Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

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IRAQ: 'You have to kill them'

March 28, 2009 |  8:08 am


A key part of President Obama's strategy for Afghanistan announced Friday is for the U.S. to persuade   "moderate" elements in the insurgency to separate from the hard-core jihadis.

Much of the U.S. success in Iraq is attributed to the decision of the Sunni Arab tribal sheiks in Anbar province to turn against the insurgency in their country and make common cause with the United States.  The U.S. then hired many former insurgent fighters for the Sons of Iraq force.

But no one should expect the process in Afghanistan to be quick, easy or accomplished without further fighting. Not if the Marines' experience in Iraq is any indication.

"There is a certain element: you have to kill them," Maj. Gen. John Kelly, who just completed a year as the top Marine in Iraq, told a San Diego civic group this week. "After that, reasonable men and women will come to the table."

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Marines in Iraq. Credit: Marine Corps