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Saturday, March 11, 2006

Could We Lose Our Army in Iraq?

In a thoughtful, historical opinion piece Gary Hart warns that US Army in jeopardy in Iraq:
IN 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia and, after success at the battle of Borodino, marched on and occupied Moscow. Napoleon and his generals took over the palaces of the court princes and great houses of the mighty boyars.

Sadly for Napoleon, the Russians had different plans for their nation. Within days after abandoning their city to the French army, they torched their own palaces, homes, enterprises, and cathedrals. They burned Moscow down around Napoleon. Denied his last great triumph, the disappointed emperor abandoned Moscow and started home. Along the way, he lost the world's most powerful army.

Recently one of Islamic Shi'ites' most revered sites, the golden mosque in Baghdad, was destroyed by sectarian enemies. By this act and the reprisals that followed, Iraq moved a substantial step closer to civil war. Though a remote, but real, possibility, an Iraqi civil war could cost the United States its army.

Hopefully, leaders are planning for this possibility. If sectarian violence escalates further, US troops must be withdrawn from patrol and confined to their barracks and garrisons. Mass transport must be mustered for rapid withdrawal of those troops from volatile cities in the explosive central region of Iraq. Intensive diplomatic efforts must be focused on preventing an Iraqi civil war from spreading to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria. Such a potential could make the greater Middle East a tinder box for years, if not decades, to come.

But the first concern must be the safety of US forces. It is strange to contemplate the possibility that the greatest army in world history could be slaughtered in a Middle East conflagration. But prudent commanders have no choice but to plan for this danger.

I'm not so sure that we have any prudence left with these civilian masters at the Pentagon. There appears to be no disaster recovery plans in case the shit heads south, because there seems to be no realisation that's the direction things are headed. I's possible that's being kept out of the public eye while they paint rosy pictures of 'last throws' and deny that cvil war is taking place. I mean most civil wars do not start with an announcent. Not at least since Fort Sumter.

As the former Senator continues:
In greatest danger are the units in the Sunni central region cities. They are in real jeopardy if tens of thousands of angry Sunni and Shi'ite citizens, supported by their sectarian militias, surround and then overrun those units before they can be withdrawn.

If the whole iraqi populace of 25 million plus turn on our forces they would be overwhelmed. No doubt about it. The slaughter would be horrible. The question is would the US use its nuclear arsenal to prevent that? Is that the ace up the sleeve?

Now some may say this defeatism. There is no way the the best military in the world can be defeated. History will tell us differently. That Rome lost legions in the forests across the Rhine. That the British lost a continent to people willing to die for the land they lived on. It is always possible. Is anyone at the Pentagon considering that possibility?

The United States lost one war not too long ago in Vietnam. Conditions are taking shape that could result in the same outcome in Iraq. Not to plan now for this apocalyptic possibility would be tantamount to criminal neglect on the part of our political and military leadership.

A major part of the dilemma we have created is the result of failure to know the history and complex culture of Iraq. As we refused to learn from the French experience in Indochina, we also failed to learn from the British experience in Iraq. We are on the cusp of religion and antique hatred overtaking whatever latent instincts toward democracy we may have relied on or tried to instill. We face the reemergence of 11th-century Assassins and 17th-century ethnic fundamentalism arising to replace a century of ideology -- imperialism, fascism, and communism.

The character of warfare and violence is being transformed. The warfare of the future is not World War II, or even Korea or Vietnam. It is Mogadishu and Fallujah -- low-intensity conflict among tribes, clans, and gangs. We are not prepared for that kind of warfare.

It saddens me that we have blind politicians who went along with this foray into Iraq. Don't they know when you let loose the Dogs of War there's always a chance of getting bit in the ass?

So could we lose our Army in Irag? Only the Gods of Wars know for sure...