Along the Tracks

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Recommence major operations

I’m not going to let this go - I think it’s too important, especially when, as Ramar at BTD notes, the idea of “Iraqification” is gaining steam across a wide range of the political spectrum. Why is that? Because it is politically expedient - a very bad reason to “Iraqify” the war.

And that is the point (BAM! BAM! BAM! on certain thick skulls): THIS IS WAR. You can’t hand Iraq back to the people for a bright and peaceful future while the war is still unwon. That would parallel Vietnam. There are a lot of enemies in the Sunni Triangle (probably thousands), plenty of firepower and a willingness on the insurgents’ part to kill indiscriminately. We have to get in there and crush the enemy. That is going to take a major operation. Once we do it, the bombings and assassinations and rocket attacks and mortars will end. If we don’t do it, they won’t end before Americans and Sunni Iraqis become exhausted by the toll.

I am a very strong believer in seeing things through, and I do favor building up Iraqi police and military forces to assist us. But for better or worse, WE are the ones who will have to finish off the old regime and its terror partners - for a variety of reasons, not the least of which are the still-simmering hatreds between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds.

An early “hand-off” to Iraqis will only serve to exacerbate the violence and open new opportunities for the old regime to regain territorial control in areas inside the Triangle. We cannot allow that. The battle must come.

UPDATE: This story requires subscription (which a poor country editor like me cannot indulge in), but it appears the editors of The New Republic agree with me on more troops. I’d like to know if anyone is calling specifically for a restart of “major combat operations,” in particular, a major operation in the Sunni Triangle. If you find examples, let me know.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mackubin Thomas Owens on NRO has a piece on Vietnam and counter-insurgency which hints at specific force application, while at the same time pushing Iraqification. He says, “We need to get serious about this at the operational level. Otherwise, we risk the danger of losing a kind of war we should be able to win relatively easily.” I totally agree, but I think it needs to be a well formulated strategy - and a “major combat operation.”

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