Thursday, May 15, 2003

So What Are They Doing?

You can do anything with a bayonet except sit on it.

-- Talleyrand

Let's see. We didn't stop the looting of the Baghdad Archaelogical Museum or the National Library. Yeah, the damage seems to be a lot less than we thought. Excellent news, but still no excuse.. We didn't protect hospitals, banks, or Government or Ba'ath Party records. We didn't secure known nuclear materials, which have disappeared. Our WMD teams are going home. Iraqi civilians are rooting through the latest batch of mass graves looking for family members instead of waiting for forensic help that would give much better results. Looting proceeds apace; many Iraqis are afraid to leave their homes. The "shoot to kill" order is an admission of failure. In these situations, you always shoot the wrong people.

So what are we doing in Iraq? We have, what, 150,000 troops "in theatre"?

Well, my guess is that the combat troops are doing patrols looking for an army, the maintenence guys are doing maintenence, the logistics guys are schlepping supplies around for the rest of the military. The brass is holding meetings.

In short, just what they've been trained to do. They have no training with "nation building" whatever the <bleep> that means. They have no training as cops. Very few of them speak any Arabic at all.

We base our operations on "war games". When the "game" is over, everybody goes home and writes their "after action report". Well, we've achieved our objective. Our training says that, when the exercise is over, it's over. No more need be done. We have no training for dealing with an occupation.

The "occupation" seems to have no planning at all behind it. Except, perhaps, "Move Chalabi into Iraq. He'll do what's necessary."

It's too early to call this a "quagmire". What we have here is a mess. If we don't find the handle on this soon (and I see no signs of this), we will have a quagmire on our hands.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by