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The Only Way To Win in Iraq

July 13, 2007

Understanding “Winning in Iraq” requires an understanding of the Unites States’ political objectives. When the United States committed military forces in Iraq, six political objectives were introduced:

1. A stable Iraq, with its territorial integrity intact and a broad-based government that renounces WMD development and use, and no longer supports terrorism or threatens its neighbors.
2. Success in Iraq leveraged to convince or compel other countries to cease support to terrorists and to deny them access to WMD.
3. Destabilize, isolate, and overthrow the Iraqi regime and provide support to a new, broad-based government.

4. Destroy Iraqi WMD capability and infrastructure.

5. Protect allies and supporters from Iraqi threats and attacks.

6. Destroy terrorist networks in Iraq. Gather intelligence on global terrorism and detain terrorists and war criminals.

Whether you agree with the war or not, these were the political objectives for Iraq. Unfortunately, political objectives can change according to the ground operations and conduct of the war. For example, in Korea the United States employed the political objective “Restore South Korea.” With the major victory at Inchon there was a major turning point in the war. Since the invasion was so successful, the United States changed its political objective to “Unify the Korean Peninsula and Roll Back Communism” and US forces crossed the 38th parallel. Upon near defeat of the North Korean Army, the Chinese intervened and forced the US X Corps and 8th Army back South, nearly defeating the United States Military. Finally, after General Ridgway was given command of US forces, they moved back up to the 38th parallel where the political objective was changed yet again to “Restore South Korea.” Forces never crossed the 38th parallel again. These were the political objectives of the Korean War in a nutshell. Now, looking back at the political objectives did we actually win the Korean War? I would argue, “yes,” but that’s another debate in itself.

Whether you feel that we should be in Iraq or not, I would argue that we still have not completed all of the political objectives set. In particular, number six; Destroy terrorist networks in Iraq. It may not be an easy task and may also be long and grueling, but I believe that winning in Iraq would be a result of completing political objective number six.

My assumption is that the United States cannot win the war in Iraq without a change in course. (No, I don’t mean troop withdrawal either!) There are terms called Total War and Limited War. Total war requires the will of the people. The American people have not had a total war since World War II. I don’t think that America will ever have another Total War, because the country is too divided. No, we resort to Limited War. Limited War is war where the government and military alone determine whether or not we go to war. It is the idea of keeping the American people out of war in order for Americans to go about their regular lives. The only problem is that America doesn’t really win Limited War. According to John Shy of Michigan, it’s not the American way of war. Americans do not understand the conduct of war. Americans want to see territory gain, a huge blood count of the enemy, and see it all happen in a short amount of time. The media has big play in determining the outcome of war, unfortunately. Especially, since all we hear about is how American forces die, but they fail to mention that 2 Americans died, while 50 enemy insurgents died. It’s pathetic. People complain about how “we are sending our boys to a blood bath,” but they don’t hear about the guy who lost his leg in Iraq, but is working on rehabilitation and a prosthetic leg to go back (yes, guys actually want to go back to Iraq to fight; I know two personally).

Also, we need a change of course, because American people cannot stand war that lasts more than four years. Think about it. Civil War – 4 years involvement, WWI – 2 years involvement, WWII – 4 years involvement, Korea – 4 years involvement, and then…uh oh…Vietnam 8 to 10 years involvement and the United States’ first loss. Then, Desert Storm – what…4 or 5 months of actual combat? God forbid a war that lasts over four years! The United States needs a change of plan to rally the American people again. THE UNITED STATES WILL NOT WIN THIS WAR IF AMERICANS CONTINUE TO FIGHT EACHOTHER! Although the war is not quite lost, we are well on our way. We can still win, though. We just need to fight a more Total war… that’s the only way.

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One comment

  1. Just stopping by. I came to your blog via Elyery’s gopful blog. I read this entry and enjoyed it a lot and actually agree with some of what you say.

    Diego



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