One of my brothers asked me what the United States got out of invading and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I told him that we had tied down the enemy army. In Afghanistan, that is what we did. In Iraq, the United States did far more to our enemy than that.
In the desert terrain of Iraq, our enemy could not disengage at will. This is the strongest asset of ALL guerrilla forces. Historically, guerrilla forces ‘melt away’ into the countryside to reappear somewhere else. In Iraq, the desert was an ideal shooting ground for our mechanized units. With our thermal imaging systems, our enemy could not retreat in the open desert. The war quickly moved into the cities. We could then surround each city. (Baghdad and the other larger cities being broken into pieces and then surrounded and taken one by one) Our enemy could not reinforce and/or supply. The historical advantage of conventional forces over guerrilla forces regarding firepower, training and numbers made each individual battle a very lopsided affair.
The battle of Fallujha is a case in point. US and Iraqi forces surrounded the city in 2006. The pictures of the city afterwards testified to the amount of munitions expended to do such damage. The vast majority of the damage was to the forces of Muqtada al-Sadr. He certainly could not match the firepower. His ‘army’ could not retreat. It was pounded. Muqtada al-Sadr fled to Iran.
This powerful Imam had fielded his own personal army, something, which is common in Islamic culture. The defeat of these ‘Islamic Generals’ is all-important because the world cannot tolerate individuals having the power and authority of nation-states, yet are not accountable as one. (Bin Lauden is an example of an individual while Hamas and Hezbollah are examples of the concept applied to groups.)
The use of weapons of mass destruction is far more likely initiated by one of these groups than any government in the world. Seeing that no government can be held accountable, this alone makes waging warfare in Islamic countries imperative. This forces the people who are required to ‘kill the occupiers’ to expose themselves by committing resources to defending this and all of the other ‘laws’ that are so hostile to us. The losses our enemy sustained in Iraq is a major reason why the U.S. has not been hit since 9/11 by an organized Islamic group. Fighting in the desert is only less desirable for us than engaging over the ocean. We chose our war well. However, this does not mean that the war is over.
Stalingrad was a complete victory. The German 6th army was entirely wiped out. You cannot get a more decisive result than that. However, the war went on for more than 2 years. Clearly, Stalingrad was not the end of the war. With this in mind, it can be seen that the war in Iraq is not over. Our enemy is still active in Iraq.