Different Kind of War
August 7, 2005 3:32 PM   Subscribe

Iraqi Insurgents are running a different kind of guerrilla war. And at least one Iraqi sniper is apparently playing havoc with coalition troops.
posted by etaoin (30 comments total)
I've read about this sniper. I think they've identified the gun, but have still never caught a trace of the sniper.
posted by Balisong at 3:37 PM on August 7, 2005

What's interesting is that this guy is being perceived as a hero by the locals.
He doesn't indiscriminatly kill civilians, he just pecks off soldiers. He has a following. This could become a trend.
posted by Balisong at 4:00 PM on August 7, 2005

What's interesting is that this guy is being perceived as a hero by the locals.

If by "locals" you mean local Iraqi resistance|insurgents|freedom fighters|Sunnis:
Juba is a hero to the Iraqi resistance, preying on the nerves and morale of the GIs.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:05 PM on August 7, 2005

Reminds me of a one Luke the Gook I read about in Dispatches by Michael Herr, in a "celebrity enemy sniper" kinda way.

"Two hundred yards away, facing the Marine trenches, there was an NVA sniper who shot at the Marines from a tiny spider hole. During the day he fired at anything that rose above the sandbags, and at night he fired at any lights he could see. You could see his position clearly from the trench, and even see his face through a scope. The Marines fired on his position with mortars and recoilless rifles, and he would drop into his hole and wait. Gunships fired rockets at him,and when they were through he would come up again and fire. Finally, napalm was called in, and for ten minutes the air above the spider hole was black and orange from the strike, while the ground around it was galvanised clean of every living thing. When it all cleared, the sniper popped up and fired off a single round, and the Marines in the trenches cheered. They called him Luke the Gook, and after that no one wanted anything to happen to him."

Link here - warning, background music.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:22 PM on August 7, 2005

In an invasion, occupation and resistance characterised by indiscriminate use of force, there is something almost refreshingly purposeful about this.
posted by NinjaPirate at 4:30 PM on August 7, 2005

me & my monkey:
If by "locals" you mean local Iraqi resistance|insurgents|freedom fighters|Sunnis:

Actually, I bet a lot of disaffected Iraqis are happy to see a muj that actually attacks soldiers instead of civilans. They can finally start to pretend that this is a "resistance" instead of senseless violence.

I watched these animals gun down schoolchildren and set IEDs in gas cans when the shortages hit. I didn't really believe in capital-E evil until I went over there, and saw the kinds of things they did with forethought and skill born of seething hatred for both us and their fellow Iraqis. That actually makes it a lot easier to fight these guys -- people loathe them, and are happy to turn them in if the money's right.

That sniper however is going to be real hard to catch -- good luck finding somebody who'll snitch on him.
posted by xthlc at 4:41 PM on August 7, 2005

Ouch. This is not good. Now we have an apparently well trained sniper on the loose and more will follow. Nice.
posted by snsranch at 4:49 PM on August 7, 2005

re: first link, good article, puts things in focus. Sounds like the insurgents dont care who they kill so long as it leads to Civil War. Are we there, yet?
posted by stbalbach at 4:55 PM on August 7, 2005

Looking bad in Bagdad....
posted by zach4000 at 5:00 PM on August 7, 2005

He has killed from 200 metres away.

Either that's a typo or he's a really lame sniper. Even I can get a five inch grouping from 200m with an M-16. Canadians snipers in Afghanistan made a record shot of 2430 meters.
posted by furtive at 5:10 PM on August 7, 2005

On second thought, I guess they were pointing out how close he's gotten to his victims before.
posted by furtive at 5:11 PM on August 7, 2005

If anything about war can be "legitimate", snipers picking off enemy soldiers has to be included. More snipers like that -- and fewer car-bombings of civilians -- and maybe I won't have to keep explaining to people that supporting U.S. withdrawal is not the same as "siding with those 'genocidal' Islamofascist murderers".

Sniping at soldiers is just as "fair" as "hunting" from a tree-mounted deer blind, except that deer don't have the option of taking off their uniforms and going home to Cleveland.
posted by davy at 5:26 PM on August 7, 2005

The six Marines from Brook Park that were killed last week don't have the option of going home to Cleveland either. Alive, at least.

posted by sciurus at 5:54 PM on August 7, 2005

This remind anyone else of Enemy at the Gates? Of course, that means that the US is Germany and this guy is the hometown hero, which doesn't seem to be too far from the truth...
posted by craven_morhead at 6:00 PM on August 7, 2005

I hate this man.
I fear this man.
I respect this man.

I hate this man.
posted by mystyk at 6:02 PM on August 7, 2005

Sniping at soldiers is just as "fair" as "hunting" from a tree-mounted deer blind, except that deer don't have the option of taking off their uniforms and going home to Cleveland.

of course, they don't ... they have to go to deerfield, oh ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:03 PM on August 7, 2005

furtive - the sniper-themed poetry on that link is especially touching.
posted by crank at 6:21 PM on August 7, 2005

The Newsday article is a joke. Bazzo's whole premis is flawed. This is not a rebellion, not even a little bit: This is an opportunity. Just as in Afghanistan, the warlords and other extremist groups are using this invasion to further their power and finances. We're going to leave someday, and they know it. Others, are more likely just pissed off the U.S. invaded them under questionable circumstances and are taking a chance to kill the great Satan.

If China preemptively invaded the U.S. to oust Bush, would even the most liberal of you welcome them? Fuck no, we'd be protecting our little piece of dirt and the loved ones that occupy it.

Rebellion? Please....

on preview: 2430 meters??? Wow!
posted by j.p. Hung at 6:33 PM on August 7, 2005

On the subject of snipers in Iraq, ifilm has this little film:
posted by showmethecalvino at 6:56 PM on August 7, 2005

Here is another similar story from the London Times about yet another very skilled Iraqi sniper, and some of the tricks and techniques he uses.
posted by insomnia_lj at 7:02 PM on August 7, 2005

This remind anyone else of Enemy at the Gates?

Very much so.

Saw it for the first time the other day. Well, a fair chunk of it. Was doing some channel surfing and it completely grabbed my attention for the next hour and a bit.

(Ed Harris is too "favourite Uncle" to make a convincing baddie, IMHO.)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:08 PM on August 7, 2005

"...deer don't have the option of taking off their uniforms and going home to Cleveland."

Neither do the kids that GWB has led to the slaughter. They have the option of taking off their uniforms and going to Leavenworth.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:09 PM on August 7, 2005

Further on deer, the analogy is flawed. A deer would not, if the opportunity arose for turnabout, drop the hammer on a hunter. The deer poses no threat, and is not an enemy. From the Iraqi insurgent's point of view (opportunist or idealist) the soldier he kills would otherwise kill him, or his comrade, given the chance. That is the rationale that allows snipers to sleep at night. It's a brutal job on both sides. Hate, fear, respect, fear is damn right. "Bring 'em on," he said. And so they did. Jesus. What a lame-assed stupid government we have in the US. It really shows that not one of the warlords in our administration ever heard a shot fired in anger.
posted by realcountrymusic at 7:21 PM on August 7, 2005

And by the way, it's not any more awful to die from a bullet severing your spine than to be kicked to death in a sleeping bag. Violence begets violence. And soldiers are its symbolic instruments. Sniping is the distilled essence of war, and unlike what happens in US interrogation cells, or when a suicide bomber drives into a market squate, sniping is not against the rules of war. I suspect that accounts for the tone of grudging respect in the comments of the quoted soldiers in the article.
posted by realcountrymusic at 7:31 PM on August 7, 2005

- This man is the sword of the prophet, bringing the vengeance of Allah on the unbelieving infidel dogs.

- This man is dangerous.

- If I had a division of such men, our troubles in this region would soon be over.

- The great American Patriots will soon be saving us from the likes of him, I'd wager.
posted by theorique at 7:41 PM on August 7, 2005

I don't think Iraq is in a state of war, it's more like a state of terror.

This sniper shouldn't be respected. The US should not have invaded Iraq in the first place, but the country has to get stable enough to hold itself together for the US to leave. If the US leaves prematurely it will devolve into a full war.

This sniper is fighting the very force that is helping the country get to the place where it can secure itself. At this point the US is just trying to stop a full civil war from happening...

This sniper is doing a very unconstructive thing, and should not be respected less his technical proficiency. Is this sniper a PSA or something to you? It seems some here think it's a good trade - lives for public awarness.

He is in essence fighting for civil war, even if in some romantic sense it seems he is "defending" the country.

The optimal action at this very moment is for all insurgents to stop fighting. The US would get out in short order, and Iraq might become something again. This is not the goal of the insurgents, the goal is to kill the great satan. I don't see how this can earn anyones respect. Some of the posts here seem to condone this world view. That's disgusting to me.
posted by parallax7d at 7:54 PM on August 7, 2005

Me: "...deer don't have the option of taking off their uniforms and going home to Cleveland."

mr_crash_davis: "Neither do the kids that GWB has led to the slaughter. They have the option of taking off their uniforms and going to Leavenworth."

1) The deer did not freely and of their own volition decide to join the "Deer Corps".

2) Those in the service now have the option (I'd say 'the obligation') of telling their friends and relatives, especially the younger ones, "Joining the military turned out to be a bad thing for me to do; don't you go doing it."

3) There are ways to get separated from the military, albeit with a Less Than Honorable discharge, that don't involve Leavenworth. Point your favorite search engine at Metafilter threads of the past six months for info on how that can be done.

And realcountrymusic, 4) most of the Iraqi "insurgents" were not active enemies of the U.S. soldiers that have invaded their country before the invasion, for the simple reason that before the U.S. invasion there were no U.S. soldiers occupying Iraq to shoot at. All the U.S. had to do to keep its soldiers from getting shot or blown up in Iraq was not invade Iraq in the first place. So the difference is that the Iraqi insurgents are like deer who've learned to shoot back.

And parallax7d, what planet are YOU on?
posted by davy at 8:10 PM on August 7, 2005

parallax: sniping may not be the fairest way to fight a war, but it's at least a way to fight a *war*, rather than just a random act of terrorism. I want this guy dead as much as you - due to my age I have many childhood friends over in Iraq now. But I have to respect two things: unlike the other insurgents this guy isn't killing civilians, and his method of fighting is sufficiently difficult as to lend a degree of 'professionalism' to his actions.

That's zero comfort to those who lose loved ones and friends to a sniper's bullet, but at least the targets are soldiers and not civilians.
posted by Ryvar at 8:23 PM on August 7, 2005

So the difference is that the Iraqi insurgents are like deer who've learned to shoot back.

Well, I was just criticizing the analogy, which doesn't hold up to your modification since deer never learn to shoot back. It was a minor point.

Your larger point, of course, I agree with. We invaded Iraq and both created and concentrated an insurgent "enemy" by scattering and decimating Saddam's large, well-armed military, by tweaking the opposition with little items like, oh, Abu Ghraib, and petty nonsense like "bring it on," and by unleashing tribal and doctrinal conflicts that are now exploding without Saddam's Sunni fist to keep everyone miserable together. Or to hear Bush tell it, we created a laboratory where we could "fight the terrorists there" instead of "here."

We ought to have known what would follow invasion. We needed a larger international coalition to pull this off, and even so the scale of the folly is monstrous. Nope, Colin Powell had it right. We broke it, and we bought it. And the bill is coming due.

Parallax7d, I don't know what planet you're writing from, but the odds that Iraqi "insurgency," which appears to be at least several different things, will lay down arms and join the political process a la Sinn Fein seem to me to be slim to none. If they were to do so cynically as a way to regroup, or long enough to let the US make a graceful withdrawal, it would be right out of the IRA playbook, actually. ("Cease fire" = "reload, recruit, etc."). The insurgency seems to heterogeneous to me for that to happen. The difference is the UK never had 130K troops on the ground in Ireland. All this will take will be the involvement of another state -- obviously Iran -- entering on behalf of the Shi'ite majority (or Turkey entering to squash independent Kurdistan) to go batshitinsane. It's bound to happen. It probably already is, given the bluntly sectarian nature of the last few large scale suicide bombing incidents.

George Bush never even imagined any of this was possible. He certainly has advisers who did, but it is clear listening to him speak that he does not possess the mind of a strategist, or any sense of statecraft as a science. He's eerily vacuous, as if war really was reducible to the platitudes he spouts. But enough about Bush. It merely need be said that he said "bring it on," and so they did. He brought it on first. What the fuck did he expect, flowers and candy . . . oh yeah, that's right. He did expect flowers and candy. What. A. Moron.
posted by realcountrymusic at 8:42 PM on August 7, 2005

« Older "My mind is my own church." ~ Thomas Paine   |   who the hell is Ayrton Senna? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments