The US commenced its 2nd war on Iraq on March 18, 2003. On May 1, 2003, it was declared complete. Saddam Hussein was gone, regime change had been
effected. We ordered the Iraqi Army disbanded, Iraq’s police were discharged, and the Baathist Party was declared illegal. We were indeed looking
for a re-run of the cake-walk 1991 Gulf War.
The US misjudged the post-war complications it would encounter in Iraq and was unprepared to occupy Iraq, as opposed to liberate Iraq from Saddam. The
latter was much easier than the former, which has not been accomplished yet.
On June 28, Hamas is accused of kidnaping an Israeli solder from the Gaza. Held for exchange with some of the 7,000 Palestinians held by Israel, many
of them without charges, Israel reacted predictably. On July 12, Hezbollah staged a cross-border raid into northern Israel, killing 3 IDF soldiers
and capturing 2 more. There is no evidence the second event was in any way related to the first event. For one thing, the Hamas are Sunni, and the
Hezbollah are Shia they do not often make plans in concert.
Since May 1, 2003, some 40 months - 1,200 days - the overall condition of security in Iraq and particularly in Baghdad - a city of 3 million in a
metropolitan area of 7 million - was gone from bad to worse. The US has sustained nearly 3,000 KIA, more than 7,500 permanently injured and we have
inflicted on the Iraqis upwards of 15,000 killed by our count, 40-50,000 by other estimates. Where we were once looking for the sale of Iraqi oil to
pay for our military undertaking in Iraq, we have been unable to restore oil production to 50% of pre March 18 levels. America is currently spending
$6 billion a month on the Iraq and Afghan efforts.
Israel inflicted between 700 and 900 killed in Lebanon, but it is uncertain how many were Hezbollah soldiers and how many were Lebanese civilians. If
this war is like most of the wars in the last 60 years, the civilian casualties will be about 90% of the total dead. The IDF lost about 50 men, and
another 130 Israelis were killed by Hezbollah rockets. Half of Beirut and almost all of the buildings south of Beirut have been blow up by Israeli
bombs or artillery shelling. Every bridge in Lebanon has been destroyed. This has truly be a re-run of Allied bombing of Germany in World War 2. If
there ever was excessive use of force, this is one example not to be soon forgotten.
So how have these two military undertakings faired, as getting either the US or Israel closer to their goals? While Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was
admitting mistakes and partial failure in the excursion into Lebanon before the Knesset, Pres. Bush43 was claiming victory for Israel and defeat for
Hezbollah in Washington. It will be obvious soon enough which man has it right.
Pres. Bush43 has consistently claimed the US was making progress in Iraq. After each of the 3 ejections, he gave the impression we would be coming
home soon. But instead of things getting better, they are getting worse. Not to worry, the president says we will stay in Iraq though his term which
does not end until January 20, 2009. So, our 3,000 KIA will grow to about 5,000 KIA if the current rate continues. I wonder who will be the last
American to die in Iraq.
Israel suffered the same fate in the south of Lebanon. Using the bets tanks in the world, unmanned surveillance aircraft and smart bombs, Israel
unleashed its technology on the foot soldiers of Hezbollah. Some of the weapons used by Hezbollah were found in the ruins, recoilless rifles on pickup
trucks used as anti-tank guns. shoulder fired short range missiles, rifle fired grenades and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) which have played
havoc with the US soldiers in Iraq did equally as well as anti-personnel weapons in Lebanon.
Before the US invasion of Iraq, America’s armed forces were feared around the world, all the more after the 100 hours destruction of the Iraq Army
in 1991, wrongly touted as the 4th largest army in the world. If you ignore the poorly trained, ill-equipped and barely led conscripts you have about
200,000 men which makes Iraq’s army about No. 10 on the world wide scale. But it is more glorious to whip the No.4 army that the No. 10 army. So
much for numbers. Winners write the history.
Before the July 12 attack on the much vaunted IDF - Israeli Defense Forces - by Hezbollah guerillas, and the counter attack by the IDF that lasted
until this morning at 5 AM, August 14, 33 days of hell to the Lebanese, the IDF was undefeated by an Arab army. Like many legends, it ignores facts
inconsistent with the legend. Such as the 1973 Yom Kippur War launched by Egypt to regain the Sinai peninsula. However you look at it, in 1978, at the
Camp David peace accords, Egypt got the Sinai back.
Now, in both cases, the US and Israel, the weapon or really, the tactical means that has proved superior in urban warfare, is what is called
“asymmetric” warfare. If two things are equal or nearly equal, they can be called symmetric. “A” of course being the prefix meaning “no”
or “not” and when added to -symmetric- becomes asymmetric, means unequal warfare. It means that David has morphed into Goliath and now, a
there’s a new David on the block.
Because both Hamas and Hezbollah have popular support of the general population, both groups are able to hide in an urban sitting. Neither the US nor
Israel is willing to slaughter all the people to get to the enemy. That approach - kill everyone - was tried in Vietnam in the so-called “free fire
zones.” It did not work there either but if you listen to our side, it was a great success. Our “hardliners” blame Jane Fonda for losing the
Vietnam War. Hmm? I guess a poor scapegoat is better than no scapegoat at all?
So now Bush43 and his Israeli counterpart Olmert, have revealed the to the world, but worse, to their enemies, the inherent weakness in a superpower
and in a superpower’s partner. The world did not know that before March 18 or July 12. Now the world knows. We’ll see this play out to the
disadvantage of both the US and Israel. Two costly blunders made by two men known for their blunders.
War is no longer going to be profitable. It will not be predictable. It will not be cheap. The aggressor may suffer as many or more losses than the
victim. It will be long. Public support will wane. It will become a nation’s albatross. A politicians legacy of despair. We are also about to see
the end of the ever popular invocation (or cop-out) of Karl von Clausewitz from his 1831 book, “On War,” that “war was merely a continuation of
diplomacy by other means.”
Let’s hope we’re in the last war.