Friday, January 12, 2007

Call and Raise

US military intelligence sources tell ABC News that large shipments of weapons have been smuggled from Iran to Iraqi militia, especially Sadr's, over the past five weeks, including Explosive Form Projectiles, highly effective against armored vehicles. (ABC Blotter)

Bahaa al-Araji, one of Moqtada al-Sadr's representatives in the Iraqi parliament, has told ABC News that the radical Shiite cleric has ordered his Mahdi Army not to attack US forces -- even if targeted.

Commentary

Then why acquire the explosively formed warheads? Do the Sunni armed groups, who are presumably the only other possible targets, have armored vehicles?

43 Comments:

Blogger Wu Wei said...

> Bahaa al-Araji, one of Moqtada al-Sadr's representatives in the Iraqi parliament, has told ABC News that the radical Shiite cleric has ordered his Mahdi Army not to attack US forces -- even if targeted.

Sadr's aide probably means don't openly attack, like with a rifle. Another Sadr aide said "The US is trying to provoke us, but we won't let them." It's possible that the Sadr forces aren't even planting IEDs are the moment, because they don't want to fight the US directly. They'd rather wait until we leave the country, then take it over. But the point of getting the weapons from Iraq is to get ready to defend Sadr City in case we attack.

1/12/2007 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Pan's Labyrinth
Yahoo viewers are giving this movie an A-. This is typically a much more reliable indicater of the watchability of a movie--than professional critics who are agenda driven. The movie opens this week end.

Here's yahoo blurb:

"Set in 1940s Spain against the postwar repression of Franco's Spain, a fairy tale that centers on Ofelia, a lonely and dreamy child living with her mother and adoptive father, who is a military officer tasked with 'ridding the area' of rebels. In her loneliness, Ofelia creates a world filled with fantastical creatures and secret destinies. With Fascism at its height, Ofelia must come to terms with her world through a fable of her own creation. "

1/12/2007 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

Wow! High-tech, armor-penetrating warheads! I guess this means we'll just have to fly more sorties dropping low-tech 500lb bombs on everything that even looks remotely dangerous. Sadr city is a slum already, so I don't think anybody will object to the urban renewal project courtesy of the US Airforce and US Navy.

Of course I suspect that even a wide-eyed cleric is smart enough to realize what I said is true. I personally don't believe that Sadr is willing to throw away his power, his political capability, and the lives of his militia. I going to stay tuned.

1/12/2007 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre Legrand said...

Counter-Intelligence…or is there anyone minding the store?

I need some help understanding why it is that our counter intelligence operations are not able to positively identify and prosecute the people who leak our secrets. Any comments appreciate.

We will never bomb Sadr simply because we are still trying to fight a limited war.

Gloves come off? Or limited war on a grander scale?

1/12/2007 08:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wu Wei said, "They'd rather wait until we leave the country, then take it over."

When the Iraqis finish blowing up all their own infrastructure to spite the "occupation", they can have the whole shootin' match.

1/12/2007 09:22:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Anyone who see's Pan's Labyrinth should pick up a copy of Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergmann in For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Gary Cooper plays the part of the little girl in Pan's Labyrinth. However, because the movie is entirely secular in nature -- For Whom the Bell Tolls leaves a residue of self pity--wherein lies the minataur in the labyrinth rather than a faun...

I just happen to have watched For Whom the Bells Toll a last Week End. You get a definite feeling of time in depth when you watch the two movies because they tell very similiar stories only inversely and in a mirror.

For folks in the USA there are two episodes on Sunday and two episodes on Monday of 24 on fox (I think) . I have heard they're susposed to be pretty good.

1/12/2007 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Except the oil, Tere, except the oil.

You're messing with my Gods, here.

ADE

1/12/2007 10:35:00 PM  
Blogger 3Case said...

Coming Soon to Sadr City if we get lucky or some onions (metaphorically speaking there with that vegatable reference)

1/12/2007 10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Except the oil, Tere, except the oil. You're messing with my Gods, here."

The criticality of China's "Saudi connection" needs no further elaboration. Besides, China cannot hope to diversify significantly away from the Middle East for its oil supplies. Two-thirds of proven oil reserves are in that region. According to the International Energy Agency, China's dependence on the Middle East will exceed 75% of its total imports by 2015.

Translated to the geopolitical plane, simply put, China has to be sensitive about the Saudi stance toward Iran. Riyadh's animus toward Tehran is real. It is born out of the instincts of self-preservation of the Saudi regime. It is quite intractable insofar as it is intertwined with acute factional rivalries within the Saudi royal family. These rivalries seem to be coming to a boil. The Associated Press reported that King Abdullah was considering a major cabinet reshuffle that might include the key posts of foreign minister and oil minister.

The heart of the matter is that ideology or no ideology, as China's integration with the world economy grows deeper it is in China's interest to help the Bush administration preserve the stability of the Middle East's political order. China's low-key presence in the international debate over the US occupation of Iraq, China's readiness to play a bigger role in peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, and China's acquiescence with the US strategy of pressuring Iran over the nuclear issue can be seen in this light. Curiously, within the three-way equation involving the US, China and Saudi Arabia, the Bush administration is justified in seeing interesting possibilities.

Against this background of gathering storms, Olmert was given a red-carpet welcome in Beijing with full military honors at the Great Hall of the People facing Tiananmen Square. During the banquet in Olmert's honor, the band played "Jerusalem of Gold". Aides accompanying Olmert recalled with excitement that there used to be a time when Chinese diplomats wouldn't say the word "Jerusalem" in deference to Palestinian sensitivity.

(M K Bhadrakumar)

1/12/2007 10:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's why we can't win in Iraq. Think about what a good day in Iraq would look like: what would be the photograph of a good day, the video clip on the news? It's mostly the absence of a negative: no one got killed today.

Compare that image with the image of a bad day: the headlines of the dead, the photos and videos of carnage. Those images are far more powerful than the images from a good day. In terms of the media war, it's like we're fighting with swords and they have tanks. And in democracies, wars are all about perception.

1/12/2007 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger SarahWeddington said...

1: The initial invasion of Iraq was well executed, but given the decrepit and degraded condition of the Iraqi Army, wasn't exactly taking on the Wehrmacht and Waffen SS at the height of their powers.

2: Logically, and based especially on the Israeli experience in Lebanon and the the US experience in Vietnam(not to mention the Soviet experience in Afghanistan)the outside power supported guerilla war was the next step. Especially with Iran and Syria wanting to keep us tied down so we wouldn't go after them, and with Russia and the PRC supporting them because a weakened US is better for them.

3: Iraq is large geographically and has varied terrain. The urban terrain of Baghdad and the triangle makes sure fighting is close quarters and bloody. It negates air power to a large extent as well as artillery, unless you're willing to completely wreak havoc, a la Syria in 1982 in Hama, the British during Mau-Mau in Kenya, or the Allies in WW2. Clearly, the Bush Administration has never been willing to do so and politically that kind of "total war" effort is really a non starter in the current atmosphere. I'd be supportive of it, but absent that commitment, things will be rough, as we've found out.

Further, the mountains in the Kurdish north and the marshes in the south are ideal for smuggling and infiltration from Iran. And it not just weapons. It's allowed Iran to basically infiltrate thousands if not hundreds of thousands of agents, spies, provacateurs, Pasdaran, etc... to compeletly set sup shop especially in the South but also in Baghdad and elsewhere.

4: Iraq's borders are long and brush up against both Iran and Syria. The US NEVER had enough troops to guard the borders in even a perfunctory matter let alone a comprehensive one. (Although, given the administration's failure to guard the borders at home, it's not exactly a surprise they've failed to guard the borders in Iraq. Rather, it's consistent in a sad way)

5: Use of unguarded and unsecure borders to supply weapons and support a guerilla war is classic doctrine. See the USSR and PRC in Vietnam 1965-1973. See the US in Afghanistan(via the border with Pakistan) 1980-1989. See Iran(via Syria)in Lebanon 1982-2000(and again in 2006). See every Civil War in Africa(Angola, Congo, Sudan, etc...) Basically, if you can't secure the borders and the enemy has an outside patron(or patrons) who can resupply and continue to support him at will, victory is impossible. One reason Korea never degenerated into the Nam scenario is becuase the border is one way on a peninsula, very easy to defend. There's no 3rd party country like Laos or Cambodia that the DPRK can use a la North Vietnam. This problem has never been adequately addressed in Iraq, and the WH and the Pentagon never had enough troops to do it, or even bothered to use the troops they do have in any serious attempt to deal with it.

6: The language barrier is a hindrance as well, and our lack of Arabic translators and cultural immersion in the region hasn't exactly helped things either. Again, this is less of a problem if you pursue a total war strategy and have driven the enemy to unconditional surrender and total capitualtion. But when you opt for a guerilla/limited war as we have in this, it can hurt you on the ground, as it has us.

7: The numbers don't even come close to matching Petraeus' own guidelines he laid out in the last doctrine. It's short by hundreds of thousands. Now, they say it doesn't matter because the Iraqis will make up the difference and we're only focusing on limited neighborhoods so we don't need the full numbers. But counting on the Iraqis is silly and focusing on limited neighborhoods will only be a short term fix as the bad guys will just shift to the other neighborhoods and wreak havoc there until they can stretch you out and take advantage of your limited forces.

8: The Iraqi forces have been an utter failure thus far. They're thrououghly sectarian, infiltrated by both Sunni and Shiite, not willing to take on necessary missions, still loyal to clan and tribe and not the nation as a whole, and really unable to act on their own without US support. Once we leave, whenever that is, they won't last that long. That's why Sadr is getting reinforced by Tehran. Becuase he wants to be in a position to run the show once we leave and the Iraqi Army is exposed as irrelevant.

9: The Army and Marines and Reserves have been ground down immensely. It will take them years to recover. The Pentagon's 2 war strategy has been shown to have not been sucessful or viable, for that matter. Based on our commitments in Iraq, we're in no shape to fight another simultaneous war with Iran or the DPRK or whoever. The 1990s cuts in the military have finally come home to roost and both Clinton and Bush are responsible for that.

10: All a surge will do most likely is to postpone the inevitable and the sooner we deal with what the reality is and prepare ourselves for it the better off we'll be. Continuing to feed troops in to a situation that isn't designed for victory, and hasn't been for quite some time, isn't productive.

1/13/2007 01:17:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

I believe Iran's Explosive Form Projectiles had maimed and killed a good number of US troops. This is why I am a firm believer that the supply lines from Iran must be cut.

This is all the more reason to repay Iran in kind with direct attacks. Iran will only learn that the stove can be very hot if it's hands are be burned.

1/13/2007 01:36:00 AM  
Blogger Sir Sefirot said...

pantapon, sarah, I think you're misunderstanding the basic nature of the "Iraq War". You (and most people) think about Iraq as being The War, so all definitions of victory or defeat are related to finishing the violence there. And that's just plain wrong, because the Iraq War is not The War, but it's a single battle in a war that started some years ago and won't finish at least for a decade. In this greater war (call it GWOT, or whatever you like) Iraq plays an important paper, but to finish insurgency there is not critical. In fact, in several ways it is beneficious for us (although not for the iraqis).

1. For what I know, it is a general agreement among military strategists that the initial invasion of Iraq has been one of the best executed wars in recorded history, both in the speed, effectivity, low losses, civilian protection, fire accuracy, etc. The only weak point of the campaing was logistics, since no one expected the armored divisions to advance so fast and therefore they didn't commit enough supplies to support such a fast advance.

2. Guerrilla war certainly attracts foreign "investments" to weak the opposing party, but in out case it is worse for them than for us. In an attrition war, the side who can produce men, equipment and money faster and better wins. It would seem than human resources are at their side (after all we are fighting against some of the youngest populations in the world) but if you look at the casualty rates you'll see this apparent advantage is just and illusion, since, even with population adjustments, we are killing many more of their people than they are killing of ours. Plus, at the same time this guerrilla war keeps us "tied" in Iraq, it keeps their resources tied as well, resources that won't be used for worse things.

4. That's what the Iraqi Army will be for. Plus, open borders it's a "good thing" accordingly to nº2.

5. idem.

6. Yup, that's a problem, but it's being worked out. That's what wars are about after all.

7. Counting on ALL Iraqis is silly (as it is counting on all Americans, I would dare to say), but counting on some is feasible and is producing good results. To find motivated people who want to take responsibility of their country takes time, but it can be done and it is being done. If we couldn't count on any of them we'd better reduce the place to ashes and move on.

8. What you say is only partially true. Several Iraqi Army units (mainly the ones created in the first years of the war) are in quite bad shape, with poor training, poor equipment, worse leadership and morale, with its only possible use being police duty. But situation has improved since then, and many Iraqi units have shown extremely good results, both in missions with the Americans and missions on their own, showing ability and resolve above what you would expect of any Arab army. If the trend continues to improve Iraq will have the best army of the Arab world.
Of course, there is sectarian disputes, corruption, but this is not new. Currently all the armies and governments in that area have the same problem, but only Iraq is fighting to do something about it, and that is revealing. Besides, old traditions die hard, and we may have to wait some years more to see a decent-to-west-standarts Iraq.

9. I would be interested to hear your definition of "immensely". American casualties are at a wartime all-time low, and the country is having no problems in replacing them (in fact there's an excess of volunteers in some branches), so in this aspect there's nothing to recover from. The only thing that America is having "problems" with is equipment such as spare parts for vehicles, armor packs and newly developed weapons, but that's a natural consequence of the American style of war. And it is something the army can recover in short time if it needs to (which it doesn't right now).
One of the reasons logistics are such a problem right now is because the stuff the soldiers have now is mostly different from what they had in 2003. Technological advance has been so HUGE in this 3 1/2 years, and so many weapons systems developed and improved (such as UAVs, Strykers, armor kits, thermobaric missiles, battlefield internet, laser defense systems) that production has to be shifting constantly to begin producing items as needed as soon as they are developed. This is causing severe stress in the logistics system, but it is not necessarily a bad thing, since it is not a critical/irreversible stress. Think about it as going to the gym: You get tired there but you get out stronger than you were. Because that's exactly what's happening.
Plus, right now the US have several hundred thousand troops with war experience, something not a lot of countries can say, which is at the same time accelerating all the processes I stated above.

I hope this helps you to see all this with a more global point of view and more optimism.

1/13/2007 02:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sir sefilot:
I'll grant everything you say as true, but the fact remains that within two years we will be forced out of Iraq with our tail between our legs. We will have given the weak regime in Iran, the prime state sponsor of terrorism and a member of the axis of evil, a new lease on life. America's committment to the mideast will be questioned.

Additionally, we've given the Europeans the perfect excuse to let us fight this war alone. And, we've given their media priceless propaganda to turn their Muslims' discontent with Europe onto the US (to tie this to an earlier wretchard post).

But, all this pales compared to the far greater damage the war has done: it has given the anti-war people legitimacy. Our democracy finds it very difficult to engage in war in a sustained war; life is so good here, and we value it so much, why fight over there? In a world war with the modern equivalent of the Nazis, anti-war people should be laughed at, derided, seen as extremists, even if they become media darlings. Now, the anti-war crowd, many of whom view our military as little more than murderers or ignorant hicks who couldn't find a decent job, are ascendant, and will be helping drive policy going forward. This seems extremely dangerous to me.

1/13/2007 03:22:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

sharah

Keep posting.

sir sefirot
You (and most people) think about Iraq as being The War, so all definitions of victory or defeat are related to finishing the violence there. And that's just plain wrong, because the Iraq War is not The War, but it's a single battle in a war that started some years ago and won't finish at least for a decade.

Try 150 years.

ADE

1/13/2007 03:53:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Cases where the invading country lost a guerrilla war were mentioned above, like the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, but what about the times the invader beat the guerrillas, like the US experience in Afghanistan,
the Ethiopian experience in Somalia, and for that matter,
the US experience in Kurdistan, which is at peace at the moment?

The US used the same approach over all of Iraq, yet the three regions of Iraq behaved very differently: Kurdistan became peaceful almost immediately, Shiitestan took longer, but is mostly peaceful now, with some occasional internal fighting and terrorism from Sunnistan, and Sunnistan = Anbar is in total rebellion.

It does not seem to be true that applying greater amounts of force equaled victory. We used much less force in Afghanistan than the Soviets, and the Ethiopians used small amounts of force in Somalia.

Afghanistan's terrain didn't change between the Soviet & US invasions, so that wasn't the difference.

We used the same techniques over all of Iraq, yet the three regions behaved differently, so something else is involved.

The reality is that it comes down to the locals. The invader can definitely make a change, but the only way the invader "wins" is if they move the country to a state the locals accept. IOW, the only changes that will "stick" are changes which leave the country in a state that the locals accept.

The Taliban in Northern Afganistan, the Islamists in most of Somalia, and Saddam's forces in Kurdistan all saw their government to be an occupier, an external invader. So all we had to do was apply enough extra force to enable the locals to drive the central government out. We were helping the locals, not fighting them. We just tipped the balance between two local forces. Because of that, there was no guerrilla attack on us. The central government / occupier like the Taliban, knew it was hated in that region of the country, so once sufficient force was applied, it decided to "fold", and move to a more defensible area where the locals supported it.

One of the first things which happened after the Shiites and Kurds were liberated is that they lynched every Baathist they knew of, every Sunni who they thought was a threat. If there are Baathists and Sunni terrorists still in those regions, they are deep under cover because the locals would kill them if they were aware of them. In Anbar the situation is quite different, with the locals openly accepting and supporting Baathists, other Sunni groups, and in some cases Al Qaeda. So it is the locals who make the difference.

As far as Iran and Syria go, they are really just distractions. They are bound by the same limits as us. They can only push Iraq towards a state which the locals accept. If we left Iraq and then Iran invaded, they would become the occupier and be bound by the same limitations as us. Unless the locals wanted to live under Iranian rule, then they would continuously rebel against Iran. So I see them as being a side issue. They do have an impact because they also can help tip Iraq from one state to another by supplying weapons, but it still comes down to the locals.

So the thing I don't know, and which I'm not sure the Bush administration even thought about, is:
(1) Which states (political layouts) would the locals accept?
(2) Which states (political layouts) does the Bush administration want?

For example, would the Sunnis ever accept a Shiite-majority democracy, or are they determined to (continue to) fight a civil war until one side or the other is destroyed? Would the Kurds live in a democracy like the current one, or are they determined to be an independent country? Will it be possible to peacefully settle the Kirkuk issue?

From the US perspective, will we accept any democracy as long as there is peace? IOW will we accept a democracy led by al-Sadr or a Shiite Islamist coalition under someone like Maliki, a religious, Sharia, Shiite state? Would we accept a permanent Al Qaeda presence in some part of Sunnistan if the locals want it?

We also need to take a realistic look at what we can do. I don't think that there is any case in history where raw force alone totally destroyed a guerrilla army. Once part of the guerrilla force is destroyed by the occupier, then it grows back like a weed, unless the locals decide to back someone else instead. For example, we have killed Saddam and a lot of his men, but that hasn't ended the insurgency. It is possible that we could end the Sadrist movement simply by assassinating al-Sadr, but it would depend on the locals, whether they picked another leader or joined another Sunni group instead. We killed a lot of Sadr troops in prior battles, but they probably have replaced them now with new recruits.

1/13/2007 04:07:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

wu wei

We have clashed on this before.

the only changes that will "stick" are changes which leave the country in a state that the locals accept.

Bollox! The only changes that will stick are the changes where the the locals have been brought to the realisation that the conqueror is correct.

Worse than that - the conqueror IS correct in this case.

Wu wei, you are too nice.

ADE

1/13/2007 04:43:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

And coincidentally on !No Pasaran, the following quote, which gets the relativities right:

”Talk to your enemies, not your friends” that latest signboard goes, looking to find a way to tell the US to go hat in hand to the regimes enabling the Iraq insurgency. Nonsense – it’s an attempt to force the US into a weak strategic position for reasons of the sign carrier’s pride as if these were matters between people and not nations. They have it entirely reversed: you make your enemies try to come talk to you.

Yes, Americans. Get the relativities right. And don't apologise for being superior.

ADE

1/13/2007 05:01:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Continuing my prior post, it seems to me that the bottom line is that the results in Iraq will based 95% on the Iraqis and 5% on us. Instead of thinking that we will decide what Iraq will be like, we should think of a realistic situation perhaps like a sled going downhill, where we can only make small changes by leaning one way or the other on the way down. Regardless of what we do, the sled will still go downhill and end up in nearly the same place. And to complete the analogy, once we reach the bottom of the first hill, there are still many more hills to slide down, hills which the Iraqis will go down totally by themselves, after we leave.

We need to realize that even though we have the largest army, that the local players are much more important that us. We really can't make them do anything, only kill some of them. Without their cooperation, we will have relatively little intelligence information. If we anger one of them too much, or they see us as working against their interest, then they will wage guerrilla war against us. If one of the locals agrees with us, and will fight to achieve the goals / state we want, then we are nearly in the ideal situation. Even if we could force Iraq into a certain state, it won't stay that way unless the locals accept it, and are willing to fight for it.

So I think one of the big mistakes of the Bush administration has been try to dictate a solution to the locals, instead of seeing where the locals are heading, and then making a few adjustments to that.

Let's face it: for the Shiites and the Sunnis to leave us as the sole defender of Baghdad at the same time both bomb and shoot at us, is flipping their middle finger at us. They are saying, "It is our country and you can't make us do anything. Either we do it our way, or we will push back with both passive resistance (not doing what you want) and active resistance (guerrilla attacks on you)".

I am not saying that we shouldn't use force. That's not true at all. We can and should use force, including large amounts of it, but only in those few situations where we think it will help. We need to pick our battles. We need to recognize that it is their country and it is mostly going to be the way they want it to be. That's the reality and there is nothing we can do about that. We can adjust the fine tuning knob a little, but we can't change the channel.

With very few exceptions, the only way we can make a lasting change in Iraq is if some local group(s) help us. The change won't stick after we leave unless local groups make it happen. A group won't be totally destroyed until all the locals stop joining it.

That's why it seems like a mistake for President Bush to argue with Maliki about how he wants to protect Baghdad. Maliki said he wanted to protect the central part of Baghdad, with our forces moving to the outside of the city. The concern is that he might increase the ethnic cleansing. But so what? Fundamentally that is an Iraqi problem, not ours. Once Maliki laid out that plan it seems that the first thing Bush should have done was talk to the Sunnis and Kurds, asking if they were happy with that. Assuming the Sunnis said "no", then our next question should have been, "What do you to do about it?" Instead of solving the Sunnis problem for free by embedding ourselves in the Shiite forces, we should have used the situation to push the two sides towards peace talks and to get a cease fire, both towards ourselves and others. The problem with what we did is that now we may have angered the Shiites, causing them to go into passive & active resistance, and didn't get anything at all from the Sunnis. We didn't move the country any closer to the peace agreement that it needs. We set ourselves up for higher causualties by fighting someone else's war.

1/13/2007 05:06:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

From the same article:

At the same time, there was some sympathy — if not always explicit — for the American quandary: This was, many analysts sensed, a defining event, a last throw of the dice that would measure American prestige and credibility against the clamor of its adversaries.

Proforma statements of supposed sympathy are never in short supply, and they have NEVER amounted to anything. Ever. They are always phrased in a way to veil a mood to save face at the moment but try to say “I’m sorry you’re so stupid”.


Actually, the poster (Joe Noory) is being too PC. What (I think) he really meant to say is "I'm sorry your so not white."

Which I would support, as I am sure he meant culturally.

ADE

1/13/2007 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

> The only changes that will stick are the changes where the the locals have been brought to the realisation that the conqueror is correct.

Can you give any examples? It is an interesting concept, but it never happened that way in the real world.

Second, are we the conqueror? Does that mean that we stay in Iraq forever?

The so-called examples people give of this don't fly. For example, world war II. That is totally irrelevant because neither Germany, Japan, or Italy fought a guerrilla war against us. So world war II is totally irrelevant in discussion of a guerrilla war in Iraq.

If the Iraqis had chosen to fight like Japan and Germany, we would have crushed them a long time ago. In fact we did beat Iraq almost instantly in the conventional war.

In the case of Germany, they chose to keep coming at us in conventional style until they had no one left to fight. They even through their teenagers into the battle, fighting us conventionally. If Iraq had chosen to do that, then we would have won the same way. But the difference is how Iraq chose to fight, absolutely not how much force we used.

Japan is another good example. They chose to fight us conventionally until their forces were very far ground down. So they knew that winning in the conventional sense was impossible.

Then, because we feared a guerilla war, and knew it was impossible, we started negotiating. We backed down on our original demand for unconditional surrender. We agreed to keep the Emperor. Then because we knew the Emperor was so important in avoiding a bloody guerrilla war, we (MacArthur) ignored the Emperor's war crimes by pretending that he was powerless before the war, just a puppet. Finally, we worked and negotiated with the Emperor, and used him as a symbol, so that the population decided it was better to not fight the guerrilla war.

Considering how often the Japanese fought to the death, and all the preparations they made for a guerrilla war, it would be totally wrong to say that we killed so many of them that they were afraid to fight. In fact, factions within the Japanese Army tried to start resistance twice, and it was only with the personal intervention of the Emperor plus the rest of the Army fighting them that the rebels ceased fire.

There are many other differences with world war II also. There were only three countries in the Axis and we defeated them all, so we had no concern about other countries jumping in. Iraq on the other hand is just one of many countries with Arabs, Sunni, Shiite, and Kurd populations.

But the bottom line is that anyone who thinks massive force, and force alone, will solve the problems of Iraq should say how to do it. Exactly who do we kill? No one can even tell me who the enemy is or what victory in Iraq is.

1/13/2007 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

The US fear of attacking Iran comes from the patronage of Russia and China and possible retaliation. But the threat of retaliation is only effective before the fact. After the fact the threat is meaningless. It is only the act, or absence of the act that means something then.

In the case of Iran, Russia's and China's friendship and patronage of Iran exist only for the oil.

Destroy the ability of Iran to produce oil and the house of card collapses. Russia will be too busy raising oil prices, China will be too busy trying to annex large chunks of Siberia, and Europe will be too busy trying to get what oil it can get from any source.

1/13/2007 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Here are some other examples which don't apply to Iraq.

Hama in Syria: The Syrian government was fighting rebels in its own country, unlike the US which is far from home and with no permanent base from which to launch attacks on Iraq.

Also, the rebels chose to all go inside one city, and to fight conventionally. It was very much like Fallujah, where the attacker warned civilians to leave, then attacked conventionally until the city surrendered. The US used as much force in Fallujah, destroying most of the buildings and fighting until total surrender by the enemy. It didn't end the resistance however.

Mau Mau in Kenya: The British were "permanent" occupiers fighting a rebellion by part of their own colony. So they had the support of the British population, and had no time limit of the type we have in Iraq. Unlike the US, the British had permanent bases in which to operate from, and the support of some locals, their settlers.

The number of rebels was small compared to Iraq, so the British were able to capture or kill a significant percentage of them.

Most importantly, in conjunction with military success, the British agreed to almost all of the demands of the rebels. The rebellion came for specific economic reasons, not to push the Brits out of the country. Once the British caved in to all of those demands, and even gave more, there was no reason to fight.

1/13/2007 06:06:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

Also, the conquerors of Kenya, Germany, and Japan have all lost their colonies, so the locals can do whatever they want. It doesn't matter what the British think about Kenya, because they aren't running it any more. Changes only stick if the locals want them.

1/13/2007 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

WW,

"Conqueror is correct" - try Islamic conquest of Middle East, as it conquered Christianity. Hey, they converted because they saw its 'inner truth'. Wouldn't we all?

Are we the conqueror?
Oh yes, wu wie, we are. Hard to believe; you, me. Conquerors. Hey, were puny, but we look pretty good on the shoulders of giants. Even better, we can debate - I can learn from you, you from me. Even better, I know before we start that you would welcome it.

The great dilemma of Western Civilisation? You are free to do thr right thing.

Just you.

And the dwarfs, well..., the desert's a tough place.

So, wu wei, you and I could be Gods. Yes, Wu wie, this is the end of Western Civilisation. So much better than submission. And to whom? Shiek Ali Abdul Bin Having Y'all.

No one can even tell me who the enemy is or what victory in Iraq is.

Actually, WW, I did, way back. Can't find the back reference on BC, but my answer at the time was "The Culture", and victory in Iraq is when we smash it. A bit abstract, but no less real. And it's been done before. By Americans.

Ya' heard of Prussia lately? Naw. Samurai? Who they?

Yes, think you could be a God, and you don't want adoration.

It's a scary thought, but Wretchard's blog might be the pinacle of human evolution.

ADE

1/13/2007 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

As far as changing Islamic culture and smashing Iraq, we are not even close to having the amount of troops we need to do a real occupation of Iraq, and yet the generals and everyone in the government agrees that the Army is over stretched. Our equipment is wearing out and one general said we have 80% of our equipment in Iraq. The idea of changing the culture of the middle east with military force is not practical, to say the least, especially with the small army we have now.

On the other hand, the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was almost bloodless, led to a change in culture by the spread of capitalism. It is much more realistic to let the Iraqis run their own country, and help them get rich. A country which has strong economic ties with another is less likely to attack it.

For that matter, the rich Arab oil countries have picked up a lot of western culture, including stock markets, without a shot being fired at them.

> Ya' heard of Prussia lately? Naw. Samurai? Who they?

That is the whole problem, that military conquests are short lived. Countries break free. Over the course of time Christianity and Islam has each surged relative to the other, but not wiped it out. In spite of massive military conquests, neither religion died.

I think we are better off doing what we have always done: fight wars for self-defense, not conquest, and use peaceful means to spread our culture.

1/13/2007 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Afghanistan keeps filling the AP with stories, of battles with lopsided results. Apparently its become such a killing ground for Taliban & AQ that their commanders are just sending anybody over the border. Judging by the way their guys are just pounced on & slaughtered the US has 24/7 coverage of the border regions between the US & afghanistan. Too bad they can't do the same kind of surveillance on US Mexican border.

1/13/2007 08:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If our enemy was ‘terrorism,’ we could defang it, admittedly at great cost: by destroying the Saudi-Wahhabi nexus and their grip on power, by wiping out the Iranian
Ayatollahs’ strength, and by squeezing hard the noxious Pakistani military-intelligence
establishment – all in all, the linchpins of Muslim terrorism. Once this infrastructure of
terror collapsed, much of terror would. But terror itself is nothing but the principal paramilitary instrument of jihad: the operative concept is jihad, not terror. The jihadis’
purpose (in Clausewitzian terms, Zweck), in the very words of the Quran, is to strike terror in the hearts of unbelievers, it is a quasi-military objective: once terrorized, the Unbelievers, the schismatics and the polytheists will convert, submit or die. The strategic aim (Ziel) of jihad is the Gnostic takeover of the world. To some extent, we may be able
to lessen, hinder or hamper the Zweck. But the Ziel is unconditional and cannot be
altered. Can we de-fang jihad by pulling its terrorist teeth?

Contemporary jihad, like its emanation, terrorism, is an integral chain: as long as it is
islamico-glamorous to be a cleric who issues fatwas calling for the murder of Israeli civilians or American GIs, the cleric will go on. Once dead, he will stop. So will the chairman of a charity that funnels money to jihad. So will the senior intelligence officer who trains or smuggles them, the predicator who incites, the madrasa or university professor who brainwashes, the prince who lies for terror, the ayatollah who sends out teams of killers, etc. Jihad is the operative ideology of a number of states; states can be pinned down and hit. This approach is a variant of the notion of decapitation, or of the formulation of nodal targeting given by air power theorist Col. John Warden. Less than the jihadi hardware, it is the jihadi software that has to be hit – but not by soft power.

One martyr will have followers, ten martyrs will be admired and emulated. One thousand
dead martyrs who died unheralded die in vain. If Ahmadinejad and others die in vain and
uselessly they will not die as martyrs but as slobs. For the Gnostic, for the jihadi, his
death is the only thing that matters to him: take that away and nothing is left. It does not
mean, as the jurors of the Moussaoui trial were apparently led to believe, that “you
cannot make a martyr out of him, since this is what he wants.” Make his death a lonely, useless, ignored death. Unextraordinary, unromantic, trivial deaths shatter the glory of the jihadi’s death. It was George Patton who said: “No bastard ever won a war by dying for
his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” The recipe is not pretty nor is it easy.

1/13/2007 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

If anyone wants to read some good news, this is really, really nice article from a Marine Colonel working in Anbar. It is good news across the board, and with hard numbers proving it. 3000 Iraqi police in the AO instead of none, Iraqi border guards to Syria and Jordan doing good work, and a 50% drop in insurgent attacks.

Progress in Anbar

1/13/2007 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger dla said...

Charles wrote...
Afghanistan keeps filling the AP with stories, of battles with lopsided results. Apparently its become such a killing ground for Taliban & AQ that their commanders are just sending anybody over the border.

If you were Al-Qaeda, and Bush had allowed the Shiia militias time to decimate your capability in Iraq. And Bush neutralized your command and control structure worldwide. And Bush had you cornered in the armpit of Pakistan. And you knew that the only way you could survive would be to get Bush to lay off - you would:

1 - keep attacks going somewhere in the hopes that the tools in the American MSM would pick it up.

2 - feed the same tools stories that something is in danger of collapse because American military is over-worked.

3 - wave a peace treaty in front of the Democrats.

The only way Al-Qaeda can survive is to outlast Bush and hope that a Democrat gets elected to the Whitehouse. It may not be in some fantasy book you've read, so don't look for parallels.

1/13/2007 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Additionally, we've given the Europeans the perfect excuse to let us fight this war alone.

For the most part the Europeans are presently incapable of any significant force projection. With minor exceptions (France, Poland, Italy, maybe Hungary) there's simply not much they can do. When the US does NATO exercises with the Europeans we have to lend them equipment. They're that far behind.

The French are working with us across North Africa. That's why Bush never once tossed a piece of anti-French red meat to his base in the '04 election.

The Iraq campaign has always been largely an anglosphere op.

This thing is far from over. Let's not forget that the first place the US invaded after Pearl Harbor was ... Morocco. Read your Clausewitz.

1/13/2007 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1st time here, you guys all work for the pentagon?

shipments of weapons have been smuggled from Iran to Iraqi militia, especially Sadr's, over the past five weeks, including Explosive Form Projectiles, highly effective against armored vehicles

Was`nt this the point?

1/13/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

Sir Sefirot states the obvious: the Iraq War is not The War, but it's a single battle in a war that started some years ago....

Thank you for that, sir.

In demanding immediate surrender, which is certainly what "deployment" from a 15 year war's main battlefield certainly is, the surrenderists never suggest what will happen next.

The last (only?) time America surrendered in a major war, it immediately emboldened our global enemy of the times, the Commies, to attack all over the world. The Cubans sent tens of thousands of troops to Southwest Africa, our allies in the region trounced them - until Carter withdrew support. The Russians invaded Afghanistan with impunity, and Carter's heroic response was to boycott the freakin' Olympics! The mullahs overthrew our long-time ally in Iran, and to this day remain as our primary enemy and leading force for Islamofascism. Even in Central America, the Commies acted with impunity under the weakling Carter Democrat Administration.

All these and many more are the undeniable results of our last surrender against a global enemy, and we can only expect a similar cascade of failure and defeat should we retreat from Iraq now.

But perhaps the most damaging, chronic, strategic damage to America was the false history believed by so many liberals and other self-deluded individuals - that our surrender in Vietnam had no long term effects. It makes them believe we can surrender again, and perhaps the honest and informed among them feel confident that history will once again be blurred and purposely mis-read.

Only this time it's the Global Economy in the balance, and we are facing an intractable enemy that has been at war with civilization for over 1,400 years.

If surrender were a sound and honorable strategy, surely its proponents would have a clear idea of what happens after our self-defeat.

1/13/2007 10:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A wise man said..."Only this time it's the Global Economy in the balance, and we are facing an intractable enemy that has been at war with civilization for over 1,400 years."

There has been an inordinate amount of speculation about US decline, complete with Russian and Chinese designs to benefit from America's embarrassment in Iraq. The reality could not be more different. Neither Moscow nor Beijing has the remotest desire to see the US withdraw from the region or lose power, for two reasons. The first is that America's presence in the region ensures that little wars will remain little. The second is economic. America's economy and particularly the appetite of American consumers for imports remains the locomotive of the world economy, most emphatically of China's. China's trading relationship with the United States is an irreplaceable pillar of national prosperity, and the means to generate the national savings China requires to establish what President Hu Jintao calls "the harmonious society".

If, hypothetically, the Persian Gulf were to go up in flames and the price of oil were to double, the US economy would tumble into recession. China's even more oil-sensitive economy would experience a double blow, in the form of higher energy costs and reduced exports to its major markets in the industrial world. By the same token, if Central Asia were to slide into chaos, the biggest loser would be Russia.

Russia and China will bargain hard in return for providing cooperation to the United States, but their interests ultimately overlap with America's sufficiently to create a concert of nations to contain Iran. If economic pressures do not succeed, the option of a military strike remains ready.

Not being privy to the Bush administration's Iraq policy debate, I do not know how Washington will present its intentions. But the facts on the ground speak for themselves. A civil war in Iraq and an incipient civil war between Fatah and Hamas in Palestine promise a period of bloodshed of indefinite duration - and America's strategic position will be stronger as a result, provided that it can neutralize Iran.

1/13/2007 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bart Hall said, "The Iraq campaign has always been largely an anglosphere op. This thing is far from over. Let's not forget that the first place the US invaded after Pearl Harbor was ... Morocco."

Operation Torch was Nov 1942, but Guadalcanal was invaded by Marines in the preceding August and it was the more important action, because it blocked the Japanese advance toward Australia while the whole campaign in North Africa turned out to be a sideshow. Guadalcanal was Afghanistan, and Morocco was Iraq. Lebanon/Syria is France, and Iran is the Fatherland. But we'll never get to the "Normandy" phase in the GWOT because we've been essentially losing at Kasserine Pass for 4 years and no Patton is in sight.

1/13/2007 11:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Within two years we will be forced to leave Iraq with our tail between our legs"?

No; on present appearances we will CHOOSE (Democratically, in every sense of the word) to leave Iraq with our tail between our legs. There's no question of our being forced out, and the perceived time pressure is solely a function of U.S. politics. Even the present unsatisfactory situation in Iraq is indefinitely sustainable for a wealthy country of 300 millions. Defeatism and not defeat is our trouble.

1/13/2007 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger allen said...

tony,

Your analysis is first rate. I take exception to only one thing you have written. It is my opinion that Saudi Arabia, not Iran, is the "leading force for Islamofascism" in the world. Given the threat of a nuclear armed Iran, it may seem paradoxical to suggest that Saudi Wahhbism is the greater threat, but there you have it.

1/13/2007 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger breakdown said...

I seem to remember when Irag and Iran wher at war. It seems that diifernces can be forgot about if it is to fight the USA, such is the hatred of the West.
Mark
Cheap Breakdown Cover | Driving Experience

1/13/2007 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Sir Sefirot said...

breakdown, the current situation in Iraq is much more a continuation of the ancient Shia-Sunni wars (such as the Iraq-Iran war) than an arab-US war, although there seems to be a large intersection between the two concepts in many aspects. But don't ever think the arabs are united on this.

1/13/2007 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

Allen, Tony - good points.

I personally believe that prior to the rise of Shiia "Islamofascism" culminating with the 1979 coup in Iran, Wahhabbism was the worst of the "Islamfascist" sects of Islam. I still believe that Saudi-funded Wahhabbism, with front men like Ossama bin Laden, is the worst, but narrowly. With Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeiniand's rise to power in Iran and the 1985 formation of Hezbolla in Lebannon, I believe that Shiia "Islamofascism" nearly pulled even with Wahhabbism.

And note the rise of Sunni "Islamofascism" with the formation of the Taliban in 1993.

Muslim theology has a quirk that has held them in intellectual defeat since 1100AD, and it goes something like this: When Islam's enemies are succeeding, it is because Muslims aren't practicing a "pure" form of Islam. "Islamofascism" is a term applied to the practice of this supposedly "pure" Islam.

Of course it is hard for we Westerners to put this into perspective. After all, there are between 1.2 and 1.5 billion Muslims, 85% of which are Sunni, 10% are Shiia, and a handful are Wahhabbi. So when Osama and a few clerics declared Jihad against the US in 1998, were they really representing all of Islam? Hard for non-Muslims to even venture a guess.

1/13/2007 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Wu Wei said...

If the Democrats let us stay, will the Iraqis throw us out anyway? At this point its starting to look like the majority Shiites feel they have things under control and don't need or want us.

On a related subject, why would we want to stop the sectarian killing? Wouldn't that just let the Sunnis devote all their energies to killing Americans instead of having to fight the Shiites? Even if it doesn't seem fair, Maliki's Shiite/Kurd coalition is the legitimate government of Iraq, and the Sunnis are the insurgents. Since the beginning of the war the Sunnis have refused to compromise or negotiate in any way, but continually attack Americans soldiers, the Iraqi government, and slaughter Shiite civilians. The Sunnis harbor Al Qaeda.

So the Sunnis have been fighting a one-sided civil war ever since the beginning. Force is the only thing which will stop them, so why not let the Iraqi / Sunni government apply the force? We can stand on the sidelines waiting, and when the Sunnis finally beg for mercy and start singing the Star Spangled Banner, then we can help everyone negotiate a peace contract.

1/13/2007 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger al fin said...

Stop pretending to understand that you know what "the majority shias" or any other group of Iraqis want or are thinking. Iraq is deeply fractured by ethnic, sectarian, tribal, clan, regional, and political divisions.

"The Shias" do not speak or act as one. Sadr's influence has been magnified by the Iraqi governments refusal to act against Iranian proxies. If that restraint can be removed, you may see more plainly how divided Iraq is.

1/13/2007 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In WONDER LAND, the Wall Street Journal column by Daniel Henninger January 12, 2007 “Unity of Effort”, he provided information I had not seen elsewhere regarding Gen. David Petraeus’ plan in Iraq:

■ “U.S.'s primary problem in Iraq … has been an urban insurgency in a 30-mile radius around Baghdad and in Anbar province.”
■ “The Petraeus command is the overdue beginning of the counterinsurgency.”
■ “product of an enormous amount of self-criticism and analysis done by military and civilian analysts”
■ “Army's new Counterinsurgency Manual, released just last month. The manual's drafting was overseen by Gen. David Petraeus, who will now direct the U.S. military effort”
■ “the plan divides Baghdad into nine districts, essentially neighborhoods”
■ “security in each district will be undertaken by an Iraqi army brigade of several thousand soldiers, a U.S. support battalion of up to 1,000 troops, and most importantly, about 20 U.S. military embeds ”
■ To stay “with and [fight] with their Iraqi counterparts 24/7”.
■ “The manual describes in detail the purpose, theory, tactics and problems (including spikes in violence and casualties) likely to emerge during the new counterinsurgency strategy.”

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116857045659774747.html?mod=opinion_columns_list_h
New Army Counterinsurgency Manual is at http://www.fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24.pdf

Gene Felder
Laguna Beach CA
www.FelderLaguna.Blogspot.com

1/13/2007 04:56:00 PM  

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