Fred Thompson was giving a speech yesterday and he mentioned that one of the reasons the locals threw Al Qaelda out of Anbar was the prohibition on smoking. This apparently baffled one reporter by the name of Richard Sisk from the NY Daily News who thought it was a nonsensical answer.
Fred Thompson: Al Qaeda smoking ban pushed Iraqis to U.S.
BY RICHARD SISK (who doesn’t read enough)
SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Freshly minted GOP White House hopeful Fred Thompson puzzled Iowans yesterday by insisting an Al Qaeda smoking ban was one reason freedom-loving Iraqis bolted to the U.S. side.
“They said, ‘You gotta quit smoking,'” Thompson explained to a questioner asking about progress in Iraq during a town hall-style meeting.
Thompson said the smoking ban and terror tactics Al Qaeda used to oppress women and intimidate local leaders pushed tribes in western Anbar Province to support U.S. troops.
But Thompson’s tale of a smokers’ revolt baffled some in the audience of about 150 who came to decide whether the former Tennessee senator is ready for prime time.
“I don’t know what that was about,” said Jim Moran, 72, who had driven from nearby McCook Lake, S.D.
Mr. Moran is to be excused for not understanding, after all, he is relying on the MSM to report the news and they don’t know it themselves. Perhaps Richard Sisk should read a bit more. For example Michael Yon’s dispatches from directly from Anbar where he explains the transformation and has mentioned this several times:
On the evening of the 24th I spoke with a local Iraqi official, Colonel Faik, who said the Muftis would order the severance of the two fingers used to hold a cigarette for any Iraqis caught smoking. Other reports, from here in Diyala and also in Anbar, allege that smokers are murdered by AQI. Most Iraqis smoke and this particular prohibition appeared to have earned the ire of many locals. After an American unit cleared an apartment complex on the 23rd, LTC Smiley, the battalion commander, reported that residents didn’t ask for food and water, but cigarettes. In other parts of Baqubah, people have been celebrating the routing of AQI by lighting up and smoking cigarettes.
He mentions it again in July:
As our folks clear the city of al Qaeda, the first thing people ask for is cigarettes, not food. Cigarettes were outlawed by AQI. They celebrate the routing of AQI by smoking and drinking cold water. (People say Al Qaeda also outlawed cold water, but I have no idea why.)
And Michael Yon’s latest dispatch which had a caption to a picture:
Shops in Anbar reopening. Cigarettes for sale. Just recently, al Qaeda was executing people who smoked, but this shop was selling cigarettes on the street.
So yes, the ban on smoking WAS one of the reasons AQI was tossed in Anbar. It’s a damn shame this dimwitted reporter didn’t know what he was talking about and didn’t even other google it, where he would have found other examples from Diyala and elsewhere including the New York Times.
“It’s not that they love us Americans,” said one senior administration official. “It’s that Al Qaeda was so heavy-handed, taking out Sunnis just because they were smoking a cigarette. In the end, that may be the best break we’ve gotten in a while.”
This guy’s editor should really clamp down on him… If he’s not informed enough to understand what a candidate is saying, then he should be writing for the Lifestyle Section or something; especially if his ignorance is magnified by his apparent unwillingness to use google to educate himself. — Of course if this guy had a competent editor this would have been caught before it hit the street.
(And by the way, if you’re not reading Michael Yon, you should be. If you think Yon is retelling an urban legend; that not even Al Qaeda could be that barbaric… maybe you should read this.)