Thursday, January 11, 2007

Why We Can NEVER "Win" In Iraq

We can't "win" in Iraq.

Why? Because ever since World War Two ended, the United States Military has refused to assume the role of government administration of occupied territory. In Vietnam, in Somalia, and now in Iraq, we see a repeating pattern: the United States won't assume control of the country and therefore can't enforce its will.

In 2003, the State Department recommended this exact plan before the war, but Bush is ideologically opposed to taking the advice of the State Department. Before the war, he refused to take State's advice against invading Iraq, directly after the war, he ignored State's existing occupation plan which was based on Nato's experiences in Bosnia. Now he ignores State's advice about regional negotiation.

Instead, Bush's answer was to hold a premature election (something that still hasn't been done to this day in the former Yugoslavia) and award rule of the entire country to the winners, which by sheer dint of numbers was very predictably the majority Shiite tribe. Bush talks a lot of game about going after both Sunni Insurgents and Shiite Death Squads, but in reality, the government of Iraq seems capable of going after only one of those parties... because the Shiites in the Iraqi Government are unwilling to kill their partners.

Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki is the leader of the Dawa Party which was founded by Moqtada Al-Sadr's father, his party's version of George Washington. Expecting for al-Maliki to suddenly turn on the party he's been a member of his entire life, and to betray and attack the son of the man who founded that party, is ridiculous.

As far as America's military force being capable of destroying the insurgency, that's impossible unless they CHOOSE to identify themselves and fight us openly. They did that once in Fallujah and learned their lesson. After America had killed several hundred of them, the rest of the insurgency realized the futility of open combat, laid down their weapons, mingled with the civilians and spread out across the country to concentrate on terror and guerrilla war. The Iraqi population cooperates with the Insurgency, either through ignoring them, collaborating with them, or just not telling the police and Americans where to find them. Why? Because they know that if caught helping the Americans, they or their families will be murdered.

If we wanted to, we could end the insurgency in Iraq tomorrow... history gives us brilliant object lessons in how to do so. The Roman Legions controlled Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa with only 300,000 troops (of which only 100,000 were profession full-time troops). How? By razing entire villages and killing everyone within whenever locals struck out against Roman rule. The Nazis controlled all of Europe with a minimum number of troops because they used the same method. If any German soldier was killed by local partisans, the Nazis would retaliate by killing 10, 20 or 40 locals until all resistance stopped. Despite the scenes from romanticized films, there was very little in the way of open attack on the Nazis by "resistance" forces because of the Nazis' vicious deterrence tactics. As a Democracy, America should not and must not take up these methods

We do not have the patience to govern Iraq ourselves, we don't have the stomach to terrorize the population into turning over the insurgents and terrorists among them, we won't engage with Iraq's neighbors to bring about a political solution, and because of these facts, we cannot win in Iraq.