The Times They are a-Changin’

In today’s New York Times Sabrina Tavernise reports that young people in Iraq have begun to turn against extremist Islam.

“The religion men are liars. Young people don’t believe them. Guys my age are not interested in religion anymore,” she quotes one young man as saying.

Her reporting also contains some interesting and important facts that highlight how deeply deluded the political Left in America and Europe have been all along about the nature of the “insurgency.”

The piece sheds light on the essential dynamics of the “insurgency”—so profoundly misunderstood by so many for so long—as anything but a popular movement on the part of a groundswell of Iraqis, but rather, a calculated campaign orchestrated by foreign terrorists and their backers. For one, the piece exposes the role money has played in stoking it.

She cites as typical the story of a 19-year old named Muath who was recruited to the insurgency by a man in his 30’s offering cash.

The piece highlights that children and teenagers recruited to be “insurgents” are for the most part bribed, with fewer than ten percent of them even claiming their participation in the violence was political or religious. Recruitment of children to participate in warfare and turn themselves into human bombs is a form of child abuse that human rights activist and attorney Brooke Goldstein has been making films, writing, and speaking about for years now.

No one can deny that religious extremism and hatred are alive and well in Iraq: Tavernise reports the unbelievably grisly detail that people will pay more in the Iraqi marketplace for cds of beheadings than cds of shootings. But the fact that most young Iraqi “insurgents” need to be bribed to take part in the killing, and cite money, not political or religious belief, as the reason for their involvement, is significant. It suggests that, rather than an inexorable tide on the part of fanatical Iraqis, the insurgency is in large measure a manipulation by America’s geopolitical enemies.

Ms. Tavernise’s reporting on the significant role recruitment and money—as opposed to fanaticism on the part of most ordinary Iraqis—have played in stoking the violence there jibes with what Iraqi parliamentarian and human rights advocate Mithal al-Alusi told me in a series of interviews starting in 2005. (What the New York Times has yet to report is the way Iran has been backing both sides of the “insurgency”–Sunni and Shia—and corrupted the Iraqi elections, something Mr. Al-Alusi detailed to me in early 2006).

The picture Ms. Tavernise presents is congruent with reporting by Peter Bergen, terrorism expert and author of “The Osama bin Laden I Know: an Oral History of al Qaeda’s Leader,” that from March 2003 to February 2006, of 101 suicide bombers in Iraq, only seven were even Iraqi. The rest were foreigners recruited by al Qaeda.

Count on the New York Times to start presenting a more accurate and nuanced picture of the “insurgency” now that the tide has begun to turn in Iraq.

Welcome to the story, Gray Lady.

This entry was written by and posted on March 4, 2008 at 7:53 pm and filed under Blog.