May 08, 2007

Patrick Interviewed

by Michael J. Totten

Vladimir van Wilgenburg interviewed my colleague Patrick Lasswell for the Kurdish press in the Netherlands. Patrick also published the interview on his blog. They discuss Iraqi Kurdistan's economy, honor killings, corruption, Kurdish PKK terrorists in Turkey, post-Ottoman imperialism, the hot zone in Kirkuk, and the agony of Halabja.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at May 8, 2007 12:28 PM

Thanks for the link, Michael. I've got a critical, but depressing big post about Honor Killings coming up, but I haven't opened the vein on that yet.

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at May 8, 2007 04:17 PM

Whew! This blog is getting esoteric!

Posted by: Graham at May 8, 2007 10:15 PM

Thanks for doing that, Patrick. Someone needs to.

Posted by: Pam at May 9, 2007 01:07 AM

Did you see this post on Kurdistan? I thought it was interesting.

Posted by: Yafawi at May 9, 2007 02:14 AM

A truck bomb took out the Interior Ministry in Irbil?

Not a good sign.

Posted by: alphie at May 9, 2007 03:23 AM

Very interesting interview. Thanks.

Posted by: Don Cox at May 9, 2007 06:24 AM

alphie: A truck bomb took out the Interior Ministry in Irbil?

Did that happen in the last 24 hours? I haven't heard of this. Do you have a link to a report about this?

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 9, 2007 09:51 AM

Here's one:

Posted by: alphie at May 9, 2007 10:48 AM


Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 9, 2007 12:24 PM

That's bad. Will look into this...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at May 9, 2007 12:24 PM

I'm on it:

Posted by: Patrick S Lasswell at May 9, 2007 12:33 PM

Too bad about Irbil... Seems like the "surge" strategy is having quite opposite of the intended effect. Now places that were once "safe" (is there such a place in Iraq?) are now targeted by the insurgents.

Posted by: Graham at May 9, 2007 08:24 PM

That's to be expected.

Originally, the insurgents targeted American & coalition troops.

The troops learned from the attacks and became more difficult targets.

Then the insurgents targeted Iraqi civilians in Baghdad.

Additional troops are being deployed to Baghdad to make targets in Baghdad more difficult to hit.

So now the insurgents are targeting Iraqi civilians outside of Baghdad.

It's not difficult to predict how this is going to turn out.

Posted by: rosignol at May 10, 2007 06:00 AM

I agree with most of your comments rosignol except that I don't know about US troops being more difficult targets. April was one of the worst months on record for US troops and "coalition" (read UK) forces.

See casualty data here:

Posted by: Graham at May 10, 2007 09:52 AM

The US is deploying several thousand additional troops to Baghdad, and is being more aggressive about seeking out and engaging insurgents. An increase in casualties is to be expected in such conditions.

If US (and coalition) troops did nothing but stay inside fortified bases, we could probably reduce casualties to almost zero- but it would completely defeat the purpose of sending troops to Iraq.

Posted by: rosignol at May 11, 2007 01:09 AM


Thanks for stating the obvious. My point is that American soldiers are not harder targets than in the past. I don't think there is a "numbers" explanation for the spike in casualties since there have been other times in the war when the US had as many forces but not as many casualties. Maybe they are being more aggressive but I think this also means they are making themselves easier targets not harder targets.

The solution is to get the Iraqis to handle their security by themselves so the US military can get the hell out of Iraq. They have had at least 3 years of training. For god's sake, it doesn't take that long to train a Navy SEAL!

Posted by: Graham at May 12, 2007 06:28 PM
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