Saturday, May 29, 2010

Winning or losing?

Enemy KIA in Pakistan and Afghanistan (Source: Long war journal)

5/23/10 70 KIA and 50 wounded by Pakistan
5/19/10 60 killed by Pakistani army.
5/19/10 a dozen KIA at Bagram airfield in Afghanistan.
5/18/10 two suicide attackers, one in Kabul and the other in Pakistan.
5/15/10 Khyber Pakistan between 5 and 15 KIA.
5/13/10 41 KIA in kunduz province
U.S 35 strikes in Pakistan this year (2010) KIA range from 2 to a dozen per strike.

One snapshot (woefully incomplete) is not enough to say anything. However, I have not seen any of the big battles in a few years, like Fallujah in ‘04. I do not believe that enemy losses are at anywhere near the level of attrition in 2007. Even if we were killing more than 1000 a month (I do not think we are that close) it would not be enough. Our enemies can handle much more than this. We could reduce the enemies ability to replace losses if we were able to topple more governments, but this is politically impossible today. The other alternative is to raise the level of
combat in the areas we are already engaged in. This we are not doing in Iraq.

The majority of the attrition our enemy is enduring has shifted into Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although the U.S. will not win the war in Afghanistan (I am referring to the general war against Islamic nationalism) the war can easily get out of hand if Islamic nationalists gain control of Pakistan. With nuclear weapons and delivery systems available, it is unlikely they would not be deployed within a relative short period of time. Although it is difficult to say if we are winning or losing in Pakistan, the general strategic posture of the U.S. is defensive. I do not see this changing.

We were winning in ’07 and many did not know it. The enemy could not match our firepower nor could they sustain the losses that were being inflicted upon them at that time. The enemy pulled back soon after. They lowered the level of contact with our military in Iraq. This was open defeat. This gave our side a chance in Iraq. We may believe that we are being smarter with those we kill today or where we are choosing to do battle, but this can easily be incorrect. Islamic nationalism is alive and well, and killing a few of the leaders of the Islamic ‘army’ is not going to change this.

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