By Lex, on Fri – April 9, 2004
Where will this take us? At this point, we just don’t know…
Fallujah . *
Wonder what’s going to happen there once the women, children and old men are allowed to leave?
Wonder if the young men are wondering the same thing?
Wonder if that’s the point?
This is all horrible of course. The loss of life on both sides. And it simply didn’t have to be this way. But the Sunni extremists have a dogged thirst for power, and fear of the Shia they have suppressed for so long. While the young Shia “cleric” Moqtada Sadr has a thirst for power all his own, and is far too young and unimpressive to get it the traditional way. In the run up to Iraqi sovereignty, it was only to be expected that passions would boil over, as the players jostle for position. Far better it happen now, while there’s strong combat power on hand, and time to stamp out the fires before June 30. Much harder to deal with after.
There’s a part of me, the least respectable part that wants to say, “Fine, let’s withdraw. Let them have their civil war. And when it’s all over, and they’ve finally tired of killing each other, we can still go back in and crush whatever tyranny emerges, and try again to help them to democracy and freedom. Maybe by then they’ll be ready for it.”
It seems to me that there’s a similar dynamic in play here as in Germany after the First World War – the German Army left their trenches undefeated on the field, returned home crying that they had been betrayed by the politicians, and the smoldering resentments gave way to the militarism which precipitated the Second World War. That one ended badly of course for the German army, and the German people. After World War II, the Germans knew they hadn’t been betrayed, they had been defeated, both the army and the people. And more than anything else, they just wanted the war to be over.
Operation Iraqi Freedom was over so quickly. The Iraqi armed forces, especially their leadership, had been targeted so precisely, that when it was all over the people woke up disoriented to a changed world – but I they did not feel personally defeated. The Fallujans certainly didn’t. And they’re not yet ready for the war to be over.
I think they’re choosing poorly, myself. The Marines don’t screw around, and the president understands just how important this is. This started out as maneuver warfare. Now it’s a test of wills.
That’s attrition warfare, for those of you keeping score at home.
About that Condi Rice interview yesterday with the 9/11 commission. Couple things come to mind:
First, what the hell is up with all the applause from the audience, for one or the other political side. The more I think about it, the more uneasy it makes me. I feel like I’m watching Jerry Springer or Oprah, only Condi Rice is one of the guests.
This is a supposed to be a serious subject, right? We’re trying to get to the bottom of how 19 middle class Arab men with a couple hundred grand managed to sneak in under the radar of the best funded intelligence and law enforcement agencies on the planet, and kill 3000 of us. And maybe prevent something similar from ever happening again.
So what’s up with the peanut gallery?
Second, check out this headline from the New York Times :
In Testimony to 9/11 Panel, Rice Sticks to the Script
The Script. That’s sort of insulting, isn’t it? I mean, she’s under oath – is the Gray Lady really accusing the president’s National Security Advisor of being “on message,” in what is supposed to be one of the most important investigations of our age? While she’s under oath?
If it’s the truth, is it still “scripted?”
I’ve got a little less than a week home, before I go back to sea again for another exercise, this time aboard an Expeditionary Strike Group. You can get a lot of insight into the workings of an ESG here . * Chapomatic seems enthusiastic about the idea. I guess I’m getting crotchety in my decrepitude, but it all smacks of mere innovation to me.
The Navy essentially peeled three escorts off a carrier battle group and pasted them onto an amphibious ready group – three slow, fat ships and 1500 or so Marines. The ARG certainly needed the help, but the carriers could ill afford to lose them.
If naval warfare is compared to golf (stay with me), carrier strike groups have a long game with the driver (Tomahawk missiles) and middle game with TACAIR – persistent strike. But carriers are no good around the greens – we haven’t got a short game. It’s a powerful weapon system, but it’s kind of a blunt instrument too – can’t win hearts and minds with a CSG.
ESG’s on the other hand, have a good long game, no middle game but are great around the greens. They’re perfect vehicles for the Global War on Terror. They’re prepared to make friends, and destroy enemies, often in the same day and with great equanimity.
Put them together and you get an ESF – expeditionary strike force. Powerful stuff.
But enough shop talk. Let’s talk about me 😉
I’m going to eat pizza! Have a great weekend.
*06/30/18 – Links gone – Ed.