Spreading “democracy”—or serving as target practice?
if our great soldiers in Iraq have been turned into targets in a shooting range. In each of these recent incidents, it has not been a matter of a military engagement between our forces and the enemy; it’s been a matter of our men standing around on patrol somewhere, or driving in a truck somewhere, or being flown by slow-moving, low-altitude helicopter from point A to point B
, and being shot down like pheasants, while the enemy escapes scot free. Why aren’t we the ones going after the enemy, instead of letting them shoot our guys? What the heck is going on here—other than “stay the course”?
Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 07, 2003 09:06 PM | Send
I am afraid, Mr. Auster, that we are confronting the reality of an occupation. There are no more easy targets (or easily identifiable targets) to ‘go after’.
“I am afraid, Mr. Auster, that we are confronting the reality of an occupation. There are no more easy targets (or easily identifiable targets) to ‘go after’.”
That is a grim thought. It would further back up my observations on the lack of sense in the administration’s calls for “victory,” when there is no victory possible but only “staying the course.” We’re left with the slender hope that these attacks will exhaust themselves.
Before the war, I foresaw a range of post-war possibilities, from toppling Hussein and leaving, to toppling Hussein and staying for a generation and re-creating Iraq as the British re-created India. But there was no coherent public discussion of post-war policy. One was left with the choice either to support the war to topple Hussein, or not; and the former seemed to me then, as it still does now, to be necessary.
“Why aren’t we the ones going after the enemy?”
This would require several changes.
1. A military draft and a LOT of American casualties. A push button, feminized, high-tech force is somewhat confounded by insurgents clad in civilian dress.
2. We will have to be willing to get our hands bloody. No one comes out of a war , expecially war of this type with clean hands. Many Americans don’t want to know this.
3. What do you think will happen to an American soldier who kills several Iraqis in a questionable situation? He will be prosecuted like the Rodney King cops on orders of Mr. Bush himself, after pressure from “American” Muslim groups.
We are facing as William S. Lind said, Fourth Generation War. Shooting at our helicopters and picking off Americans on patrol is how it is fought. My view is that things will continue as they are now. Mr. Bush will try to finesse the war through the 2004 election. He will probably order the troops to stay hunkered down in bunkers. This, by the way, makes it easier for the insurgents to stage ambushes. So the vicious circle, or downward spiral, continues.
LA wrote: “Why arenít we the ones going after the enemy, instead of letting them shoot our guys?”
Who are we to go after? Until they attack, we don’t know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys, do we? I’m an ex-Marine and while I was in I was part of what they called the Air Contingency Battalion for the 3rd MarDiv (Pacific area). The Air Contingency Battalion was specially trained for (duh) special contingencies that might arise in the world, such as embassy takeovers, hostage situations, or whatever. Consequently, I’m pretty familiar (in a general way) with the situation these guys are in over there. I only did it in training—I was never called up—but even in training it was nearly impossible to tell friendlies from hostiles until they made some sort of move.
Which is why it’s a huge mistake to treat this occupation as a military exercise. It’s not. It is, or should be, a police action, conducted by police or people properly and solely trained in police procedures. The military operates in a completely different way, by completely different rules: if it moves, shoot it. That’s the way the military is, or should be, designed to work, and rightly so.
From afar it looks like the bureaucrats have taken over and are now attempting to run Iraq like the DMV and the murder of sitting-duck U.S. soldiers doesn’t necessarily appear to them as relevant data. The real questions are things like: “Will this action lessen State Department influence?” or “Have those invoices been properly authorized?” and of course the perennial “Where’s my paycheck?”
Spreading “democracy”—or serving as target practice? It looks like both. The American Crusaders are working for a democratic government to come into place, but the Iraqi people seem more interested in kicking the occupational force out of their country. It is certainly possible that the democracy the Bush administration was originally hoping for will not mature, and something even less democratic than Saddam’s regime will eventually triumph. What a failure that would be on the part of the crafty/credulous “equality” coalition.
My gosh, first we had Thrasymachus, then we got Thucydides, and now we have Alcibiades. This site is turning into a Who’s Who of fifth century Athens.