The only way to get into a quagmire in Iraq is by not fighting.
Some worry that Anglo-American forces will get
To those who will inevitably vehemently disagree:
What are the circumstances of quagmires? Fighting in single cities has never produced quagmires. Cities are single battles. Wars are quagmires.
So, how long can Saddam hold out in one or two cities? Remembering that this is a guy who apparently changes Presidential Palaces every night. If he’s trapped in Baghdad (or, IMHO, more likely Tikrit), exactly how long is he likely to be there before one of his own tries to pop him? (After all, he’s been changing Palaces to avoid IRAQI threats, not American.)
Then, too, how long can a city-fight last, w/o reinforcements? The German loss at Stalingrad, it should be remembered, was due to several distinct factors:
A. The regular introduction of replacements and reinforcements across the Volga (to the tune of thousands of troops a day);
B. The Germans being at the end of a VERY long supply line, that was regularly under interdiction by partisans and other demands (e.g., Leningrad, Crimea).
C. Most important, Operation Uranus, the massive offensive that pinched off the Germans in Stalingrad, annihilated several Hungarian and Rumanian corps, and crippled much of the German front. This, coupled w/ Hitler’s dithering, led to the failure of the breakout (Operation Typhoon) and the surrender, eventually, of Paulus.
Care to enumerate which of these will apply? MAYBE “B”. Supply lines will be long. But how much resistance do we think will be out there? Hint: Afghanistan was touted to be far worse than ANYTHING anyone’s predicted about Iraq.
Finally, recent American “quagmires” include Vietnam and, in the eyes of some, Korea. Well, lessee. In Korea, the decision was made not to push north of the line-of-control pretty much because nobody wanted a full-blown Chinese or Soviet intervention. And we didn’t fight an all-out war against North Vietnam because of the fear of Chinese or Soviet intervention. Anybody care to tell me what, exactly, will stay our hand in Iraq?
Just a coupla thoughts….
Good wide-angle reversal with the idea of a “quagmire,” Stephen.
I disagree with the concern over city-fighting, though for reasons you’ll both more than likely appreciate: everything I read indicates that the Republican Guard actually managing urban warfare is a turnip ghost. They simply don’t have the training.
I agree completely with what Mr. Green says. “Quagmire” is now officially, in my mind, overused and therefore a cliche. Usage of it also shows a distinct lack of knowledge, because Vietnam was hardly a typical war. We aren’t fighting a Mao-financed “people’s revolution”. Brutal dictators go down hard, and that’s what Hussein will be doing real soon now. Bet on it.
Yesterday, my newspaper annoyed me me by printing this excerpt of an editorial by some joker named Robert Door that appeared in Air Force Times:
“If our leaders seriously intend to fight in metropolitan centers, I hope they’ll think again. I want to run through the halls of the Pentagon crying out, “Stalingrad!” Or perhaps, “Hue!” And certainly, because it never can be shouted too often, “Mogadishu!”
Stalingrad? See Dean’s comments above. Hue? We won that one, as I recall. As for Mog, our outnumbered, poorly prepared, mostly unsupported troops still inflicted casualties at a ratio of 25-1! Whoever this hoser is, I hope that he’s not in a position to do anything other than write editorials…he’s learned enough of history to know the buzzwords, but seemingly little else.
One particular gripe I have is with some of our allies–they’re jumpy that we are belligerant cowboys, but not that interested in contributuing enough troops to ensure some of these shitholes can be peaceful.
The Euro response: “We did some stuff in old Yugo!”
Great, so you swept your back porch (with our help) years after you realized it was a mess.
At the moment, America isn’t asking anyone else to do the heavy lifting. Our idea seems to be, “we’ll fight the bad guys, you direct traffic after it’s over.” Even that is getting huge resistance from the Carter wing of the EU. It’s becoming clear to me–that the Euros would rather see the US struggle and fail than Iraq thrive.
That’s who were dealing with at the moment.
As evidence, I submit this link about our pals, the Canadians:
How different would the battle of Mogadishu have been with, night vision equipment, specter gunships overhead, armored columns supporting the troops, and predators flying around finding the bad guys before they could get a shot off. I’m guessing it would have come out very differently.
Great post Stephen…closer, in my opinion, to what’s going to happen than most other predictions.
FYI for Brian…Robert Door is, indeed, a moron. Just to clarify, Air Force Times is NOT an Air Force publication. Just (mainly) a bunch of former AF people who attempt to keep up with AF events and pretend to always know what’s in the best interests of the AF…obviously, given Door’s desire to “run through the Pentagon yelling Stalingrad”, they’re not always right.
I’m still waiting for someone to explain why we need to take Baghdad at all. If we own the rest of the country, who cares? If we need it, just shut off the water like the Japanese did to Singapore. We’d be fools to actually fight there.
We won the battle of Mogadishu. 18 dead, 70 wounded on our side. A brief search on google doesn’t find a hard count of indegenous KIA and wounded, but, if I recall correctly, we are talking about something like 1000 KIA.
Somolia is like Viet Nam only shorter. We won the battle, and lost the war. Not due to military reasons, but to political reasons.
All that aside, you are right that city warfare against our troops today, backed by the full might of our armed forces, is likely to be both unpleasant and short.
For our enemy.