the ground that it's being extinguished?
MR. McCLELLAN: Terry, we're making great progress to defeat the terrorist and regime elements. You're seeing Iraqis now playing more of a role in addressing the security threats that they face. They're working side by side with our coalition forces. They're working on their own. There are a lot of special forces in Iraq that are taking the battle to the enemy in Iraq. And so this is a period when they are in a desperate mode.
Q Well, I'm just wondering what the metric is for measuring the defeat of the insurgency.
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you can go back and look at the Vice President's remarks. I think he talked about it.
Q Yes. Is there any idea how long a last throe lasts for?
MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Steve.
A resolution calling on President Bush to announce an exit strategy from Iraq was introduced in the House today by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including one who was once so upset about French opposition to the war that he wanted the House cafeterias to change the name "French fries" to "freedom fries."
Two Republicans and two Democrats held a news conference in which they prodded President Bush to announce a withdrawal timetable by the end of the year. Their resolution calls on him to start bringing American troops home by Oct. 1, 2006.