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Circumstance Lost: Preparing for the Alternatives

Reader comment on item: Salvaging the Iraq War
in response to reader comment: US-Led Forces Out Of The Region

Submitted by M. Tovey (United States), Jul 31, 2007 at 12:29

Having read through a good deal of this particular discussion, and after re-assessing the scenario proposed by Mr. Pipes, there are three things (there are maybe more, but the more significant ones are suggested here) that have remained elusive as America still struggles with the idea proposed by the President of the United States of America, that a victory could be achieved with a little more effort.

Since the objective for which the war in Iraq was started has been obscured, and the secondary objectives are unobtainable under the current circumstances, the third proposition offered by Mr. Pipes, in spite of what this reader perceived as a need for a renewed political will, is actually unachievable under the prevailing circumstances as well, and there is history to suggest just that.

This reader had defended the United States position in entering this conflict initially for the somewhat patriotic stance of America being the injured party due to the September 11, 2001 provocation. Toppling the Afghanistani Taliban regime for harboring the militants that perpetrated 9-11, and then subsequently toppling the Baathist in Iraq regime for their supposed support and engagement of militants seeking to do further harm to American interests all seemed to be the thing to do. That there were subliminal reasons, such as political stability to protect market driven interests for Afghani and Iraqi resources being some of the alternate reasons proposed by some, were to be considered acceptable ancillary causes to be achieved, if the war could be won.

The primary objectives of removing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein were accomplished, but the aftermath in Afghanistan tells us this is not over, and the conditions in Iraq led to a specific speculation that when the vacuum left by the Coalition retreat is filled by the Islamic Revolution, it will be obvious just how badly this has backfired because of underestimating the resolve of an ideologically driven contest of wills.

The secondary objectives of achieving political stability to protect market driven interests for Afghani and Iraqi resources are, as mentioned before, unobtainable under the current circumstances without maintaining a significant military presence. Further, with the Iraqi government just recently failing to provide legislation to manage/share the revenue resources in equitable fashion, the fight for those resources remains as large as it ever was, and the question is asked, how many American/Coalition force lives are worth that?

This actually leads to the third situation, which is that suggested by Mr. Pipes, to maintain a military presence in order to achieve the stability originally sought after, but not be engaging the militants in urban warfare. The Soviets of history demonstrated the real way to engage in urban warfare, by the taking of Berlin. Street by street with artillery, they knocked down every hiding place from which the enemy returned fire, and used T-34's to crush a pathway to the F├╝hrer's bunker. The Coalition forces are compelled by decency not to do the very same thing that needs to be done to extricate the militants from their strongholds and, more insidiously, the safe houses of sympathetic Iraqi citizens. Hence, the pullout from the urban battlefield to a more battle friendly environment of the open desert seems like the solution to return this war to the comfort zone of superior military might.

But a more significant circumstance looms largely on the horizon, and it is connected by the American government doling out large amounts of American taxpayer dollars to potential participants in the Iraqi theater, whether political, or Coalition associated. This fuels speculation that a contingency plan is being put into place, but the evidence for that is very limited.

Further, in a very little while, the business of Syria and Lebanon with their border issues against Israel is about ready, within forty to sixty days or so, to retake the front pages of world attention and America will be pulled in for the defense of Israel. What do we do then about Iraq? For by then, Iran will have responded to the monies being sent to their enemies and very likely will consolidate the power to complete their infiltration of Iraqi politics and have control of the Iraqi military. The potential for that is seen in Americans trying out negotiations with the Iranian delegation to forestall that very thing.

The lesson lost in these times of modern theater warfare is one of sublime significance. Wars that are limited by defined scopes of engagement only produce truces, if that, especially where ideologies are at stake. See Yugoslavia. Only when one combatant entity is willing to engage all resources to crush the enemy resolve in overwhelming fashion, which is what is really needed against ideologically driven terrorism, is there to be victory. Is there that kind of resolve left in America? Listening to the political haranguing for the 2008 presidential bid and the bi-partisan calls for retreat (only in semantics do we call it withdrawal), we must conclude that no, there is no such resolve outside the White House. But after the elections in 2009, it will not be there either when America and the future of democracy will be needing it the most.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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Reader comments (108) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
My Opinion [247 words]TabarkMar 31, 2010 13:00170825
Iraq War. [81 words]Holly HMar 24, 2009 15:33152703
I think an internal redeployment in Iraq is a good but inadequate step [218 words]Charles MartelAug 27, 2007 18:06107073
Criminal Incompetence [132 words]Jean de la ValletteAug 29, 2007 13:36107073
ingredient for lasting peace in Iraq [225 words]jennifer solisAug 22, 2007 14:58106772
Reply to Ms. Solis' comments [304 words]Roger W. GardnerAug 22, 2007 21:34106772
knowledge vs. opinion [486 words]jennifer SolisAug 23, 2007 18:54106772
Response to Ms. Solis' comments [300 words]Roger W. GardnerAug 24, 2007 17:31106772
unconditional surrender [226 words]jennifer solisAug 24, 2007 18:53106772
Reply to Ms. Solis' comments [497 words]Roger W. GardnerAug 26, 2007 18:48106772
the pleasure is mine [102 words]jennifer solisAug 28, 2007 15:28106772
Bush won all the battles, and lost the war. [181 words]SheerahkahnAug 15, 2007 15:47106294
Re: Salvaging the Iraqi War [45 words]Paul B. RossAug 8, 2007 09:11105686
Iraq's not ready for national democracy, but local control and democracy is possible [214 words]JabbaTheTuttAug 6, 2007 08:41105558
Daniel Pipes for President! [199 words]Archimedes2Aug 2, 2007 00:20105260
Plans evolve from great minds like D.P. [182 words]infosifterJul 31, 2007 23:18105204
You fight to win not appease [413 words]guy leven-torres (agricola)Aug 3, 2007 17:59105204
Iraq: Pandora's box or Pyrrhic Victory? [574 words]Guy Leven-TorresJul 31, 2007 10:42105173
Re-Deploy Troops to Iraq Borders [151 words]RobJul 31, 2007 06:35105160
Iraq and what to do about it [394 words]AyashaJul 30, 2007 15:12105139
The Battle of Iraq and the Clash of Civilizations [359 words]Roger W. GardnerJul 29, 2007 16:31105083
The Battle of Iraq and the Clash of Civilizations - Correct [143 words]J SharpeJul 29, 2007 21:15105083
Gardner's comments [52 words]Gale ShawJul 30, 2007 15:11105083
Can Islam [215 words]donvanAug 1, 2007 15:10105083
Clash of Civilizations: A self-fulfilling Prophecy [287 words]JeeshanAug 2, 2007 04:26105083
Silence of Moderate Muslims is Losing its Appeal [158 words]SSAug 6, 2007 02:09105083
Dangerous Minds [306 words]JeeshanAug 13, 2007 11:34105083
Response to SS: "Silence of the moderate Muslims..." [264 words]Roger W. GardnerAug 19, 2007 23:01105083
RE: Salvaging the Iraq War [22 words]Len PeracchioAug 31, 2007 13:42105083
US-Led Forces Out Of The Region [238 words]Jahanshah RashidianJul 29, 2007 03:58105057
Circumstance Lost: Preparing for the Alternatives [859 words]M. ToveyJul 31, 2007 12:29105057
short term vs long term [92 words]AndrewJul 28, 2007 17:54105046
Re: "Salvaging the Iraq War" [163 words]BradJul 28, 2007 15:35105040
The Arab Mind and Culture [322 words]James FittzJul 28, 2007 14:04105036
Who is Fawas A. Gerges? [141 words]JabbaTheTuttAug 6, 2007 08:55105036
Oh, God, When Will It End? [211 words]MonkJul 26, 2007 20:35104929
back up... [35 words]donvanAug 2, 2007 10:17104929
Still no easy task [153 words]Omar MahmoudJul 26, 2007 14:23104872
I'm not sure this would work [47 words]EagleJimJul 26, 2007 13:52104871
US failure based on denial of Iraq's sectarian facts on the ground [370 words]Michael GreenJul 26, 2007 11:54104861
Seek support for this [189 words]BosJul 26, 2007 07:23104850
One hand tied between our backs [145 words]David W. LincolnJul 25, 2007 15:26104763
A creative new solution to solve the Iraq problem. [127 words]Haim BelisowskiJul 25, 2007 14:10104750
What a Mess! [140 words]BlackspeareJul 25, 2007 13:47104748
pre-arab mesopotamia [47 words]G.VishvasJul 26, 2007 06:37104748
Reply to Blackspeare- One problem [876 words]Chris G.Jul 26, 2007 11:32104748
Reply to Chris G. [122 words]BlackspeareJul 27, 2007 12:25104748
Divide Iraq along traditional ethnic and religious lines! US and allies should referee process. [371 words]William BryanJul 25, 2007 13:32104746
Is it really that simple? [308 words]PatJul 25, 2007 19:55104746
Is it really that simple? Ans: Yes! [489 words]William BryanJul 27, 2007 13:17104746
William: Well Excuse ME [124 words]PatJul 27, 2007 21:30104746
A figure of speech but... [78 words]GanJul 25, 2007 09:01104716
A Workable Strategy? [64 words]LDCJul 25, 2007 08:18104710
Salvaging the war not the final solution [296 words]PlatoJul 25, 2007 06:49104697
Pato- good but not excellent analysis. [216 words]Mary BushongJul 25, 2007 22:28104697
Redeploy specifically or primarily to KURDISTAN [1011 words]Ron ThompsonJul 24, 2007 21:13104666
More reasns to redeploy specifically or primarily to KURDISTAN [259 words]Frans GroenendijkJul 25, 2007 20:11104666
Kurdistan as a stronghold [179 words]Marc JorisJul 27, 2007 04:19104666
Kudos! [10 words]Seth GinsburgJul 24, 2007 20:23104661
Iraq war compromise--still possible success [54 words]Morton ReitmanJul 24, 2007 19:57104659
I Agree [57 words]John RJul 24, 2007 19:51104657
The Iraq War Article [479 words]Eleanor GoldsteinJul 24, 2007 18:56104650
Salvaging the Iraq War [281 words]Philip SnyderJul 24, 2007 22:50104650
crystal clarity [29 words]david eisenbergJul 24, 2007 18:51104649
Now this is... [12 words]LDCJul 25, 2007 08:20104649
Like the Board Game Risk [194 words]SSJul 24, 2007 18:29104625
Building houses on a swamp [160 words]DimitriJul 24, 2007 17:06104621
Not only sand... [36 words]GodotJul 25, 2007 11:31104621
oil and strategy [145 words]DimitriJul 25, 2007 16:11104621
Anything [15 words]AlfoJun 24, 2013 22:32104621
Military Strength Requires Political Resolve - From ALL [939 words]M. ToveyJul 24, 2007 16:38104618
good suggestion [32 words]DarrenJul 24, 2007 16:20104617
Iraq's problem is really an internal Islamic Conflict [183 words]David GoshenJul 24, 2007 16:02104613
Strongly Disagree on Iraqi Reluctance to Jointly See the War Through to Victory [124 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Nancy BeutelJul 24, 2007 15:36104606
What does "Victory" mean in Iraq? [289 words]Charles MartelAug 29, 2007 11:27104606
Time to Change America's Paper Tiger Foreign/Military Policy [178 words]Ron KurtzJul 24, 2007 15:12104601
The coalition gave Iraqis a fresh start. Now it's their turn. [527 words]PatJul 24, 2007 14:15104596
Staying Put [192 words]Rebecca MouldsJul 24, 2007 13:46104592
article [74 words]SteveJul 24, 2007 13:31104591
After redeployment, what? [98 words]Robert CohanJul 24, 2007 13:21104590
pull the plug. [87 words]donvanJul 24, 2007 15:45104590
Iraqis must be responsbile [93 words]Coyote UglyJul 24, 2007 13:14104589
Pakistan should have been the target and not Iraq [280 words]dhimmi no moreJul 24, 2007 13:09104588
About statesmanship [99 words]G.VishvasJul 25, 2007 12:56104588
President Bush is "visionary" and Wisonian [179 words]Steve KleinJul 24, 2007 13:06104587
to Steve Klein - on the money [439 words]rickJul 24, 2007 15:58104587
I don't remember that Pipes article, but good on him! [87 words]Charles MartelAug 27, 2007 18:11104587
More than just semantics [190 words]GodotJul 24, 2007 13:04104586
Salvaging the Iraq war [92 words]Colonel B.J,. FinestoneJul 24, 2007 12:55104585
Iraq [66 words]Ron RotemJul 24, 2007 12:54104584
Destination Iraq [73 words]RobertJul 24, 2007 12:49104583
How to save Iraq [275 words]RickJul 24, 2007 12:31104581
coming from someone who's been there four times.... [202 words]ahmazafireJul 28, 2007 15:18104581
to ahmazafire [458 words]RickJul 30, 2007 14:49104581
The futility of peacemaking and democratization in the Middle East [234 words]Kenneth S. BesigJul 24, 2007 11:53104578
There are no Palestinians [258 words]yuval brandstetter MDJul 27, 2007 04:30104578
But then what? [51 words]John LothJul 24, 2007 11:49104577
diminished vision [74 words]Leo SolomonJul 24, 2007 11:41104576
Build a fence [88 words]LindaKJul 24, 2007 11:21104575
A fence is not a solution...at least for Iraq [30 words]GodotJul 24, 2007 16:08104575
No fence? [106 words]LindaKJul 24, 2007 19:29104575
There are known unknowns and ...(without permission from D. Rumsfield) [87 words]GodotJul 25, 2007 14:04104575
There are known unknowns and ...(without permission from D. Rumsfield) [140 words]LindaKJul 25, 2007 14:47104575
US should redeploy its troops at ..... [89 words]DaraJul 24, 2007 11:14104574
If we follow your recommendation, what happens if the Iraq erupts into civil war? [58 words]Robert ArbetmanJul 24, 2007 10:46104571
The American [138 words]donvanJul 26, 2007 12:50104571
What about The American? [285 words]PatJul 27, 2007 15:54104571
Novis Ordo.. [213 words]DONVANJul 31, 2007 09:04104571

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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