Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history at the Hebrew University, is author of ‘Transformation of War’ (Free Press, 1991). He is the only non-American author on the U.S. Army’s required reading list for officers.
He provides this insight, courtesy of Forward, a New York based Yiddish newspaper founded in 1897:
The number of American casualties in Iraq is now well more than 2,000, and there is no end in sight. Some two-thirds of Americans, according to the polls, believe the war to have been a mistake. And congressional elections are just around the corner.
What had to come, has come. The question is no longer if American forces will be withdrawn, but how soon and at what cost. In this respect, as in so many others, the obvious parallel to Iraq is Vietnam.
This study, from which I’ve pulled a couple of extracts is one of the most inclusive I’ve read in favor of at least partially maintaining the course in Iraq. He goes on to say:
Having been thoroughly devastated by two wars with the United States and a decade of economic sanctions, decades will pass before Iraq can endanger its neighbors again. Yet a complete American withdrawal is not an option; the region, with its vast oil reserves, is simply too important for that. A continued military presence, made up of air, sea and a moderate number of ground forces, will be needed.
I, of course, agree with the writer as I’ve stated in my October 6 piece entitled He’s absolutely right, referring to President Bush’s comments on the matter.
But Mr. van Creveld goes on to say:
Maintaining an American security presence in the region, not to mention withdrawing forces from Iraq, will involve many complicated problems, military as well as political. Such an endeavor, one would hope, will be handled by a team different from and more competent than the one presently in charge of the White House and Pentagon.
Need I say I agree? In his piece Mr. van Creveld referred to this war as ‘the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them’. Amen.
Click on the headline to read this most succinct, crystal clear piece of work.