Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Hard Times for Baghdad Taxi Drivers

Here's a story from UN sources.

Taxi driver Ahmed Khalil Baqir used to station himself outside Baghdad's main morgue, waiting for grieving families who went there to claim their relatives’ dead bodies. "I was totally dependent on them for my living," Baqir, a 44-year-old father of four, said." I never thought about picking up people in the street as I was being hired five to eight times a day by these families. But now it is a waste of time to wait there and these days I wait only for about three hours in the morning and I continue my work picking up passengers in the street.”

Imagine that you are in the year 1958. Instead of Baghdad the city is Algiers. Instead of being herded into supervised villages as historically occured, the 2 million villagers themselves have become French allies. They themselves are helping to hunt down the FLN. A dispirited Ahmed Ben Bella has just released a recording, from his hideout in a cave in Pakistan, begging all Muslims to unite against France due his recent reverses. And to top it off the Algerian taxi drivers are beginning to complain that the killings are so few that almost nobody goes to the morgue any more.

Algeria marked the beginning of the modern period of terrorist warfare. It was a form of warfare that many have called unstoppable. The Battle of Algiers purported to show how hopeless it was to face this faceless enemy. So the question is: why are taxi drivers at the Baghdad morgue cooling their heels?

Nothing follows.


Blogger Johnny said...

It may just be that attrition, fatigue, and infighting can be our allies and not merely our undoing. THEY are only human, too, after all.

10/23/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...

But Johnny,

Every time we kill one of the jihaidis, we creates 10 more! There's gotta be a huge force of them by now. They are just about ready to annihilate all of our forces in Iraq.

10/23/2007 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger deepinjuncountry said...

Cab drivers are the same everywhere. On second thought I'd bet this guy was driving a cab in New York not too long ago.

10/23/2007 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

I can just imagine the report on National Pubic Radio:

“While the Bush Administration has continued to claim successes for the surge, and while violence in the country has almost certainly decreased, things are not so bright for everyone in Baghdad. In fact, the situation has deteriorated such that formerly prosperous Baghdad taxi drivers are new having trouble making ends meet. ‘I used to be busy all day, and could support my family, but with the situation with the violence, I now can only work the way I used to maybe half a day or less.’ said Baqir, a 44 year-old father of four, ‘I don’t know how my family is going to eat.”

“Meanwhile, the latest message from Osama Bin Laden shows that he is not only still at large but has devised a new strategy for Al Queda in Iraq that some experts say could prove to be disastrous for the U.S.-led Coalition. Bin Laden has called for joint Sunni-Shia teaming to throw out the Malikai government and to defeat the U.S. ‘This looks just like what we have feared so long and warned about repeatedly.’ said an expert, who wished not to be identified ‘There is no way we can fight both Shia and Sunni. The end could come very quickly.”

10/23/2007 05:45:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Many believe that Jimmy Carter started the Islamist movement by handing American ally Iran over to the Ayatollah Khomeini.

An equal case can be made that Charles de Gaulle deserves the blame for running on a platform of getting tough on Algerian terrorists and then, as soon as he was elected, handing Algeria over to the terrorists.

The difference, to me, is that Jimmy Carter was acting opposite to American core values whereas de Gaulle was just being French.

French citizens in Algeria, opposed to the appointment of Pierre Pflimlin on 13 May 1958, because of his supposed readiness to negotiate with the independence movement, embarked on a mass protest and encouraged General Salan to issue an appeal to General de Gaulle. In their eyes, the General would defend a French Algeria.

After the National Assembly voted in his favour, de Gaulle became President of the Council - the last under the Fourth Republic.

I always wondered if the cab drivers in Baghdad speak with a New York accent...

10/23/2007 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

"The Battle of Algiers purported to show how hopeless it was to face this faceless enemy."

That was the CP line. It was not true. But it has polluted the thinking of an entire generation raised to chant: "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Mihn, NLF is Going to Win". They all think that the insurgency won in Vietnam. It didn't. The insurgency collapsed. After the same Democrats who now want to betray Iraq (I am looking at you Kennedy), sold South Vietnam down the river, a conventional army invasion conquered it.

10/23/2007 08:33:00 PM  

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