Price of a foolish war

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 The question is no longer if American forces will be withdrawn, but how soon and at what cost.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.

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6 Responses to Price of a foolish war

  1. Kent Woods says:

    I don’t have time to take this article completely apart. But it doesn’t apply on most levels.We lost fifty thousand and more in VN. We lost more in six months there than we will ever lose in Iraq. The fact is we NEVER called an election in VN. WE put too damn many troops on the ground in VN. WE never allowed the VN to provide for their own security in VN.In Iraq, we will not leave expesive high tech weapons on the ground when we leave. They aren’t there to leave. All we have are a handful of tanks and HUMVEES and light weapons. The rest is airpower. The tanks and HUMVEES will presumably be left to the Iraqis for their security forces at little expense to us. What we are leaving behind are schools, hospitals and infrastructure that will sustain them if they don’t destroy each other.The idea that we cannot sustain 2500 casualties to subdue a nation of 35,000,000 is rediculous. The metrics of this war are better than any war we have ever fought.WE had an up or down vote last week to leave Iraq. Except for three votes, everyone voted to stay the course. What is this guy smoking?

  2. “WE had an up or down vote last week to leave Iraq. Except for three votes, everyone voted to stay the course.”My God Kent, that vote was a farce.But it was necessary in that the call for immediate withdrawal by a heavyweight with a momentary lapse of rationality had to be addressed. But to take the vote seriously … that’s absurd. They had to bother themselves to get the vote out of the way in order to get it out of the way.Any idiot, save the three who just want to get their names in print (didn’t work), knows we can’t withdraw “immediately”. To take such a suggestion seriously is moronic. Therefor, to count a vote against it as serious business is equally moronic.We’ll be getting out of there, no doubt about that. And well before the end of Bush’s term. That is an absolute certainty.

  3. Kent Woods says:

    You may well be right. If we do, we are screwed. The situation on the ground will quickly escalate into a full scale civil war. The Iranians will move in and we will be facing an intractable enemy with control of the largest energy source on the planet soon to be armed with nuclear weapons. Our options will be narrowed.

  4. You’re exactly right. In fact, the Iranians are moving on Iraq now, and with the unequivacal support of the Iraqis. The Iraqis went to the Iranians.”Iraqi President Jalal Talabani kicked off a landmark visit to Iran, voicing confidence he could win the Islamic republic’s support in the fight against the insurgency raging in his country.”See my piece on that.

  5. Kent Woods says:

    Roger,I appreciate and share your frustration. The fact remains. We cannot leave a rich nation state in the hands of insurgents bent on our destruction. To do so is a non-starter. Even John Kerry and Joe Biden agree on that. If you want to dissent on methods and means for securing the country fine. To admit defeat and leave is not an option. If you have some constructive plan, please put it out there.This morning after the President’s speech. John Kerry made a rebuttal speech. He said pointedly that he did not favor leaving the country in the hands of suicide bombers and insurgents. Then he gets a little murky about how he would win on the gound. More than a little murky.Unless and until the Democrats come up with a better plan than is on the table, they are basically giving our enemies hope that we will cut and run. Regardless of their protestations to the contrary.P.S. I expect more from you.

  6. By damn, you’re right.I’ll get on it.

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