The always-intriguing Defense and the National Interest website has a downright-depressing scorecard on how the U.S. military is doing in Iraq. Let's hope this is off-base (though I'm worried it's not):Have the Iraq "insurgents" gained, for now at least, a superior position?
- Based on public sources, apparently the Coalition still does not know the nature of the opposition: leaders, goals, ideology, numbers, etc.- Insurgent attacks demonstrate the operational resources to strike at will in central Iraq, and on occasion anywhere in Iraq.- The increasing frequency of attacks against Coalition forces and its "collaborators" indicates growing resources for the insurgents, with attack rates of 25 - 30 per day.- The increased sophistication of attacks demonstrates the insurgents growing experience and the Darwinian nature of guerilla warfare, culling the slow learners from insurgent forces. Note the improvised and camouflaged missile launcher which attacked the Rashid Hotel, one of the best guarded sites in Iraq. Built by the insurgents, it fired two different types of missiles one designed for use by helicopters. Probably the next attack will be designed better and executed more successfully.We can only guess, probably poorly, at the insurgents' ultimate goals. Still, they have accomplished important objectives.
- Stripping the Coalition's support by UN and non-governmental organizations, such as the Red Cross.- Limiting the Coalition's ability to recruit other nations, such as Turkey and India, who could provide diplomatic support and military forces.Perhaps most important, they have gained the initiative. Coalition operations appear almost totally reactive.The result:
Coalition forces appear to have lost the vital connection between strategy and tactics. Clear and feasible goals drive strategy, which drives tactics. Also, Coalition leaders much have clear and popular goals to maintain domestic support for the War. Feasible strategy and tactics maintain domestic confidence in Coalition leadership. With popular support success in long and painful conflicts becomes possible.What are the Coalition's goals and strategy? If these are in fact uncertain, as they were in the Viet Nam war, development of successful tactics becomes difficult. Maintaining domestic support and confidence becomes problematic.Fortunately, the public in Coalition nations does not seem to know the odds against us. In modern times, insurgents' successes far outnumber the few successes of western nations. Also, the western wins come at a large cost in resources and lives guerillas, defenders, and civilians. Note the US experience in the Philippines (1899 - 1902, with "pacification" continuing until 1932) and the British in Malaya (1948 - 1961).