Much of the supply of Tomahawk cruise missiles has been expended, aircraft carriers were going to run out of precision guided bombs and there were serious maintenance problems with tanks, armored vehi
March 29, 2003 9:05 PM   Subscribe

The war is now a stalemate. From Reuters: Much of the supply of Tomahawk cruise missiles has been expended, aircraft carriers are going to run out of precision guided bombs, and there are serious maintenance problems with tanks, armored vehicles and other equipment. "The only hope is that they can hold out until reinforcements arrive," a former US intelligence official said. "This is the mess [Rumsfeld] put himself in because he didn't want a heavy footprint on the ground."
posted by johnnydark (84 comments total)
 
Well, I certainly don't see Rumsfeld in any mess .. good old boy has it nice and cozy, doesn't he?
posted by Eloquence at 9:07 PM on March 29, 2003


Yeah I sure am sorry for the Iraqfilter post, but even those of us who are crazed anti-war zealots have to be shocked at how this war going.
posted by johnnydark at 9:09 PM on March 29, 2003


Maybe currently at a standstill, but I think it's a little much to call it a stalemate. Once supplies arrive, the destruction will resume, I'm sure.
posted by 4easypayments at 9:15 PM on March 29, 2003


Shocked? Try again. The war is barely a week old. We have been making one of the fastest advances through enemy territory in known military history. Soldiers are human, and the desert is a harsh environment for them and their machinery. A pause to rest, re-fit, and secure your rear is only to be expected at a point like this.

I think the only people who are "shocked" by the progress of this war are those who either expected it to be over in two days, or who are eagerly salivating for every chance they can to use the word "quagmire".
posted by jammer at 9:16 PM on March 29, 2003


quagmire, quagmire, quagmire, quagmire, quagmire!


Oh, goodness...I feel better.
posted by dejah420 at 9:19 PM on March 29, 2003


We have been making one of the fastest advances through enemy territory in known military history.

That exactly is the problem. Ever hear of supply lines?
posted by Eloquence at 9:20 PM on March 29, 2003


Yesterday was the first time I heard Bush use the word "sacrifice."

The requested $75 billion will only cover the first 30 days of this war.

It's a tragedy unfolding in slow motion.
posted by muckster at 9:22 PM on March 29, 2003


Yeah I sure am sorry for the Iraqfilter post

Oh, come on. You're not sorry; if you were, you wouldn't have posted it. Folks like you are going to keep flooding MeFi with breaking news posts until this thing's over. And probably longer. A Reuters story! Oh boy! Better share that rare and unusual find with the world!

/angry cynic
posted by mediareport at 9:23 PM on March 29, 2003


Yes. And supply lines are one of the reasons were slowing down now. But I hardly think that this is an unexpected development for the military minds, and definitely no reason to call a "stalemate".

On the other hand, in approixmately 10 days of fighting we have a large force within 50 miles of the enemy capital. That ain't half bad,
posted by jammer at 9:24 PM on March 29, 2003


I'd agree it's too early to call it a quagmire, but sometimes it sure does look like our neo-cons are a bit too confident in their own strategic vision. They're among "those who ... expected it to be over in two days..." ... or five at any rate, if those quotes about the current occupation only requiring a fraction of the effort expended in the 1991 gulf war.
posted by namespan at 9:24 PM on March 29, 2003


are correctly attributed.
posted by namespan at 9:25 PM on March 29, 2003


I'm glad people post Iraq stories - it means I don't have to wade trough tons of celebrity news, home decoration tips and annoying ads to find it myself. This is what online forums do best : Cherry pick the interesting tidbits.

"U.S. officials on Thursday said they planned to bring in another 100,000 U.S. soldiers by the end of April."

So it's official, then - it's going to be a "months" war, not a "days" or "weeks" war as was initially thought?
posted by spazzm at 9:28 PM on March 29, 2003


The only problem I see on the horizon is a guerrilla war going on for a long while. I hope Rummy gets a good talking to from Powell on how to run a war properly.
posted by jbou at 9:34 PM on March 29, 2003


"The war in Iraq might not be going quite as smoothly as the Bush administration hoped, but the war at home is going just swimmingly. War is silencing debate not just on the wisdom of Bush's foreign policy but on a host of other issues that would normally be front-page news."
posted by homunculus at 9:37 PM on March 29, 2003


Maureen Dowd: "Why is all this a surprise again? I know our hawks avoided serving in Vietnam, but didn't they, like, read about it?"
posted by muckster at 9:39 PM on March 29, 2003


I don't think you can really call it a 'stalemate', yet. It is kind of funny that we're just 'running out' of cruse missles, though.
posted by delmoi at 9:40 PM on March 29, 2003


Maureen Dowd needs to learn what the word "Hyped" means. Spesificaly, it dosn't mean "faked" or "Exadurated"
posted by delmoi at 9:47 PM on March 29, 2003


Just because the average Iraqi prayed five times a day that Saddam Hussein should be given a C4 suppository doesn't mean they won't fight to defend their country against a foreign invader.

*That* was the mistake that's going to cost us-- the assumption that an invasion would not wound the 'national identity,' and would instead be seen as an attack against the seated government. If the Iraqi populace decides to fight us, we might as well go home right now; as the Germans learned and the Israelis know, you can only hold an occupation against an openly hostile population through an eternal escalation of brutal repression.

Iraq today claimed that the people in civilian dress firing on Anglo-American forces were in fact civilians and *not* Iraqi soldiers out of uniform. Should we believe them? I think the evidence is so far on their side.

As a side rant, when the hell did possession of NBC protective gear equate to proof of the existence of (and intent to use) NBC weapons? A prudent commander equips his soldiers to cope with the weapons of his enemies. It is a well-known fact that the US has stockpiles of chemical weapons. The Iraqi command would be remiss in *not* providing protective gear, assurances of the US that we won't use them notwithstanding.

Anglo-American forces are travelling with NBC protective gear. Should this be seen as proof they intend to use those kinds of weapons?
posted by Cerebus at 9:52 PM on March 29, 2003




You know when you're watching a bad movie and the plot line is so crap you start willing the bad guys to win? I feel the same about this whole tragic escapade. Every time there's a suggestion that the "enemy" has put one over the allies I feel heartened. Something is terribly wrong with all this. (And I'm British and I live in the US.)
posted by marvin at 9:59 PM on March 29, 2003


The fucked up thing is they led the troops to believe it was going to be easy.

As proof, I offer the years and years of adverts demonstrating what a wonderful social program the United States military was. I can name several men and women, including my father, who were duped into believing the recruiter's lies, that they'd be photographers, writers, would live near their loved ones also serving in the military. Word is, they string our brave kids along until it's too late.

Further proof of the stringing along.

In another time and place, it was what was known as this.




posted by crasspastor at 10:05 PM on March 29, 2003


I guess the only thing worse than being in this war would be, like, losing it. (Disclaimer: your definition of "losing" will vary.)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 10:17 PM on March 29, 2003


Hold up....

The New Yorker says that an unidentified source suggests that we're in a stalemate?

The war fucking started a week and a half ago, and we have some control in the majority of Iraq, and major control in many southern Iraqi cities.

Maurren Dowd needs to get a damn history textbook and find out the history of war. It took England *a month* to finish the Falklands campaign. It will take a while to liberate Iraq, though it will still be among the fastest wars in the history of the world (as well as the one with the least civilian and allied casualties).

You know who's doing the stringing along? The fucking media. Bush didn't say it would take a week. Blair didn't say it. They didn't even hint at it. The very plan for the war suggests that troops would still be arriving today, so clearly they would arriving in order to fight.

Calling for stalemates and quagmires after 10 days is both a) predictable, b) ignorant and c) insulting.

The US could have seized Baghdad already, if we hadn't been avoiding civilian locations and urban warfare. It's the Iraqi army, at half-strength of 91, using many troops who were forcefully conscripted.

What world do these people live in? Has any war in history been decisive after 10 days? As decisive as this one? I can't think of a single one.
posted by Kevs at 10:18 PM on March 29, 2003


Y2Karl's link: Bush's Peril: Shifting Sand and Fickle Opinion
posted by Kikkoman at 10:22 PM on March 29, 2003


Kevs:

Isn't it ironic that the US corporate media is embedded with the very entity that you proffer is who's stringin' who along? Take it up with them.
posted by crasspastor at 10:24 PM on March 29, 2003


Have some perspective people. This war is no where close to a quagmire. It is probably one of the most lopsided conflict in history.

And how can you even compare this to Nam? So far there have been what, 59 allied deaths? Out of an army of 300,000? You have a better chance of getting killed driving on the highway this weekend than fighting in Iraq on the coalition's side.

The war has only been going on for 10 days, and like jammer said, we have substantial force 50 miles outside the enemy's capital. What more did you expect? Quaqmire is exactly what Saddamn wants the world to think, and you and the media dogs are playing right into his hands.
posted by VeGiTo at 10:31 PM on March 29, 2003


So it's official, then - it's going to be a "months" war, not a "days" or "weeks" war as was initially thought?

No. It's going to be a "months" war as originally thought.
posted by Ayn Marx at 10:34 PM on March 29, 2003


Come on. After 3 weeks in Afghanistan, they were also calling it a stalemate; a quagmire:

NY Times 10/31/01
posted by gyc at 10:36 PM on March 29, 2003


I LOVE these Iraq filter posts!!! Can we get more of them? Please?
posted by jonson at 10:39 PM on March 29, 2003


Let's also remember that Rumsfeld and Perle and all the other cronies were planning on a TWO WEEK war. That means we're three-quarters of the way to being out of supplies, since the administration decided not to plan on contingencies.

A couple of excellent links on how the administration's idiotic policies are likely to be deadly on the battlefield where they were only annoying and occasionally oppressive before.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:45 PM on March 29, 2003


The American public (yes, the same people who think Saddam Hussein orchestrated 9/11) really did believe it was going to be a short, "painless" war. That is at least the feeling I get from my gung-ho compatriots here in lovely Texas. It will be interesting to see how public opinion turns when they realize even "lopsided" wars aren't that much fun.
posted by zaack at 10:46 PM on March 29, 2003


Good link, gyc. The US entered Kabul on November 13th 2001, two weeks after that was written.
posted by smackfu at 10:51 PM on March 29, 2003


I'll add to that last point: in Afghanistan, we went in expecting a long haul, ready for a near Vietnam. Such was our resolve: this was retaliation and defense. We were planning for a war lasting upwards of a year, and were surprised when the country fell. This is a vastly different situation from what we are in now; a week and a half into a "two week" war, running low on supplies, with reinforcements way off in the wings, the Joint Chiefs scrambling to undo the damage done by Rumsfeld, and Iraqis in Baghdad ready for every tactic of urban defense. These are two different worlds we're talking about, kiddos.

But, of course, only time will tell. If we're lucky I'll be eating these words in a month's time.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:59 PM on March 29, 2003


Yeah, but the Afghan conflict is not exactly over. Two Americans were killed there just yesterday. It's still in the process of becoming a quagmire, actually. I was in favor of that effort, after Sept. 11, but I can admit that much.
posted by raysmj at 11:05 PM on March 29, 2003


Clearly, a few things are going on.

1) A lot of people who are against the war are hoping that by painting it as a failure or some sort of Viet Nam incident they can force an end to it.

2) A whole other group of people who just can't stand the idea of the current government being right about anything are grasping for straws.

3) The war plan is flexible enough to handle this. The top military folks have been saying all along they were prepared to fight if need be.

This campaign has been INCREDIBLY successful so far. The loss of life, both to our own troops and to civilians, has been extremely light and we are keeping it that way while moving faster than most advances in the history of war.

But we're "bogged down". Right.

What is going to be interesting is when some things get really desperate and some Iraqi suicide bomber pops a backpack nuke of biochem weapon. I will really love to see how people deny he has any of em then.

Of course, they'll manage to blame us for it somehow, but it seems they always do.
posted by soulhuntre at 11:05 PM on March 29, 2003


The Reuters article is a load of hogwash. Nothing on earth can stop the awesome power of the United States armed forces. The war is proceeding at just the "right" pace -- not too fast, not too slow -- and no one -- other than idiots -- have suggested that the war would take only days. If we run out of Bomb Type A, not to worry -- we'll just switch to Bomb Type B. Trust me, we've got *plenty* of weapons at our disposal.

As pointed out above, one of the only reasons that we haven't flattened Baghdad yet is that the United States DOES care about minimizing civilian casualties and preserving as much infrastructure as possible. The near-gleeful tone of certain article and posters at the prospect of American failure (at any level) is disgusting, almost as if they are hoping that America suffers.

Why?

Because we're Americans, that's why. Yes, better than any other nation, overall. No other nation has ever done so much for the world, for humanity, for progress, than the United States of America. Other nations have contributed much to society and progress, but none as much or as often as the US. Is it perfect? No. Better than any alternative? Damn right.
posted by davidmsc at 11:12 PM on March 29, 2003


Not only are we at a stalemate, this war cannot be won.

Don't get to Saddam? The "coalition of the willing" will look not only idiotic, but impotent.

Get Saddam? Kill him? You make the bastard a martyr. The arab people are not going to just throw up their hands and say it's time for peace when Saddam falls. If and when Saddam is captured or killed, I fear it will only be the beginning.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:18 PM on March 29, 2003


What world do these people live in? Has any war in history been decisive after 10 days? As decisive as this one? I can't think of a single one.

The 6-day war leaps to mind, of course.

Next question, please.
posted by spazzm at 11:35 PM on March 29, 2003


A prudent commander equips his soldiers to cope with the weapons of his enemies. It is a well-known fact that the US has stockpiles of chemical weapons.

Oh now, c'mon...Not that this is a ringing endorsement or anything, but the U.S. forces are a lot more likely to use nukes than they are chemical weapons. Has anyone with any authority in the U.S. military ever even suggested using chemical weapons in this war? Nukes? Sure. But no one's breaking out the Sarin and you know it.

(That being said, I think it's a whole lot more likely these suits are there to defend against the kind of tear gas attacks some of us tried to get so bitchy about a week or so ago rather than the WMD chemical attacks we all fear.)
posted by Cyrano at 11:46 PM on March 29, 2003


(actually, I think it's a lot more likely these suits are a leftover from when Iraq did have a chemical weapon stockpile.)
posted by Cyrano at 11:49 PM on March 29, 2003


Of course it's too soon to call the war a 'stalemate' or a 'quagmire', and it's too soon to say how long the war will last. But arguing about that just obscures the issue raised in the article of whether Rumsfeld put the troops on the ground in more danger by short changing them on numbers and resources. I don't see how anyone can be anything but furious at that decision, regardless of how they feel about the war.

And this makes crasspastor's link even more sickening. Sell out the troops and then ask them to pray for you?! That degree of hubris is pathological.
posted by homunculus at 11:56 PM on March 29, 2003


Because we're Americans, that's why. Yes, better than any other nation, overall. No other nation has

wank wank wank
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:23 AM on March 30, 2003


Lets wait for the April 7 article. A lot of the hawks here are arguing against strawmen like "no one said it would be short," "everything is going along as planned - nothing to see here," and the obligatory, "America is the greatest, shut up, shut up, shut up." I doubt these views have much to do with reality and can't wait to read more of Pentagon's take on this.

I can't remember hearing how often this was going to be a short and quick war. Gee, no one thought of militias and nationalists? Or anti-Americanism for that matter.

I really wonder if the entire administration was hedging their bets on their Iraqi mole who told them where Saddam was sleeping. One bombing campaign, one dead dictator, and an arguably easier war and Bush wins re-election.

>Further proof of the stringing along.

Pardon my french, I mean pardon my freedom, but what the fucking hell is this? Pray for Bush? If I believed in that old time superstition I would think its the soldiers who need the prayers. They're the ones in need of divine intervention against the physics of a supersonic piece of hot lead flying at their faces, not Bush. Funny how the loud-mouth "support our troops, thus the war" people have no problem with this. Then again they're not taking to the streets over the proposed cuts in veteran funding either.

Pray for Bush while he and Rumsfeld play Command & Conquer in Camp David. Please. Rummy just got that laser tank thingy.
posted by skallas at 12:32 AM on March 30, 2003


I LOVE these Iraq filter posts!!! Can we get more of them?

I have a great idea!!! How about we just post the front page of CNN to Metafilter!!
posted by hama7 at 12:37 AM on March 30, 2003


davidmsc: hehehehehehehehehh!
posted by ed\26h at 12:40 AM on March 30, 2003


davidmsc: Damned well said, sir.
posted by hama7 at 1:11 AM on March 30, 2003


Why are the people that don't want to hear about the war and the people that support the war the same people?
posted by spazzm at 1:29 AM on March 30, 2003


...we're Americans, that's why. Yes, better than any other nation...

I always thought it was France...
posted by psychomedia at 2:41 AM on March 30, 2003


davidmsc: It's true. There's been some definite near-glee about this and it's just perverse. I'm very much against this war not because I'm against the ends, just the means of war and the inevitable carnage that will come with it. But this setback won't change the administration's mind... it will only increase the death toll by dragging out the conflict longer.
posted by 4easypayments at 2:51 AM on March 30, 2003


What the hell is with the trackback post?
posted by Space Coyote at 3:05 AM on March 30, 2003


I think the only people who are "shocked" by the progress of this war are those who either expected it to be over in two days, or who are eagerly salivating for every chance they can to use the word "quagmire".

That would be people like Richard Perle, Ken Adelman, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

On the other hand, in approixmately 10 days of fighting we have a large force within 50 miles of the enemy capital. That ain't half bad,

But we control only one city and a big patch of desert. If Iraq was trying to defend their desert, that would be pretty impressive, but those damn Iraqis won't come out to fight us on our terms (more proof that they are terrorists!).

if those quotes about the current occupation only requiring a fraction of the effort expended in the 1991 gulf war are correctly attributed.

Same link as above, but what the heck. Quotes and attributes from Salon.

You know who's doing the stringing along? The fucking media. Bush didn't say it would take a week. Blair didn't say it. They didn't even hint at it.

But look who did! The Vice President, the Secretary of Defense shouldn't be reliable sources? They painted a picture of "there is no question but that they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that", but now there seems to be quite a big question if we're welcome there. I think that "even significant elements of the Republican Guard are likely as well to want to avoid conflict with the U.S. forces and are likely to step aside." is a hint that the war isn't going to last very long.

The US could have seized Baghdad already, if we hadn't been avoiding civilian locations and urban warfare.

The USAUK troops have control of ONE town in Iraq as far as I have heard. I think we're avoiding civilian locations and urban warfare because we currently CAN'T seize Baghdad or any other major Iraqi city without unacceptable USAUK losses (let alone Iraqi losses as we "liberate" them).

What is going to be interesting is when some things get really desperate and some Iraqi suicide bomber pops a backpack nuke

Wow, I hadn't heard about those guys! Could you please give me some sources to help me learn more about this threat?

Because we're Americans, that's why. Yes, better than any other nation, overall. No other nation has ever done so much for the world, for humanity, for progress, than the United States of America. Other nations have contributed much to society and progress, but none as much or as often as the US.

I'm American, and I believe the USA is a wonderful place, but WTF are you talking about davidmsc?
posted by Sirius at 4:52 AM on March 30, 2003


Thanks, davidmsc, I love the smell of jingoistic inanities in the morning.
posted by JollyWanker at 5:38 AM on March 30, 2003


mediareport, fuck off.
posted by johnnydark at 6:00 AM on March 30, 2003


I (don't) love the smell of smug, snide drivel in the morning, mister jolly.
posted by hama7 at 6:14 AM on March 30, 2003


hama: As jolly was being sarcastic, I can only assume your reply was sarcastic too?
posted by ed\26h at 6:20 AM on March 30, 2003


Before this debate degrades into a complete shit-throwing competition, I'd like to know a couple of things:
(And I'm sorry to repeat questions already asked in another thread)
1. If Hussein has WoMD, why isn't he using them? Why have we not found any of his WoMD factories?
2. If we're fighting this war to help the Iraqi people rebuild a democratic state, why don't we start in Afghanistan?
3. If we're fighting this war to stop fundamentalist muslim terrorism, why are we allied with the very country that spawned the 9/11 terrorists: Saudi Arabia?
4. If we're fighting this war because women in Iraq is repressed, why are we allied with Kuwait & Saudi Arabia?
5. If it's for democracy, why are we allied with Saudi Arabia, a frickin' monarchy?
6. If it's because Hussein allegedly gassed kurds, why are we allied with Turkey, the biggest kurd-killer in the region?

And finally:
Why isn't anybody asking these questions in the mainstream media?

Thank you. You may now proceed with the name-calling.
posted by spazzm at 6:53 AM on March 30, 2003


davidmsc, I'll forward your post to all my friends. You're the perfect example of how wrong is the USA government about just everything.

And I am Spanish, we're "allies". Imagine what would be the effect on the rest of the world left behind by your allmighty nation...

Oh, oh, oh, we're in trouble...
posted by samelborp at 6:54 AM on March 30, 2003


Nothing on earth can stop the awesome power of the United States armed forces.... we're Americans, that's why. Yes, better than any other nation, overall. No other nation has ever done so much for the world, for humanity, for progress, than the United States of America.

God, it's like the Oscars all over again.

Your blind adulation runs ever closer to self-parody, davidmsc. I had to scroll down to work out whether it was someone like crasspastor taking the piss out of the knee-jerk reaction to the fact that the Iraqis haven't read the script and are supposed to be throwing flowers. Wank wank wank, indeed. Anyway, I'm sure that you're taking your cuts in veterans' benefits like a good American soldier: bent over, hands grasping your ankles.
posted by riviera at 7:16 AM on March 30, 2003


Sirius got it exactly right...i remember hearing over and over how the majority of iraq's army and population would be welcoming us, and helping us to overthrow saddam...

Here's my question to everyone here: I detest this administration, but if there was an invading force coming to "liberate" me, you can be damn sure i wouldn't be happy about it, to say the least. How would all of you--prowar or anti--feel if we were in the situation the iraqis are in today?
posted by amberglow at 8:05 AM on March 30, 2003


I was reading davidmsc's post as sarcasm and still kind of hope it was.

why are some saying the war is bogged down and isn't over?

why? because we're americans, that's why. we think we're right all the time and we want our wars to be short. to be american is to expect instant gratification.


[oh, and for the record, i'm being sarcastic about the being right all the time bit.]


[sidenote: i've noticed the google ad on the front page was for reuters so welcome to iraqfilter.]
posted by birdherder at 8:11 AM on March 30, 2003


How would all of you--prowar or anti--feel if we were in the situation the iraqis are in today?

Terrified.
posted by swerve at 8:32 AM on March 30, 2003


The war bogged down because they expected to roll up to Baghdad and close the front to a small area. Instead Saddam kept many of his troops in the southern cities and thus created multiple Baghdad situations. This requires more troops to contain (siege) then they had planed for. Three brigades (about 1 division or almost half the offensive force) are protecting supply lines.

However there have been many successes. A country once the size of California is now about the size of Connecticut. Much more manageable and in any military books a stunning success in 1 week (see Poland 1939). The troops in the south are a problem but they are cut off from supplies (ie. ammo, food, communications, first aid) they do not present a real threat. The total deaths are under 100 for us and under 400 for civilians. Given the level of total war this is amazing.

So why all the negative talk?

Rumsfeld is hated by the military and I personally believe Rumsfeld is holding them back on purpose. He wants time for the CIA and SOF inside Baghdad to hunt down and assassinate Saddam and his crew. Franks job is to execute the war as quick as possible and this is at odds with Rumsfeld so theres a lot of discontent from military people about having their hands tied.
posted by stbalbach at 8:34 AM on March 30, 2003


If we run out of Bomb Type A, not to worry -- we'll just switch to Bomb Type B. Trust me, we've got *plenty* of weapons at our disposal.

I think I speak for everyone when I say WHEW! for a second there I thought my tax dollars were being under-squandered.
posted by mcsweetie at 8:49 AM on March 30, 2003


I was reading davidmsc's post as sarcasm and still kind of hope it was.

No, he's robo-posted more or less the same thing before. I doubt he even types it out each time.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:49 AM on March 30, 2003


Oh now, c'mon...Not that this is a ringing endorsement or anything, but the U.S. forces are a lot more likely to use nukes than they are chemical weapons.

*cough*
posted by grum@work at 9:08 AM on March 30, 2003


Comparison to Poland in 1939 is incorrect; while the the invasion of Poland was effectively over in a little more than 2 weeks, the Poles also had to contend with invading Soviets from the East in a real 2-front war.

Additionally, the Germans in Poland had defeated the Polish army in the field within those first weeks, whereas in Iraq right now we still haven't had an actual battle, just skirmishes of varying size.

Iraq isn't comparable. Seizing broad swaths of useless *undefended* desert does not make a "brilliant military campaign." We took what the defenders had already decided to give away.

And all the "no-one ever said the war was going to be short" should read that Salon article, linked above. Rumsfeld personally believed in a short campaign, and vetoed the JCS plan calling for a heavy force package to do the work. Now Rumsfeld is distancing himself from the plan, calling it Gen. Franks'. Yeah, whatever. Somehow I doubt a War College graduate is going to make that kind of mistake.
posted by Cerebus at 9:59 AM on March 30, 2003


The War in Iraq Turns Ugly. That's What Wars Do.

...If American forces are successful in these engagements, the war may be over sooner rather than later. But if these battles stagnate, guerrilla warfare could well become pandemic, not only in Baghdad but also across Iraq. And even considering the strong likelihood of an allied victory, it is hard to imagine an end point without an extremely difficult period of occupation.

In fact, what will be called an occupation may well end up looking like the images we have seen in places like Nasiriya. Do Iraqis hate Saddam Hussein's regime more deeply than they dislike the Americans who are invading their country? That question will still be with this administration, and the military forces inside Iraq, when the occupation begins, whether the war lasts a few more days or several more months.

Or worse, the early stages of an occupation could see acts of retribution against members of Saddam Hussein's regime, then quickly turn into yet another round of guerrilla warfare against American forces. This point was made chillingly clear a few days ago by the leader of Iraq's major Shiite opposition group, who, according to Reuters, promised armed resistance if the United States remains in Iraq after Saddam Hussein is overthrown.

Welcome to hell. Many of us lived it in another era. And don't expect it to get any better for a while.


James Webb, secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, was a Marine platoon and company commander in Vietnam. He is an author and filmmaker.
posted by y2karl at 10:20 AM on March 30, 2003


Every assumption on which the Great Mesopotamian Xpedition was sold to the world has been shown to be wrong in the last 10 days. What is there to suggest now that a US "victory" will secure democracy to anyone? Including Americans?

The stalemate is not a "quagmire": it is a "tar baby." Brer Bush and Brer Blair done got aholt of a tar baby that neither one can let go of. So a coalition of American and
British taxpayers will fund a Pyrrhic victory with the best military the world has ever seen--at the cost of an endless war with Islam.
posted by rdone at 10:21 AM on March 30, 2003


The media and those who believe that Iraqi civilians are really NOT welcoming the coalition troops suffer from fallacy of misleading vividness, where the images of a small fraction of resistence within the iraqi made you think that their population as a whole don't want to be liberated. Believe me, if there was really large-scale animosity against the US among Iraqi civilians, the war would've gone a lot worst. There wouldn't be a civilian revolt against Saddam in Basra, for example.

A lot of the so-called civilians resisting liberation are actually the Feyadeens. Even those that really were civilians may be forced to fight at gun point by the Feyadeens.
posted by VeGiTo at 10:49 AM on March 30, 2003


....2) A whole other group of people who just can't stand the idea of the current government being right about anything are grasping for straws.

...What is going to be interesting is when some things get really desperate and some Iraqi suicide bomber pops a backpack nuke of biochem weapon. I will really love to see how people deny he has any of em then.


Now just who, with his hopes for an atrocity happening--to our troops and Iraqi civilians--to prove he's "right," is grasping at straws here?
posted by y2karl at 10:56 AM on March 30, 2003


Well, I'm German, and I enjoy a nice stein of beer along with my fallacy of no oil for blood-worst.
posted by muckster at 10:58 AM on March 30, 2003


There wouldn't be a civilian revolt against Saddam in Basra, for example.

Reuters says that as of 30 Mar 2003 18:58:24 GMT there isn't any civilian revolt in Basra:
Shi'ites in Basra revolted against Saddam after the 1991 Gulf War, but the uprising was swiftly crushed.

Some Western analysts believed the southern Iraqi Shi'ites would repeat their revolt against Saddam as U.S. and British forces invaded Iraq, but that has not materialized.
posted by Sirius at 12:23 PM on March 30, 2003


Because we're Americans, that's why. Yes, better than any other nation, overall. No other nation has ever done so much for the world, for humanity, for progress, than the United States of America. Other nations have contributed much to society and progress, but none as much or as often as the US. Is it perfect? No. Better than any alternative? Damn right.

davidmsc, you wonder why the rest of the world considers Americans (or the Bush administration, to be precise) to be one step away from insane megalomaniacs? Look no further. I'm going to write another letter right now to our Prime Minister supporting the Canadian government's decision to refuse to go along with this delusional charade.
posted by jokeefe at 2:20 PM on March 30, 2003




VeGiTo: So far there have been what, 59 allied deaths? Out of an army of 300,000? You have a better chance of getting killed driving on the highway this weekend than fighting in Iraq on the coalition's side.

Using year 2000 numbers there were about 42,000 people killed in the US in auto accidents out of a population of 281,000,000. That is an annual rate of 1 death per 6690 people. Using your numbers, about 1 out of 5000 soldiers have been killed in Iraq in just 10 days. Annualized, that indicates that the death rate for coalition forces in Iraq is about 50 times that of driving on the highway. War is much more dangerous than you think.
posted by JackFlash at 4:19 PM on March 30, 2003


Tragedy of the Arabs
posted by ParisParamus at 4:32 PM on March 30, 2003


"If we can take Iraq only with a huge, heavy force --or if the Powell Doctrine that we should use overwhelming force even if we don't need it still applies -- well, we can't very credibly claim that we can take on (or take over) all these other countries at the same time, or even in rapid succession, can we? But if we can topple a heavily-defended government in Iraq with a light, quick non-Powellesque force -- using but a small portion of our strength -- then taking on multiple targets suddenly becomes a real possibility, and a real threat to regimes in Tehran, Damascus, and Pyongyang."
posted by homunculus at 4:32 PM on March 30, 2003




And, for those too squeamish to click, the next paragraph of homonculus' link is

That's why the slowdown in Iraq (and the coming furor over "troop dilution") is a bigger blow to the neocons than the actual military situation on the ground, which doesn't seem that bad, might indicate. We aren't very likely to 'lose' the Iraq war. But if it becomes a big, convulsive, multi-month slog -- stopping the nation's economy in the process -- we're not likely to have much stomach for the next war.

S' truth...
posted by y2karl at 5:07 PM on March 30, 2003


Of course...!
posted by homunculus at 8:28 PM on March 30, 2003


Talking about the fierce and guerrilla-style resistance of Iraqi militia groups, Wallace said, "The enemy we're fighting is a bit different than the one we war-gamed against." In fact, however, militia fighters did play a crucial role in a major war game designed to simulate combat in Iraq—but the Pentagon officials who managed the game simply disregarded or overruled the militias' most devastating moves.
posted by homunculus at 8:46 PM on March 30, 2003


Hersh's article is up on the New Yorker site. I linked to it in this WarFilter thread.
posted by homunculus at 11:05 PM on March 30, 2003


The only way we're going to take Baghdad and hold it is to nuke it. Anything less and we'll be sniped at and suicide-bombed for the next decade. This won't be another Vietnam, it'll be another Israel. Maybe the Israelis can give us some lessons in keeping a large, unhappy population at bay. I'm sure the surrounding Arab states will be tickled pink.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:22 AM on March 31, 2003


Hersh's article is up on the New Yorker site. I linked to it in this WarFilter thread.

And here it is in all its printer friendly glory.
posted by y2karl at 4:55 AM on March 31, 2003


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