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February 6, 2008

Seed Corn

Having run out of men for terrorist activities, and apparently temporarily short on the mentally handicapped, al-Qaeda in Iraq has begun recruiting grade-school boys to conduct attacks. Children as young as 10 have received training on kidnapping and assassination in order to get past security processes and attack civilians. The US has it on tape:

Videotapes seized during U.S. raids on suspected al-Qaida in Iraq hide-outs show the terror group training young boys to kidnap and assassinate civilians, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Wednesday.

Footage aired for reporters showed an apparent training operation with black-masked boys — some of whom appeared to be about 10 years old — storming a house and holding guns to the heads of mock residents. Another tape showed a young boy wearing a suicide vest and posing with automatic weapons. ...

The American military said some of the tapes were found in December during a U.S. raid in Khan Bani Saad, northeast of Baghdad, and said it indicated a pattern that al-Qaida in Iraq was increasingly using children for sinister means.

"Al-Qaida in Iraq wants to poison the next generation of Iraqis," Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a U.S. military spokesman, told reporters Wednesday inside the heavily guarded Green Zone. "It is offering children as the new generation of mujahedeen," he said, using the Arabic term for holy warriors.

I'm reminded of the movie Taps, a rather clunky allegory for the Viet Nam War starring Timothy Hutton, Sean Penn, Tom Cruise, and Ronny Cox. Hutton, Penn, and Cruise have taken control of their military academy after the local town tries to close it, and Cox -- a National Guard commander -- tries to talk Hutton out of the impending tragedy. Cox tries to impress on Hutton that the school comprises mostly very young boys, as opposed to the teenagers of Hutton's officer corps, and Hutton replies that the final mobilization is always the "seed corn".

This appears to be the final mobilization of AQI. They've gone after the seed corn, killing not just this generation but generations to follow. Their desperation has grown so great that they're willing to kill their own children for the cause.

Other reports have AQ looking for an exit strategy from Iraq. It seems like they may not have much of a force to withdraw at this point. Once they run out of children, what's left?


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