Thursday, June 21, 2007

Westhawk on Iraqi Strategy

Westhawk tries to understand the new US strategy in Iraq from its effects. "Over the past several months it has become clear that the U.S. has become much more interested in a 'bottom up' political and military strategy in Iraq. ... The good news is that the Americans have finally found a technique that allows them to find and get at the al Qaeda cells in Iraq. The bad news is that the Shi’ite and Kurdish majority in Iraq, more than 80% of the population, doesn’t like what the Americans are now doing."

And the objection is simple. "They are trusting terrorists," said Ali al-Adeeb, a prominent Shiite lawmaker who was among many to question the loyalty of the Sunni groups. "They are trusting people who have previously attacked American forces and innocent people. They are trusting people who are loyal to the regime of Saddam Hussein." As noted in previous posts, the problem with empowering communities is that you descrease the relative power of the Central State. Westhawk very perceptively understands that the factors underpinning American tactical success are creating strategic problems further down the track.

Westhawk identifies two issues that have never been conclusively resolved since the beginning of the conflict. a) Will the US join the Shi'ite and Kurds in routing the Sunnis from Iraq? or b) Is America committed to a unitary, multiethnic Iraq which would imply creating a balance of terror among the rival communities.

The Sunni insurgency, by partnering with Iran and al-Qaeda have made the defeat of the terror coalition the number one priority, behind which the future architecture of Iraq comes a distant second. Right now, the US is interested in cleaning al-Qaeda's clock. What happens next is contingent. Quite properly the US is making it up as it goes along. The situation has changed from the beginning of OIF after which America's enemies not only called, but upped the ante. And it will change again, not just in Iraq but throughout the region. Whether for the better or worse only time will tell.


Blogger PierreLegrand said...

The bad news is that the Shi’ite and Kurdish majority in Iraq, more than 80% of the population, doesn’t like what the Americans are now doing."

And the absolutely most terrible news is that the US is STILL not holding Iran responsible for the deaths of Americans. And now instead of being either for the terrorists or against them we are talking to some of the worst terrorists the Muslim Brotherhood.

6/21/2007 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

Stability first. It's the only way this thing's going to work.

When a fire's raging in your living room, you don't have the luxury to worry about water damage.

6/21/2007 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Sparks fly said...

The names of some of these groups were mentioned on some prior post(s) and a dark check mark or blob appeared in my mind.

6/21/2007 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger BrianFH said...

OTOH, the Shia are also reaping what they sowed when they elected an exclusionary sectarian government and put their faith in the hands of Sadrists and SCIRI, and treated de-Baathification as de facto de-Sunnification. It was perhaps too much to hope that a secular government could have gotten power, but if Maliki is the best the Shia Coalition has to offer, they need all the help they can get from other segments of society.

6/22/2007 02:01:00 AM  
Blogger BrianFH said...

Also, Westhawk's 2 options are a blatantly false dichotomy as well as a "begs the question" fallacy (form of the question presumes or dictates the answer). Both options take as given that the Sunni are implacable oppressors who must be expelled or fought to the death.

Taking that assumption as the base for "resolving" Iraq's problems and issues is to create an unsolvable problem. Transparently arrogant and stupid. I'm surprised you bought it.

6/22/2007 02:08:00 AM  
Blogger R said...

I can just imagine how the conversations went in the White House some years ago when arguments were being presented on "what to do with Iraq" by those who were supposed to protect the American people. Some would say we are now starting to hear what was said by a few of those present.

It ain't pretty. Nor are these past four years; lost lives, injured for life soldiers, and wasted treasuries pretty at all.

The ugliness that has become Iraq smears its wastes onto every American and all our allies in this attempt to set a country free from tyranny. As to other hot spots of terrorism and the festering of Islamic mass's the opium crop coming in Afghanistan this season? Do the Filipinos expect to get control of some islands? Can Indonesia, Thailand and other nations (ask the Russians)expect more terror attacks? Do the Jews feel safer?

Talk about wasted political capital...George Bush has evolved into a clown who runs a clown government. Congress is no better by all accounts.

Out collective narcissism has indeed come home to roost! Obama just may be our only way out, not because he has the potential to become a great leader, nor has he shown any indication of such necessary qualities for being one; rather, it is because he comes from a new and untested generation, one who is shedding blood and guts while in uniform (not all by any means) and who understand they will be paying for my generation's choices for years to come.

Whack Tony and his pseudo cohorts quickly before we encounter more debt or shed more blood.

Oh yea, and the next time we choose to fight, let's fight and not play this silly game of "no hitting below the belt" stuff.

War is supposed to be a game where victory is the goal, not some diversity, politically correct (no bombing of the cemeteries or mosques...especially on their holy days), campaign.

I know when someone wants to bury my family. I am not so sure this American government yet understands this reality. They certainly aren't talking nor behaving so.

Religion of ass! Looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck...sure, convince me it is not a duck!

To the winner goes all the clitorectomies and honor killings one can imagine. Sprinkle in a few beheadings for extra spice.

My enemy does in fact have a face, a really ugly face! Not the women; they're not allowed to show faces. Little men who fear/hate women above all else might be a place to begin our conversation about this war.

Compassionate conservatism...right George! I fell for that line once too often. Harry Reid says we've lost...this from a super loser!

The real war is here, in our minds, our sense of self. Narcissists are in control, hiding behind law degrees. Plato warned us 2300 years ago.

Will time be on our side?

6/22/2007 05:24:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Westhawk seems to be ignoring that the Shia-Sunni-Kurd unpleasantness has been going on for a rather long time. To that we would have to add in trace elements of Christians and Jewish people. It all predates the creation of the U.S. by quite a little bit.

The idea that the U.S. could come in, depose a dictator, rebuild a country, and by the way, end a thousand or two years of animosity is a bit much. And, by the way, don't lose any troops, ddon;t kill any civilians, don't piss off the people who were getting their palms greased under Oil For Food, or upset any of our "allies" in the reason, etc.

The Iraqis will have to work it out themselves. We have given them a Republic - if they can keep it. We gave ourselves the same deal. We can't do better than that.

6/22/2007 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

It is important to realize that the Iraqi central government will never be strong enough to enforce it's will accross the entire state. Working with those who at one time fought against us is how insurgencies end. Objectives need to be scaled back to be achievable. The Kurds, Shia and Sunni groups need to come to an understanding. Strong Sunni groups at peace with the America will do more to encourage reconcilliation than the current status quo.

6/22/2007 05:54:00 AM  
Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 06/22/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

6/22/2007 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff Kouba said...

Hmm, I wonder if it is a matter of "trusting terrorists."

The Sunni tribes have been turning against Al Qaeda. True, not so much out of a sense of unity and brotherhood with Shiites and Kurds, but because they're tired of getting slaughtered by AQ as well.

It only makes sense for the US to take advantage of this.

6/22/2007 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger regretleft said...

In some of B Roggio's reports the word was that we were collecting biometric ID data on these Sunni militia members who are turning on AQI - if so, it's a faustian bargain on the other side as well.

It'll be interesting.

6/22/2007 09:16:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

All wars end with negotiations.

Even Eisenhower had to halt the De-Nazification to get Germany running again.

Even Grant had to Pardon much of the South.

6/22/2007 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

To say that 80% of Iraqis oppose Sunni cooperation with the USA is an overstatement. That would assume that all Shia and Kurds want all Sunni dead or gone. As I understand it many if not all Iraqi clans encompass all ethnic groups. Some in greater or lesser proportion than others but inclusiveness should be expected as ethnic/sect intermarriage has never been a taboo.

Why should we accept the premise there is a "perfect" strategy at all? The Shia, Kurds, and Sunni, infinite variations and combinations thereof, and all other minorities will find their own accommodation whether the USA is there or not. Exactly how that will happen is not knowable but the fact there are living Iraqis of every variation proves that accommodation is the historical norm and not the exception.

The mission has become so blurred from a combination of lack of clear and consistent statement by the Administration and intentional misrepresentation by others that it is difficult to define an acceptable outcome. I believe that it is the cloudiness of the boundaries of victory that create the criticism and confusion about strategy.

We secure a victory by denying Iraq's territory, wealth and young men to AQ or other Islamist organizations, including without limitation Iran. Better if Iraq becomes the candle of democracy in the ME but such is not a necessary result. In that respect, turning the Sunni tribes against AQ is another step towards achieving our primary objective, and if those same tribes fight again with the Shia after AQ is run off to Africa, so what? If we continue to define failure as anything less than a perfect outcome than it becomes less likely that we would find the will to ever embark on another noble venture.

6/22/2007 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

Well said, Peterboston!

I have heard both politicians and average people say that the Iraqis don't "deserve" our effort to bring them the gift of democracy. What does what they supposedly Deserve have to do with our interests? It certainly did not matter to us in WWII - and we did not fret about if the Germans or Japanese deserved our invasions. We could have exterminated them and plowed their countries under - the choice we made in that case was also because it was in our best interests.

Note that for years the Arabs and the Israelis both made it clear "If you wish to be our friend then you must be their enemy." Every U.S. Administration rejected that demand - and each was roundly crticized by someone at some point as a result. Few seem to recall that one of the major issues of the early 1980's was the Reagan Admin becoming more friendly with the Arab states as a result of our strategy to defeat the USSR. But we did not abandon Israel, either.

6/22/2007 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

I just sent some money to Michael Yon. I urge others to do the same. The address to mail the check to can be found at:

Follow the link below and you'll see why this patriot needs to be funded:

6/22/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger joe buz said...

Most find it easier to bitch than to offer potentially viable solutions to the problem at hand. Not that I have any other than to agree with pierre and aristides. War differs not from most other problem solving try something for a while and if that doesnt work you try something else...Dont get me wrong its nice a tidy to have a plan, but it is preferable to have plan(s). I think we have some for Iran.

6/22/2007 10:54:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Yon's latest dispatch notes with emphasis and repeatedly that the local Iraqi "police" in Baqubah are NOT being helpful to the Iraqi army and/or Americans trying to drive Al-Queda out. I think he calls it "looking for new ways to be incompetent".

The thought occurs to wonder if the local Iraqi's are merely incompetent, or are actively trying to poke sticks in the American axles to protect their terrorist buddies.

From Maliki on down and on up, Iraqi "incompetence" has added both years in time and thousands of deaths to our efforts there. It's the main reason I have absolutely no sympathy for them any more.

P.S. There is an editorial in Dubai's GulfNews that declares the starving orphans found by Americans recently are starving not because of Iraqi incompetence or greed, but because of American "occupation". That the orphans of Iraq are starving because of American actions. These people are ALL just stupid and/or nuts!

6/22/2007 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

local Iraqi "police" in Baqubah are NOT being helpful to the Iraqi army and/or Americans

I thought it distressing, if that's the right word, that 1,000 AQ fighters could accumulate unhindered in Baqubah in the first place. That ipso facto tells us that the locals are either incompetent or complicit. I'd like to know if anybody placed the call to Baghdad to send help or if the call was made, who got it and why nothing substantive was done.

The Iraqis will have to make the choice between cooperation or tonnage.

6/22/2007 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

We secure a victory by denying Iraq's territory, wealth and young men to AQ or other Islamist organizations, including without limitation Iran.

In other words we are fighting a war to return to the pre-war status quo. Now that’s an proper goal for the aggrieved party, the honourable people taken by surprise by the onslaught of evil foreign troops. But for the deciders, the nation that chooses to start the fight, for us to dream of the pre-war status quo is something altogether different. It reeks of defeat.

Add to that the clarifying fact that the goal (no Al Qaida and no Iranian influence in Iraq) is almost laughably optimistic and the fog of patriotism begins to dissipate replaced by the lurid light of reality highlighting in high chiaroscuro our gloomy impotence. In an abstract kind of way it is not so unlike the situation in January 1945 where the Nazis were hoping against hope to defend their more-or-less pre-war borders while at the same time the more reality-based Allies were meeting to negotiate post-war German occupation zones. If such an unlikely trio as Stalin Churchill and Roosevelt could all sit around a table why not bin Laden, Ahmadinejad, and Assad chopping and dicing on post-war Iraq.

The US is trapped in Iraq and our political elite will certainly turn up the bread and circuses act before they would ever place their monopoly on omniscience on the line by admitting the approaching defeat.

The surge was not voluntary, without it supply lines would have been cut and the most minimal level of control in Iraq would not have been maintained. Just stop for a moment and think about the trends. In 2003 there were next to no Al Qaida fighters in Iraq. In 2007 we must launch huge offensives against them just to survive. That’s not even to mention the increased Iranian presence that is much more difficult to quantify. Surely, part of the unspoken reasons for the latest offensive is to keep open vital supply lines. The media emphasis is on the north east but the real fighting will be keeping the trucks rolling up the southern approaches to Baghdad. One thing is clear, troop levels will either continue to rise--in other words the surge iloses its temp status and becomes full-time--or the US will fail catastrophically in Iraq.

It’s the perfect storm between America’s illiterate elite and Islam’s ravenous rable.

6/22/2007 02:22:00 PM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

Only a fool would argue that Saddam was not an enemy or that the victory conditions I set were not satisfied pre-invasion.

Although combat is heavier today than one would have expected the victory conditions are, in fact, already satisfied. Car bombings make splashy headlines and influence shallow thinkers but they do not establish safe territory, nor do they get a share of oil revenue, and if anything the civilian casualties have been an anit-recruitment event for AQ.

I suppose we could still lose control of those victory conditions but the current offensive says that ain't likely.

6/22/2007 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

The stated political goal is Iraqi Federalism with an equitable sharing of oil revenues. This is NOT a return to the pre-war status quo. Whether this Iraq includes Sunni arabs is really immaterial from my standpoint. Of course, the White House has a different view on the matter. One that is mainly attuned to the Saudi perspective.

6/22/2007 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger buck smith said...


In the pre-war status quo, the son of the Iraqi dictator picked women to rape at his whimsy, the iraqi government plotted to kill an ex-US president and prisoners in Abu Ghraib had their hands cut off. None of thos ethings are happening now.

"The surge was voluntary, without it supply would have been cut-off..."

What is your evindence for this? This blog begins its analysis with actual reports from people in Iraq like Michael Yon and Omar Fahdil. None of those reports even remotely corrorborate your this statement.

6/22/2007 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Definition of Kevin:

Only a fool who would argue ...

6/22/2007 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Westhawk appears to be one of the last believers in the "noble purple-fingered freedom loving forces of Democracy" - which after 4 years still haven't decided on oil revenue distribution, power sharing, the need to stop Shiite death squads and Sadrists from being ensconced in government.

As noted in previous posts, the problem with empowering communities is that you decrease the relative power of the Central State. Westhawk very perceptively understands that the factors underpinning American tactical success are creating strategic problems further down the track.

Oh, and the people that could give the French lessons in backstabbing are on their 2-month summer vacation busily moving the billions the idiot Bush gave them now diverted into the Shiite leaders pockets out of country to their "safe havens" in UK, Canada, Sweden, USA, Jordan...

We gave them their shot at "blessed Democracy" and republican government. No dice. They could have had the ACLU and Mother Pelosi if they were interested in the Lefty alternative. Instead they have spent 4 years trying to kill us or each other. They are animals and barbarians unfit to exist without a strong ruler ordering their miserable lives.
So bring on the inevitable military coup and put the ruthless general in place needed to restore security and domestic tranquility by killing and stripping away all the stupid "rights" necessary. A lesson for America - all our "sacred Constitutional rights" could similarly become meaningless simply if we lose our security - no one has to "take them away" - anarchy, misrule and death squads simply make loss of rights a fait accompli.

Kevin - In 2003 there were next to no Al Qaida fighters in Iraq. In 2007 we must launch huge offensives against them just to survive.

You assume the tens of thousands of AQ Islamoids we have whacked and the tens of thousands more we should have whacked but for Bush's complete incompetence with deBaathification and other matters and the intervention of the Lefties on AQ's side - came out of thin air.
What happened was Islamoid zombies that were working to destabilize 20 other countries were ordered into Iraq, where they were whacked, but far less effeciently because Bush drove the Sunni right into their arms. The zombies didn't emerge from thin air.

If they didn't go to Iraq, they would have been killing infidels and non-radical Muslims elsewhere. Sure, some recruiting has happened, but a lot of the experienced old blood that has been around from Soviet, GIA, Bosnia Jihads either met Marine bullets or were let go thanks to Leftys and progressive Jews in the media, the JAG Corps, or NGOs like Human Rights Watch.
We killed less than we should have of them, but they have bled out good in Iraq and we also got a lot of intel from the captured Islamoids from Europe, ME, N Africa we were able to sneak out past the NY Times and Kenneth Roth.

6/22/2007 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Gary Rosen said...

Once again C-fudd shits out a long blathering post just to get in his neurotically compulsive little cheap shots at Jews. Jews got us into the war, now they're undermining our prosecution of it! Amazing!

Nobody's listening to you any more, C-fudd. But unsurprisingly, you're too stupid to figure it out.

6/22/2007 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


Are you actually suggesting that we are winning a war of attrition against Al Qaida in Iraq? Surely in any war of attrition the winning side would expect to not just attrite the enemy at the point of contact on the battlefield -- even if they have an advantage in quality. A sane strategy of attrition would also take into account enemy quantity, namely either at the point of production or along vital supply lines. In WW2 the Allies were obviously not content to just destroy German armour and aviation at the fronts, they attacked the factories where these armaments were produced and the supply lines along which they were transported.

The German armed forces held an advantage (at least on the Eastern Front) in quality but the reason they lost is that they could never interdict Allied quantity. The supply lines from the US to the Soviet Union were never attacked by Japan and Stalin’s industry was for the most part out of German range. On the Western Front obviously America’s factories were untouchable but the failure of German U-boats in the north Atlantic opened the pipeline to victory in the west for the Allies.

So where is the analogy to the conflict against Al Qaida’s in all this? The Wahhabi madrassas in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are the factories and Jihadi fighters hopped up on Koranic verse are flowing out at increasing pace. With no pressure on these plants, production can be increased or decreased in response to any American successes in killing Al Qaida militants in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else in the world. And it’s not as if these Jihadis are highly trained military geniuses that take a long time to produce; a simple low-tech willingness to die seems to be the main criteria for both selection and training.

So a point of contact attrition strategy is doomed to failure if the points of production and supply lines are left untouched.

As for the blaming the coming defeat on the US military’s “velvet glove” approach, this too has no basis in actual military history. When the Imperial German armies marched into Belgium in 1914 they were concerned about francs-tireurs (irregular, often communist snipers) who had caused them some problems back in 1870. So when someone took a pot-shot at them near Dinant, they gathered 674 townspeople, including women and very young children (because there were no Jew-lefties to tell them not to) and proceeded to massacre them. Afterwards they widely publicized the event (a bit like Abu Ghraib) with the intention of scaring the Belgians and French into submission. Well the sniping continued, perhaps the events scared some people into submission but it just hardened the moral reserve of others. The Germans later resorted to burning down the medieval library in Leuven full of priceless and irreplaceable manuscripts. Again it might have scared some but it also served to harden attitudes across the globe against them.

In fact there is little difference between the velvet glove and the iron fist approach. For each combatant you nice your way into submission another will be encouraged to fight from a lack of fear. And for every combatant you scare into submission by kicking ass you wake up from a moral slumber another fighter to face another day.

Cornwallis and Clinton in the South experienced this during the Revolutionary War. When Cornwallis took over command in the Carolinas he followed Clinton’s catch and release program but became so incensed by seeing freed captors killing his men that he allowed Tarleton launched a scorched earth campaign that while surely dissuading a few, inspired many to take up arms.

But the truth is that the larger geo-politcal situation has a far greater influence into which sides wins than does getting the velvet glove / iron fist proportion just right. With the madrassas still churning out low grade fighter in the Middle East, it is highly doubtful that ignoring the Jew-lefties and going scorched earth will do much good, considering the other goal the US military has of imposing their will on the Iraqi people. And given America’s economic dependence on global creditors, a Roman-style creation of a dessert named peace is not a realistic option

As for the intelligence bonanza the US is reaping in Iraq, that is like looking at sales numbers and ignoring profits (or in this case, the lack thereof). Who is actually gaining more vital intelligence? The US and its long list of Arabic names that need careful transcription to be anything but totally useless? Or the Iranians with a virtual R&D ranch of US military hardware, within easy reach to test their latest IED shapes and configuration. Jihadi names are a dime a dozen and the their combat tactics are hardly earth shatteringly original. But the knowledge of the weaknesses in the very expensive American armour is a very valuable asset indeed and IED designs are evolving at an incredible pace and at the cost of next to zero dead on the Iranian side.

6/23/2007 03:35:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Buck Smith,

My comments on protecting supply lines are pure conjecture and are based on history and titbits of information that seem to point that way. I could be totally wrong and supplies are moving smoothly; reports of the careful insurgent plan to degrade Iraq’s transportation system and of a shortage of supplies point me towards a different conclusion however.

As for returning to the status quo, namely a new Sunni dictator ruling Iraq, obviously he would not have the exact same qualities as Saddam Hussein. Perhaps his rape camps would be in a different province. Instead of having attempted to kill a US President maybe he will have actually killed dozens of US soldiers. I don’t know about you but I care more about the lives of soldiers than Presidents. The potential slight differences between the two would seem a little weak upon which to base a claim of victory. If after WW2 had we replaced Hitler with another fascist dictator who would more or less continue his same policies (because we concluded those are the only policies that work to run the country) would that have really been a victory?

6/23/2007 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...


Only a fool would argue that Saddam was not an enemy or that the victory conditions I set were not satisfied pre-invasion.

The victory conditions you set were indeed satisfied pre-invasion. There were vitually no Al Qaeda cells running around Saddam-controlled Iraq and Iran had no influence to speak of. While Saddam was a threat, only a fool would say the new Sunni dictator, which is the only model that could ever possbly accomplish your goals of no Al Qaeda and no Iran, would not also be a threat and that helping him get to power would be a victory.

It might very well be the best we could hope for, but that's not the same thing as a victory.

6/23/2007 04:41:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Kevin, do you supppose you could define "victory" in a paragraph or two? A *terse* paragraph or two?

I haven't been able to, nor have I ever seen a definition of what victory in Iraq would constitute. We've already done everything we set out to do, but evidently for many people that's not good enough.

So what, exactly, would it take to satisfy people like you?

6/23/2007 11:26:00 PM  
Blogger sakthi said...

This is America's biggest mistake/problem for so many years.They'll rely on some terror group or wrong person to get their job done,then the terror group or person will turn against US..This what happened in Saddam issue,US only helps Saddam in his earlier political stages...
mobile phone deals

6/24/2007 02:47:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...


The traditional standard for declaring victory in most forms of military conflict is when one side imposes its will on the other; the victor forces the vanquished to submit who then allows the victor to lay down the law to him. This submission can be either conditional or without conditions. To take WW2 as an example the Allies defeated Germany unconditionally and the US defeated Imperial Japan with some minor conditions (keeping the Emperor). But both countries submitted to the will of their conquerors, who then wrote their laws. Now since imposing one’s will on another is somewhat difficult standard to achieve, often the aims of war are purposely limited in order to better obtain a victory with limited resources. So in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the coalition’s aim was to impose their will on Iraq by forcing her to withdraw her forces from Kuwait. It succeeded, Saddam’s armies fled Kuwait and the coalition then laid down the lay to Saddam and forced him to submit to their will. The Gulf War was therefore clearly a victory (if and only if one assumes that the conflict actually ended and is not seen as part of the current conflict).

In the current Iraq War (or the ongoing Gulf War as some see it) if the US had limited the scope of the intervention to just removing Saddam from power or even establishing a system of governance that has some elements of democracy associated with it then surely in a narrow sense the US could have quickly withdrawn in victory after either of these goals had been achieved. Of course if the government was overthrown a week later and a new Saddam rose to power then the victory would be of dubious value. But the invasion of Iraq was never conceived of as a war of limited scope; a brave new Iraq was meant to arise from the ashes of Saddam’s torture chambers. But the obvious indigenous resistance to such a plan was never even considered and hostile neighbours like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria were neither engaged into helping nor dissuaded from interfering. Instead a bizarre combination of hubris and naivety has led to a situation where instead of even struggling to impose our will on Iraq, we are resisting three other entities, Al Qaida, Turkey, and Iran, from imposing their will on large portions of the Iraqi people. And even this unexpected defensive goal is looking less achievable by the day. So victory in any sense is very difficult to envision any time soon.

6/24/2007 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Yes, thank you for your terseness. I note that you see the "enemy" as being Al-Queda, Turkey, and Iran. So that really the problem becomes (1) victory in Iraq, and (2) victory over Islamic terrorism.

I would say that those are two totally different victories, and further that we've already achieved victory in Iraq. So that what we're fighting about now is whether or not we can kill sufficient maniac jihadists to convince the rest of the Muslims that supporting them isn't a good idea, because the alternative is nuclear annihilation of 22 countries in the Middle East in self defense. Which a lot of people would see as being a humanitarian defeat.

Here's a different definition of victory I read this morning on StrategyPage that makes a lot of sense to me, and speaks to my frustration with Malaki, Assad, Abbas, and all the rest of the tortured leadershp that Arabs invariably choose to lead them out of the wilderness:

Both the terrorists and U.S. troops know that victory has been defined as several weeks with no bombs going off in Baghdad. The media is keeping score, and they use their ears and video cameras. No loud bangs and no bodies equals no news. That's victory.

Not really. The real war is within the Iraqi government. The terrorists lost two years ago, when the relentless slaughter of Moslem civilians turned the Arab world against al Qaeda. Journalists missed that one, but not the historians. The war in Iraq has always been about Arabs demonstrating that they can run a clean government, for the benefit of all the people, not just the tyrants on top.

But I think an absence of explosions *would* be a good definition of victory.

6/24/2007 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Just to refine your definition of victory a bit, it would be a "quiet" Iraq (in other words the people would have submitted to our will) controlled by a sustainable number (30,000 to 50,000) of US troops. Of course getting a quiet Iraq with the current troop levels would be a great start towards achieving that goal.

6/24/2007 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

You're ignoring Iraqi troops and police in your definition of a "quiet Iraq". I tend to think their contributions have been over-stated for the sake of building up their tattered morale, but nevertheless might should be factored in.

6/24/2007 02:03:00 PM  

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