Friday, November 07, 2003

The Next Phase of the War

Dr George Friedman of Strategic Forcasting Inc. has written a brilliant essay that puts the situation in Iraq in perspective and, I believe, gets it exactly right. I read it about three weeks ago but, what with reality and other silly things, never posted it. But now, with the passage of almost a month since he wrote it, it is even more true and on the mark. Unfortunately, Stratfor's free website doesn't have it anymore. But, thanks to my brilliant research techniques (Google, of course) I found it in Italy, in English, here.

I won't go on or quote extensively from it, because you must read it for yourself, but I can't resist just one tidbit:
We need to recall the two strategic reasons the United States had for invading Iraq -- as opposed to the public justifications:

1. Seizing the most strategic country in the region as a base of operations from which to mount follow-on operations against countries that collaborate or permit collaboration with al Qaeda.

2. Transforming the psychological perception of the United States in the Islamic world from a hated and impotent power to a hated but feared power.

The most significant impact the guerrilla war has had on the United States concerns the second goal. The perception (as opposed to the reality) of the war is that the conventional forces of the occupying power were helpless in the face of the guerrillas. There was certainly truth to that, but only in this sense. The guerrilla movement has remained well below critical mass -- it in no way threatens either the occupation or the operational capabilities of the United States. Total casualties relative to the force are insignificant from a military point of view.
He goes on to identify our real goals and problems and, not surprisingly, doesn't seem to agree one bit with the nine dwarves. RTWT