Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
You can’t fight a "nice" war
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Yesterday I was thinking about our podcast where we discuss the mistake we made in Iraq of standing by and doing nothing in the immediate aftermath of our military victory, and how that had, unfortunately, allowed the present violent situation in Iraq to begin to take root.

I also thought back to Gulf War I and the "Highway of Death", where, when we had the Iraqi Army (and especially some Republican Guard units) on the ropes and we quit the attack and let them go.

Today I read an article that claims we dropped the ball in Afghanistan as well:
The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan failed to follow through as it should have after ousting the Taliban government in 2001, setting the stage for this year's deadly resurgence, the NATO commander in the country said Tuesday.

The mistake consisted of adopting "a peacetime approach" too early, British Gen. David Richards told Pentagon reporters. He said the international community has six months to correct the problem before losing Afghan support, reiterating a warning he issued last week.

"The Taliban were defeated. ... And it looked all pretty hunky-dory," Richards said of the environment at the end of 2001. "We thought it was all done ... and didn't treat it as aggressively as ... we should have done."
My concern, frankly since GWI, has been that it seems we're more concerned with appearing to the world as sensitive and benevolent warriors than we are in winning wars.

Look, my philosophy about war is fairly simple: If you go to war either do so to win it or stay the hell out of it. But as we can see in both Iraq and Afghanistan, our reluctance to come down hard, take control and do what is necessary to maintain control has, in fact, been more detrimental to our cause in each country than the condemnation we might have suffered from those who haven't lifted a finger to do anything in either country might have heaped on us.

Can you imagine a similar approach in Nazi Germany at the end of WWII faring any better? Why do you suppose unconditional surrender was the allied demand? And, once taken, we absolutely clamped down hard on the German population, never once giving them the opportunity to start an insurgency as we've allowed in Iraq.

Ralph Peters touches on my concerns today in his article:
Have we lost the will to win wars? Not just in Iraq, but anywhere? Do we really believe that being nice is more important than victory?

It's hard enough to bear the timidity of our civilian leaders - anxious to start wars but without the guts to finish them - but now military leaders have fallen prey to political correctness. Unwilling to accept that war is, by its nature, a savage act and that defeat is immoral, influential officers are arguing for a kinder, gentler approach to our enemies.

They're going to lead us into failure, sacrificing our soldiers and Marines for nothing: Political correctness kills.
I'm not advocating a "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" mentality. But I do agree that it is time we all realize - and accept - that when we commit to war we must commit to it with the understanding that it is savage, brutal, unfair, and sometimes entails doing things we wouldn't do in the absence of war (and here I'm talking about risking innocent civilians, enforcing martial law with deadly force, etc. ... not torture or some of the other more odious things I'm sure some will read into that statement).

War is, by its very nature, a complete reversal of the status quo. We send our troops out to smash, conquer and kill the enemy. To blow up and destroy. And we've learned that the faster and better we do that the faster we end the war. We also know from past experience that overwhelming force and firepower along with a will to do what is necessary to completely and utterly defeat and demoralize the enemy is how you end wars and win the peace.

So why the half measures? Why thunder into Iraq in two months and then spend three years tip-toeing around? Why didn't we put the hammer down the second Baghdad was secure and Saddam was deposed and keep it down? "Nobody move. Stay in your houses. Anyone in the street after 7pm will be shot. Etc., etc."

Because we were 'concerned' with how we'd be 'perceived' by others who did nothing to help rid the world of Saddam. We'd have been vilified as "nazis" and condemned as "butchers".

We've became more afraid of words than bullets.

And now, as is the usual consequence, we're the target of both and our options are few and becoming fewer.

While sensitivity in many areas (even in some areas of war) is proper and important, war is not the place in which to pull punches. Obviously wanton barbarism (like that of our enemies) isn't what I'm talking about. But doing what is necessary and all that is necessary to completely and utterly destroy your enemy is.

Peters (who, in his piece, is actually is talking about the new "counter-insurgency" doctrine, but whose words do echo my concern) says:
We discount the value of ferocity - as a practical tool and as a deterrent. But war's immutable law - proven yet again in Iraq - is that those unwilling to pay the butcher's bill up front will pay it with compound interest in the end.

[...]

We don't face half-hearted Marxists tired of living in the jungle, but religious zealots who behead prisoners to please their god and who torture captives by probing their skulls with electric drills. We're confronted by hatreds born of blood and belief and madmen whose appetite for blood is insatiable.

And we're afraid to fight.
I'd disagree with Peter's final sentence. We're not afraid to fight. At least our soldiers aren't. But our leadership is seemingly afraid to fight in the way which will ensure we win and win decisively. And because of that, as he points out, we are now paying the butcher's bill 'with compound interest'.

This is war, not a tea-dance. This is combat, not a debate. There is no partial victory in war. There is only winning or losing. When you commit to war, you have to commit to being the biggest, meanest, most ferocious and terrifying dog in the fight. You have to overwhelm and completely and utterly destroy your enemy. And should, after you've done that, he again attempt to regroup, you again do what you just did. You stomp him flat.

Sensitivity be damned. Unless you're willing to die a death of a thousand cuts like we're suffering now, you don't worry about the perceptions and the inevitable name-calling from the chattering classes. When you commit to war, you fight it with all the fury and power available to you and you do it until your enemy no longer exists or completely and totally capitulates.

We didn't do that in Iraq. And, apparently, we didn't do it in Afghanistan either. And, as a result, both may end up being lost.

We have some decisions to make in this country about such things as war. If, in fact, we see it as a legitimate tool for self-defense and the protection of our national interests, we have some real soul searching to do. If we plan on making the commitment of our military in war, we owe it to them to do what is necessary, in terms of tactics and strategy, to enable a complete and total victory. As we're learning, there is no substitute for that. And that may mean - in this era of hyper-sensitivity - doing things which some will deem as "brutal" and "oppressive" (at least to the hyper-sensitive brigade). But had we been more "brutal" and "oppressive" at the beginning in Iraq and Afghanistan, my guess is we wouldn't be suffering the brutality and oppressiveness now rampant in both places.

You can argue the merits (or lack thereof) of political correctness in whatever sphere of society you wish, but it has no place in discussions of war. There is nothing politically correct or sensitive about war. Obviously to try to take every precaution you can when fighting not to endanger or kill innocent civilians. But your mission is to kill and destroy the enemy, and, when you've done that, you ensure he can't get back up and attack you again.

We didn't do that ... and we're paying the price for it now.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
In World War II, we were directly attacked by the Japanese. There was little question of who the enemy was or who had started hostilities.

Although Afghanistan was a war that I supported, it was obviously less clear who the enemy was there. It was not necessarily the Afghan people.

When you get to the Iraq fiasco, the soldiers really had to tiptoe, because most of the world had at least some misgivings about our going in and many Americans directly opposed it, given that it had nothing to do with 9-11.

Moral: if you want the leeway to strike hard, you need to be perceived as being on the side of justice, while fighting a clearly defined enemy who attacked you first.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
Iraq war cost years of progress in Afghanistan - UK brigadier
Commander echoes criticism of Blair’s foreign policy by head of army

Richard Norton-Taylor
Wednesday October 18, 2006

Guardian

The invasion of Iraq prevented British forces from helping to secure Afghanistan much sooner and has left a dangerous vacuum in the country for four years, the commander who has led the attack against the Taliban made clear yesterday.

Brigadier Ed Butler, commander of 3 Para battlegroup just returned from southern Afghanistan, said the delay in deploying Nato troops after the overthrow of the Taliban in 2002 meant British soldiers faced a much tougher task now.

Asked whether the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath had led to Britain and the US taking their eye off the ball, Brig Butler said the question was "probably best answered by politicians".

But echoing criticisms last week by General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the army, he added that Iraq had affected operations in Afghanistan. "We could have carried on in 2002 in the same way we have gone about business now.

"Have the interim four years made a difference? I think realistically they have," Brig Butler told journalists in London. Since then, he added, Britain had "marked time" and British troops were now "starting to make up for that time".
Enough with the psychobabble about our "sensitivity." You still can’t bring yourself to acknowledge the point Butler is making:

We had ’em on the ropes in Afghanistan, and Bush decided to invade Iraq. And in the process we took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan. It was another colossal error on the part of the Bush administration that its apologists have spent the last 4 years trying to defend. And now those apologists, just like you, are reduced to psychobabble.
Because we were ’concerned’ with how we’d be ’perceived’ by others who did nothing to help rid the world of Saddam. We’d have been vilified as "nazis" and condemned as "butchers".
Face facts: Bush f*ck*d up and you spent that last four years trying to explain why he didn’t. America was in a killing mood in the aftermath of 9/11. We could have cleaned house in Afghanistan. But Bush decided to go into Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. He took his eye off the ball. It’s that simple.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
The Islamofascists have been telling us for years who they are and their stated goals. The West has not been listening or developing an understanding of what the threat represents.

On the other hand, the enemy has been very skilful, for the most part, at remaining out of the line of fire, expending lives of the jihadists resourcefully, and promoting support for their cause through a large base as provided by the Islamic mosques.

With respect to being on the side of justice, I suggest that developing an understanding of the criteria for a just war places our war effort in the proper context. Old Europe, Russia and China will never publically acknowledge or support our efforts in WWIV.
 
Written By: jhstuart
URL: http://
Nation building is where it’s at in the future. To bad we didn’t use the 90’s to prepare for that...
All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven.

A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://
Uh McQ with some deference to your military background...I think you’re wrong. Fighting the Taliban and the insurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq AFTER the conventional phase is not the same as the fight IN the Conventional Phase.

What do you recommend? "Arc Light" on Fallujah? Death Camps for the relatives of known or suspected insurgents?

This is a "Little War." The Brit’s and others who have won their "little wars" weren’t savage, nor did they employ massive violence.

I see no evidence that we ARE tip-toeing around....again practical examples please. We ARE risking civilians:
(and here I’m talking about risking innocent civilians, enforcing martial law with deadly force, etc. ... not torture or some of the other more odious things I’m sure some will read into that statement).
We ARE doing those things.

McQ is no more or less than, There is no substitute for victory." Yeah, well that was an empty phrase. Victory in the Indian Wars looked different than the Victory at the end of WWII, different wars, different means, differing visions of victory.

Where have we NOT crushed our opponents? We have we NOT employed overwhelming force. The insurgents have managed to win ONE squad-sized battle since the Liberation of Baghdad. We ARE doing what you advocate, but that alone will NOT produce "victory."

You confuse the Armistice in Koln with the Victory over Germany. The "Victory" was the reestablishment of GERMAN civilian rule, the creation of the Bundeswehr, and the Bundes Republik’s accession to NATO. The Armistice was a Peace of the Dead, but the Victory occurred NINE YEARS LATER and continues to this day. In short, Germany’s DEFEAT was NOT America’s VICTORY. And the thing that brought the Defeat was not the thing that brought the Victory. The Defeat came from the use of massive force to destroy the ancien regime. The Victory required money, food, kindness, and elections.

I don’t dispute their role of Force in the World today, nor do I discount the role that the Military had in securing the Defeat of Hitler or Hussein. I simply disagree with your belief that more violence will solve the problems and lead to a Victory.

Oh and MK, "Amateurs talk Tactics, professionals talk Logistics." you’re little "narrative" sounds nice, BUT the reality is, as I keep saying here, that the US could NOT support the level of troops you propose in Afghanistan. The two brigades we had there were the ONLY troops we could support there. So no, there was no taking the eye off the ball...the troop levels in Afghanistan have remained what they were because of the inability to support more troops, not because we invaded Iraq.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
If amateurs talk tactics, then what does that make Bush and apparently his generals?

My understanding of the general numerical formula for peacekeeping involves two to three times the number of troops we have in Iraq. Without a draft or greater world involvement, where pray tell, are these troops to come from? Those who supported Iraq initially did so by deliberately closing their eyes from past experiences in Kosovo, and in Europe and Japan after WWII.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
Evrything depends on how you imagine the outcome.
In that regard, it’s no use going back to make analogies with WWII, or even the Vietnam war.

This is a totally different case and circumstance. You presume that installing martial law and clamping down would have prevented a resistance. Maybe. Maybe not.

The differnce is that the Iraq ’resistere’ had, has and will have a bottomless barrel to supply new recruits to their cause(s) from all the Arab populations of all the nations in the region and beyond. Clamping down on Iraq would never be enough.

On the positive side, your scenario would have provided more maneuvering room for the Iraqis to establish their own government and infrastucture.
But in the long run, even a single American boot on Arab lands will be perceived as that of an occupier. That perception spells long term trouble, no matter what our strategy is.

I disagree with the notion that recognizing the unportance of such things as perceptions and images is a sign of weakness. I would call that being realistic.

We go to war to win. But we have to ask: "Can we win?" Or, more to the point: "Can we win the long term war with brute military force?"

 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Well William, YOU might examine history, then... the US occupation forces of Japan and Germany were pretty small. The whole "Bring the Boys Home" thing reduced the Occupation forces in both to four (4) very under-strength divisions rapidly. And Korea wasn’t "occupied" it had an advisory group assigned to help create the RoK Army.

History it’s not just for Geeks any more.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
America was in a killing mood in the aftermath of 9/11. We could have cleaned house in Afghanistan. But Bush decided to go into Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11
So we didn’t go into Afghanistan? That’s news to me....
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Actually, Joe, you might try reading some current periodicals, as this has been covered extensively.

http://www.rand.org/publications/randreview/issues/summer2003/burden.html

Using a ratio of 20 per thousand equates to approximately half a million troops.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
Joe - these guys don’t do logistics- the supplies fall as manna from the heavens when they’re conducting the war. It’s just troop numbers to them. MK and William let the little guys figure out what they’re going to eat, drink and shoot with. That stuff will magically appear at the right place at the right time in the right quantity.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Yes, William, but the empirical evidence YOU produced, mentioned WWII and Korea...thank you, very much, and THOSE occupations, such as they were, had FAR fewer folks. So Occupation like War takes many forms, does it not?

To use YOUR theory a combined populace of of 120 million folks in Germany and Japan would have necessitated a force of....let’s see ah yes 2,400,000 troops. Good Lord we needed a Draft (which we did have) and how COULD Truman and FDR have botched the "Occupation" so?! My conclusion from YOUR figures is that we ought never have gone to war with Germany or Japan as we had never planned on adequately occupying them and the first program for Germany, the Morgenthau Plan? Utter disaster!!! Hopelessly foolish and dangerous, combined with a our grossly inadequate occupation forces equals QUAGMIRE and disaster!

Again, History it’s not just for Geeks, any more.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgenthau_Plan
Man Looker, I like YOUR log-plan...it’s so simple...elegant....remind me not to attend any functions planned in that maner.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ, you sometimes say very intelligent things about war, but the argument underlying this post is totally absurd. You write:
So why the half measures? Why thunder into Iraq in two months and then spend three years tip-toeing around? Why didn’t we put the hammer down the second Baghdad was secure and Saddam was deposed and keep it down? "Nobody move. Stay in your houses. Anyone in the street after 7pm will be shot. Etc., etc."

Because we were ’concerned’ with how we’d be ’perceived’ by others who did nothing to help rid the world of Saddam. We’d have been vilified as "nazis" and condemned as "butchers".

We’ve became more afraid of words than bullets.
As Joe mentioned above, this argument entirely misconceives the kind of war we’re engaged in. We "tip-toed" around Iraq after the invasion because our strategic aim was to create a stable country, which requires not alienating that country’s people. The "bring the hammer down" approach you’re talking about, even putting morality aside, would have been monumentally stupid and counter-productive. The Iraqi civilians were never supposed to be "the enemy". We told the world we were invading Iraq to liberate its people. Do you really think it would have been a constructive strategy to go in and brutally subdue the population? What would that have accomplished?

Many collossal mistakes have been made in waging this war. But insufficient brutality is not one of them. This attempt to blame our failure on our morals or "political correctness" is just a transparently stupid right-wing canard.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Look, my philosophy about war is fairly simple: If you go to war either do so to win it or stay the hell out of it.
I agree completely.

If you have the moral authority to engage in a war, then you have the moral authority to be vicious.

If you do not have the moral authority to be vicious (or choose whatever adjective for "aggresive" you like), you do not have the moral authority to be there.

We had this in Afghanistan and (this is my opinion) we failed to follow through because focus was shifted to Iraq, and we did not have the moral authority in Iraq, and doing what was required to secure the peace WOULD have precipitated our global condemnation.

Taken out of the context of moral authority, Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, were atrocities, within the context of moral authority, they were appropriate.

Cap



 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Joe, obviously this is not a mathematical truth, but based upon observed tendencies in the past. Nevertheless, US troop deployments were not even in the ballpark of any of the recomendations.

It was careless, shoddy, unpatriotic leadership by a Republican Party and President who were in far too much of a hurry to get things right. Bush and your ilk were all too ready to bask in the temporary glory during 2003 while you exhorted the rebels to "bring it on," and even today you refuse to recognize the idiocy and incoherence of the conduct of the war.

Like Viet Nam, history does too often repeat itself for those who lack discernment. Bush and the GOP have brought shame on this entire nation and will go down in history in infamy.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://
"The mistake consisted of adopting "a peacetime approach" too early,"

Pretty much a judgement call, I would think, including judging whose judgement is best.


" And, once taken, we absolutely clamped down hard on the German population, never once giving them the opportunity to start an insurgency as we’ve allowed in Iraq."

Different cultures, different circumstances.


"Why didn’t we put the hammer down the second Baghdad was secure and Saddam was deposed and keep it down? "Nobody move. Stay in your houses. Anyone in the street after 7pm will be shot. Etc., etc." "

My guess is that we did not want to be perceived as conquerors as bad as Sadaam was. We also didn’t have enough troops in place to enforce such draconian measures, which probably would have given us the worst of both policies.

" When you commit to war, you fight it with all the fury and power available to you and you do it until your enemy no longer exists or completely and totally capitulates"

No argument there, but what do you do when your enemy doesn’t cooperate by facing you in nice organized, uniformed and clearly identifiable formations? It is terrific rhetoric, but what happens after your enemy discards his uniform, hides his weapon, and blends into the civilian population?

"Amateurs talk Tactics, professionals talk Logistics."

Hopefully professionals also talk tactics.

 
Written By: tmactual
URL: http://
Joe, obviously this is not a mathematical truth, but based upon observed tendencies in the past. Nevertheless, US troop deployments were not even in the ballpark of any of the recomendations.

But not ALL observations and therefore not of much value....I am reminded of a line from Dilbert, "I’m more an idea rat." Well you presented an idea, but the idea doesn’t have much validity.
If you have the moral authority to engage in a war, then you have the moral authority to be vicious.

If you do not have the moral authority to be vicious (or choose whatever adjective for "aggresive" you like), you do not have the moral authority to be there.
HUH, man I want to be a part of YOUR Church, interesting morality. "God said it’s OK..." Read Walzer’s Just and Unjust Wars, then get back to us on this philosophy.
We had this in Afghanistan and (this is my opinion) we failed to follow through because focus was shifted to Iraq, and we did not have the moral authority in Iraq, and doing what was required to secure the peace WOULD have precipitated our global condemnation.

Again, this is simply silly...IF we had the "moral authority" we could do what we wanted to in Afghanistan and in Iraq? Tell me Captin, how does one discern this moral authority? Does the UN grant it or is it somewhat mystical, you know it when you have it?

Again, let’s try to flesh this philosophy out a bit more before we adopt it, shall we?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’ll try not to echo previous people here, but to build on them.

There’s nothing there. There are no specific measures to be taken that increase force against insurgents without also increasing indiscriminate violence against civilians. If you have any, please discuss them in detail. Otherwise, indiscriminate force against civilians creates only failed and totalitarian states - and that’s under indigenous circumstances. For a democratic republic trying to occupy third-world countries for nebulous and pro-democratic reasons, indiscriminate force sabotages governance-building immediately.

Let’s move to the closest you get to specifics:

So why the half measures? Why thunder into Iraq in two months and then spend three years tip-toeing around? Why didn’t we put the hammer down the second Baghdad was secure and Saddam was deposed and keep it down? "Nobody move. Stay in your houses. Anyone in the street after 7pm will be shot. Etc., etc."

Great. So here we are under martial law. How does one rebuild a democracy under martial law? How do we win the allegiance of civilians to the nascent Iraqi government we’re supposed to be creating and working with while we’re shooting civlians out at night on sight? For that matter, can insurgency operations not be run during the day? What you’re really looking for is,

"Nobody move. Stay in your houses. Anyone in the street... will be shot.

Now this might shut down an insurgency. But how can you run a society like that, and how long can you run it for? How many troops does it take to enforce that order country-wide on 24 million people?

Face it, nation building and the sorts of measures you are discussing are absolutely incompatible. You can’t simultaneously hand things over to Iraqis while stepping up your level of violence, which equates to stepping up your level of control.

This argument is, whether it realizes it or not, a trojan horse for running at least a 10-year total-control US occupation, Paul-Bremer style.

Now, you can make a case for that, if you like. But that wouldn’t make the insurgency dissapear. It’s not as if very violent regimes don’t face insurgencies. Quite the reverse. Sudan’s policies have not shut down their insurgency, and there’s no reason to think that yours would work any better in Iraq’s context.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
No argument there, but what do you do when your enemy doesn’t cooperate by facing you in nice organized, uniformed and clearly identifiable formations? It is terrific rhetoric, but what happens after your enemy discards his uniform, hides his weapon, and blends into the civilian population?
Do you want to succeed or fail?
If you want to succeed, you use the model the British used on the Boers.
The concertina wire industry will love ya, but you probably want to find a term other than concentration camps for PR reasons.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Joe:
What do you recommend? "Arc Light" on Fallujah? Death Camps for the relatives of known or suspected insurgents?
See Joe, this is why, for the most part, I find it difficult to take most of what you say seriously.

You go to the extreme simply to build a rhetorical straw man and then spend paragraphs pounding it.
I see no evidence that we ARE tip-toeing around....again practical examples please.
Fallujah I is the most glaring example. Think about it and you’ll come up with more.

AL:
As Joe mentioned above, this argument entirely misconceives the kind of war we’re engaged in.
Not at all. I’m saying had we fought that sort of war we probably wouldn’t be in the sort of war we find ourselves in now.

The point I’m emphasizing is you only have one chance to impress a population and your enemy about what the consequences are of opposing you.

We failed to take that opportunity. In fact, we simply ignored it.

That’s not because the military wasn’t capable or willing to do that. It’s because the leadership was concerned with how that would be perceived and portrayed.

As I was taught as a young 2LT, whenever you go into any situation, go in as hard as you can. You can always back off later. But if you don’t go in that way, if you let things slide you can’t suddenly "get hard". The situation, at that point, is out of your control. And the fact that it is out of control is your fault.

That’s where we are in Iraq.

You’re arguing that we’re faced with a particular type of war now. Yes. We are.

I’m saying we’re in that type of war now because we failured previously to do what we should have done when we had the opportunity.

I’m arguing that we didn’t have to be faced with this type of war had we handled the aftermath differently and acted like a "conquering army" instead of "liberators", and done what conquering armies do when the fighting ends (and you can save the rape, pillage and plunder comments for someone else, you know precisely what I’m talking about in terms of order).

Screw all that baloney. Armies conquer. And when they conquer they necessarily oppress until they’re sure they’ve successfully destroyed or rooted out all enemy opposition and his means to wage war. That’s how it works. And we don’t need to be apologizing for that or pulling our punches because of it.

That is what I mean when I talk about "committing to war".

And we certainly don’t need to be standing around with our fingers up our a$$ watching the defeated nation become lawless and factionalized because acting against that might smack of "oppression" and "conquest" and be condemned, not only by our "allies" but by the opposition political party here at home.

Fight to win, do what is necessary to conquer your enemy and, when he earns it, let up on him a little at a time.

That’s the point of all of this. Had we done that, we probably wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Fight to win, do what is necessary to conquer your enemy and, when he earns it, let up on him a little at a time.

That’s the point of all of this. Had we done that, we probably wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in now.
That’s absurd McQ, WHO were we supposed to be tough with, the Kurds, the Shi’i? Your argument lacks any specific recommendations, and simply sees "Be tough, win...."

So why not ask, "Arc Light in Fallujah?" At least it’s SOMETHNG? You offered NOTHING.

Fallujah I is the most glaring example
And I believe Fallujah has BEEN settled.... without Arc Light...and without total destruction....

Again, from your posting we ought to have been "tougher" and yet I ask, "How much tougher?" We are fighting to win, IMO. We define winning as an Iraq that polices itself and has a functioning economy and a legitimate government. We are not there yet, but that’s "Victory". We are moving there, it requries time, patience and training... it does NOT require more violence or greater "toughness" on our part... unless you are advocating martial law and a repeal of the Iraqi elections and direct rule by the US. All of which would yield a GREATER problem, not a smaller one, today and tomorrow.

Again McQ fundamentally we are being given, by you, an empty phrase, such as "There is no substitute for Victory." Which I might add, looks stupid NOW, as almost anyone would agree the US won a GREAT "Victory" in Korea. Without specificity your demands for "Fighting to Win" are simply hollow words.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Screw all that baloney. Armies conquer. And when they conquer they necessarily oppress until they’re sure they’ve successfully destroyed or rooted out all enemy opposition and his means to wage war. That’s how it works. And we don’t need to be apologizing for that or pulling our punches because of it.

McQ, this is just rubbish and you know it. We were not and could never have been a "conquering army". This isn’t the Middle Ages. We’re a democracy who pre-emptively invaded a country on the grounds that we were going to liberate its people from an oppressive regime. In no possible universe could we or would we have imposed brutal martial law on Iraq immediately after invading. That was never politically or practically possible.

It also would have been insanely counterproductive. You claim we should have "destroyed or rooted out the enemy", but that entirely misconceives what an insurgency is. When we first took over, there really wasn’t an insurgency. Even the foreign fighters had not yet entered the country. So there was no enemy to root out. The insurgency developed and gathered strength as a response to our presence there. And the harder you crack down on the civilian population, the greater the insurgency you fuel. This is counter-insurgency 101.

Our strategic objective after the invasion was to create a stable, pro-Western government to replace Saddam. The tactics you are describing would have instantly made such a goal impossible. They are not compatible with nation-building, particulary in a situation were you are the aggressor. Our success depended on turning Iraq quickly into a better country and convincing Iraqis that we were the good guys. Your "strategy" would have made things infinitely worse.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Wow, thanks Joe. I didn’t know that we were winning, with the liberal media and all. You heard it here, everyone. Joe says we are winning and you can take that to the bank. Joe knows more about nation-building and peacekeeping than the Rand Corporation or the military experts who pacified Bosnia and Kosovo. According to Joe, they had many times more troops than they needed in Bosnia. Maybe Joe is on to something. Maybe we only need half or a quarter of the troops we have now, since Joe says that we should ignore all the recent evidence of successful peacekeeping operations.
 
Written By: william
URL: http://

Fight to win, do what is necessary to conquer your enemy and, when he earns it, let up on him a little at a time.
Agreed.
This is why I had early reservations about the outcome. The past fifty years or so, whenever the decision to use the military, other measures often proved to be half-assed. Sure we could crush most advisories with ease, but we often lacked the swing on the follow through. We usually have self set moral limitations that prohibit such necessities. In short, the US of A (and that stands for us, assh*le) is not by nature - imperialist.

In order to build nations, one must be imperialistic. Demolish the House of ___, and sweep the debris… Do not build on top of rubble.

Your strategy is spot on, McQ.
Whether it still would have been a good idea is up for debate.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://ceilidhcowboy.typepad.com/
Wow, thanks Joe. I didn’t know that we were winning, with the liberal media and all.

Glad to be of service William, as there are a number of outlets that point out that the NYT version IS overly gloomy. You might check them out. Start with strategypage.com
You heard it here, everyone. Joe says we are winning and you can take that to the bank. Joe knows more about nation-building and peacekeeping than the Rand Corporation


Oh so NOW the RAND Corp are experts, the crew that gave us Vietnam? Well tell me William, exactly HOW MANY NATIONS RAND HAS BUILT?
or the military experts who pacified Bosnia and Kosovo. According to Joe, they had many times more troops than they needed in Bosnia.

Bosnia and Kosovo have YET to achieve the level of civil society that Iraq has, William. They are STILL governed by their multinational Peace Keeping forces, or have you forgotten that? There is NO Bosnian, Kosovar government, only UN administration. So the UN is now a certified nation-builder?
Maybe Joe is on to something. Maybe we only need half or a quarter of the troops we have now, since Joe says that we should ignore all the recent evidence of successful peacekeeping operations.

Would you care to point those "successful peacekeeping missions" out William? I’ll wait whilst you look them up.....So in sum William believes RAND, NATO, and the UN are models to emulate...OK.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
We were not and could never have been a "conquering army".
Good God man, you really can’t be that obtuse.

I mean if you can’t even understand the context of the description, there’s really nothing left to discuss.
It also would have been insanely counterproductive. You claim we should have "destroyed or rooted out the enemy", but that entirely misconceives what an insurgency is. When we first took over, there really wasn’t an insurgency. Even the foreign fighters had not yet entered the country. So there was no enemy to root out.
Iraq was a vast ammo dump. We let it be looted. What did you think they were going to do with all that stuff, AL? Make lamps?

We made no move to secure it, no move to destroy it, no move to keep Iraqis out of it. Only later did we try.

Now the stuff is showing up in pleasant little devices called IEDs.

Are you telling me that starved of the stuff necessary to fight an insurgenecy the level we face now would still obtain?

And had we starved that portion of the insurgency of its ability to form, how difficult, given their tactics, would AQ have been to destroy?

Weapons. Are you saying we shouldn’t have disarmed the population? Confiscated any and all weapons we saw? Again, a prudent step which, in the days following the war, we could probably have done fairly easily had we taken charge like a conquering army would have done.

Curfews? Travel restrictions?

No weapons or explosives (at least not at the level we now face). No ability to get together and conspire (curfews and travel restrictions).

Tough to get anything going when that’s the case.

Sounds like a way to starve a nascent insurgent movement of the oxygen it needs to bloom, doesn’t it?

That’s what conquering armies do.

In the meantime, we have time and space to begin standing up security forces, government, etc. in relative peace and, among most Iraqis, they have the security they want even if, in the long-run, they end up bitching about it and us.
Our strategic objective after the invasion was to create a stable, pro-Western government to replace Saddam. The tactics you are describing would have instantly made such a goal impossible. They are not compatible with nation-building, particulary in a situation were you are the aggressor. Our success depended on turning Iraq quickly into a better country and convincing Iraqis that we were the good guys. Your "strategy" would have made things infinitely worse.
LOL!

Heh ... would they?

Read the paper today?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Quicker version of this suggested strategy:

March 2003:

"Hey everyone, Saddamn’s is GONE! We’ve liberated you from your tyrannical dictator, and we’ve come to teach you democracy!

Now don’t go outside, or we’ll have to shoot you."
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
"Hey everyone, Saddamn’s is GONE! We’ve liberated you from your tyrannical dictator, and we’ve come to teach you democracy!

Now don’t go outside, or we’ll have to shoot you."
You’re mixing politics and war, and that’s the point here ... they shouldn’t be mixed. When you go to war you go to war one way and one way only. The way I describe.

You commit to war. Totally. Fully. Completely.

If, politically, you can’t handle that then it becomes a pretty easy decision ...

Don’t. Go. To. War!
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You commit to war. Totally. Fully. Completely.

If, politically, you can’t handle that then it becomes a pretty easy decision ...

Don’t. Go. To. War!
And don’t forget "WIN ONE FOR THE GIPPER" Whilst we’re whipping out slogans.

McQ when AL, Glasnost and I are in agreement, in part, that you are presenting nothing beyond sloganeering and providing no substance, this might be taken as a sign that you’re incorrect in your position...It’s not like AL, Glasnost and I are ideological allies or anything. It’s an odd alignment of folks...I mean just because FDR, Churchill and Stalin all opposed Hitler doesn’t PROVE Hitler wrong, but it’s got to make you wonder....

You seem to feel that the US effort in Iraq is not "serious" enough and I don’t believe your definition of serious or dedicated or whatever is a good definition. And when we ask for more specifics we don’t get them...no one is asking, yet, for a detailed TPFDL or a line-by-line discussion of DoD’s budget and the Emergency Spending Bills. We don’t want to know what USC sections need revision. You lack any real specifics...more troops, how many 500,000, more firepower? More money? More direct intervention in the workings of the Iraqi government? What?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Now don’t go outside, or we’ll have to shoot you."
That sort of order, gentlemen, is EXACTLY what he means by the willingness to wage the war.
By reducing it to it’s worst possible phrasing, though completely accurate, you are demonstrating you find it far fetched, and showing you ARE unwilling to wage the war to the extent he’s suggesting.

Before you get all wobbly about how KFOR handles Kosovo, you should look at their ’permissions’. They can do pretty much anything the KFOR commander can justify to maintain order and protect the KFOR troops. Violence (force) is included in his available options, as are curfews, confiscations, etc (literally, whatever he thinks he needs to do to get the job done - perhaps that explains the UN force selling women as sex slaves?).

Also, keep in mind the UN is still unsure what they are going to do with Kosovo nation wise, and there is still sectarian violence occuring in the region (exploding cars, etc), and the electricity is still not all back on there (7 years, and counting).
Funny, that doesn’t make the papers much though.
Find a better example of something we might emulate in Iraq.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Also, keep in mind the UN is still unsure what they are going to do with Kosovo nation wise, and there is still sectarian violence occuring in the region (exploding cars, etc), and the electricity is still not all back on there (7 years, and counting).
Funny, that doesn’t make the papers much though.
Find a better example of something we might emulate in Iraq
.
Thank you Looker... William please note the above...and tell us about the "experience" in the Balkans as a model for Iraq.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
McQ when AL, Glasnost and I are in agreement, in part, that you are presenting nothing beyond sloganeering and providing no substance, this might be taken as a sign that you’re incorrect in your position...
The fact that you and the rest can’t get beyond considering what is being said as ’sloganeering’ isn’t my problem, Joe.

It simply says to me you don’t understand the argument and can’t respond other than to wave it off as such.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
That sort of order, gentlemen, is EXACTLY what he means by the willingness to wage the war. By reducing it to it’s worst possible phrasing, though completely accurate, you are demonstrating you find it far fetched, and showing you ARE unwilling to wage the war to the extent he’s suggesting.
Precisely.

And if that is the case, I’ll repeat myself:

Don’t. Go. To. War!

Thanks, looker.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I think we were betrayed by our own expectations of how the Iraqi populace would receive their new found freedom.

And having arrived with the desire to give them freedom, and thinking they’d handle it as we like to think we would (see New Orleans & Katrina for how we, as a population, can be demonstrated to handle the sudden withdrawal of social authority) we weren’t thinking we’d have threaten to shoot them on a regular basis to keep them in line.

Just like we learned in Vietnam for fighting (hard, overwhelming, fast), now we’re trying to learn how to occupy and pacify a country that hasn’t really felt our true ability to lay waste to their land.
Bets are we’ll never, for example, leave another ammo dump unoccupied or guarded.

Truth be told, maybe we didn’t kill enough of their army so when some now unemployed military yahoo had an opportunity to grab some munitions they jumped at it.

By the time we’d occupied Germany and Japan, we’d killed off a very considerable portion of their male population, and spent 4 years (not 4 weeks) doing it, and we weren’t trying to minimize damage to things.
They were good and tired of dying by the time we occupied them.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
’unguarded’ ammo dumps -
learned ’from’ Vietnam (slow build up and limited use of force vs Shock and Awe)

My bad.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
By reducing it to it’s worst possible phrasing, though completely accurate, you are demonstrating you find it far fetched, and showing you ARE unwilling to wage the war to the extent he’s suggesting

You’re right. I do find it far-fetched. The reason is that it argues a solution to tactical problems that contrasts with the strategic realities. Not only that, but even to the extent that the general idea being pushed includes policies that might have been a good idea, it also includes a lot of them that weren’t a good idea.

Iraq was a vast ammo dump. We let it be looted. What did you think they were going to do with all that stuff, AL? Make lamps?


Weapons. Are you saying we shouldn’t have disarmed the population? Confiscated any and all weapons we saw? Again, a prudent step which, in the days following the war, we could probably have done fairly easily had we taken charge like a conquering army would have done.

Curfews? Travel restrictions?

No weapons or explosives (at least not at the level we now face). No ability to get together and conspire (curfews and travel restrictions).

Tough to get anything going when that’s the case.


Well, restrictions on explosives, total weapons confiscation, curfews and travel restrictions. None of these things are neccesarily bad.

However, we’ve done a lot of them. Is the argument that we did them halfheartedly and needed to do more of them? Would have needed a lot more resources. Willingness to be forceful was not the missing ingredient. I’m aware that you disavowed torture, but most of your post was about more force. I don’t think more force was the issue.

What you’re really arguing is more control. I’m not going to knock that arguement completely, because I don’t know with certainty that it wouldn’t have worked. Who knows - if you’d achieved greater level of anti-violence and counter-violence dominance at the internal level, you might have had a united, radical, largely deweaponized anti-American resistance movement, a la the first Palestinian infitada. That would probably have been better for the Iraqis, but who knows if the US’s strategic position would have come out better.

Also, Iraq is not by itself in a test tube. It’s got Iran on one side and Syria on the other. Your approach here, like I said, would have demanded a decade of Paul Bremer and at least double the resources. Do you disagree?
In the abstract - and maybe, I don’t know - that would have been a less violent result. On the other hand, you might have found that we still weren’t able to deweaponize the or strangle the insurgency. It just would have been an Arab/US insurgency instead of splitting off into a Sunni/Shiite/US triangle fight.

A good example - people talking up this line of rhetoric often claim we should have finished off Sadr in 2004. But a case can really be made that that would have only resulted in Shiite anti-US insrugent groups instead of Shiite anti-Sunni death squads.

It’s an unclear picture, to say the least.

On the other hand, it is also true that our current model wouldn’t have gotten us anywhere either. My personal model would have been holding elections within 3 months and withdrawing to Kurdistan immediately after that. That would have been another way of avoiding the mixing politics and war that would have also never drawn us into this highly destructive down cycle.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
"We failed to take that opportunity. In fact, we simply ignored it."

Possibly so, but as you say, we only get one chance. Arguing over what we should have done may be entertaining, but it’s not particularly useful at this point. What do we do now?

"...whenever you go into any situation, go in as hard as you can. You can always back off later."

Not always.


"Armies conquer. And when they conquer they necessarily oppress until they’re sure they’ve successfully destroyed or rooted out all enemy opposition"

Is this what you had in mind a few posts back when you argued for restructuring our military?


"You’re mixing politics and war,"

LOL. There is a difference? That seems to be an American failing, to think of the two as discrete entities.


"...Don’t. Go. To. War!"

Perhaps that is why some were opposed to this war, knowing that such distasteful measures might be necessary, and perhaps to no avail.

*************************8

"...we were betrayed by our own expectations..."

We? Our?

 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Yes.
Tell me that Americans on average (and certainly elements of our administration) didn’t expect the Iraqi’s to act like Americans once they were free from Hussein.

We, Our, American expectations.

If you’re not American I can’t help you on it, if you are, you roughly know what I’m talking about.
I’m not trying to imply I was there making decisions.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
You’re right. I do find it far-fetched. The reason is that it argues a solution to tactical problems that contrasts with the strategic realities.
Enlighten me on your view here -
Seems simple enough - stay indoors after hours. I live in a city where my kids weren’t allowed, by ordinance, to roam around without adults after 10:00 PM on the streets. Curfews.

Here it is citations for breaking curfew.
There it could just as well be ’bang’.
Why is that far-fetched?

Which ’realities’ are you speaking of that negate the ability to say you have the option to shoot on sight after a certain time of day?
What activity do you think the average Iraqi engages in on the street after dark in a country that has just lost a war and been occupied that makes this unworkable?
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
HUH, man I want to be a part of YOUR Church, interesting morality. "God said it’s OK..." Read Walzer’s Just and Unjust Wars, then get back to us on this philosophy.
Morality is not the sole purview of religion, as such my comments were unrelated to what God would say is okay. If we want to bring God into it, the Biblical view may be that if someone attacks us and kills us, we should let them. Perhaps I should say moral clarity rather than moral authority, but in any case, I am not talking about divine morality, though maybe Old Testament morality?.
Again, this is simply silly...IF we had the "moral authority" we could do what we wanted to in Afghanistan and in Iraq? Tell me Captin, how does one discern this moral authority? Does the UN grant it or is it somewhat mystical, you know it when you have it?
Moral authority is relative and is not a mathematical formula, and is based in part on the provocation (pretext) and in part on public opinion. Rather than try and explain it, I’ll show you. Again, perhaps I should phrase it as moral clarity.

America was attacked by al Qaeda, al Qaeda was based and being protected by tha Taliban, the Taliban was the defacto government of Afghanistan. America attacked Afghanistan and public opinion, across the globe, was supportive. We had moral authority, it was an appropriate response. We could have been much more vicious than we were without losing our moral authority, though there is certainly a point at which we would have. If, for example we napalmed civilians indiscriminately, we would likely have lost moral authority.

The Iraq invasion completely lacked moral clarity, there were shifting justifications, there was no retaliatory element, and no (proven) defensive element associated with the attack. As a result, the threshold of losing our moral authority was pretty much crossed when the first soldiers set foot in Iraq.
Again, let’s try to flesh this philosophy out a bit more before we adopt it, shall we?
Here is what I wrote about Iraq a while ago...
The invasion of Iraq lacked moral clarity.

There will always be some level of debate whenever military force is
brought to bear, always. There are some individuals and groups that
will oppose ANY military action, no matter how justified the action
appears to be. It is not possible to please everyone, and not likely
desirable either. Regardless of opposition, there are occasions when
the use of military force is appropriate, and sometimes inescapable.
On these occasions, there is a level of moral clarity that
overwhelms critics.

Iraq is not such an example.

As such, the greatest tragedy of this administrations policy is
simply that as a result of 9/11, they enjoyed unprecedented global
support in the global war on Islamist terrorists like those that
struck the world trade center.

America’s action in Afghanistan is one example of virtually
unanimous domestic and global support for military action. Sure
there were opponents of any action, but they were the usual
suspects, what the right likes to call the peace-at-any-price crowd,
as well as groups that were inclined to oppose any action involving
Western forces brought to bear against a predominantly Muslim
nation. The fact is that there was no doubt that al Qaeda and the
Taliban were inextricably linked, and that al Qaeda was physically
centered in Afghanistan. Republicans, Democrats, liberals,
conservatives, libertarians, Russians, French, Germans, Italians,
even the Chinese were supportive of American’s invasion of
Afghanistan. This action was supported by moral clarity.

The invasion of Iraq did was not an example of an action taken with
moral clarity. There were three elements at play when Iraq was being
discussed as a target:
1. Weapons of Mass Destruction
2. Complicity between Iraq and al Qaeda
3. The immense brutality of the manner in which Saddam Hussein
administrated Iraq.

The third element is irrelevant with respect to unilateral action,
or even multilateral action. It is impossible and counterproductive
to attempt to impose global accountability on a sovereign nation
without a global mandate. The third element is also irrelevant
within the context of the global war on terrorism.

The other two items taken separately or together could well have led
to global agreement on the moral clarity of taking action in Iraq,
but there was no consensus on moral clarity even in the U.S. much
less globally, and the reason for this is precisely that clear
evidence of the existence of either was never provided, even though
the administration claimed there was "no doubt" that huge
immediately available stockpiles of WMD’s were at Saddam’s disposal,
and on the second point, the administration never passed up an
opportunity to insinuate that a failure to remove Saddam and the
WMD’s was tantamount to handing nuclear bombs to terrorists (also
false). As President Bush clearly promoted in his state of the Union
Address in 2003 by discussing Iraq’s alleged nuclear programs
(false) and then discussed 9/11 and the threat of terror directly
against America, and then closed the loop by telling Americans that
we needed to disarm Iraq or the "smoking gun" could be in the form
of a mushroom cloud.

The action in Iraq was not an example of a failure of intelligence,
it was an example of the triumph of stupidity. America took it’s eye
off the ball and wasted lives and resources and relationships across
the globe, and the best we can hope to accomplish is to improve the
lot of 25 million Iraqi’s who were not even disposed to rebel
against their own government and who seem to have a desire to kill
Americans and each other.

To obtain the moral clarity needed to support an invasion of Iraq,
the al Qaeda links and WMD’s would have had to have been
substantiated by unequivocal evidence. Considering the effort by the
administration to establish such evidence as well as the fact that
there is now universal agreement that neither the weapons nor the al
Qaeda links exist, it is clear that those who questioned the
administrations intention of taking military action have been proven
correct, and the current reality facing America is that a large
number of Americans as well as a significant majority of the global
population now believe that America invaded a nation based on either
a lie or mistake.

If there were moral clarity surrounding this action, the possibility
of this circumstance would have been reduced to nil.

As a result of these realities, the invasion of Iraq was the single
worst foreign policy decision in the history of this nation and
should global conflict ever occur in our future, the catalyst for
such a conflict will likely be traced back to this single, poorly
considered action.
Cap


 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
McQ you have realised a vital and useful point with benefit of hindsight. Now apply it to the current situation.

The war is not lost yet. To win now the sectarian violence must be brutally and forcefully supressed. The USA does not have any capability to invest more troops into the situation or act with greater brutality to crush the dissent (poll numbers y’know). The only people in country willing to do this are the Shia (and Kurdish) militias, if they are allowed procedural support by the Maliki government then a win is still possible.

If this is to be carried through it becomes needed to prevent the militias from becoming too strong independent of the government. In this the USA can play a pivotal role by cutting off external supports to the Shia militia from Iran.

 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Weapons. Are you saying we shouldn’t have disarmed the population? Confiscated any and all weapons we saw? Again, a prudent step which, in the days following the war, we could probably have done fairly easily had we taken charge like a conquering army would have done.
Now you’re totally changing your argument McQ. Of course I think we should have secured the ammo dumps and confiscated weapons. I also think we should NOT have disbanded the Iraqi Army. But all this is neither here nor there. You argued in your post that we should have been more "brutal" and "put the hammer down" and kept people locked in their homes, etc. That’s what I was saying made no sense. Securing ammo dumps is not being "more brutal" or "tougher"; it’s just being smart. It’s not as if the political correctness police are going around arguing that it’s wrong to secure ammo dumps.
Sounds like a way to starve a nascent insurgent movement of the oxygen it needs to bloom, doesn’t it?
Uh, no. Resorting to brutal martial law tactics is exactly the sort of strategy that fuels an insurgency. Insurgencies are driven by resentment of an occupying force. Any measures that increase that resentment fuel nascent insurgencies. This occupation was bothed in myriad ways. But as Joe and glasnost and everyone else point out, being "tougher" toward the Iraqis was not the problem. If anything, our clumsy bust-down-the-door tactics during the first year of our occupation contributed greatly to the rise of the insurgency. Being even more clumsy and stupid with our use of force would only have made the problem worse, and more quickly.

This whole mantra that our failures are caused by our unwillingess to be tough and brutal is a ridiculous fantasy invented by people like Peters who have a deep psychological need to find some way to pin our failures in Iraq on "liberals". It’s transparent nonsense, and based on your own prior writings on this war, McQ, I’m pretty sure you know this. We did a lot of things wrong in Iraq, many of which you’ve pointed out in the past. But being over-sensitive was most definitely not the problem.

Indeed the opposite is true. Because our civilian leaders took so long to acknowledge that we were facing an insurgency, we continued for a long time to engage in tactics that only poured fuel on the fire. Now we’re finally being a lot smarter about it, but it’s probably too late.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
"...Americans on average..."

I doubt that the average American gave it any thought at all. Those that did think about it were probably dived on the issue. Just my opinion, as I have not spoken to enough Americans to make a definite statement.

"I’m not trying to imply I was there making decisions."

No offense meant, but I didn’t think you were trying to imply that. Now that you have brought it up though, I think those that were making decisions should have at least suspected that Iraqis would not act like Americans. God knows that there has been enough talk of Americans not acting like Americans(I hope my use of the G word didn’t offend anyone) to at least give rise to a suspicion that outright foreigners wouldn’t.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Possibly so, but as you say, we only get one chance. Arguing over what we should have done may be entertaining, but it’s not particularly useful at this point. What do we do now?
This isn’t a "what should we do now" post. This is a post about examining our commitment to going to war. That’s why I wrote we needed to do some soul searching because these two wars are not the way to do it.

As for what we should do now - I’ve talked about that for two years.

What I want to see is a renewed commitment from leadership (military and civilian) which says when we commit to war we commit to it all out, as if we were a conquering army and all that entails about how the subject country, and its people, will be treated in the aftermath of the hostilities.

And if we haven’t the stomach or will to do that, then do everyone a favor and find another way to deal with the problem.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
However, we’ve done a lot of them. Is the argument that we did them halfheartedly and needed to do more of them? Would have needed a lot more resources. Willingness to be forceful was not the missing ingredient. I’m aware that you disavowed torture, but most of your post was about more force. I don’t think more force was the issue.
We’ve tried to do a lot of them after the fact. But we certainly had no plan to do any of that, apparently.

And no, my post wasn’t about more force. It was about appropriate force to address the future threat (which at the time was only a possiblity) and ensure what has happened wouldn’t have the chance to happen. What I’m saying is we didn’t apply enough force or control initially.
Also, Iraq is not by itself in a test tube. It’s got Iran on one side and Syria on the other. Your approach here, like I said, would have demanded a decade of Paul Bremer and at least double the resources. Do you disagree?
Yes. I do. The bulk of the resources - in blood and treasure - have been spent trying to keep the lid on this insurgency and repair what they blow up. Any guess as to how much better spent the money would have been otherwise? And how much less of a "two steps forward, one back" sort of fight we’d have had? And there’s no doubt it would have dramatically shortened our time in country, at least militarily.
In the abstract - and maybe, I don’t know - that would have been a less violent result. On the other hand, you might have found that we still weren’t able to deweaponize the or strangle the insurgency. It just would have been an Arab/US insurgency instead of splitting off into a Sunni/Shiite/US triangle fight.
Well you tell me Glasnost ... is it easier to take weapons away from a disorganized population which has just lost a war or is it better and easier if you wait three years, let them organize and loot the ammo caches and then try?
A good example - people talking up this line of rhetoric often claim we should have finished off Sadr in 2004. But a case can really be made that that would have only resulted in Shiite anti-US insrugent groups instead of Shiite anti-Sunni death squads.
Sadr wasn’t even a factor during the time I’m speaking of. Again, is Sadr’s militia and their arms easier dealt with then or now?

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"Armies conquer. And when they conquer they necessarily oppress until they’re sure they’ve successfully destroyed or rooted out all enemy opposition"

Is this what you had in mind a few posts back when you argued for restructuring our military?
You mean when I argued we need a conventional side which goes out, kicks a$$ and takes names and crushes enemies and an unconventional side which fights existing asymetrical wars?

You bet.
Perhaps that is why some were opposed to this war, knowing that such distasteful measures might be necessary, and perhaps to no avail.
Then don’t do it half-a$$ed. Find another way to solve the problem.

And that’s the entire message of this post. Either commit with the understanding of what that entails (and carry it through), or don’t.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Uh, no. Resorting to brutal martial law tactics is exactly the sort of strategy that fuels an insurgency.
See, you’re precisely why I cannot fathom supporting the Democrats in leadership positions.

Every war we’ve ever fought, other than this one, had times when we necessarily imposed and enforced martial law. And when things calmed down, we backed off.

But for you, it’s an automatic no-go simply because it seems ’brutal’. You whine about Peter’s looking for a liberal to blame and then you make his very case.

Amazing.
Now you’re totally changing your argument McQ. Of course I think we should have secured the ammo dumps and confiscated weapons.
Well good ... that’s what a conquering army would have done.
Because our civilian leaders took so long to acknowledge that we were facing an insurgency, we continued for a long time to engage in tactics that only poured fuel on the fire. Now we’re finally being a lot smarter about it, but it’s probably too late.
We weren’t facing an insurgency at the time. Zip, zero, nada.

We had a few die-hards trying to become martyrs, but that’s it.

And that’s the point. Had we had the balls to impose that "brutal" martial law, confiscate weapons and secure the ammo dumps, chances are there wouldn’t have been one and if there was, it would have been at a much lower level than it is now.

But we’d have had to act like a conquering army, something you seem to be slowly realizing but loath to admit.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
And that’s the point. Had we had the balls to impose that "brutal" martial law, confiscate weapons and secure the ammo dumps, chances are there wouldn’t have been one and if there was, it would have been at a much lower level than it is now.

But we’d have had to act like a conquering army, something you seem to be slowly realizing but loath to admit.
McQ:
1) First there was no insurgency,
2) Then there WAS
3) We should have taken the interregnum to introduce a Brutal Martial law...



4) and today YOU’D be pointing out our error in doing so, because that "fueled" the insurgency.

The insurgency is something of an inevitibility...the Ba’athists and Jihadis were NOT going to go quietly into that good night. And imposing Brutal Martial Law on the 78% of the populace we were liberating was not a good idea, you know the Kurds and Shi’i.

So again your "idea" is a slogan or hollow phrase, we’re getting there, now it includes brutal martial law. Now explain who got the brutal law...how long it was supposed to last...and we’ll be getting there. I’d still argue that telling folks, "Hooray you’re liberated and if you move outside your house after dark we’ll KILL you" is counter-productive, but we ARE making progress.

BTW, saying we don’t grasp your idea is NOT the same thng as HAVING an idea.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
We weren’t facing an insurgency at the time. Zip, zero, nada.
Saddam’s planning revolved around distributing weaponary to cities where it could be used to tie down US military. It did not save him, but the weaponary and fighters were positioned to start an insurgency. There was a lull whilst people tried to assess what you were going to do, this lull was on the part of the Iraqis. You went out and attacked the Sunni Baathists specifically - the Sunni insurgency was born. If you had decided to go after everybody with weapons, there would have been a wider insurgency.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Uh, no. Resorting to brutal martial law tactics is exactly the sort of strategy that fuels an insurgency.
If that were true countries could never be conquered. Any enemy can muster enough support to stay alive indefinitely if you are not willing to do what is necessary to defeat it. That is almost a tautology.

It is also false. Enemies can be defeated. Chaos and disorder breed insurgencies by giving them a belief they can succeed as well as making people resent the occupier for not establishing order. Those are self reinforcing factors. The idea put forward in this statement is a theory which history does not support. Armies which have seized control and held it forcefully have been quite successful at pacifying the population. Eventually they have been able to cede control to local authorities. The history of conquering a nation and not forcefully imposing order is rather depressing. That doesn’t mean it cannot work, but the record is not very good.

As for Joe and his counter insurgency history from the Brits, well that is a good guide now, I don’t have any quarrel with him. Those are examples however of an already established insurgency being quelled, it doesn’t disprove McQ’s contention on the best way to avoid such a situation in the first place. It is also not the only way to do it, though the alternative methods are just as dicey and unpalatable to boot.

It also means that it will take quite a while at this point, and it could very easily get worse before it gets better, if it does. That is reality. I don’t know if the Iraqi government is up to the task. We will have to see. Failure however is always possible, if you go to war without understanding that or being unwilling to accept that possibility then don’t go to war.

I understand why the administration tried to do things the way they did, and yes AL, it was influenced by the opposition to the war and other methods in general. That is also understandable, we live in a democracy. It isn’t good though.

I agree with McQ, we as a nation before we go to war again, regardless of the rationale, have to make some decisions about what war means. It means defeats, losses, setbacks, strategic and tactical error. It also means humanitarian outrages of various types, no matter who is our leader, because war breeds them. It means people dying, and often in quite large numbers. Timidity often leads to more abuses, by us and our foes, as well as more deaths.

You go into war knowing we will not always live up to our ideals, history should tell us that. That is not an excuse for mistakes and regrettable actions, but it does mean we have to face the fact that no army and no nation has so far avoided them. Most certainly that is true of our country’s critics of this war, even in Europe, who have behaved far worse whenever they have been put to the test.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Look, my philosophy about war is fairly simple: If you go to war either do so to win it or stay the hell out of it. But as we can see in both Iraq and Afghanistan, our reluctance to come down hard, take control and do what is necessary to maintain control has, in fact, been more detrimental to our cause in each country than the condemnation we might have suffered from those who haven’t lifted a finger to do anything in either country might have heaped on us.
...

I’m not advocating a "kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out" mentality. But I do agree that it is time we all realize - and accept - that when we commit to war we must commit to it with the understanding that it is savage, brutal, unfair, and sometimes entails doing things we wouldn’t do in the absence of war (and here I’m talking about risking innocent civilians, enforcing martial law with deadly force, etc. ... not torture or some of the other more odious things I’m sure some will read into that statement).
Correct. And welcome to the party. I will point out that your comments here sound rather like ones I made a couple years ago, here and elsewhere.

But within the context of...
"it is time we all realize - and accept - that when we commit to war we must commit to it with the understanding that it is savage, brutal, unfair, and sometimes entails doing things we wouldn’t do in the absence of war"...
...I submit that the very definition of ’torture’ gets recast, as do all other kinds of activity that occurrs in war. At least it does if we’re serious about winning.

Now, mind I’m not advocating thumbscrews, the rack, etc, (Nor have I ever done so...) so let’s not start that nonsense again. But some of what we in peacetime have decided is ’inhumane’, loses all sense, in the reality that is a war. And we’re either ready to recognize this, and operate within those params, or we should get ready to lose the war.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Well good ... that’s what a conquering army would have done.
You know, it’s probably worth pointing out that the question you keep asking—i.e., what should a "conquering army" do—is a pretty misguided question considering it was never our intention to "conquer" Iraq. We’re not Genghis Khan and the Mongols. You only conquer a country when your goal is to add it to your empire. If that were our goal, then perhaps brutal suppression of the civilian population might have been an effective strategy. But our goal was to remove a dictator and replace him with a friendly democratic government. You can’t do that by brutally cracking down on the civilian population. That just makes them hate you, which is highly counter-productive when your goal is to leave the place in the hands of democratically elected leaders.
See, you’re precisely why I cannot fathom supporting the Democrats in leadership positions.

Every war we’ve ever fought, other than this one, had times when we necessarily imposed and enforced martial law. And when things calmed down, we backed off.

But for you, it’s an automatic no-go simply because it seems ’brutal’. You whine about Peter’s looking for a liberal to blame and then you make his very case.
Oy. McQ, you’re being deliberately obtuse. I never said we can never impose martial law. In fact, until a new authority structure could be put in place, we had to, by definition, resort to martial law. No one has any problem with that. What I’m talking about (and what your post was talking about) was the supposed wisdom of enforcing a "more brutal and oppressive" martial law than we did. Your claim was that had we been more brutal and oppressive, things would have turned out better.

That’s rubbish. It was our kick-down-the-doors approach during the first year of the war that alienated a lot of Iraqis and fueled the nascent insurgency. We’ve since stopped doing that stuff because our leaders eventually realized that such tactics are highly counter-productive. Had we been even more "brutal and oppressive" we would have been faced with a much broader insurgency, and much more quickly.

Can you cite any actual military expert who agrees with the Ralph Peters, shoot-anyone-who-moves approach to counter-insurgency? Can you cite any historical examples that don’t involve imperial conquest where such tactics actually accomplished anything?
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
"This isn’t a "what should we do now" post. This is a post about examining our commitment to going to war"

Oh. Right. Never mind. *blush*


I still think you overrate the efficacy and practicality of a harsh occupation in this case.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Fighting Pashtuns is always going to be a tough nut to crack, as they seem to enjoy fighting wars.

After Lebanon and the invention of the car bomb, any war in the Arab area was going to be problematic.

With Iraq, I’m not sure any combination of tactics and strategies would have produced the "clean win" that some people think we could have pulled off. Actually, I think trying out the light touch first was smart, because if it had worked, great, and you could always escalate a bit.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"That’s rubbish. It was our kick-down-the-doors approach during the first year of the war that alienated a lot of Iraqis and fueled the nascent insurgency. We’ve since stopped doing that stuff because our leaders eventually realized that such tactics are highly counter-productive. Had we been even more "brutal and oppressive" we would have been faced with a much broader insurgency, and much more quickly."

Maybe those tactics would be better used if you were operating in your own environment, when you could read the door numbers, and knew the territory, but I am sure glad we changed tactics - you’ll notice the media doesn’t run too many of those stories anymore. The military also had a program to improve our roadblock guys’ ability to make a good decision on to shoot or not, i.e. suicide bomber in cars usually come alone, so if the car has 4 people, then it’s most likely just a confused family, etc.

I think our guys have been learning very quickly, and if we had to fight another type of war like this, we’d do much, much better from planning to counter-insurgency.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I submit that the very definition of ’torture’ gets recast...
No. It doesn’t.

But nice try.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Rich Lowry thinks Ralph Peters’ column is stupid, too.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
AL,

You don’t like the word conquer, okay, occupy. Either way name a war where this wasn’t done and the outcome was positive?

Nor does it have to be more brutal, it just has to be willing to be.

Oh, Joe. Your example of Korea isn’t really accurate since we left a large South Korean army in place.
It was our kick-down-the-doors approach during the first year of the war that alienated a lot of Iraqis and fueled the nascent insurgency. We’ve since stopped doing that stuff because our leaders eventually realized that such tactics are highly counter-productive. Had we been even more "brutal and oppressive" we would have been faced with a much broader insurgency, and much more quickly.
That is actually very questionable. Given the situation the change may have made sense. That in no way implies that if the occupation had included far more troops and a far more stringent law and order approach from the start that we wouldn’t have severely limited the insurgency. Random seeming door kicking with a chaotic security situation means the Iraqi’s got the worst of both worlds. No wonder they didn’t like it.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
For what it’s worth, from TCS, an article on the new Counter-Insurgency manual:

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=101706B

(Portions redacted and emphasis added)
1)....

2) The more force used, the less effective it is (Using substantial force increases the risk of collateral damage and mistakes, and increases the opportunity for insurgent propaganda.)


3) The more successful counterinsurgency is, the less force that can be used and the more risk that must be accepted (As the level of insurgent violence drops, the military must be used less, with stricter rules of engagement, and the police force used more.)


4) Sometimes doing nothing is the best reaction (Often an insurgent carries out
a terrorist act or guerrilla raid with the primary purpose of causing a reaction that can then be exploited.)


5) The best weapons for counterinsurgency do not shoot (Often dollars and ballots have more impact than bombs and bullets.)


6) The host nation’s doing something tolerably is better than our doing it well (Long-term success requires the establishment of viable indigenous leaders and institutions that can carry on without significant American support.)


7) If a tactic works this week, it might not work next week; if it works in this province, it might not work in the next (Insurgents quickly adapt to successful counterinsurgency practices. The more effective a tactic is, the faster it becomes out of date.)


8) ...


9) Most of the important decisions are not made by generals (Successful counterinsurgency relies on the competence and judgment of soldiers and marines on all levels.)

It’s late to this thread, but for better or worse McQ I’d say the Army has decided against your view.......
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Rich Lowry thinks Ralph Peters’ column is stupid, too.
Wow, you are desperate ... quoting Rich Lowrey now, are we?

Heh ...

I made it very clear I wasn’t using the words of Peters in the context in which he used them, but instead to help express my concerns that we hadn’t fought the war as we should have.
Peters (who, in his piece, is actually is talking about the new "counter-insurgency" doctrine, but whose words do echo my concern) says:
The point is the same, whether talking about a new doctrine or war in general. He was talking about the new doctrine. I was talking about our commitment to war and what I think that should entail. The sentiments are the same.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
For what it’s worth, from TCS, an article on the new Counter-Insurgency manual:
This has nothing to do with the new CI manual.

And as I thought, you have no idea what this is about.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ:

How’s it going?

I tend to agree with the gist of your post, to the extent you are arguing against limited war. Yes, war — by its nature — is all in. If you cannot commit to that, for whatever reason, you should find another way to solve the problem. And the conventional Army should fight such traditional wars. Of course, that theory of traditional war doesn’t account for insurgent and counter-insurgent warfare. The solution to that: There should be specialized units, Special Operations, etc., to handle such efforts. And then there are the nationabuilding/peacekeeping missions which either begin that way or are transfromed into such by circumstances. Again, specialized military forces, augmented by civilians and even NGOs should handle these efforts (I think you may have also hinted at this also). The point being: A traditional army should fight traditional wars in which you fight to win. Period. If that isn’t the goal — and sometimes it isn’t — then the army shouldn’t be fighting the war. Or, as in Iraq, should get out as soon as the traditional warfare ends.

Iraq, of course, is unique. I just finished Thomas Ricks’ book, FIasco. If you haven’t read it, you should. I don’t presume Ricks to be all-authoritative (and frankly, I don’t think the book is especially well-written) but he certainly provides a lot of information from on-the-ground sources, senior and junior military in Iraq. True, in one sense, the current disaster in Iraq is a somewhat a result of a series of tactical errors; i.e.. we should have curtailed the looting, we should have destroyed the ammo dumps. we should not have disbanded the Iraqi army, we should not have de-Baathified. And, as we have been discussing, we should not have had the traditional army perform tasks not related to direct warfare. One might debate each tactic in turn and come to the conclusion that this or that should have been handled this or that other way.

But the depth and breadth of these tactical errors demonstrates — and this is Rick’s argument — that the tactical failures were caused by a strategic failure. As you know better than I, if your strategy is wrong (or you don’t even have one), the chances that your tactics will succeed are pretty low and. If they do work, it’s just luck. In Iraq, there was no strategy for the post-war period. Think about that. No strategy! How could that be? Well, according to Ricks, and I find him persuasive, the people who mattered in Bush Administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush) believed the neo-con nonsense about us being greeted as libertators, the spontaneous flowering of democracy, etc. Just as they believed the WMD were there. You might excuse them, saying, well they had good-faith beliefs in what they were doing but read Ricks’ book and decide for yourself.

More importantly, even if they thought things would work out just the way they imagined, who ever heard of planning a war without considering the possibility that things might not go just as planned? In fact, the Bush Administration was offered a great deal of advice and given many warnings but chose to ignore them all. Why? History will tell.

Bottom line: There was no plan whatever to win the peace. It is exceedingly unlikely that, without a stragic framework, tactical decisions will be correct. Unfortunately for us, Iraq is no exception.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://
Oh McQ so touchie... READ the article again, and try to put YOUR prejudice(s) aside...the portions I quote are Summaries of the manual’s conclusions. So Yes, I DO know what it is about.

I put the link in as a footnote, the article is about more than the manual, of course and you can agree or disagree with the author’s conclusions, and I do, but the summary, if correct, suggests the Army, for better or worse-probably worse in YOUR opinion, has decided that the "soft" approach to COIN Operations is best.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The discussion about what should have been is pretty futile now, except as a lesson for what we should never do again. I chose the ’don’t go to war’ option, but Rumsfeld wouldn’t listen to me.

As for what to do now, there are no good choices. Before considering your tactical advice, MCQ, I think we need to define who the enemy is. At present, the enemy seems to be everyone not in the Iraqi government, squabbling in the green zone over power and money. Your total commitment scenario excludes condideration for the civilians caught up in this mess, because they hold us responsible for that mess and could easily be seen as the enemy, too.
Is the enemy terror? That, again, can not be defeated militarily, except in confined spaces with US controlled perimeters. That scenario is simply not applicable.
There is simply no place to stage this total commitment battle. The ’don’t go war" option is a tad late, too.
What’s left is simply working around the edges, helping them understand rudimentary boodkkeeping, political infrastructure, legal systems and etc. Militarily we can train, advise and participate in small ways.
Then we cross our fingers and do a lot of hoping
waiting for a chance to exit semi-gracefully.
There are no good tactics to make up for the colossal mistake of this war.

What’s even worse is that Afghanistan may end up being one of the many costs of this war.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Before considering your tactical advice, MCQ, I think we need to define who the enemy is.
It isn’t tactical advice. It is a method of waging war which goes along way toward ensuring you win the peace as well. But it requires understanding what that entails and having the will to do it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
What’s even worse is that Afghanistan may end up being one of the many costs of this war.

On what basis, that the Taliban have managed to inflict damage on Afghanistan? There most recent "offensives" ahve been nothing but failures, and yet we are constantly being told about their "resurgence." They are coming out of hiding and DYING, in large numbers. I don’t see us losing in Afghanistan...But as has been said, I don’t know much.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well you tell me Glasnost ... is it easier to take weapons away from a disorganized population which has just lost a war or is it better and easier if you wait three years, let them organize and loot the ammo caches and then try?

So they argument is, then, that we were soft in 2003, and when we tried to start doing tough/smart things in 2004 it was too late?

There might be something to that. I’m not blowing it off out of hand. No, really. Germany worked, Iraq is not working.

However, I don’t think you can disarm a nation of 26 million with 140,000 troops. I’m not even sure you can enforce martial law beyond limited and specific areas. We’re talking less than 1 soldier for every 200 residents. Do you resort to using the Air Force to enforce curfews?

Not only that- while deweaponizing the population is absolutely the secret to winning an insurgency, it’s hardly ever, ever, ever effectively accomplished. The few historically successful examples have mostly involved completely levelling all pre-established structures and putting the people in camps. I’m not playing shock value. That’s really how it’s done.

Just like no one’s ever stopped smuggling without literally walling off the borders.

What I’m saying here is that the insurgency would have happened anyway. Less bad? Maybe. Defeatable? With 140K troops? I much doubt it.

I’m a counterinsurgency skeptic before almost everything else. I don’t believe that Western countries in 21 century can win occupations. Almost without fail.
So, you might be less than wrong and still not really correct - except about "if you aren’t prepared to do it, don’t."

Practically, we should not be occupying. It should be all but off the table. And if we are occupying, we must accept that we will withdraw without victory or forge truce/peace with our enemies. If you consider these to be losing hands, than 99% of the hands will be losing hands.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
If Iraq didn’t want to be invaded and have their leader deposed and tens of thousand of innocent Iraqi civilians killed, they shouldn’t have attacked us.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
No. It doesn’t.
So before forced to listen to Barry Manilow at Volume 10 is torture, eh?
Such was the ruling for the CG in peacetime, give or take a rap record or two.

However, I submit that such nonsense pales in the face of a real shooting war, which none of the people involved with that decision making process have ever been in.

All that aside, and as a matter of pure logic, your comment would seem to fly directly in the face of "If you go to war either do so to win it or stay the hell out of it."





 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
McQ:

How’s it going?
David - good to hear from you again.
I just finished Thomas Ricks’ book, FIasco. If you haven’t read it, you should.
Dale has also finished reading it. Sounds like I need to as well.
As you know better than I, if your strategy is wrong (or you don’t even have one), the chances that your tactics will succeed are pretty low and. If they do work, it’s just luck. In Iraq, there was no strategy for the post-war period.
Your tactics are simply the ’tool’ by which you implement your strategy. If the stategy is deficient most likely the wrong tool will be used.

And I think that is your point and the point of many critics of this portion of the war. I agree.

It is also an integral part of my point. I happen to agree that, for the most part, there was no post-battle strategy for Iraq. And that is why we’ve misapplied the ’tool’. Our military was the proper tool for the strategy of overt regime change. But that appears to be where strategy ended and make it up as you go began.

That speaks to part of my point. When you commit to war, the strategy must be complete, detailed and use the proper forces to accomplish it. That, of course, doesn’t at all detract from the point that any such commitment must be done in such a way as to minimize our casualties, maximize theirs and demonstrate unequivocally that we have (for lack of a better word) "conquered" the opposition and will only let up on the relative oppression when they earn it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider