Sunday, January 15, 2006

More unpatriotic defeatism from those nasty, fact-addicted realists

The centerpiece of the current U.S. strategy is to rely on a people whose military the United States twice humiliated on the battlefield to destroy an insurgency it did not create. "The ultimate goal," Boylan told me, "is that we work ourselves out of a job. The Coalition is not going to be the ones who win this. The Iraqis will be the ones who win this, because they're the only ones who can."

Boylan believes that the polls have slipped because the media shows only one side of the conflict. He points to the 3,000 schools that have been renovated, the construction of water plants and other pieces of infrastructure, the 26,000 new Iraqi businesses that have been established. But much of this progress has been annulled by the security situation. Many parents keep their children out of school: "If you love your children, you won't send them to school here because we will kill them," one insurgent flyer posted in the city of Tal Afar read. Journeying four miles from Bagdhad's airport to the Green Zone can take the better part of two days, and wandering two hundred yards beyond the wire of any U.S. base requires a full military escort. The Marines are forced to travel four hours out of their way to avoid a particularly dangerous highway between [Camp] TQ and Fallujah. "The most powerful army in the history of the world," one soldier told me, "cannot keep a two-mile stretch of road open."
--From Tom Bissell's "Improvised, Explosive and Divisive," in this month's Harpers.

"Our whole military is based on the idea of overwhelming firepower put on targets," says William S. Lind, a noted military theorist who has written extensively on asymmetric warfare. "But that doesn't work in this type of conflict. We are fighting an enemy that has made himself untargettable." Therefore, Lind says, the insurgents can continue fighting the American military in Iraq indefinitely--regardless of how many U.S. troops are deployed or how quickly they are massed.
For Lind and other military theorists, the IED problem in Iraq is insoluble no matter how much time or money is spent. "If we can't engage the enemy," he says, "what do we do? The answer is, we lose."
--From Robert Bryce's "Man Versus Mine," in this month's Atlantic.

Not that any of this might lead a reasonable person to believe that the best course of action is to get our troops out of the fucking shooting gallery.


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