Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Morale? Are you kidding me?
Somehow, in the midst of a wave of insurgent bombings that have left 200 dead in the past week alone (this number is from: the Washington Post, which puts today's bombing's death toll at 45 and has the week's total at 185; the Guardian has today's bombing's resulting in 60 deaths, so by my math that pushes the week's total up to 200), the administration saw fit to try and float a letter as evidence of the declining morale amongst the insurgents--cold comfort indeed.
In Washington, Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said the letter was believed to be authentic.I've noticed that the letter story has dipped in prominence in the wake of the bad news today, but it was on the front page of the Express (the Washington Post's free newspaper here in D.C.). I'm sure it also had a decent run in the 24-hour cable news alternate universe. I'm not disputing the letter's authenticity, but it seems illogical to weigh a single letter against the overwhelming reality of the ongoing violence (and surely the horrible bombings and killings have led to statements and proclamations of impending victory and great success from among the ranks of the insurgents). That this letter should somehow be taken to be representative of the attitudes of the insurgents in Iraq is quite frankly, at its core, insulting.
"The letter gives the indication that his influence and effectiveness are deteriorating," Whitman said, referring to Zarqawi. "It describes low morale and weak and incompetent leadership." . . .
The military released a similar letter last year, allegedly by Zarqawi. The U.S. quoted that letter as saying the then-pending handover of power to Iraqis would force insurgents to "pack their bags."