WARNING: SUPER-LONG POST AHEAD
Sweet. Another idiot makes historically uninformed analogies and ridiculously unsupported arguments about Iraq, in an article entitled "It's Not Nam, But It'll Do." Time to pull out the Fisk stick and beat him in the head with it. Here goes...
I tried making a little fridge list of Iraq options. I came up with one: "nukes?" The nukes aren't much use now, with no Russia to do High Noon with. So dust off a Fallujah-sized neutron bomb, and let it do its thing.
This list of options seems somehow... incomplete. Perhaps the "War Nerd" (scare quotes deliberate) is suffering from a lack of imagination? Oh, and Russia still exists (last time I checked), it's ye olde Soviet Union that is in the dust bin of history... and the Russkies still have nukes, as well as the Chinese, so if we really felt like getting into a nuclear conflagration there are plenty of other possibilities. And if this guy thinks Vietnam was bad, just imagine how pissed the world would be if we nuked Iraq (much better to just Nuke the Moon:)). Before the situation got so bad we needed to pull out nukes we could just pull some of Saddam's methods out because we all know how much the Iraqis loved that.
It'd make more sense that what we're doing now, fighting the enemy's war. It's real simple: when we're fighting a combined-arms, mobile, armored war, we're fighting our war. When we're hunkered down in somebody's backyard trading potshots over the adobe fence, we're fighting their war all the way. At that point it's just rifleman vs. rifleman, and the enemy has the advantage, because he knows the neighborhood.
Wait just a dental-flossing minute here. Who is fighting who's war? If we were fighting the enemy's war we'd still be issuing warrants for terrorists arrest and the Taliban and Saddam would still be in power. We have seized the strategic initiative from the bastards. It is important to not lose that initiative in Iraq, but we ain't lost it yet. We have proved capable of fighting almost any type of war. Obviously we can kick some serious ass in combined arms force-on-force type war, but we haven't exactly been getting our asses handed back to us in Iraq. Take this quote from a recent Belmont Club post,
...the Americans are demonstrating two new countervailing capacities of their own. They have shown that US forces can take any urban area at casualty rates less than 1 to 50. Second, they have begun to wage joint political warfare in cooperation with the Iraqi governing council.
Fifty casualties to one doesn't exactly sound like the "enemy's war." It sounds like an old fashioned ass whoopin'. Our superior training gives us the advantage in any type of battle. The army is not composed of a bunch of Russian conscripts; we give much more than we take.
I just saw video of the Marines in Fallujah sniping by nightscope. They fire over the wall, some Ahmed fires back, it goes on all night and you've got just as good a chance of killing Ahmed's donkey or his two-year-old daughter as getting him.
See above, nothing new here. Our Marines are going to be a much better shot than your average Muhammed. Much more likely that Ahmed will accidently shoot his own two-year-old daughter and then show her to Al Jazeera and claim it was us.
There's another way. You do it the way we were starting to do in Nam, when Colby came up with the Phoenix program. You find out who's shooting at you, and then you send somebody quiet to kill him and anybody who works with him.
Do you honestly think that the military is telling the media the whole story on how we're fighting? If you're that gullible then I've got this website with traffic through-the-roof that I'd be happy to sell you. I can guarantee you that more is happening than you see on the news. I thought nerds were smart.
But to do that you have to have this little thing called intelligence, and we ain't got none, because if we did we'd have to admit the Iraqis are the enemy, and these crazymen, Bush and Wolfowitz, won't admit that. So all we can do when they get unfriendly is fire blind into those mud huts.
You frelling idiot. Have you ever studied Vietnam? Categorizing everyone as the enemy is the surest possible way to turn everybody into an enemy. That would be the dumbest thing possible (other than that nuke suggestion [War Nerd seems to be making a very different list of things to do about Iraq]).
I heard a Marine officer complaining that the insurgents in Fallujah use the locals for human shields. Don't they teach you anything about guerrilla war in the service? The whole idea of guerrilla warfare is to hide in the civilian population. You snipe from the mosque or the kindergarten till finally the occupiers get mad enough to start firing blind at the mosque, the kindergarten, whatever. The people blame the occupiers, not the guerrilla. You're doing the guerrillas' recruiting for them.
Of course the Marines are going to complain about the use of human shields; it's cowardly, and illegal according to the Geneva Convention. What should he do, give the terrorist a medal? With 50:1 exchange ratios it sounds like we're thinning their ranks, not filling them. It'd take a hell of a lot of recruits to replace those kind of losses.
It's a little weird, if you ask me, how nobody in charge seems to know all that. After all, we just went through a whole century of guerrilla warfare. Take a world map, point at random and you'll find a country that probably had a guerrilla war in the past 100 years.
But we're acting like it's a shock, like the Iraqis are breaking the rules. That's like calling a personal foul in a bar brawl.
I'd just like to re-reiterate my point about the 50:1 casualty ratio, because it sure seems to me that we've learned how to handle guerrila war's militarily. Another quote from the Belmont Club article linked above...
Lost in the frenetic headlines of the last week was an unnoticed military revolution. Never in history have 1,200 men stormed a city of 230,000 in urban combat without extensively using heavy weapons before the US Marines did in Fallujah. This is nothing short of amazing because the 90% of the combat power of an infantry unit is embodied in their heavy weapons. And they were stopped only by a truce, not by enemy resistance.
The only thing that is shocking is how thoroughly outclassed the Islamo-thugs are. 'Nuff said.
Well, don't ask me, I just work here. If you want to know the truth, what's pissing me off most is I think the mess in Iraq is getting to me. I had to go to the doctor last week because my back's gone out again, and I was expecting just the usual lecture about losing weight, exercise, buying a bike and wheeling around in green lycra like some Italian or something. You know, painful but short.
Instead he puts the cuff on my arm and inflates it, then grunts and does it again, grunts again, does it for the third time and waves me over to sit down. In other words, we're going to have a serious talk. Turns out it's my blood pressure, and some other blood thing called "purines"--sounds like a dog chow to me, but apparently it's a blood count, and mine is through the roof.
Sounds like someone has serious psychological issues if they're letting events thousands of miles away that only indirectly affect them cause them physical suffering. Perhaps it's time to seek the help of a professional. My sister has a degree in social welfare and some counseling experience, maybe she could help.
I told the guy maybe we could try again after Iraq settles down. He looked at me like I was crazy.
Maybe that's because you ARE crazy.
So then there was another ten minutes of serious lectures about how I need to take care of myself and so on. I was thinking, all I need is for us to get out of this Iraq mess, but I decided it was better not to try explaining that to him again. I took the brochures and the prescriptions and got out.
See above Mr. Crazy Man, I mean War Nerd.
Now I'm on three medications, one for blood pressure, one for these purines, and one for my back disc. Like an old man. I just turned 38 and I've got little brown bottles all over the sink like my grandma did.
Judging from the picture at the top of your post maybe you should exercise. It might help reduce some of the anger issues you seem to have.
The other thing that's driving me nuts about the war is this stupid question, "Is Iraq actually Vietnam?" Answer: no, Vietnam is this place about 5,000 miles east of Fallujah.
Every time I hear that I want to ask them why? Isn't Iraq bad enough for you?
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Same old, same old. Iraq ain't even close to Vietnam.
It's dumb, the Iraq = Nam talk. No war ever repeats exactly, because the technology is changing so fast. And if you had to pick two countries in the world that have nothing in common, it'd be Iraq and Vietnam. The Vietnamese were the most dedicated, disciplined army since Prussia disappeared. If you want to know how dedicated the VC were, read this book, The Tunnels of Cu Chi, about the VC who lived in this huge tunnel network around Saigon. (Back when it was Saigon.) Men and women spent months down there with the spiders and scorpions, no fresh air for weeks, shitting into a bag. They had hospitals down there where they amputated hands with no anaesthetic. This VC doctor said, "Half would die of shock, but half would live."
To paraphrase Colonel John Boyd: the three most important things for a military are the people, ideas and hardware (technology) in that order. Technology is A difference between Vietnam and Iraq; but the biggest change (for our military) is our people and our strategy (ideas). The highly-trained all volunteer force is definitely better than the Vietnam-era conscipt army and we have learned much about how to fight so-called asymmetric warfare like we're doing in Iraq.
To quibble, Prussia never really disappeared. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, Germany was formed under Prussian leadership. The vaunted Prussian General Staff was inherited by Germany as well. This was why World War I and II both almost ended in German/Prussian victories. When they put their mind to it, the Krauts know how to fight.
Iraqis aren't like that. They're noisy where the VC were quiet. They're flighty where the VC were coldblooded. They mob up and get each other excited, where the VC could just coldbloodedly do it.
If the Iraqis (errr, not really, many of the people we're fighting are foreign to Iraq) are such pansies you'd think killing a few thousand of them would end it. Sadly this is not the case. Our enemies are not the herd of chickens War Nerd seems to be describing.
But the thing is, Vietnam isn't the only way you can lose a war. Look at what happened to the Israelis in Lebanon. Iraq is a hell of a lot more like Lebanon than Nam.
22 years ago the man in charge of Israel was Menachem Begin, a real weirdo. He and Ariel Sharon were sick of taking mortar rounds from PLO in south Lebanaon. They decided they'd invade Lebanon, push the PLO into the sea.
It went fine, as long as the Israelis were heading north, attacking via combined arms. Their airforce destroyed the opposition. The Syrians lost 82 planes; Israel lost...zero. The IDF zoomed all the way to Beirut in record time, bombarded the PLO district and pushed Arafat into exile in Africa. They lost only about 400 men, but killed thousands of PLO. They kicked ass.
Then came phase two, the occupation. And that was the biggest military disaster Israel ever had. Sound familiar?
Let me get this straight. We're killing our enemies 50:1 and it's like "the biggest military disaster Israel ever had"? That sounds like a compliment... to the Israelis. Moving on from this hyperbole...
The big difference between Iraq and Lebanon is that we're not trying to set-up a minority group as our proxies in Iraq like the Israelis did with the Arab Christians in Lebanon. That's old school empire-building, not a game we play anymore. We're trying to turn Iraq into a real country, not a smoking hole in the ground.
What happened to them is exactly what's happening to us: they woke up the Shiites, who turned out to be way, way scarier than the PLO. In Lebanon, just like in Iraq, the Shiites were the lowest of the low, basically terrorized into keeping quiet and doing all the crummy jobs the Sunni didn't want. And just like in Iraq, the Lebanese Shiites lived either in urban slums or in villages in the South.When the invasion came, the Shiites went from welcoming the invaders to warning them to leave, then to open warfare. Exactly the same script, 20 years apart, Lebanon and Iraq. Once the Shiites started to fight, they showed why it's better not to mess with them.
Sure, whatever you say Chicken Little. The big, bad Shiites (how was that Saddam ever ruled if the Shiites are so terrorfying?) are ticked off because we shut down some criminal crackpot's newspaper (Sadr). He has little support and it isn't growing. Not as big a problem as your making it out to be dumbass.
Shiites are big on martyrdom, and guerrilla wars make a lot of martyrs. Just last week, two Shiites purposely jumped in front of American tanks and got turned into catfood under the tracks. A lot of this Arab bragging about loving death and craving martyrdom is bullshit, but some of it isn't, especially when it's Shiites saying it. After all, their hero is a guy who charged at the Caliph's whole army with 30 men.
I hate to sound like a broken record but 50:1 makes for "a lot of martyrs." The enemies stupidity is NOT a reason to think we're losing.
It was the Shiites in Lebanon who taught the Palestinians to fight. It was Shiite kids, even some girls, who started driving cars full of explosive at Israeli patrols in Lebanon. Pretty soon there were Shiite militias like Hizbollah attacking harder than those softies in the PLO ever had. Israelis and their local proxies, the South Lebanon Army, were getting picked off at a slow steady rate until the Israelis finally gave up and went home a couple of years ago.
The bad guys in Iraq have nowhere near this kind of broad-based support or we'd be taking a lot more casualties. Wake-up. As the article continues you seem to be descending further and further into madness. I may have to end this soon so I don't join your sorry ass.
Wow, the rest of the article good old War Nerd continues with his condescending attitude towards Arabs. Calling the Sunnis "hotheads" and saying " [the Shiites are] always getting worked up about something horrible that happened to their ancestors 500 years ago." He also includes this supposed British quote: "The Arab is either at your feet or at your throat." So apparently Arabs are like a combination of children and animal, but it doesn't sound like he considers them human. That's helpful.
I could continue but I have other stuff to blog about and War Nerd has more than proven his own idiocy. Time to move on, and put this Fisk out of its misery.