The desert is the 2nd best surface on the planet Earth for the U.S. military to engage in battle on. The desert has been called a quartermaster’s nightmare and a tactician’s dream. This is because in order to support any sizable force in the desert requires heavy mechanization. The desert is hard on equipment. However, no features can block movement or line of sight. Mobile forces are free to maneuver at will. The differences between heat and cold allow thermal imaging and other ‘high tech’ devices an ideal environment to work in. There are very few (If any) places to hide and slip away, avoiding death or capture. A human being can survive for something like 30 days without eating. A human can only last up to 3-4 days without water. If the United States must fight a war, Iraq is one of the best places on Earth for us. This is why the war has moved into the cities. This is the opposite from Vietnam because we controlled the towns and cities where the VC and NVA controlled and contested the countryside.
I have been hearing the idea that the United States should withdraw from Iraq and re-deploy at least some additional troops into Afghanistan. While additional troops may be required in Afghanistan, withdrawal from Iraq into Afghanistan does not make military sense. Mountain terrain is the WORSE surface for the U.S. military to fight on. We would be re-deploying from some of the best terrain in the world to THE worst. Among many things, Afghanistan and Iraq are serving to draw people into action whom are willing to assume risk in order to directly or indirectly help to kill American soldiers. To stop engaging them in the area where we would dominate and seek to fight them where they are at a much more even level is foolhardy. They must attack us in Iraq. They cannot allow us to succeed. We are encouraging them to attack our army. This is a good match-up for us. The logic against this is that by our presence, we are creating new enemies. This overlooks the factor that ALL wars create new enemies. The U.S. had one hell of a lot more enemies on December 10, 1941 than we did on December 6th. (Germany declared war on the U.S. on December 9th) Besides, we really do not know how many terrorists exist now and how many existed before. How can we be certain that all of these ‘new’ enemies are not ones that are being forced or encouraged to go public? Just because we see many enemies today does not necessarily mean that they are ‘new’. One of the largest problems in the fight against terrorism is in knowing who they are and who supports them. Taking action does not necessarily mean going into Iraq and carrying a rifle. By taking action, you run the risk of revealing yourself. Is it not to our advantage to know more accurately who they are and how many we actually face?
Another way to look at it: Have you changed your mind about which side you feel is more ‘right’ concerning the Palestinian – Israeli situation? This issue is also similar to the debate over abortion. Everyone has a view, and very little change of sides occurs. I have not changed my mind regarding either issue since before 1973. Can we really expect anyone else to have changed his or her mind? We pride ourselves in being open-minded. Don’t forget that our culture is much more prone to changing views than most. Particularly regarding the culture prevalent throughout the Middle East.