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Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

"Sometimes you have to slap them in the face just to get their attention!"

Heh. File this under "success" and "progress" in Iraq ... From Allah hanging out over at Hot Air:

Gooood stuff here from Totten and Lasswell, fresh off their trip to the crucible of Kirkuk. You can watch the clip at either site but I recommend reading both posts. Totten is a tad more Sullivan-esque, shall we say, in his reaction to the violence, but he’s also got the better quotes ...

We toddle over to Michael Totten's site first:

Kirkuk, like Baghdad, is one of the most dangerous places in the world. Car bombs, suicide attacks, shootings, and massacres erupt somewhere in the city every day. It is ethnically divided between Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmens, and is a lightning rod for foreign powers (namely Turkey at this time) that interfere in the city’s politics in the hopes of staving off an ethnic unraveling of their own.

The city’s terrorists are mostly Baathists, not Islamists, and their racist ideology casts Kurds and Turkmens as enemies. They’re boxed in on all sides, though, and have a hard time operating outside their own neighborhoods. In their impotent rage they murder fellow Arabs by the dozens and hundreds. They have, in effect, strapped suicide belts around their entire community while the Kurds and Turkmens shudder and fight to keep the Baath in its box.

Kurdish and Turkmen neighborhoods are safer than the Arab quarter, but the city is out of control. Car bombs can and do explode anywhere at any time.

I spent the day with Peshmerga General “Mam” (Uncle) Rostam and Kirkuk’s Chief of Police Major Sherzad at a house Mam Rostam uses a base in an old Arab neighborhood that now belongs to the Kurds. Just after lunch Major Sherzad’s walkie-talkie began urgently squawking.

“There has been a shooting,” he said. “Two men on a motorcycle rode down the street and fired a gun at people walking on the sidewalk. One of the men was apprehended. They are bringing him here.”

For some reason I assumed when the chief said “here” he meant the police station. He did not. He meant Mam Rostam’s.

“They will be here in two minutes,” the chief said.

“Here?” I said. “They’re bringing him here? To the house?”

“They will bring him here before taking him down to the station,” he said. “I’ll interrogate him here. I’m not going to feel good until I slap him.”

Go there. Read the rest. Rostam's not BSing anyone on this, and he fully explains why this sort of a tactic is being used. Now, from Mr. Lasswell:

When we got outside the truck was just pulling up and smack was about to be laid down. After a brief conversation with his officers to ascertain specifics, Iraqi Police Chief Sherzad directed that the suspect be brought out. The brief interview that followed with the young man was distinctly unsatisfactory, and Chief Sherzad slapped the young man. Michael Totten and I were stunned but not threatened. Of course we had not been running around on a motorcycle shooting up Kirkuk.
The situation was puzzling for Michael and me because while obviously intimidating, the police officers were not menacing. For people unaccustomed to law enforcement in the middle east or even in their own towns, this must seem from the photographs to be the worst kind of police brutality imaginable. But it was all very measured and intelligently controlled. If this was Egypt, I would have been sick to my stomach because the police there are deeply corrupt, insufferable thugs in filthy uniforms who view menacing coercion as the high point of their days. These Iraqi Police (of Kurdish ancestry) were clean and fit in uniforms that would be perfectly acceptable in the United States. These are the kind of armed security people from Kurdistan that I am perfectly comfortable getting in a car with after just meeting and going for a drive in the country with. These people are protectors, not violators and abusers. There were other things out of place, though.

In my military capacity I deliver violence at the maximum effective range available to me, my primary training is in directing weapons to target thousands of yards away and underwater. Without compromising national security, I can reveal that I've never had to sink a submarine in a bar fight. Even without a sonar or weapons control computer, I could tell that the blows being landed on the young man were measured. After getting a close up look at the young man's face, I was surprised to see that he wasn't bleeding. If I had been hitting the drive by shooting accomplice, I am certain that I would have done some damage...and I would have been wrong to do so. The Iraqi Police were slapping the young man in a very precise manner, and only Chief Sherzad was doing so...until Mam Rostam came up.

Even before one of the most distinguished of all people in Iraq confronted the drive by accomplice, the young man was having just about the worst day of his life. The story coming out is that he gave a friend a ride on his motorcycle and the friend got stupid and started shooting. This is not an auspicious beginning to one's day, and then he got caught. Hauled away to what is obviously a big shot's house, he is getting smacked around by a police chief who is both extremely competent and seriously pissed off. Two Americans are going nuts getting him on film, one of them is even taking stills with one hand and shooting video with the other. Then in walks somebody who could give Dirty Harry lessons in being a badass and he's not taking any excuses. The smack Mam Rostam gave that kid made a sound like his brains had popped out of his head and dented the truck.

The Iraqi Police are not just giving the young man a hard time for entertainment's sake, they are sweating an accomplice to get a shooter off the streets as soon as possible. When his phone rang, Chief Sherzad made the young man answer it in handcuffs so he could talk his friend into turning himself in. With obvious authority, the chief took the phone and gave orders. Our translator tells us that the deal is that if the shooter doesn't come in, the driver will spend time in prison for him. Some things are still not adding up, though. A lot more made sense when we were told that the accomplice and the shooter were Kurdish and that nobody had been killed. The lack of injury and conversational tone were better explained by that circumstance. Further updates indicated that the accomplice had family connections that are protecting him. Michael and I were happy, if still a bit confused, because we got to record actual security operations in Kirkuk and neither of us were even a little bit blown up.

Why post this stuff? Two very, very important reasons. First, some may recoil at such actions carried out by the Kirkuk police, but as Michael Totten pointed out, Kirkuk isn't exactly the safest place to be in Iraq. One of the ways to end this sort of violence, especially for those contemplating assistance of the insurgents, or even the general troublemakers, is that if a little knocking around can bring them in line now, skulls won't literally need to be cracked the next time around.

The second reason is simply succinct. The media portrays the Iraqis as unwilling or unable to to what's necessary to curb the chaos and violence, and that little good is really being accomplished. The fact that Kirkuk has a police force is an accomplishment. It's a serious one at that, and the media and the Democrats would prefer to ignore it all, and proclaim the war as being lost. They're wrong.

Publius II


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