RANGER AGAINST WAR: Surge Protection <

Friday, March 28, 2008

Surge Protection


Chambers: It's the American Dream in a goddamn gym bag!
Mitchell: You work for the American Dream. You don't steal it.

Chambers: Then this is even better

--A Simple Plan
(1998)
_____________

All reports say how complicated the situation is in Iraq. Brig. Gen. Ed Cardon, assistant commander of the U.S. task force operating south of Baghdad, said the situation in the south was "very complicated" and "the potential for miscalculation is high" ("Troops Fight Shiite Militia in Iraq.")

However, nothing could be simpler.

They have got guns and they are organized. At some point they will force their will or attempt to force their will upon the Iraqi government. That means if we stay in the fray, we are caught in a civil war. Theirs, not ours.

The New York Times lede said it succinctly:
"Heavy fighting broke out in Basra and Baghdad as Iraqi forces mounted a major operation against Shiite militias" ("Iraqi Crackdown on Shiite Forces Sets Off Fighting".) Bad stuff, but not our fight.

"The Iraqi government" -- code for the U.S. military -- is going into the Shiite neighborhoods in the latest offensive, so the Madhdi's actions are defensive in nature. Why would the U.S. stir up a hornet's nest, again? A cynical person would say to ensure continued U.S. participation in their war.


The U.S. is supporting a democratic initiative to disarm Iraqi militias, an institution which used to be a centerpiece of American democracy.
Many of the soldiers invading the Iraqi neighborhoods are actually U.S. militiamen, which we call the National Guard. In other words, to deny them our 2nd Amendment rights.

Democracy either is or it isn't; it is not a pick-and-choose animal.

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6 Comments:

Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

having ceded basra to moktada al-sadr, having ceded the only port, the only point for exporting oil, having ceded basra, and then given the mahdi army seven months unmolested to construct hezballoh style bunkers throughout the city and co-ordinate their defense with the iranians who are a mere 75 miles away, poised and waiting they have finally caught on to the fact that they have given the entire show away.

when the british wanted to control india they didn't take the interior of the place. they took mumbai, calcutta, goa, and from those positions moved up deep water rivers. when the british wanted to control china they did not invade. they bargained for hong kong (which effectively gave them canton and the entire pearl river basin). then they took shanghai. all of a sudden, because the british were in absolute control of the two main trading ports they were in control of the commerce. anything coming in, or out of china that didn't go on camel caravans over the silk road was theirs.

had tommy franks been a military historian rather than a cigar chewing dipstick with a potty mouth he might have read the memoirs of maj. general george "chinese" gordon on how to handle a place like that.

gordon didn't give a fig for bejing. he knew that it was inconsequential to the task at hand. take hong kong and choke the life out of bejing from a position of safety and strength. then, when bejing gets hungry enough, the invitation will ensue.

singapore not only controlled the entire malay peninsula, it was a choke point for all shipping wanting to pass from the pacific to the indian ocean. take that and you really don't have to take much else.

a canny tactician would have looked at the map of iraq and said "if i take basra i own the fucking place."

basra could have been completely taken on the first day. it could have been held with relative ease.

the rest of the country would have come begging in a short amount of time because the only thing they have to sell can only be sold through basra.

now, it belongs to moktada al-sadr because nobody wanted to spare a brigade and put up an airbase.

it's the old clausewitz story again "for want of a nail. . ."

because our heads were turned, because our military people weren't thinking about much beyond saying "yessir i can take that." (without even thinking about holding on to that son of a bitch)

because they wanted to do something "romantic" rather than something effective.

it might all be lost. right here. right now. if al-sadr's folks hold, and it looks like they will, he must be dealt with. the bluff has been called, it's time to pay up suckers.

Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 2:58:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Coathangrrr said...

having ceded basra to moktada al-sadr, having ceded the only port, the only point for exporting oil, having ceded basra, and then given the mahdi army seven months unmolested to construct hezballoh style bunkers throughout the city and co-ordinate their defense with the iranians who are a mere 75 miles away, poised and waiting they have finally caught on to the fact that they have given the entire show away.

Iran supports and funds the Badr Brigade, not the Mehdi Army. Those are the same people we support.

Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 4:20:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

MB,

Additionally, taking port cities would allow naval gunfire to be utilized in force protection. I believe that this is cheaper and more effective than using aviation assets. And this is a scenario that clearly indicates a Navy (Marine Corps.) operation.

Substituting political objectives for strategic ones is a violation of the principles of war. Your description indicates the same mistakes that Hitler made in choosing Moscow as an objective. It bled off necessary strategic forces that could have been utilized elsewhere to destroy the Soviet Union in one effective coordinated campaign. Napoleon captured Moscow, and we know how that one ended.

Capturing the political center of a country does not necessarily promise strategic success. As you said, Tommy Franks nor anyone else in the National Command Authority has a grasp of military history.

My knowledge is rudimentary, yet I am always amazed at how much they miss, even from my limited perspective.

--Jim

Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 4:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Kootenay said...

It doesn't make any sense to me that Iran would be providing support to al-Sadr. He is totally nationalist in orientation, and has hated Iran since growing up during the Iran/Iraq war. He has repeatedly condemned Iran for their support of Badr & SCIRI/SIIC. However, I hear that government forces aren't doing well in Basra because (among other things, of course) the Mehdi are better armed. If Iran is backing SIIC,where are the Mehdi weapons coming from? Who in the region might be supportive of a fundamentalist nationalist who wants a united Iraq under Islamic law? I'm almost inclined to consider that old fox Khaddafi, but he seems to have become pretty quiet in the past decade or so. Or are al-Sadr's guys just really good at stealing from the Americans? I hear weapons have gone missing that were supposed to go to the Iraqi army.

Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 12:12:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Juan Moment said...

Iran itself is split in two camps, Ahmadinejad's and Rafsandjani's, and I believe that Ahmadinejad has taken sides with Al-Sadr. His men received training from Iranian Qud forces and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, with the aim being to establish an Islamic state Khomeini style. What we are seeing in southern Iraq today are the echoes of the power struggle going on between two factions of clerics in Tehran. It is Shiite versus Shiite, a powder keg if ever I’ve seen one.

Sunday, March 30, 2008 at 2:55:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Juan.
Your observation and comments are most appropriate. US policy is based upon simplicity and erroneous assumptions about the nature of the threat to America. And of course these misconceptions have serious unintended consequences to the region and the world stage.
The best avenue of approach is to encourage the rifts and schisms within your adversaries ranks.In other words let them attrite themselves BUT this is too subtle for blunt US policy makers.
Your blog is impressive and I welcome you to our site. jim

Monday, March 31, 2008 at 9:34:00 AM GMT-5  

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