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.

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