Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Comment on The Belmont Club,
"Afghanistan plain"

gave credence to the Baathist die hards claims of US conquest

You may care about giving Baathists credence or not and worry about their opinion. I do not care about their opinion and I believe the best way to counter any influence their opinion may have had was to publicly crush and humiliate them.

I have no problem with calling Bremer a Proconsul. I have no problem with rubbing the Baathists and neighbors Sunni, Shia or Fascist, nose in the fact that we sure as hell did conquer the country. We also liberated it. We do both at the same time, always have. I'd have had no problem with our pumping oil as fast as we could with profits going to American owned companies. I'd have had no problem with the price of oil crashing to $10 bbl and staying there for a few years, as we could have done. I'd have had no problem with the resulting implosion of the economies of Russia, Venezuela, and the arab members of OPEC and the frustration of their desires to fund subversion around the world.

We conquered them because they deserved it and we should have made it very clear to everybody that they really did not want to deserve an American invasion. Then after hunting down and killing the Baathists and turning a profit on the deal, as we could have, I'd have had no problem with teaching the Iraqis that as an American dependency, I'd have probably put them under the UN trusteeship system, they would learn the virtues of toleration to the army of nice missionary girls I'd have flooded the place with. Then when they had earned it after ten or fifteen years I'd have considered giving them back their country.

Afghanistan always was a different case. That is why the Bush administration always used a lighter footprint with more Special Forces and worked through the Loya Jirga and the former King.

Debaathification was a good thing but the massive unemployment and shortage of sufficient troops to guard ammo dumps was a bad thing.

The problems with Iraq were:
1. failure to sufficiently plan for securing the loose ammunition
     and restoring essential services
2. failure to engage with all forces when the 4th ID was turned
     back by the Turks
3. failure to use momentum to overthrow the Baathist regime
     in Damascus
4. failure to arrest or kill baby Sadr
5. failure to tie rewards from oil production to local conduct
6. failure to insist on a secular multiethnic and tolerant new Iraq
7. failure to delay reestablishment of Iraqi sovereignty until after
     replacing the totalitarian culture.

We all know that Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. We also know that no plan survives the first contact with the enemy. We should have been more flexible about responding to the betrayal by the French, and by the Turks who have since swung unambiguously into the Iranian-Russian camp. The important thing should have been to keep our eyes on the goal of so dominating Iraqi society that the culture could change enough so that they would no longer be a threat to us. That would have impressed itself on the minds of all in the region in a synergistic fashion. Instead we let the ankle biters emerge before we even reached Baghdad and we empowered our enemies. Maybe we should have done something with the old army, such as dismantling Saddam's palaces by hand so the bricks could be used to make Iraqi hobbit holes snugger, but we didn't fight to establish a Welfare State. We never had, nobody else who goes to war with the US expects to stay on our payroll after we defeat them. If we didn't do that for the armies of the Confederacy, Germany or Japan then why should we have done it for Iraq?

Did not say much about Afghanistan. The problem isn't in fine tuning the Bush plan but in the basic lack of credibility that attaches to any plan that Mr Cut and Run Obama promulgates. On the margin I suspect that the original Spec-Ops focus was appropriate to the location. We needed some mobile quick reaction forces to block the exits at Tora Bora and the failure to insert them has had very bad consequences. The real problem, given physical conditions and logistics lines, is in Pakistan. I would ostentatiously engage in intense private conversations with the Indians and affirm an alliance with them on every level.

The ever delightful Mary Katherine Ham has John McCain's reply.
'Success is the Real Exit Strategy.'
Somebody remind me how he didn't get to be President.

Subotai Bahadur,
Half of the required force, 75% of the absolute minimum
Just to be charitable, is it possible that 30,000 is the number the Navy/Air Force logistics team said they could extract if the SHTF?

What will India do? Pakistan is upwind and to reliably destroy it's capability to launch a second strike would take a massive preemptive strike of a hundred or more warheads.

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