Thursday, March 27, 2003

Things not going according to plan

American plans for the conquest of Iraq seem to have been thrown into dissarray after the Iraqis pursued the completely unexpected tactic of actually fighting back. As a result, the US military is now warning that the war could last months, rather than the mere days it was initially expected to take.

At the moment the Iraqis are actually counterattacking - and according to the Agonist, have surrounded several British units near Basra. Whle the British are made of sterner stuff than the Americans, their public really doesn't want them to be there, and a large number of British casulaties could be quite damaging to Blair's government. Further north the main American advance has been stalled by the weather, and they seem to be digging in to wait for reinforcements. While they have activated another 30,000 troops with the aim of shipping them to the Middle East, they could take anywhere from two weeks to a few months to arrive.

Meanwhile, in an ominious sign, the US army declared that it would no longer provide casualty figures:

General Brooks declined to comment on the number of United States casualties in the war and explicitly said the military would not provide numbers. "As a matter of practice, we just aren't going to announce numbers of casualties," he said.

I guess they think they can only maintain public support if they keep the true cost of the war hidden :(

So anyway, what happens if this does take months? Does the US and British public have the stomach for it? More importantly, does the Arab street? And even more importantly (and has anybody bothered to ask this question?), what happens if the Americans lose?