The War Is Close To Won

Somewhat embarrassingly for the president’s enemies, the tide has quietly turned in Iraq, and that nation looks set to be a new Turkey, providing the world’s second example of a free Muslim nation.

First a homily. The difficulty of this war makes it normal, not unique.

With the exception of the Gulf War and Israel’s 6 Day War, every conflict in the last 100 years has been a brutal slugging match, with the path to victory interrupted by terrible defeats and confounded by massive incompetence.

Just one example: the WW2 strategic bombing offensive that created the world’s first pacifist Germans was a disaster until 1943, due to poor American and Brit equipment and tactics. But “poor” is a hindsight judgment – our fathers and grandfathers did the best they could at the time, and learned through terrible experience – 56,000 aircrew died, out of Bomber Command’s total of 125,000.

In contrast, the Iraq War has been small scale, and none of our cities has burned since 9/11.

So here’s what’s changed in Iraq;

  1. Oil has been discovered in the Sunni region, giving that group something to live for.
  2. The Kurds, Shias and Sunnis have agreed to share Iraq’s oil revenue, providing an economic base for Iraq as a nation state.
  3. Al Qaeda has resorted to a policy of destabilization at any costs, using suicide bombers from Syria to mass murder Sunni and Shia Iraqis
  4. In consequence, the Sunni and Shia militias have commenced killing Al Qaeda.
  5. The Iraqi army has become an effective fighting force.
  6. General Petraeus is providing uninspired leadership to the US military, which is now playing a sophisticated part in this non-zero sum game.
  7. And the Brit Army – in spite of terrible equipment – has held the Iranians in the South.

There are probably plenty of tragedies to come, but the path seems set – just as it was in June 1944.

All communities now have a stake in a peaceful settlement, and the Iraqi state has a basis for existence and a military to defend it.

So, looking forward, expect Al Qaeda to be ground down and the level of random violence to fall. And following on from that, the region around Baghdad to stabilize and the US to progressively transfer security to the Iraqi Army.

That still leaves the Southern front struggling under the flow of Iranian EFPs and Revolutionary Guards. But the (one) nice thing about warfare is that stabilizing one front allows you to redouble your energies on the others. So we should see the Mullahs out of Iraq within 12 months.

Then the Euros, Dems, and RINOS are going to be as sick as the proverbial parrots.


6 Responses to The War Is Close To Won

  1. fifthdecade says:

    Nice spin, but you’re missing some important points.

    In all wars in the past, when one side has launched a major offensive (such as the artillery barrages of WW1) the other side has kept its head down, avoiding being killed and saving their powder until later. If as you say the US forces move down to Basra to “another front” the insurgents will just pop up behind them again, as has happened many times before already in Iraq, as happened before in Vietnam.

    You sound like you really bought the line from Pres Bush back on 1st May 2003 that “In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” That wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now and such willful self-delusion never won anyone anything lasting.

    You only have to look at the low morale of serving US soldiers to see that on the ground they do not feel they are winning, and are so depressed that one in three actually condones torture while 10% have actually brutalised an Iraqi civilian.

    Most of the International forces in Iraq saw the light a long time ago and moved out; even Britain will be out by the end of 2008 and have already reduced forces on the ground. If US troops do move south into the areas currently covered by the British it won’t be because they have “beaten” the insurgents up north, but because the British will be withdrawing.

    The problem with this war is that it was invented as a way to show the US public something was being done to fight back after 911. It just happens to be the wrong thing. It’s a political war created by Bush and supported by Blair that is ironically causing both of them much grief and long lasting political damage, while the serving soldiers of both countries die needlessly or suffer horrendous injuries.

    It’s all so wasteful.

  2. gandalf says:


    Thanks for this, but I’m afraid I don’t agree.

    In most conflicts, the enemy fights rather than going to ground – Battle of Britain, Antietam, D-day Landings, Tet offensive.

    The example you cite is tactical – like Wellington having the Brit squares lie down to avoid grapeshot at Waterloo. The squares, just like the German machine gunners in WW1, could be back in battle in seconds.

    The disintegration of the Iraqi army after the invasion took them out of battle.

    Of course some continued as insurgents, but that tactic only works against Anglo Saxon armies.

    Other occupying armies simply kill (say) 100 locals for every soldier they lose – as the Nazis did in France, Holland, Italy, Poland, Yugoslavia, Russia, Greece etc – about 10 million in total.

    The Russians are doing the same thing right now in Chechnya.

    Sadly, this terroristic counter terrorism works very well.

    I think the fact that the Pentagon worries about this, carries out surveys, and publishes them proves my point about the relative humanity of Anglo Saxons as occupiers.

    As for the rest, time will show which of our two theories are right.

    I do share your horror at the waste of war, but believe this one is the lesser of two evils.

  3. fifthdecade says:

    You can’t conduct current conflicts effectively if you expect them to be run like past ones: war just doesn’t work like that. The only thing that stays the same is that opponents will seek out their enemy’s weaknesses and try and exploit them.

    From ancient times people in the Iraq to Afghanistan regions have preferred guerilla warfare to head on assaults. Alexander the Great found this to his cost when his enemies made lots of small, fast, hit and run attacks and then melted away before they could be stopped.

    Just because you have the most powerful army in the world does not mean people will want to fight you head on. That would be suicide and most people are not that stupid. I don’t condone what these insurgents are doing, but I do understand their motivation: nobody wants foreigners to control their country.

    As for justifying this war because it is the lesser of two evils, no evil can be justified without setting aside civilised principles. If we do that, we let our enemy take away our humanity and become no better than him.

    None of the stated reasons for the war were true, until US troops invaded there was no Al Qaeda in Iraq (Saddam allowed women to walk the streets in Western clothng with no hair covering – can you imagine the mad mullahs of AQ going along or even wanting to be associated with that? If AQ were in Iraq, it was to foment a rebellion against Saddam, not to support him!

  4. gandalf says:


    I quite agree that guerrilla warfare makes sense for AQ, and think it’s right we should not conduct Putin-style mass murder reprisals.

    The justification for the war – see the President’s 2003 address – was that although Saddam posed no imminent threat, he a) had invaded another country and submitted it to mass rapine and murder, b) been the first dictator to use mass gas attacks against civilians, c) had covertly developed a nuclear weapons program in the 90s, and d) was financing the Palestinian suicide bombers.

    If he’d been left in power and with oil at $60/barrel the US was facing a nuclear strike.

    There’s no reason at all why Saddam shouldn’t have allied with AQ, just as Stalin allied with Hitler.

  5. Bill K. says:

    This war will not be won until Iran is dealt with. In WW2 this would be similar to confining our fighting to Italy, after deposing Mussolini, while ignoring the role Nazi Germany was playing in this conflict. Iran is the ideological center of militant Islam and its destruction is necessary for our victory for the same reasons that the destruction of Nazi Germany was necessary for our victory in WW2.

    The guerrilla groups that fifthdecade imagines are invincible are not. They have to live somewhere, they have to get their supplies from somewhere and they have to get their inspiration from somewhere. Much of the support for these groups in Iraq is coming from Iran. Collapse Iran, depose the mullahs, eradicate state sponorship of Islam and the guerrilla groups would begin to whither. Syria and the Palestinians would immediately to see the light when their major sponsor has been removed.

    The following is an excellent article on how to win this war:

  6. gandalf says:

    Bill K

    Thanks for the excellent article.

    It’s central argument is true – limited or proportional war doesn’t work.

    Germany and Japan are now relatively peaceful because all their cities were burned, their armed forces slaughtered, and their territories despoiled.

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