Just Above Sunset
November 21, 2004 - Now What?













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James Wolcott of Vanity Fair says this - 

 

It's too late for more troops. We don't have troops to spare as it is, but even if we did, it's too late. It's too late for everything. The blundering mistakes that were made in the first days and weeks of the occupation can't be reversed now - they're incorrectible. The window of opportunity dropped like a guillotine while Donald Rumsfeld was regaling the press corps with his pithy wisdom.

 

Geez, and my nephew arrives in Mosul in January for an eighteen-month tour.  I has a long chat with the Major last weekend.  We talked about the chaos there and he drew me maps.  Jesus.   It’s far crazier than Fallujah, as up in the north they have five flavors of Kurds added to the mix.  And I still get the PKK and PKU all confused.  We lost that city for more than a week.  And there’s some strange diplomatic doings in Jordon.  Not a good time to vacation in Amman or Petra.  Right.  The late King Hussein and his wife Queen Noor were cool –but the son, Abdullah, is a jerk.  My, it’s complicated.  Not that it matters.  My nephew will not be in the field, or even in line command.  He’s now a high-level planner – and he says he wishes his project software were three or four or five dimensional given the stuff to manage.

 

Wolcott?

 

Headless Body in Topless War

Posted by James Wolcott

 

"...[He] who fights against the weak--and the rag-tag Iraqi militias are very weak indeed--and loses, loses. He who fights against the weak and wins also loses. To kill an opponent who is much weaker than yourself is unnecessary and therefore cruel; to let that opponent kill you is unnecessary and therefore foolish. As Vietnam and countless other cases prove, no armed force however rich, however powerful, however advanced, and however well motivated is immune to this dilemma. The end result is always disintegration and defeat; if U.S. troops in Iraq have not yet started fragging their officers, the suicide rate among them is already exceptionally high. That is why the present adventure will almost certainly end as the previous one did. Namely, with the last U.S. troops fleeing the country while hanging on to their helicopters' skids."

 

So prophecizes Martin van Creveld.

 

Who he? as Harold Ross would ask.

 

He is a professor to history at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and author of The Transformation of War, an indispensable book to understand why retribalized warfare (from militias, ideological insurgencies, drug lords) threatens to overthrow the top-heavy hegemony of nation-state military power. It is a key text in what has come to be known as 4th Generation warfare.

 

Before the reader gets to American soldiers grasping for helicopter skids, van Creveld explores the military education of legendary Israeli general Moshe Dayan, who in his younger days went to Vietnam as a war correspondent. What Dayan saw, what he learned, is a lesson the American military under Rumsfeld seems to have forgotten as it wages counterinsurgency in Iraq.

 

William Lind, an expert in 4th Generation warfare and no lefty, reaches the same bleak conclusion regarding the Vietnam-Iraq parallels.

Since Saddam's fall, we've been stomping around Iraq like Godzilla. Lind: "The result is likely to be more flattened cities like Falluja, more victories on the moral level for our opponents, and in the end, ignominious withdrawal and defeat."

 

So thick is the euphoria and triumphalism post November 2nd that I wonder if most of our media, never mind the bovine American public, have any inkling of how ghastily Iraq is going down the drain, and taking the American military with it. We've been so bombarded with "Failure is not an option" that few are willing to assert, as van Creveld and Lind do, that failure may not be an option but it damn well may be the outcome, and quicker than anyone contemplates.

 

Andrew Sullivan and Thomas Friedman can petition for more troops all they please. It's too late for more troops. We don't have troops to spare as it is, but even if we did, it's too late. It's too late for everything. The blundering mistakes that were made in the first days and weeks of the occupation can't be reversed now--they're incorrectible. The window of opportunity dropped like a guillotine while Donald Rumsfeld was regaling the press corps with his pithy wisdom.

 

Well, that’s cheery.  And where does Wolcott come up with words like ghastily and incorrectible?  But one does get the point.

 

But we are told it is all going well.  We want to believe that.  So we do.

 

Bob Patterson sent this email to me about all this –

 

All these comparisons to Vietnam?

 

Didn't you folks see/hear George W during the campaign?  He doesn't flip flop.  He ain't going to cut and run.

 

He has made one (count it, ONE) mistake in his life.  He traded Sammy – that home run guy.  He was man enough to admit that.  Now, when the 2008 elections come up and we are still there will these pundits be able to admit they were wrong about "just like the evacuation of Saigon" predictions?

 

You want to make comparisons?

 

How about Stalingrad in the desert?

 

Did the Chancellor for life want to hear any negativity from Stalingrad?  He (as far as I have read) didn't want to hear any negativity.

 

Bush, as a former heavy drinker, is well versed in denial.  He doesn't see things in Iraq the same as these pundits on the Internet see them.

 

Will Iran do in the desert what the Chi-com did on the Chosin reservoir?

 

I think that predicting or even hoping that Bush will see the situation as hopeless is like thinking that if you flap your arms fast enough, you can fly.  It may seem logical, but … don't go into a bar and bet the folks there that it will happen.

 

I used to have a boss who would defend corporate policy that was objectionable by saying:  "Bob, there you go again, thinking logically."

 

There is logic and there is corporate logic.  Two completely different things.  There is military strategy and there is Bush's mindset.  He doesn't change his mind.  Think he sees a problem with the National debt?

 

Reality is a crutch for folks who can't handle Sci-Fi.  Now we can also add, Bush's war strategy.

 

Retreat?

 

"Yes!" I said.  "Isn't it pretty to think so."

 

So let’s not be cynical or negative here.  It is what it is.  And we elected Bush.

 































 
 
 
 

Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
 
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