I'm writing after the hoopla on al Zarqawi has died down, and the president's military policy in Iraq has once again been rubber stamped by Congress. As Congress elects to continue on a course that defies logic and military reality, it becomes increasingly obvious that knowledge of military history is not a prerequisite to becoming a national level military planner.
The only reality is that military personnel are dying attempting to execute a chimera. Double entendre intended, for any "kill"--such as that of Zarqawi--will certainly not staunch the current tide of Muslim aggression. No cause for celebration there, unless you're glad another martryr has been created.
The death of al-Zarqawi is just a blip on the radar screen, yet it has become a media circus. In any military organization (or terrorist, if you wish), no individual is indispensible, and every loss will be filled with a new replacement. Hence, Zarqawi is meaningless, and the hue and cry is so much blather.
The same is true for Osama bin Laden. Killing is not the measure of success. The German army killed 20 million Russians, but the Russian's will to fight was never destroyed. Even Russian partisans accepted brutal death fighting the Germans, knowing that capture meant a sure and terrible death.
Killing peple never destroys the enemy's will to fight; in fact, history suggests the opposite. If the enemy is willing to take the casualties, then they will continue to fight, regardless. In Mogadishu, the militia fought the U.S. military to a standstill, even though their loss ratio was probably 100:1. The old-time rule was that in order to win an insurgency, a 10:1 kill ratio was required in order for the U.S. to prevail.
If this is true, then U.S. forces should have killed at least 15,600 fighters. Is there any proof that this has been accomplished? And what a hydra-headed beast is the "Iraqi fighter", he of indeterminate allegiance. Is he Al Quaida, former Iraqi military, ordinary Iraqi taking up arms, militiaman...? Without a doubt, we've killed between 30-100,000 civilians as collateral damage. Does this curtail our opponent's ability to recruit new members? Recruitment and funding are their lifeblood, and neither tide seems to be staunched.