March 29, 2003

AUSTIN BAY looks at the limitations of wargaming in predicting wars, and also makes a risky prediction. And there’s this observation:

The Pacific island campaigns in WWII provide a historical example. Once organized Japanese resistance ceased and the allies had an island’s airfields and ports operating, the brass would declare the place “secure.” Infantry regiments would withdraw to refit for the next amphibious assault. The “major operation” was over– but tell that to the Navy SeaBees on the “secure island” who would scrap with snipers for months after the front had officially moved forward.

In Iraq the fedayeen’s low-level resistance could flicker for months. That’s one reason US Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki says peacekeeping in post-Saddam Iraq will require more ground troops.

Guerrillas need popular support, but the Iraqi people fear the fedayeen. British troops report civilians are telling them where the paramilitaries hide. The population isn’t protecting the fascists. That suggests pro-Saddam holdouts may use guerrilla tactics but they’re death squads, not a guerrilla force.

No, I’m not going to tell you his prediction. You’ll have to follow the link for that.