Losing Quietly

Although this microanalysis of the military situation is largely irrelevant to our purpose: we want the war to stop and we want that to happen yesterday.

‘Smart’ rebels outstrip US
Paul Beaver in Fort Lauderdale and Peter Beaumont
Sunday March 11, 2007, The Observer

Top American generals make shock admission as Iraq leader pleads with neighbouring countries to seal off their borders

The US army is lagging behind Iraq’s insurgents tactically in a war that senior officers say is the biggest challenge since Korea 50 years ago.

The gloomy assessment at a conference in America last week came as senior US and Iraqi officials sat down yesterday with officials from Iran, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in Baghdad to persuade Iraq’s neighbours to help seal its borders against fighters, arms and money flowing in. During the conference the US, Iranian and Syrian delegations were reported to have had a ‘lively exchange’.

In a bleak analysis, senior officers described the fighters they were facing in Iraq and Afghanistan ‘as smart, agile and cunning’.

In Vietnam, the US was eventually defeated by a well-armed, closely directed and highly militarised society that had tanks, armoured vehicles and sources of both military production and outside procurement. What is more devastating now is that the world’s only superpower is in danger of being driven back by a few tens of thousands of lightly armed irregulars, who have developed tactics capable of destroying multimillion-dollar vehicles and aircraft.

By contrast, the US military is said to have been slow to respond to the challenges of fighting an insurgency. The senior officers described the insurgents as being able to adapt rapidly to exploit American rules of engagement and turn them against US forces, and quickly disseminate ways of destroying or disabling armoured vehicles.

The military is also hampered in its attempts to break up insurgent groups because of their ‘flat’ command structure within collaborative networks of small groups, making it difficult to target any hierarchy within the insurgency.

Read the rest here.

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