Thursday, April 26, 2007

Win Lose or Draw

So we're back to the tired old arguments about "winning" or "losing" in Iraq.

Can we win the war in Iraq? Certainly we can. We can win by pursuing the strategy General Sheridan did for the Shenandoah valley--devastate the country so thoroughly that crows flying over will have to carry their own rations. We can turn the country into glass. We could if we wanted so flood the place with troops and keep every square inch of the country under constant watch that the various insurgenices, militias and terrorist groups would find it very difficult to move about.

This is not the question, though. The question is which of our objectives can we achieve given our self-imposed limitations in terms of the amounts of blood and treasure we are willing to commit. And if we can't, then there are only two directions--change the limitations or stop the enterprise.

None of the US objectives - excepting the ouster of Saddam Hussein and the destruction of the Ba'ath - are realizable.

To defeat the insurgency you need to kill 20% of the population (excepting the 5 million Kurds). That is 4 million people. Unless you use nuclear weapons I do not see how you can kill that many people with the resources that you have.
Love hearing all the tired DC experts trotting out to say how this time it is going to be different and there's no substitute for victory and etc. etc. Joey Liberman's piece today in the WaPo true to form, right, al Qaida coming round the bend if we don't finish them off in Iraq.
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