Thursday, January 06, 2005

Outnumbered and in denial

An Iraqi general estimates that there are now 200,000 insurgents in Iraq. Meanwhile the US - which along with its allies has only 150,000 troops - seems to be in denial, continuing to talk of a small number (originally 5000, now 20000) of "foreign fighters" rather than admit that they're facing a grassroots, popular rebellion with widespread public support.

But I guess Bush just doesn't want to hear the true scale of the problem...


The question is - if they withdraw what will happen?
if they dont withdraw what will happen?
is the first worse than the second?

Posted by Genius : 1/06/2005 10:15:00 AM

If there was an attempt to come to some sort of accomodation with the insurgents, then Iraq could possibly stabilise as three substates (Shia, Sunni and Kurd).

If the US stays in, then the 'best' case is that things will continue much as they are for several years until the Americans tire of the cost in "blood and treasure" and negotiate to leave. Worst case would be that the conflict escalates to include Iran/Saudi/Pakistan - war in these theatres (indeed anywhere beyond Iraq) would not be feasible with the current US army. They would need to introduce conscription and a war economy.

Posted by Rich : 1/06/2005 10:49:00 AM

Good pragmatic idea there. I suggest we go the whole way and chop the country in three and then the US can go home. Each sub state should be reasonably stable. Iraq may just not be a natural state.
the surounding countries might have oppinions of course turkey wont like it and iran will have mixed feelings.

BTW - I dont think your wider war is likely.

Posted by Genius : 1/06/2005 02:05:00 PM

Hey - I wouldn't put too much stock in the estimates of an Iraqi General. In reality, I think you'll find Iraq turns out much like Afghanistan. Why do I say this? Because the left says it won't - and their record of being wrong is spotless!

Posted by Anonymous : 1/06/2005 02:11:00 PM

Yeah - everyone on the left was totally wrong on Vietnam eh. Who'd have thought that the US would have gloriously defeated the Viet Cong, stabilised Cambodia and Laos and left Indochina a beacon of capitalist prosperity and peace?

Posted by Rich : 1/06/2005 04:16:00 PM

If they leave there will almost certainly be some sort of civil war. If they stay, things will (at best) stay as they are - a slow-motion bloodbath. Either way, Iraq will be far worse then when they invaded it.

Some "humanitarian intervention".

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/06/2005 05:47:00 PM

What war were yu watching?
they DID defeat the Viet Cong. they anihilated them. So the perfect record of being wrong stands.
That was not sufficient to "stabilised Cambodia and Laos and left Indochina a beacon of capitalist prosperity and peace".


> Either way, Iraq will be far worse then when they invaded it. Some "humanitarian intervention".

the problem is the same as the second part above - they had an ambitious goal without really being willing to do what it takes to achieve it.

Posted by Genius : 1/06/2005 06:55:00 PM

Mundens here.

Did I misunderstamnd, or did someone just say they thought the US defeated the Viet Cong?

Does no-one now remember the evacuation of Saigon?

I remember watching US troops fighting women and children not wanting to be left behind away from the last few helicopters as the Viet Cong and their allies, the NVA, advanced on Saigon.

Does no-one remember all the helicopters and planes being pushed off of aircraft carriers because they didn't have enogh space to evacuate the aircraft as well as the people?

A freind of mine was told if he could get the helicopter out of Vietnam he could keep it, as long as it was kept away from the communists.

I'm old enough to remember the evacuation of Saigon in great detail, unlkke some it seems.

I can also rememebr the Soviet evacuation of Kabul, which was much better organized and planned than the evacuation of Saigon, but was fundamentally the same situation.

I suspect I will live long enough to see a similar evacuation of Bagdhad/Basra.

Posted by Anonymous : 1/07/2005 09:37:00 PM

I was a little curious about that too. There seems to be a persistant delusion among Americans that they won in Vietnam, and I just can't see the basis for it. Yes, they killed many more Vietnamese than Americans died - but they also realised that it didn't matter. It's a lesson they sadly seem to have forgotten, and are only now re-learning in Iraq.

(Oh, and I've only seen the archive footage - unlike Genius, it seems).

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 1/08/2005 02:16:00 PM