Powerine has an article by James Bennet up in which he argues the insurgents are the equivalent of Aztecs or mass murderers who kill simply for the sake of killing. I have to disagree.
The insurgents do have concrete goals and ideology beyond merely killing. There are two groups here: the FREs and other wannabe dictators; their goal is seize power by force. Then there are the terrorists; their primary objective is to snuff an idea they view as the biggest threat to their ideology: Arab democracy. Free democracy cannot be allowed to prosper in Iraq, because it may provide a model to disaffected Arabs who the Islamists believe may then move toward democratic reform rather than the Islamists’ religious statism which is currently the only serious political alternative to the status quo autocracies in the region. Both factions believe if they stick it out long enough and make the war unpopular enough in the West, the U.S. will eventually tire of fighting and leave Iraq to them, as happened in Vietnam, Beirut and Somalia (thus the alliance of convenience). At that point they’ll fight it out, as the Viet Cong and the NVA did after the U.S. abandoned S Vietnam.
They are utterly without morals or human decency, but to view them as mere “serial spree killers” is to seriously misunderstand (and perhaps underestimate) who they are and how to fight them.