The Corner

Iraq & Colombia

A while ago I saw a documentary based on the Mark Bowden book “Killing Pablo.” Pablo Escobar, of course, was the drug kingpin and terrorist who ravaged Colombia for years. When the government couldn’t adequately deal with him, a vicious vigilante group, Los Pepes, rose up and tried to kill everyone around him and destroy as much of his property as possible. It was brutal stuff, but it worked–the pressure on Pablo prompted him to make a mistake that allowed the government to kill him. I’ve often wondered when/if we’d see something in Iraq, another country beset by the sort of violence and criminality that no society can tolerate. Now it may be happening. Here is the Washington Post report on the reaction to the latest outrage:

“While Allawi laid down the interim government’s hard line, four masked men holding automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers appeared on al-Arabiya television threatening to kill Zarqawi, who is believed to be responsible for a string of car bombings, kidnappings, beheadings and other attacks.

Calling themselves the Relief Movement, the men issued a challenge to Zarqawi, who U.S. officials say is linked to al Qaeda and who apparently began working in Iraq in the chaotic aftermath of last year’s U.S.-led invasion.

’We tell Zarqawi, the criminal, that he has to go out of Iraq immediately, he and his followers,’ the group said. They railed that ‘innocent people were killed’ by Zarqawi’s action.

’What is his religion? Is it Islam, religion of peace, that allows him to do the explosions on a holy day in a holy city, or to car-bomb police stations or a commercial street to kill thousands of innocents? What religion is it that allows him and his followers to kidnap and slaughter foreign workers without any guilt? Who is he to threaten Ayad Allawi and kill our religious and patriotic personnel?’

What is very likely about to happen in Iraq will be embarrassing to some Wilsonians here, and will prompt tsk-tsking from Maureen Dowd and others. It will probably involve the sort of tactics we’d never condone (nor should we). But the Iraqis are about to try to take care of the jihadist threat in their own Iraqi way. Don’t be surprised if the poll ratings for the Relief Movement, depending on its actions, soon eclipse that of the government.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: 

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