Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What Would Patton Do?

Listening to the president, the Democratic response, and various politicians all talking about what to do in Iraq, I thought, What would General George S. Patton recommend?

He had one principle that doesn't seem to be applied here: not paying for the same real estate twice. The challenge we haven't gotten right in Iraq is, once territority has been taken, is how not to lose it. How many times have we "taken" Baghdad already?

I believe that "Old Blood and Guts" would subdue Bagdad in a matter of a few weeks by using brutal counterstrikes against the insurgency, performing military surveillance/positioning in each hot zone, imposing strict civilian curfew, arresting Sadr/Al Hakim for inciting sectarian violence, disarming the Mehdi Army/Badr Brigade of all weaponry, invoking corporal punishment for those treasonous to the democratically elected government, hunting down Al Qaeda Terrorists and foreign Sunni Insurgents (cross-border if need be), performing elaborate reconnaissance in all situations, and lastly pressing the issue until victory.

"It is the unconquerable nature of man and not the nature of the weapon he uses that ensures victory."
"Pressure makes diamonds."
"Make your plans to fit the circumstances."
"You're never beaten until you admit it."
"It is only by doing things others have not that one can advance."
"A pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood."
"A good plan executed today is better than a perfect plan executed at some indefinite point in the future."

-General George Patton
The fascist warmongers and profiteers in the Bush government deceptively conjured, concocted, and are now being strangled by an Hegelian constuct of their own design.

The $450bn hypersuperior US military is unchallengeable in the field.

Yet, tragically, - in Iraq, our vaunted and valiant military is combating socalled insurgents using Ak-47'S, RPG's, and IED's. Quite obviously the underlying math and calculus is chaotically awry, and wilddy disproportionate. Our military could - if unleashed without restraint - crush and control any enemy, neighborhood, sector, or region in Iraq anywhere on earth their commanders so desire.

Unfcrtunately, this crushing and controlling would require slaughtering huge swaths of the civiilian population, and ruthless implementation of a very undemocratic police state, worse, if not somewhat like that imposed upon certain Iraqi's under Saddam, - hense our dread concern and dire dilema. America cannot slaughter and control the people we are supposedly liberating and upon whom we are imposing some kind of democracy.

Since we cannot simply slaughter or imprison vast swaths of the civilian population in Iraq, (which will be politically unpalatable given the Bush governments hollow liberty and democracy rhetoric) - our valiant soldiers are left with the impossible task of weeding out socalled insurgents, who happen to look, dress, and act like the rest of the Iraqi civilian population, and hope these socalled insurgents are somehow discovered, and somehow removed without insulting, disrespecting, antagonizing, injuring, or actually killing innocent Iraqi's who happen to look, dress, and act like socalled insurgents. In short, our soldiers cannot differentiate insurgent from the indigenous population our soldiers or ordered to protect. Hence our soldiers are ordered to execute and prosecute missions that are impossible.

And even if these impossible missions are relatively successfull in certain sectors, or neighborhoods, for some certain period of time, - the socalled insurgents, who happen to look, dress, and act like the innocent Iraqi civilians who may or may not support and harbor the socalled insurgents, simply return from their hiding places, or safe havens, and perpetuate the ongoing neverending Hegelian cycle.

Ergo, - there is now, never was, and never will be anything like the possibility of victory, or success in Iraq, because the entire fetid, ghoulish, costly, bloody, noendinsight horrorshow - is crime scene, and an Hegelian construct conjured, concocted, and lost by the fascist warmongers and profiteers in the Bush government.

More troops = more enormous costs + more casualties + less credibility + a noendinsight horrorshow that cannot be won militarily, no matter how many US troops are committed to the land of the two rivers.

The Bush government has been defeated in Iraq.

Delaying, or ignoring admission of this factbasedreality, and/or heaping the terrible costs of this horrorshow on future generations and leadership only compounds a grotesque and catastophic FAILURE and perpetuates an obscene and festering crime!

"Deliver us from evil!"
Both of the two above comments point to a vital fact about the Iraq imbroglio currently bedeviling the USA: that entangled in the lies of its own making, as well as a necessary political and diplomatic wisdom about
retaining some shred of regional and indeed international support, the USA and its forces as currently configured are absolutely incapable to regaining the initiative in Iraq. Both militarily and politically.

As both gentleman above note, Patton, would no doubt, have dealt with the
insurgency in Iraq, in the same fashion that the British did in 1920-1921: using heavy firepower in an indiscriminate fashion to subdue the population, and, subsequently sponsoring political reforms from 'above' (Gertrude Bell parachuting Emir Feisal as monarch).

Being a provincial backwater, without the eyes of the world, or even the Arab region in that year focused on it, the British had carte blanche in Iraq, to do what they wanted. And, thus were able to employ Air power to bomb out of existence, rebel villages. With appreciable loss of civilian life.

Today of course, this is quite impossible. Even the type of indiscrimiate usage of firepower from the air, that the United States army employed in Indo-china during the 1965-1974 period is no longer viable politically. And, it is open question if such tactics would be very effective.

So to recap: invoking the ghost of Patton, is not the best means of illustrating the dilemmas of American military and political policy in Iraq.
Indeed, it could be (and has been) argued that perhaps if the United States had employed back in 2003, when the insurgency first got off the ground, the type of policies that Sir
Robert Thompson employed in Malaysia during the eight year long, 'Emergency' (not 'war' but 'emergency'), perhaps the insurgency in Iraq could have been contained and squelched. However this
counterfactual, assumes that the American decision-making apparatus would have been intelligent enough to
make decisions based upon verifiable facts, data and with some appreciation of recent Iraqi history, as opposed to primitive ideology. And, from start to finish, there has been little evidence that any of the above has been true. Hence the current debacle.
PRecisely, Charles, Patton's methods don't work today and I think Nick made that point in his IHT piece today--the US is not prepared to wage that type of campaign to pacify the country. And your points about how to wage a successful counter-insurgency campaign and the fact that the US doesn't have teh mindset to do it are spot on.
US needs to kill 20% of the Iraq's Sunni population to crush the Sunni insurgency. She is not prepared to do that. So, she will loose - this is known to US Military's staff officers.
I tend to wish we had Sherman. But, pick your poison.
If there's an argument here against Patton's rule of not taking the same real estate twice, it might be this: chance favors the prepared mind. Mosul Iraqis have seen Saddam and sanctions, chaos and militia rule, Petraeus, and again, militia rule and chaos. They'll never see Saddam and sanctions again, so which will they choose as the less bad of the remaining options, if given the choice again? How does putting an Iraqi city in order, then letting it slide again, improve the chances of more acceptance of order the second time around, in the minds of its citizens? More important, does it increase the likelihood that they'll fight to keep whatever order America might bring again?

If retaking a city doesn't improve the chances of citizens being willing to defend the new order, the situation is probably irretrievable, because we don't have enough troops, not to mention the political will, to simply assert order everywhere at once in Iraq and keep things that way for a long time. We're just running on a treadmill, and would probably still be running on a treadmill even with double the current troop commitment. However, if it does improve the chances, then the current pattern of conflict -- clear, hold, build, leave, and watch it fall apart again -- might actually make a weird kind of strategic sense. Real estate to be conquered isn't measured in acres so much as in hearts and minds. That it's weird is no strike against it per se -- after all, we're in an unprecedented situation. Asking what George Patton would do might be about as useful as asking what George Washington would do. Or it might be very useful if, at the seance table, we got the answer: "Don't ask me -- this one breaks ALL of my rules!"
I am certain that General Patton would not want command of the army that is currently in the field. Technologically, they are superior to anything he ever had. In terms of discipline and force structure, they are a motley crew of text messagers, bloggers and Myspace fanatics. The average soldier now believes they only need to follow orders when it suits their needs.

The only way to win in Iraq, would require a level of brutality that these US soldiers would be unwilling to dish out. Even if they were ordered to do so, they would argue that the orders were illegal. This will not effect things in the long run.

Eventually, we will "cut and run". The Democrats are the party of extreme weakness and are the current power center in the US. However, this will all change in a dramatic fashion as soon as the USA gets smacked. This is not an "if", but a "when". The truth is, we are in a war with radical Islam. It is a conflict between East and West, and their is deep hatred of the USA throughout the Eastern World. The American citizens do not fully comprehend this, and do not accept this at the current time.

Once the USA gets "hit" by the radical Islamists, then the flags will go back on the Toyotas and Nissans - America will get angry again. There will be a national resolve to do "things right" this time. If we get "hit" with a nuke, (very likely), we will respond with nukes. If they attack our children, (schools, school buses, etc.) also likely, then we will hit them very hard.

We won't need a target, because once we leave Iraq and Iran moves in to stabilize the region, we will have our enemy. By then, Iran will have made sure they have a limited nuclear capability, (probably equivelant to Pakistan). We will be forced to strike in a very unconventional way and will probably inflict millions of casualties in the process. Iran will launch a "hair trigger response and may kill a couple of hundred thousand in Israel and Western Europe.

This will all occur, because the Republicans fumbled and underestimated our enemy when they had the people behind them. Also, because the Democrats have chosen to use this conflict as a wedge to weaken the Republicans hold on power. Because of the Republicans (Bush's) incompetence (it is blatant) and the Democrats zeal to wreck them at all costs, millions will undoubtedly pay with their lives.

Eventually, Bush and Pelosi will go down in history as some of the worst leaders to ever have been given the reigns of power. They are certainly not of the caliber of Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln or Marcus Aurelias.
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