When is a first strike not a first strike?
When it's Anticipatory Retaliation.

May 25, 2004

Why Iraq Won't Settle Down

Bravo Romeo Delta

In a lot of talk about Iraq and whether or not it can be pacified, there are a few glaring points that seem to get missed.

Short version - it won't any time soon. That may not be that bad.

Think for a minute: if Iraq turns peaceful tomorrow, both Syria and Iran (who know that they're not getting Christmas or Ramadan or Kwanza or Hanukah cards from us this year) will have the prospect of 140,000 troops sitting on their border. As long as we're tied up in counterinsurgency operations, so the logic goes, we won't invade either country.

This approach has a couple of possible outcomes [NB: this list is not comprehensive and the items listed below are not mutually exclusive].

1) An increasing level of violence prevents formation of an effective Iraqi army and police force, and America eventually suffers from conflict fatigue and withdraws.

2) An increasing level of violence prompts America to take much more aggressive actions with regards to Syrian and Iranian support for Iraqi insurgents.

3) The US is able to keep on top of the insurgency such that an Iraqi army and police force is formed and able to keep a lid on things. Seeing this, Syria and Iran reduce their support for insurgents and stability ensues.

4) The US is able to effectively fight the insurgency so that an Iraqi army and police force can be formed and take over stabilization activities. Iran and Syria continue their support - this leads to direct military confrontation between the US and either state.

5) The US beats down the insurgency long enough for Iraqi institutions to be developed to effectively address instability. The US then invades Syria or Iran for reasons that may or may not include their support for insurgents.

As indicated above, this is not an exhaustive list. One thing that I would recommend keeping in mind, however, is that an insurgency cannot function effectively for long periods without external support. This was the case in Vietnam. In a bid to prevent Iraq from taking on Vietnam-like characteristics, we need to figure out how to shut down foreign support for insurgents.

Another possibility worth mentioning is that Iran may be doing this to put pressure on the US in order to buy breathing room for their nuclear program.

All being said and done, we can no longer effectively assume that the insurgents are Ba’athist holdouts. We have been fighting a broader war since 9/11 and this essential fact cannot be forgotten.

Launched by Bravo Romeo Delta at May 25, 2004 04:40 PM

Retaliatiory Launches

The mystery is why the news media fails to report on these facts. I tend to think they will say anything and suppress any truth if it will get a Democrat elected. But, there must be some competitive pressure to come out and talk about what is actually happening, i.e. a regional war with Syria and Iran actively engaged in hostilities against the USA. When and how will these facts be brought to the attention of the non-blogospheric public? The answer to that question is "when and in the way it can most help Kerry". So, when and how is that going to be?

Posted by: Lexington Green at May 29, 2004 02:30 PM

What you're saying about Iraq is all purely conjecture. How can you assume that the success of the resistance will only depend on foreign support? You can't equate Vietnam with Iraq. They're being fought for different reasons on different terrain, with religion in the mix, not just Communism vs. Capitalism like Vietnam was.

The Iraqi insurgency can be understood if you look back on the American Revolution. As much as you wanted your freedom from England, you didn't want to be occupied by France or any other nation. That is why Iraqis are fighting back versus the American occupiers. Many are not against America per se; they're just not willing to let their country be dictated to by Western powers who have promised to institute a system of gov't that is foreign to their culture.

(The closest thing to a democracy in that region is Iran. They elect representatives but have a religious branch of gov't that watches their legislation and makes sure that they're not going against their religious edicts).

Posted by: Jeremy Brendan at May 31, 2004 11:29 PM

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