IRAQI RESISTANCE

IRAQI RESISTANCE: John O’Sullivan draws some parallels between the inevitable collapse of Saddam’s regime and the end of Nazism in 1945:

Those who predicted that resistance would collapse and the allies welcomed as liberators assumed that this universal fear would dissipate when allied tanks came into view. But Saddam had made exactly the same calculation and, in the months of UN diplomacy, he set in place a structure of repression that would survive the mere arrival of the U.S. and British armies. Will it ever collapse? Or will it serve up the advertised “quagmire”?

History has some lessons to teach us here. In 1945 Germany resisted the allied advance to the bitter end, relying on the fanaticism of the SS and calling up elderly men and 14-year-old Hitler Youth, despite the deep war-weariness of the German people. There were even plans for a campaign of guerrilla resistance–the so-called “Werewolves”–after a formal German surrender.

With Hitler’s death, however, the Nazi myth of totalitarian power evaporated and the entire apparatus of terror collapsed. Those who had acted from Nazi conviction–like Saddam’s thugs–vanished into the shadows, deprived of the drugs of power and ideology that had sustained them in their wickedness. Those who had acted from fear–like ordinary Iraqis today–were suddenly released from a living nightmare. Not a single “Werewolf” ever emerged from his lair. And the allies, who had arrived as conquerors not liberators, soon found themselves handing out food parcels to a grateful German population.

That will happen in Iraq too. When? That no one can predict with certainty. But happen it will–and not long after the Battle of Baghdad is joined.

May he be proven correct. I suspect he will.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.