Somehow this has been briefly commented on, but not given a lot of play in the blogs I've seen. This story about the suicide bomber who was foiled yesterday is on page A6 of this morning's L.A. Times (requires registration, use 'laexaminer'/'laexaminer') - which itself is positive news. And if true, suggests that the war in Iraq is in fact a lot more complex than those who suggest that it is the "natural resistance" of the Iraqi population to foreign invaders. Here's the story:
The suicide bomber had packed his 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser well in preparation for his journey Monday to martyrdom. He had taken out the back seat and piled explosives and rockets from floor to roof. He lined the door panels with dynamite. Police would later say his lethal load weighed more than 2 tons - enough to blow up the police station, the primary school next door, the crowded outdoor market on the corner and most of the neighborhood as well.
Sounds pretty serious. Now for the money quote.
The driver of the white Land Cruiser was Syrian, Iraqi authorities later said, and at 10:15 a.m. he drove slowly through the police station's back gate. There he was blocked by a barricade of sand-filled barrels and a $120-a-month policeman who ordered him to retreat.Now, I'm sure that $120 a month is an OK salary in Iraq right now, but what matters here is that the Iraqi police officer did what he was supposed to do. He was attentive, and he reacted - he defended himself and his police station against an attack by a foreigner - not an American military attack, but a terrorist attack by a foreign Arab.
The vehicle hit the outer wall of the police station with a grinding thud. Then there was the briefest moment of silence. No explosion. No gallant martyrdom. The Syrian jumped from the vehicle and hurled a grenade at Arshad as a bullet tore into the would-be bomber's stomach. Before he passed out, he managed to shout: "Arabs are cowards! Iraqis are traitors! I am an Arab, you cowards! Allahu akbar [God is great]!" Police officers said they found a Syrian passport in the pocket of his blue, robe-like dishdasha. On the passenger's seat was a police shirt and police armband that might have enabled him to pass through checkpoints.I don't know. If Syrian Islamists are the drivers in this round of suicide attacks, and if Iraqis are starting to successfully defend against them, I'll take that as a) some measure of proof that the 'flypaper' theory might not be completely specious, and b) as proof that something significantly good is happening over there. I've said in the past that the two keys to winning this war are an iron butt - the simple willingness to sit it out - and the adaptability to learn from our mistakes and the opponent's tactics. We may be showing both. I'll add Instapundit's great comment here, and second it:
Because if the White House -- by which, in this case, I mean George W. Bush -- decides to drop the ball on this, I'll probably vote Democratic, even if Kucinich is the nominee. A half-hearted war is the very, very worst kind. I think that Bush understands that. He'd better.