T Nation

Grassroots Iraqi Security?

When I watch the news and I see the attrocities being committed, I have to wonder how come the general populace isn’t taking security into their own hands.

I don’t mean with respect to car bombs or other attacks of that type, but the rampant abductions, tortures and killing.

Wouldn’t it be possible, within your own home neighborhood, to position local people on rooftops and other strategic locations to watch and counter the actions of armed groups against the community? I guess it would be a twist on the concept of neighborhood watch.

Wouldn’t you, if you lived in that type of situation, carry a weapon at all times, even if only a handgun? Wouldn’t you make sure you knew your neighbors and kept an eye out for armed strangers?

Maybe this is actually happening but the media doesn’t notice or doesn’t say anything about it? Maybe this is discouraged by the US or Iraqi authorities? Maybe people in the region aren’t used to being empowered to work cooperatively to solve their own problems?

I have no idea what is really going on over there, as I haven’t been, but I sure as hell wish that things would improve instead of always getting worse. Wouldn’t it be great if the non-radical Iraqi population banded together to take back their land, their safety and their future?

Is there really any other solution available? If the US can’t impose peace, how in the hell will the Iraqi forces have better luck?

Yeah, I know, lot’s of questions. I guess the real question is what will actually work to solve the problems in Iraq and who can get it done?

If anyone has that answer, then we need to be working towards that.

[quote]vroom wrote:
When I watch the news and I see the attrocities being committed, I have to wonder how come the general populace isn’t taking security into their own hands.[/quote]

Yeah, hockey violence is really out of hand. We need to do something about it.

Oops. This is not about hockey, is it?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t see Iraq from my rooftop.

Yeah, we could call it Sniper Target Practice.

You mean those armed strangers that the US sent over?

I’m sure someone would notice dead guys falling from rooftops.

Maybe they even have Common Sense over there, and they don’t like to get shot and fall two stories to their deaths.

Man, that sounds like a PowerPoint presentation. A synergystic multi-tasking group working proactively toward a common paradigm of heightened communal security.

Meeting at two.

Really? Man, I would’ve sworned…

Gas prices are down.

What Iraqi population? The Kurd population, the Shiite population or the Sunni population?

Them banding together is just a bit less likely than Dick Cheney buying an hybrid and joining Greenpeace.

Eventually, they’ll run out of A) cars B) explosives or C) Iraqis. You’ll have peace then.

I’m no expert, but posting random elucubrations on a bodybuilding forum seems like the best bet.

Great advice! Let’s do it!

Thanks for that pookie, that was pretty open minded…

[quote]pookie wrote:
Wouldn’t you, if you lived in that type of situation, carry a weapon at all times, even if only a handgun? Wouldn’t you make sure you knew your neighbors and kept an eye out for armed strangers?

You mean those armed strangers that the US sent over?[/quote]

You don’t know any of your own neighbors? It wouldn’t be very hard to organize this type of initiative…

[quote]Maybe this is discouraged by the US or Iraqi authorities?

Maybe they even have Common Sense over there, and they don’t like to get shot and fall two stories to their deaths.[/quote]

No, they just like it when vehicles pull up, they have weapons pointed at them, and they get carted off in small groups to the junior college of Dr Mengele.

[quote]Maybe people in the region aren’t used to being empowered to work cooperatively to solve their own problems?

Man, that sounds like a PowerPoint presentation. A synergystic multi-tasking group working proactively toward a common paradigm of heightened communal security.[/quote]

Yeah, it might sound like a powerpoint presentation. However, do you know how you teach people teamwork. You put them on a fucking team. Low and behold, sometimes they will eventually start to act like a team. If you don’t like powerpoint, look to sports…

[quote]I have no idea what is really going on over there, as I haven’t been,

Really? Man, I would’ve sworned…[/quote]

I see and hear about a lot more death and torture than I care to. While I know I could turn the TV off, you may be surprised to know it doesn’t actually stop shitty things from happening, it just stops me from hearing about them.

I know most of the world prefers to tune out when they don’t like what they hear, but that’s not really my style. Sorry, I’ll try to live up to your expectations better.

[quote]Wouldn’t it be great if the non-radical Iraqi population banded together to take back their land, their safety and their future?

What Iraqi population? The Kurd population, the Shiite population or the Sunni population? [/quote]

So, every neighborhood is divided house by house is it? I mean, aren’t there regions? Also, aren’t there communities in Iraq? They don’t have moderates over there, neighbors and friends of various denominations? Wow, that’s fucked up.

[quote]vroom wrote:
When I watch the news and I see the attrocities being committed, I have to wonder how come the general populace isn’t taking security into their own hands.

I don’t mean with respect to car bombs or other attacks of that type, but the rampant abductions, tortures and killing.

Wouldn’t it be possible, within your own home neighborhood, to position local people on rooftops and other strategic locations to watch and counter the actions of armed groups against the community? I guess it would be a twist on the concept of neighborhood watch.

Wouldn’t you, if you lived in that type of situation, carry a weapon at all times, even if only a handgun? Wouldn’t you make sure you knew your neighbors and kept an eye out for armed strangers?

Maybe this is actually happening but the media doesn’t notice or doesn’t say anything about it? Maybe this is discouraged by the US or Iraqi authorities? Maybe people in the region aren’t used to being empowered to work cooperatively to solve their own problems?

I have no idea what is really going on over there, as I haven’t been, but I sure as hell wish that things would improve instead of always getting worse. Wouldn’t it be great if the non-radical Iraqi population banded together to take back their land, their safety and their future?

Is there really any other solution available? If the US can’t impose peace, how in the hell will the Iraqi forces have better luck?

Yeah, I know, lot’s of questions. I guess the real question is what will actually work to solve the problems in Iraq and who can get it done?

If anyone has that answer, then we need to be working towards that.[/quote]

They’re called militias. Maybe you’ve heard of them. They’re also responsible for a good chunk of the killing in Iraq.

[quote]GDollars37 wrote:
They’re called militias. Maybe you’ve heard of them. They’re also responsible for a good chunk of the killing in Iraq.[/quote]

LOL.

Yeah, I’m aware of the militias, they are run by religious “leaders” left over from pre-war times.

You guys are pretty funny. I’m amazed actually.

Does anyone think that a peace can be found anywhere else but within the populace? Honestly, you can’t impose it through force…

The people of the region are the only ones who truly know enough about their community to detect interlopers and control it. They speak the language. They know their neighbors. They understand the issues involved. We generally don’t.

Consider if the… pick a boogeyman… invaded your city, and then foreign elements came in and started targeting your neighbors. I mean come on, we have committees and groups for everything over here… do you mean to tell me that we’d just let these third party mauraders kidnap and torture our friends and neighbors?

Whatever the case, the security situation sucks donkey balls over there and they certainly need to try something to improve the situation.

The US military has been turning provinces over to Iraqi control one at a time. Jusat the other day they held a ceremony to turn another one over.

I think that is grass roots security.

Where is all the violence occuring? Not in Secured Iraqi controlled provinces. It is in those provinces that have yet to be controlled. Perhaps the insurgents leave one controlled area for an uncontrolled one, and now there is a high concentration of insurgents. Kinda like cornering a rat. Sooner or later the rat will be disposed of - and we will be able to leave Iraq in the hands of a well trained Iraqi military, and come home. That’s what everyone wants.

[quote]rainjack wrote:
The US military has been turning provinces over to Iraqi control one at a time. Jusat the other day they held a ceremony to turn another one over.

I think that is grass roots security.

Where is all the violence occuring? Not in Secured Iraqi controlled provinces. It is in those provinces that have yet to be controlled. Perhaps the insurgents leave one controlled area for an uncontrolled one, and now there is a high concentration of insurgents. Kinda like cornering a rat. Sooner or later the rat will be disposed of - and we will be able to leave Iraq in the hands of a well trained Iraqi military, and come home. That’s what everyone wants.
[/quote]

Rainjack, I hope you are right, but I fear that the areas being turned over are already the quiet ones.

I think, in the future, we will see how effective Iraqi security is when the regions they police are targeted. I highly doubt they will be as effective as the US.

[quote]vroom wrote:
When I watch the news and I see the attrocities being committed, I have to wonder how come the general populace isn’t taking security into their own hands.

If anyone has that answer, then we need to be working towards that.[/quote]

I agree. Several things:

If I look back at similar issues in U.S. History, I don’t see similar results/figures in Iraqi history. People standing up out of the populace to become spies or fight militias or ordinary cops stepping up untouchable divisions of police units. This could be for one of two reasons, a) the people aren’t controlling the issues the way we did, or b) they are and we just aren’t seeing it.

If a, I could be overly romantic, but the level of bravery and patriotism shown in the American Revolution is, IMO, completely absent from the Iraqi people. But, even absent that level of patriotism and the whole liberation of a fledgling democracy thing, given our continuing problem with similar societal ills like the mafia, the duplicity of the populace is disconserting wrt terror and their armed militias.

If b, do conservative broadcast journalists not exist or are they just not capable of pointing cameras? Is it just blogs and talk radio that is the domain of conservatism or do we actually get to hear and see good news coming from imbedded journalists in Iraq. Maybe Craig Wallace could quit “grilling” Clinton and get some footage of Iraqi soldiers kicking ass or at least get some sound bites of Abdul Qadir Muhammed Jasim saying things like how he hates CNN:

http://hammeringsparksfromtheanvil.blogspot.com/2006/06/new-iraqi-defense-minister-rips-on-cnn.html

Lucasa, thanks for the reasonable post, not a lot of traction happening around here.

A question for you since you seem to have your thinking cap on. Do you think we should be trying to jump start heroics or self-reliance among the Iraqi population?

I know it certainly isn’t a conventional use of force, but what if overwhelming force was brought in to initiate serveral neighborhood groups? What if these neighborhoods become semi-autonomous cells with respect to detecting and repelling violence to their residents? What if they worked with authorities and fast response US units were available to respond to enemy actions intended to disrupt such developments? What if grassroots citizen involvement was combined with ongoing training of Iraqi forces? What if empowered, proud and effective Iraqi cooperation started to develop? What if these people were paid to stand watch and it gave the masses of unemployed something to do, in relative safety, that kept them from joining the insurgents?

Well, either that or they can dig trenches around their cities. At least then they’ll have somewhere to put the bodies of their friends, neighbors and family members after they have been tortured to death.

The question is, do the regular populace support the insurgents or are the insurgents now basically outsiders trying to keep peace from happening?

Answer that and we’ll know whether or not it should be possible to unite the Iraqi people…

[quote]vroom wrote:
Does anyone think that a peace can be found anywhere else but within the populace? Honestly, you can’t impose it through force…[/quote]

Of course you can. They just don’t have enough men available to do it.

Russia has done it many times. They just kill half the population and make sure the rest never forget it. Instant peace.

What you call “the Iraqis” doesn’t exist as a group. You’ve got a bunch of factions fighting for power. Your city analogy doesn’t hold up because in most cities here, the people are united enough to be a community. The whole of Iraq shows no such homogeneity.

[quote]pookie wrote:
Russia has done it many times. They just kill half the population and make sure the rest never forget it. Instant peace.[/quote]

I don’t think the US wants to transform into old style Russia. Besides, you may recall that Russia eventually had to leave Afghanistan… in the modern era, force has limitations.

You may be right, but I disagree. The country has factions within it, but I question how much of the populace is really concerned about this factionality.

Regardless, when you are discussing things at the community level, the factions within the country become much less important. Sure, maybe it will be a different faction coming in to abduct and torture your friends and family, but you just want to stop it from happening.

In fact, you are more likely to protect everyone in your community, without thinking about their individual factions, than not. I think there is a way to (get ready for the powerpoint) develop cooperation and teamwork at the grassroots level.

In today’s day and age to suggest that force is going to create peace in Iraq seems a bit simple minded. If the US cannot do it, how in the hell do we think that Iraqi security forces will be more capable?

We need to be thinking outside the box and trying to find ways to get the Iraqi people to unite against the outsiders, instead of simply bitching that the US isn’t protecting them.