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Thursday, November 30, 2006

On the road: A couple of Iraq links to tide you over 


I'm jammed today until at least the cocktail hour, but there are a couple of Iraq links to tide you over. First, Ralph Peters:

The good news - and, unfortunately, the bad news - is that Iraq is not in a state of civil war in the textbook sense. If it were, our military and political mission would be easier.

In a civil war, you have clearly defined sides struggling for political power, with organized military formations and parallel governments. You know who to kill and who is empowered to negotiate with you. You can pick a side and stick to it.

Unleashed, our military could smash any enemy in an open civil war. Even our diplomats would have trouble preventing an American victory.

But the violence in Iraq comes from overlapping groups of terrorists, militias, insurgents, death squads, gangsters, foreign agents and factionalized government security forces engaging in layers of savage religious, ethnic, political and economic struggles - with an all-too-human lust for revenge spicing the mix.

There is a genuine problem here: The ever-accelerating pace of change since the end of the Cold War has left us with an inadequate vocabulary. Words literally fail us. We don't know what to call things. No military lexicon offers a useful term to describe the situation in Iraq.

And don't miss this one-liner in the Peters tradition of overwhelming harshness:
And let's not lose sight of the incontestable fact that, while being liked in the Middle East would be nice, being feared by our enemies is essential.

Also, read Josh Manchester's "Go Native," and begin a discussion here or join the conversation over at The Belmont Club.

I'll be back.

3 Comments:

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Thu Nov 30, 07:11:00 PM:

Oderint, dum metuant  

By Blogger Tom, at Fri Dec 01, 08:18:00 AM:

Although Peters can be quite mercurial, in this case he's right.

We were feared after 9/11, and were up until maybe sometime late 2004. But Bush has totally lost his way, is completely lame-duck. No one fears us anymore, least of all Iran.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Dec 01, 12:35:00 PM:

Tom, I think you make a very subtle point. Though Bush won re-election in 2004, and R-party retained majorities in both houses, and the Fallujah offensive followed in Nov. 2004, the fact that Kerry polled as well as he did on an clear war-rejectionist platform had to give our "enemies" a cause for encouragement.
The country is split, opinion wise, and clearly there is no national will or consensus for decisively facing the Iranians, now or in the near future.
On another thread here, someone said that the "multiculturalists and leftists" had in effect, emasculated Europe's resistance to militant Islam.
We frankly aren't far behind.
It's been obvious since the beginning that Iran was fomenting trouble in Iraq, yet neither party wanted to make that case, even though it is demonstrable that they are killing our soldiers.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
- David  

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