Saturday, December 31, 2011

The U.S. lost the war in Iraq?

Recently, I received a message from a person who believed that the United States had lost the war in Iraq. Apparently, he believes that our losses exceeded that of our enemy and we failed in our objective of defeating our enemies in Iraq. This is my reply:

Dear Mr. X,

Be careful about accusations. They tend to tell more about the accuser than the accused.

BTW. I believe that you referred to Pyrrhic victory. (279 and 280BC) You know the victories that cost so much that it contributes to losing the war more than winning. (Actually, the Roman losses were higher in both battles. The Romans were able to replace their losses more readily than King Pyrrhus was) And if you believe that we lost in Iraq, you really can not know all that much about warfare. Of course, by our leaving, this places the position in jeopardy, but then I am certain that many people (Fox news included) don't understand the fundamental causes of the war.

I have been studying warfare for more than 40 years. Example: Do you know how heavy ammunition is? And that this is a major reason as to why in 2007 and 2008 we were in fact winning the war? If you like, I can send a complete discussion as to what the U.S. really did in Iraq. News reporting has historically been accurate about facts, like losses, but at the same time have shown a VERY low level and backwardness of analysis of warfare. About a 5th or 6th grade level, at best. (Including Fox News)

Another example: In 1971 I read a Chicago Tribune article that stated that the U.S. could NOT win in Vietnam because the enemy controlled the countryside and we only controlled the cities. (Not entirely accurate, but close enough) Yet we were losing in Iraq when the situation was reversed. (Actually, we dominated the desert far more effectively than the NVA and Viet Cong did in the countryside at any time during Vietnam.) We apparently could not win either war. WRONG.

I have studied news reporting in just about every major war since the invention of the printing press. Facts like ships sunk (Allied, not enemy) or planes shot down (enemy losses are notoriously inaccurate) and men killed and/or wounded tend to be fairly accurate. Analysis is almost ALWAYS inaccurate, inept and outright wrong.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are far more than what is actually going on in BOTH countries. This war has not really even begun yet. Just pray that it stays contained, because wars have a VERY NASTY habit of going out of control.

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