Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Iraq Won't Get Better Anytime Soon

The "War Nerd" explains what is going on in Iraq:

Funny thing happened in Iraq: the war came back. Just when we were settling into the national pastime of premature high fives with purple-stained thumbs, the place blew up again. Car bombs, assassinations, and a big, Nam-style sweep by the Marines in Anbar province near the Syrian border, complete with body counts and PR officers claiming they'd "flushed out the insurgents" once and for all.


It's par for the course in guerrilla war. What we're seeing now is a stage every guerrilla war goes through: the leaner, meaner insurrection. It's all about learning: learning by seeing your buddies blown up.


What happened in those eight months is that the invincible invaders turned into occupiers, and the locals started to see what dummies they were when it came to running the neighborhood. [...] [W]hen the Iraqis saw how easy it is to blow up a convoy, everybody wanted to help throw out the invaders. So you got a sort of "rainbow coalition" insurgency -- room for everybody! Climb on board the bandwagon!

Botton Line: We have made a lot of mistakes, and we don't seem to be doing the things necessary to correct them. The situation in Iraq will continue along the current path for a while.

War Nerd


Anonymous Arminius said...

When Fascist Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935 it did so because it claimed that the Ethiopians were a threat to the neighboring Italian colony of Eritrea and that it was motivated by the noble mission of abolishing slavery and bringing civilization - in fact it was a land-grab. The Italians, with their own version of "shock and awe" (airborne poison gas bombardments) managed to defeat the Ethiopian forces rather expeditiously and (with a kind of "Mission Accomplished" bit of panache) proclaimed the Italian Empire in early 1936. After a while the guerilla war started and the Italians for the duration of their stay there never managed to control the territory - other than the principal road from Addis Abeba to the sea port of Massaua. Mind you, with some 700 miles it was significantly longer than the two miles from the Green Zone to Baghdad Airport.

6/07/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent parallel and interesting post! Some additional characteristics of the Second Italo-Abyssinian War include:

* Failure of the Italians to subdue the country after fairly rapid (seven months) defeat of Ethiopian conventional forces
* Unsuccessful attempts by the British and French to appease the Italian aggressor (the Hoare-Laval plan)
* Total failure of the League of Nations to do anything about it except pass meaningless sanctions, although both Italy and Ethiopia were members
* Repeated (and partially successful) Italian attempts to play off various tribal and religous factions angainst one another
* Massive reprisal campaigns against the Ethiopian civilian population (by some estimates, almost a quarter million may have died)
* Use of poison gas by the Italians (a WMD?)
* Inaccurate and distorted coverage by the Western media

Sound familiar?

6/07/2005 12:33:00 PM  

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