Not Winning Hearts and Minds

… which, frankly, the US hasn’t done since entering Iraq in March 2003, almost four long years ago. This piece comes from Ranger Against War.

Ghetto Busters

The Turks would need six hundred thousand men to meet the combined ill wills of all the local Arab people. They had one hundred thousand men available… The Turk was stupid and would believe that rebellion was absolute, like war, and deal with it on the analogy of absolute warfare. Analogy is fudge, anyhow, and to make war upon rebellion is messy and slow, like eating soup with a knife.
–T.E. Lawrence

Previously, I had likened the upcoming Baghdad operation to the Battle of Hue, but this association is probably not the most appropriate. Hue was a clash of conventional forces in an insurgency or unconventional war that was evolving into the next phase, which was conventional. This analysis is correct even considering the irregular Vietcong units engaged in the city, as they were fighting alongside conventional North Vietnamese forces.

The Warsaw Ghetto battle of 1944, which pitted regular Nazi combat forces against the pitiable Jewish resistance forces confined to the ghetto is probably more apt.

This is not to ignore the obvious disparities. The materiel situation in Warsaw was dire. Obviously, the Baghdad resistance will have been laying in supplies; however, once the fighting begins, they will be cut off.

Although the Iraqi resistance (both Sunni and Shia) is well-armed and organized in the parity of their combat power vis a vis the American forces, they cannot possibly strategically defeat the U.S. forces. The U.S. Army will dominate all the fights, but the war is lost for us before the first shot is fired.

This is not a straight line analogy, to be sure; nothing is.

The German Army could isolate a ghetto and destroy the resistance therein without incurring immediate repercussions, but now the world is watching more closely. The cell phone cameras will capture the level of brutality required to eliminate resistance. Levels of brutality do not equate to the U.S. stated goal of democratization. If the war is for hearts and minds, you don’t invade ghettos (enclaves).

Read it here.

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