Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nuclear signature

Nuclear reactors have unique signatures. Like fingerprints, each is individual and can be identified. If a nuclear device went off anywhere in the world, we could obtain samples and identify what reactor produced the weapons grade material. The problem is that in order to positively identify a particular reactor; it is necessary to have an identified reactor provide information to create the fingerprint in the first place. This could identify the origins of a nuclear device that a terrorist organization may deploy some day. This brings two potential problems to my mind:

1) What if the signature does not match any known reactor?
This is possible if say, Iran builds a nuclear device and does not allow our technicians to obtain a signature. It could be North Korean, or Syrian. It could even be some other country that we don’t know about.

2) What if the signature does match a known country? Let’s take Russia as an example. The device could have been stolen. Even if the government were part of the deal, they sure as hell would not admit it. How would we know?

Problems like this have been solid excuses for war. The destruction of the U.S.S. Maine was the trigger for the Spanish-American war. The cause of the explosion is still not known. However, the U.S. was looking for a fight, and it was an excellent excuse.

In the event of a nuclear weapon or weapons having destroyed one or more cities in the U.S., it is more than likely we will find ourselves in this type of situation. War against governments could be easily justified. It would be natural to choose governments that are covertly hostile to us already.

Monday, April 28, 2008

War with Iran

The U.S. military is developing plans for open warfare against Iran. Planning of this type is routine. Planning for war is always underway, with the most likely enemies being the most researched. During the Cold War, plans were constantly being changed for potential war with the Soviet Union. Today, it would be irresponsible for the U.S. military NOT to have plans for war against China or Iran. Just in case.

Iran is a potential enemy for a number of reasons. If open hostilities were to commence with Iran, it would make today’s overall war effort totally insufficient. The commitments of manpower in Iraq and Afghanistan could be lowered. However, this would not supply enough troops to make the outcome against Iran a certainty. A number of reasons are responsible.

Iraq is predominately desert. The terrain of Iran is vastly different from Iraq: A rugged, mountainous rim; A high, central basin with desert and mountains; small, discontinuous plains along both coasts. Mountain terrain is the worst environment in the world for a conventional force to engage in battle. The population of Iran is more than 3 times that of Iraq. These factors would demand a great deal more troops to be used in subduing Iran than Iraq. Today, the U.S. just does not have the armed troops that would be required to do the job well. We DO have the manpower. The problem is that they are in civilian clothes.

Without massive outside assistance, the U.S. would have to begin the draft in order to obtain the troop levels required to subdue Iran. Even then, this would require time. In order to expand the army this much, we would have to withdraw many experienced officers from active units to serve as cadres for the new units being formed. A large expansion would hurt many existing units’ abilities. The experienced men would help teach the new personnel their jobs in the newly forming units. These new units would take months to form and even longer to reach the level where they are ready to be committed to combat. It can take up to a full year to form a new combat ready division from scratch.

In summary, these factors make Iran a difficult proposition for the U.S. military. It can be done, but toppling the government of Iran would require a great deal more time than Iraq. It would also be far more expensive in terms of losses among U.S. units. I find war against Iran as being not very likely, UNLESS Iran successfully deployed one or more WMD. The best phrase I can think of is: "No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy."

Friday, April 25, 2008

The war against terroristm is far from being over

Even with the recent fighting in Iraq, the war appears to be going well. The Iraqi army is growing in a well-planned manner. The Iraqi army is also taking on much more of the burden of the fighting, and is even initiating the areas being contested. Conventional forces such as the U.S. military and the Iraqi army have the advantage in Iraq because the battlefield is surrounded by desert and can be isolated. The largest problem is that of scale.

Many of the issues being fought over in Iraq are present throughout the Middle East. Many of the issues are present within Islam. These issues reach far beyond the Middle East into Africa and Asia. Even if the U.S. is successful in building an Iraq and Afghanistan that are fully capable of defending themselves alone, the issues that are being fought over will still be present in many other parts of the world. I am not saying that we should go and attack the rest of the Middle East and/or the Islamic world. These issues are important enough to risk your life for/against. With so many other areas of the world having these issues, more wars will occur. It is important to maintain the pressure in our efforts to help the side that agrees with us on these vital issues. Once again, I would like to point out that time is NOT on our side.

With the recent discovery of Syrian intentions, it should be even more obvious that sooner or later, a terrorist organization will successfully deploy an effective weapon of mass destruction. (Probably a nuke, but who knows?) Once this event occurs, it will be difficult not to justify much larger, possibly even massive amounts of conventional warfare.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fundamentals of warfare

I have posted these ideas before, but I feel that it is important to keep working on the fundamentals.

Features common in Guerrilla wars:

1) Conventional forces tend to outnumber irregular troops. I am speaking of armed troops, not necessarily popular support.

2) Conventional forces have better weapons.

3) Conventional forces have better training. (A large reason why atrocities tend to be committed by the irregular troop side.)

4) Conventional forces have better firepower.

It is in the interest of conventional force to have greater amounts of combat. The more combat, the better. This allows the conventional force to bring its greater firepower and numbers to bear. Typically, the difficulty is in bringing the irregular troops to battle.

Typical strategy of ‘insurgent’ side is to outlast the enemy. Get them to quit. Because they can’t stand up in a straight fight, ‘insurgents’ tend to attempt to gain local advantages and bite off small bits of the conventional army. (Small battles)

Modern warfare:

Mechanized or ‘High Tech’ warfare is best:

1) Over water. It requires warships to cover the surface, aircraft and missiles to cover the air above it, and submarines, torpedoes and mines to cover beneath the surface.

2) Desert. Since the invention of the internal combustion engine, deserts are the 2nd best ideal location for mechanized forces to fight. It requires mechanization to support any forces deployed, gives thermal imaging and other ‘high tech’ devices the most idea environment to be used in. It requires aircraft and missiles to cover the air above.

3) Open land. The steppes in Russia and the great plains of the U.S. are excellent examples. The only natural obstacles are rivers.

Mechanized forces are at the greatest disadvantage in:

1) Mountains. Aircraft are limited in ability to maneuver. Low-tech men and weapons are easy to hide, deploy and move. High tech weapons are far less effective; armor is far less mobile and effective. Line of sight is blocked by the uneven ground.

2) Swamps. Aircraft are marginally more effective than in the mountains. Many of the same reasons that mountains make mechanized forces less effective are also present in swamps.

3) Forests and cities. Freedom of maneuver is better than in 1 and 2, but still limited. Line of sight is difficult to establish, along with the certainty of hitting non-armed people in cities.

Iraqi army

The Iraqi Army currently has 14 active divisions. The growth is proceeding in an well-organized manner.

"The Iraqi Army will not stand up additional divisions this year as it is focusing efforts on building independent formations, and establishing support formations and corps headquarters."

Please visit ‘’ for more detailed information about how the Iraqi army is proceeding.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pakistan releases Taliban leader, signs peace deal with outlawed Taliban group

Now that President Musharraf is not as effective in running the government of Pakistan, we are beginning to see what he was dealing with. Many people in the U.S want to get rid of President Musharraf. This viewpoint believes that once he is gone, Pakistan can become democratic. It would follow that Pakistan would then become a responsible member of the world community. I have disagreed with this viewpoint from the start. Not that I am much of a fan of dictators.

Many people in Pakistan want Islamic law. Islamic law is far more authoritarian than what Musharraf represents. Please research Islamic law and judge for yourself what implications this will mean. Not just internally to Pakistan, but regarding how the foreign policy of Pakistan will be impacted. Don’t forget Pakistan has nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them effectively. In my view, by signing a peace deal with the Taliban, the Pakistani government is allowing Islamic organizational training camps to remain not only undisturbed, but to actually prosper. This is what was occurring in Afghanistan prior to our toppling the Taliban government. This is a very dangerous trend. We all need to keep a close eye on what is going on regarding Pakistan.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq Vows Monthlong Offensive Against U.S.

Report: Leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq Vows Monthlong Offensive Against U.S.

Is this not why we are in Iraq? I am certainly pleased that Al Qaeda is launching this offensive against our military. This is much better than attacking our embassies, or a bunch of schools or shopping malls.

This is a poor match-up for Al Qaeda. Our military is among the best in the world. Not only this, but the battlefield is surrounded by desert. We can isolate each individual battle and cut the enemy off from reinforcement and supply. The United States can certainly withstand a month long battle. We have been on the defensive for much longer than that in the past, and had been getting our butts kicked. Fleets lost, armies destroyed, and we still bounced back. Al Qaeda had better be able to maintain an offensive posture for much longer than one month if they really expect to win.

Al Qaeda will not be able to defeat our army in open battle. They can’t even wipe out a platoon or company of our army. Al Qaeda will lose a lot of manpower and munitions making this attempt. Despite what the media may say, this is good news.

The United States holds the strategic initiative by our presence in Iraq. Al Qaeda and those who think like they do MUST attack us in Iraq. They cannot allow a successful democracy to become established. This is why we are SAFER by our presence in Iraq.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cowards in battle?

Combat units have broken and fled the field in disorder on countless occasions throughout history. This does not make the men in those units cowards. We are all human. Every person has a breaking point. Even elite units have been known to break and run under extreme conditions. Training reduces the likelihood of a combat unit breaking under fire. However, it does not stop it completely, particularly if the unit is taking heavy losses. The best-trained units will be able to sustain more losses and retain unit cohesion than less well-trained units. However, if even elite units take enough losses in a short enough time, the unit will lose its ability to function properly. Once the unit cohesion begins to break, it is not uncommon for individuals to panic and run away. I can’t say that I blame them. Sometimes, the breakdown occurs just prior to the unit being overrun. Throughout history, many well-trained units have been overrun and completely wiped out.

Man for man, the Israeli army is the best in the world. In 1973, on at least one occasion, an Israeli unit broke and fled the field. They were not being cowards. They wanted to live. Many times, units that have broken and fled the field have been re-built and fought again. Many times, the unit returned to battle and fought with distinction. This has also occurred innumerable times on an individual basis. In the book ‘The Red Badge of Courage’ a man ran away and his unit did not. He returned to his unit and fought well after that. Although this story was fiction, it was based upon human nature. Warfare is frightening as hell. Your first exposure to it can be enough to make anyone panic. Just because an individual panics and runs away from danger, or a unit flees the field in disorder does not make them cowards. In many cases, the men and units that have broken in battle can be brought back to the ranks and perform very well in subsequent battles.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Long view of war against terrorism

Part of the strategy used in the surge was and is to keep what has been taken. Focus on control in the areas already held. Take limited new ground with bites large enough to swallow and have a higher probability of being able to hold it permanently. As you become more confident, you can take more chances. The enemy can’t match our resources. The enemy is also in an unenviable position. They are fighting in a desert environment so the battles must be fought in the cities. The cities can be isolated by control of the countryside, so outside help in the form of reinforcements and munitions can be interdicted.

The pressure from each isolated battle will dry up the reserve of resources in that enclave. If unable to reinforce and re-supply, the position will starve and eventually, collapse. This concept can be applied on the strategic level as well.

The U.S. has committed itself in Afghanistan and Iraq. Following the strategy above, the U.S. would stay in Iraq and Afghanistan. At the same time, the U.S. will look for new opportunities to engage hostile ‘insurgents’ in open battle once Iraq is more subdued. Syria and Iran come to mind. It would be far to quick to attempt ‘regime change’ on either today. Iraq needs to be under better control. Eventually however, the governments of Iran and Syria must go.

Before the war against terrorism is over, the governments of Iran and Syria will have been changed. I find it very difficult to believe that these changes will occur without warfare. Right now, the losses that the U.S. and Iraqi armies are inflicting in exchange for losses that we are enduring in Iraq are working in our favor. Bin Lauden himself has said that they (the Arab world) will back the stronger horse. Terrorism can’t defeat our armed forces in open battle without ‘official’ government support. We need to keep the pressure on. The problem is that the losses our military has inflicted can be made good.

Hundreds of millions of honest Muslims can produce an army far larger than what we currently field. Not that these governments will declare war, but many within this population honestly believe in at least some of the causes that the jihadists are fighting for. I use the example of the good Germans and good Japanese who were caught up in World War II. They fought for evil, yet they were good people. They fought for their way of life. We can expect to see more of this within the Arab world, even if the U.S. prevails in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

This war is far from over.

Monday, April 14, 2008

President orders a halt on drawdown

President Bush has ordered a halt on withdrawal of units from Iraq. With the fighting that is going on right now, it is not easy to see how the issue will be decided by summer. I would expect enemy resistance to weaken as time goes on. The ability of the 'insurgents' to re-supply and reinforce can only be slowed down by our domination in the desert. This can only help isolate the cities, which is where the fighting is taking place. Anytime you can narrow the battlefield into smaller areas of concentration, greater firepower and supply will tend to dominate, particularly if you are able to interdict the enemy's ability to reinforce and supply its forces.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Why wage war in Iraq?

Reasons favoring warfare in Iraq:

1) Strategic initiative: Bin Lauden must attack the U.S. Armed forces in Iraq. He knows that if the U.S. is successful, the ‘cancer’ of freedom will spread. He must react to our move. Forcing your enemy to react to your move is desirable in warfare of any type.

2) It is best to have enemies who are willing to risk their lives and kill others to attack our army. It is much more difficult to kill someone who is holding a machine gun and has artillery support than a family walking through a shopping mall.

3) The war in Iraq is drawing extremists into Iraq. This stretches the ‘terrorist’ army more than ours. After all, they do not have the numbers we do. Not to mention the match-up. Seems like a good way to get killed, attacking our army. The ‘terrorist’ army does not have the resources that we do. It is expensive to wage war. They can’t match our resources: Weapons, munitions, financial resources. Conventional forces engaged in irregular combat want to force more combat. This allows the conventional side to gain more advantage regarding weapons and firepower, greater numbers, and greater resources. This is the theory behind the ‘surge’.

4) Other wars that Islamic ‘extremists’ would support can’t be supplied nearly as well. Sudan and Lebanon come to mind. The Palestinian attempt at democracy can proceed with far less outside interference. The Arabs themselves will tell us that the Palestinian-Israeli problem is a key part of the war against terrorism. If the Palestinians can build a true democracy, the Arabs will ultimately win the war against terrorism.

5) Iraq is a good environment for our army to fight in. Because effective desert warfare is so technology driven, the war itself has moved into the cities. This is to our advantage because we can interdict reinforcements and supplies attempting to reach the enemy. The cities are relatively isolated. Engaging in combat under these conditions cannot be anything but to our advantage.

6) The war in Iraq makes ‘terrorists’ and supporters stand out. Many people believe that the war is creating new ‘terrorists’. The other side of the coin is that the war is making them take a public stand. Just because we can see so many more now does not necessarily mean that they are new ones. Is this not one of the major problems with fighting terrorism? Knowing who they are and who supports them? It is to our advantage to have all terrorism supporters ‘go public’.

7) Places the war on terror into Arab hands with our support. The worst enemies of the French resistance during the occupation (1940-1944) were not the Germans. The worst enemies were French who were helping the Germans. In Vietnam, the Vietnamese who fought on our side knew the enemy better than we did. In the war in Iraq, the Arabs know who the ‘terrorists’ and their supporters are better than we do. The war is enabling friendly Arabs to identify them more readily and is giving them the ability to deal with them in a more forceful fashion.

8) War in Iraq is a Civil War that is taking place throughout Islam. Might as well fight it out here and now rather than later. Many of the people who are fighting us in Iraq and elsewhere believe in the ‘authentic’ laws in the Koran that are so hostile to the rest of the world. Many of the ‘Laws’ of Islam have to change. This is our fight because of these issues.

The concept of Jihad has to go. No way will Islam ignore this without violence. The world cannot allow a large population like Islam to kill others and seize their property because they are not Muslim. The world cannot allow the belief that you can kill ‘occupiers’ just because they conquered a country that has the same ‘religion’ as you. The law that states the penalty for leaving Islam is death must change. The payment of Tribute because someone is not a Muslim must end. Stoning anyone to death must end. These are some of the issues that are worth risking your life for. The United States government agrees. We have already fought wars over many of these types of issues in the past.

Friday, April 11, 2008


The new Pakistani government wants to talk with the Taliban.

I copied the next paragraph from ‘’.

(The Taliban has welcomed the government’s overtures for peace. The recently established Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan praised the government’s decisions during a public rally in Bajaur agency. Wanted Taliban leaders Faqir Muhammad, Sher Bahadar, Muhammad Ismail, and spokesman Maulvi Omar were in attendance and spoke at the rally.
The Taliban demanded the Pakistani government end its cooperation with the US as a condition for negotiations. "Whenever Pakistan will work for American interests as its ally, we will oppose it," Faqir said as the crowd chanted "death to America". The Taliban also said it would continue to strike in Afghanistan and demanded sharia law be implemented in the Northwest Frontier Province.)

The Pakistani government wants to negotiate with the Taliban? The Pakistani government knows better. This is more like agreeing with more of what the Taliban stands for than disagreement.

We all need to watch Pakistan VERY closely. They do have nuclear weapons and the missile systems to deliver them.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Issues being fought over in Iraq (Among many)

1) Loyalty to clan or other organization as opposed to the Iraqi government. Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the U.S. army because his state of Virginia left the Union. One issue the U.S. Civil war decided was that our loyalty is to the Federal government, not the state.

2) Moral obligation to kill occupiers of Muslim lands. No other requirements are needed. OK, let’s take a fictional example: Iraq was behind the 9/11 attacks and the U.S. has proof. Let’s even say that Iraq is bold enough to tell the world. We invade in 2003. As far as ‘occupation’ is concerned, the U.S. would be in the same position today. The worldwide obligation to kill the ‘occupiers’ would be in effect. We would be facing many of the same problems as we are today. This has to change. This ‘law’ is a contributing reason for the Arab-Israeli wars.

4) Penalty for leaving Islam is death. (An Apostate) All a Muslim has to do is disagree with any of the ‘authentic’ laws and the penalty is death. This is another ‘law’ that must change.

5) Jihad has to go.
"The presumption is that the duty of Jihad will continue (Interrupted only by truces) until the world adopts Islam or submits to Muslim rule." "Those who fight in the Jihad qualify for rewards in both worlds. Booty in this one, paradise in the next." (Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam, Page 31, copyright 2003.)
This is another reason for the constant Arab-Israeli wars. "The most common interpretation of jihad is armed struggle for the advancement or defense of Muslim power".

6) "In Muslim tradition, the world is divided into two houses: The house of Islam and the house of war". (Page 31. Bernard Lewis, The Crisis of Islam, Copyright 2003. ) Another contribution to the constant Arab-Israeli wars.

7) Honor killings. Even if you had proper justification, nobody should be able to take the law into his or her own hands. Many of these ‘authentic’ laws allow you to be judge, jury and executioner.

8) Islamic electoral policy has been classically summarized as "One man, (men only) one vote, once."

Some of these issues are ‘authentic’ Islamic laws that have been upheld by Islamic courts for 1400 years. Many ‘authentic’ laws that are hostile to our legal system are not listed here. Issues # 1,5, 6 and 7 have evolved from the culture that has grown around Islam over the past 1400 years.

These are not issues that can be negotiated. These issues are similar to the issue of slavery in that people will fight organized warfare to prevent change. On the other side, these issues are worth waging war to change.

Iraq did not posses WMD. At this point, the issues that are listed above were and are present in Iraq today. Like fighting those who defended slavery, the people who believe in this ideology must be defeated in battle. Iraq is about a good a place as any that I can think of for the U.S. military to do battle in.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fallout from current fighting in Iraq

I usually try to avoid politics, but I have read that the Iraqi government may propose legislation that will prevent a militia from admitting candidates for running for public office. This would be an important political step forward. My focus is warfare and politics is NOT my strength. However, I can only imagine the difficulties present if armed groups were allowed to run for public office in the United States.

As much as most people do not want war, warfare does resolve issues. Sometimes these issues have no political resolution. I like to use the example of slavery in the United States. The war in Iraq is resolving these types of issues. One additional problem is that Iraq has so many of these types of issues.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Drawn battle?

In my last post, I listed, as one of the possible outcomes of the assault on Basra was a drawn battle. This is because I am getting conflicting reports. I am reading about how units of the Iraqi army broke up and the assault was a general defeat. I am also reading reports that say the Iraqi army captured a number of smaller cities in southern Iraq as well as the port of Basra. These are very different, so the moderate choice is something near the middle. In other words, a drawn battle. This is misleading.

I am looking for more confirmation on who controls the ports of Basra. I am also looking for more information as to who controls what throughout the southern part of Iraq as well as the overall losses, on both sides. Wartime reporting tends to confirm U.S. and allied losses fairly accurately. Enemy losses tend to be less accurately reported. The information tends to be fragmented. This is one reason why it takes time to assess the results of the battle.

I tend to believe that the Iraqi army fared better than the enemy did simply because of the typical miss-match of forces in any battle that matches a conventional army against irregular units. The Iraqi army has much of our equipment and training, so it would have a decisive advantage in desert warfare. The cities are the only place where irregular units can survive. Without a large amount of outside help, it would APPEAR that the ‘insurgent’ side is at a disadvantage. The Iraqi army control of the countryside should make it difficult to reinforce and supply the ‘insurgents’.

P.S. Please note how the tactical situation in Iraq is opposite from that of the situation in Vietnam. In Iraq today, the U.S. and allied armies control the countryside. The NVA and VC were able to operate in the countryside in Vietnam. In Vietnam, most of the fighting was in the countryside. In Iraq today, most of the fighting is in the cities.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Why was the battle of Basra called off?

Among many possible reasons:

1) The Iraqi army got its ass kicked. This would be a sound reason to stop and re-group. I find this unlikely. In most battles that pit conventional armies against irregular troops, the conventional army will win a stand up fight just about every time. Exceptions do happen. If so, this does not mean that Iraq has lost the war. Winning a war does not mean that you did not lose any battles.

2) The Iraq army achieved its objectives. Possibly, except we will probably not know what the ‘real’ objectives were for quite some time. From the accounts that I am reading, this also seems unlikely.

Please note that these two ideas are from the Iraqi army's perspective. The same reasons can apply for the other side. Also note that the two ideas are at the extremes. In other words, most of the other reasons will fall somewhere in between the two ideas I have presented.

The battle looks more like a draw. The ‘Fog of war’ prevents us from seeing events all that well. Beware of conclusions about who won the battle. It will probably be some time before we really know who made out best. Even then that can be problematic. Witness how reporting still is insisting that Israel lost the battle against Hezbollah in August of 2006. Losses have been well documented and confirmed. Hezbollah lost a significant percentage of its combat ability. The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) did not. This may not win the war, but it tells me that Israel won the battle.

The Iraqi army was the driving force behind the assault on Basra. The resistance the Iraqi army encountered apparently surprised them. Maybe they need to use a different approach. I don’t know what tactics they employed, but I have heard that maybe they should use a similar idea that the U.S. implemented for the ‘surge’ in the Basra region. Maybe this is what they were attempting, but the resistance was far greater than they expected. Once again, the "Fog of War" is preventing us from seeing much.

The Iraqi army used units to spearhead the attack that had not seen any combat. This is a rookie mistake that I would expect not to be repeated. The ‘new’ units behaved as most unblooded units have throughout history: They were indecisive, took too long to mop up light resistance, panicked in situations that were not as bad as they may have appeared. The loyalties to each other and the teamwork that is needed in combat were tested early before they could be well established. These are common problems in all ‘new’ combat units. In addition, Iraq has problems with loyalty. The culture of the Middle East is loyalty to your clan over everything.
This is one of the issues the war is about. Desertion rates can be expected to be higher than in other armies in other parts of the world. Particularly in units that have not been ‘bloodied’ yet.

In any case, Iraq is still a war zone. We can expect violence to rise and fall periodically from time to time. Just because the amount of combat is going up or down does not necessarily tell us who is winning. Don’t forget how wartime reporting sees everything through a political lens. Politics and warfare do not mix well. Politics can distort the view, sometimes beyond recognition. Wartime news reporting is particularly bad at the fundamentals of warfare. I suspect this is because news reporting is so good at politics that they tend to see warfare in political terms.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Time is NOT on our side

The Cold war strategy employed by the West assumed two things:

1) The Soviet Union was not suicidal. Although they did not agree with us on many fundamental things, they did want to bring up their children. They realized early on that a full-scale nuclear exchange would wipe out both sides. This is commonly accepted as the main reason why the Soviet Union turned their ships around in 1962.

2) Time was on our side. Due to our open societies, sooner or later they had to open up. And when they did, we GOCHA! At that point, they would join us.

These two assumptions are invalid regarding the war on terror today. While the Soviet Union was not interested in direct confrontation, today we see the opposite. Suicide attack is a common feature today in Iraq. Will people who use this ideology stop if they were threatened with annihilation? Japan did, although this is a new situation. With terrorists being so de-centralized, I find it difficult to believe that any Islamic terrorist organization would NOT use a WMD if they were ever able to. Once WMD goes off, EVERYTHING changes. The loss of life would make the current war in Iraq look very small by comparison.

Time is NOT on our side. Sooner or later an Islamic terrorist organization will obtain and deploy an effective weapon of mass destruction. It can only be a matter of time. What position do we want to have at that point? Playing good defense against WMD is sound ONLY if prevention was effective. I prefer to do both: Keep our defense strong, but have an effective offensive as well. The strategic initiative is ours by our ‘occupation’ of Iraq. The enemy MUST attack us there. Attack our army? That has got to be VERY expensive in both soldiers lost and equipment destroyed and captured. This cannot have any effect other than to drain resources that would be better-utilized attacking ‘soft’ targets, like shopping malls. A good offense will help ANY defense, good or bad.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Iraqi objective?

The Basra operation was an Iraqi army operation. I have heard that the Iraqi objective in the assault upon Basra was the port facilities. I will be interested in any news regarding control of these facilities.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Stand up fight in Iraq

The U.S. forces are among the most effective in the world. In the majority of situations, U.S. forces will lose fewer soldiers than their opponents in any given battle. Particularly when fighting against irregular troops. U.S. forces are the best equipped and trained in the world. Iraq is about a good a place on the planet that a conventional force like ours can operate in. Far better than in an environment like Vietnam, and the U.S. did not lose a single battle there. Any battles with ‘insurgent’ forces in Iraq will end with the ‘insurgent’ losses greatly exceeding ours. They can’t even wipe out a company or a battalion in any given fight. Sheer firepower will enable any battle (even in ambush) to result in far more losses to the ‘insurgent’ side than our own. The larger the battle, the more effect the greater firepower will have.

The Iraqi units suffer from the usual problems of less well-equipped formations. They also have internal problems with loyalties, not an uncommon occurrence. However, Iraqi units are better trained and equipped in an environment that favors conventional weaponry and tactics. This imbalance is also not uncommon. Any given battle can expect to result in more losses in the ‘insurgent’ ranks than on the conventional side. Generally, the conventional side has greater firepower, training and numbers. (Men with guns, not necessarily popular support) Additional combat generally favors the conventional army, not the ‘insurgents’.

The true information we need about losses in Iraq will probably not be available for quite some time. However, I can’t see how the recent fighting in Iraq can possibly mean anything other than the ‘insurgent’ forces losing far more men than the Iraqi army, particularly if U.S. units became directly involved. The news that I keep hearing out of Iraq is how the Iraqi army has been handed a decisive defeat.

It is far too early to really tell, speaking as a civilian who has little to no confirmation of information. However, in a stand up fight, the Iraqi and U.S. forces are not going to lose nearly as much as the ‘insurgents’. Remember the battle in the summer of 2006 between Hezbollah and Israel? Reporting is still insisting that Hezbollah won that battle. All of the reports that I have seen show that Hezbollah lost many more men and weapons than Israel. And they had far fewer of both to start with. Other than on a possible political basis, I don’t see how that equates to victory in ANY battle.

Reporting is world-class when dealing with political issues. I suspect that this is why wartime news reporting sees the war in Iraq (most, if not all wars) through a political lens. Entire armies have been wiped out and wars lost because of political considerations. Politics may be important internally. However, in warfare politics is at best a distant, secondary concern.