Saturday, January 06, 2007

The winds they are a changing...

I have changed my point of view on Iraq. I know that Iraq is not a hopeless cause, and that with the right moves, Iraq can be stabilized. However, it is now my conclusion that the United States will not do what is necessary to achieve such an end, so we should cut our losses and withdraw. Here's a list, in no particular order, and by no means extensive, of things we should do, but won't, in Iraq:

  • Don't "surge" unless you mean it. Military force is like penicillin--a low level extended exposure does nothing but make it useless. The surge they're talking about is two to three divisions. If you count all our allies, all the countractors, and the troops currently in Iraq, two or three divisions forms a 10-15% jump. That's a blip, not a surge. If you want to surge, you should double our total forces.
  • Flatten the hierarchy. Our enemies live by the survival of the fittest. That which doesn't work kills them, and everyone else knows not to do that. Their tactics change constantly. For our tactics to change, it has to work its way up the chain of command, and back down. Our tactical changes work in cycles of decades, not days.
  • Get our logistics under control. American troops tend to bring their lifestyle with them, which means we have monster supply chains--and a tremendous number of supply officers. We may have a good number of "boots on the ground" but how many of them are actually patrolling? America needs to increase its effective strength, not just numbers.
  • Quadruple the pay of any soldier who speaks Arabic. They'd be a bargain at that price. Perhaps more of them would study.

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