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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 Führer'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.
Submitting....

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