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November 30, 2004


See also the pieces by Martin van Creveld and Willaim Lind referenced by this piece from James Wolcott:


The upshot: the U.S. has already lost the Iraq war.

>The upshot: the U.S. has already lost the Iraq war.

Certainly that's a possibility. The analysis about a strong
power doomed by fighting a weak enemy is sensible. For a
striking parallel with Vietnam, see _On Strategy: A critical
analysis of the Vietnam War by Col. Harry G. Summers, Jr._.
This 1970's Army War College analysis of the Vietnam War
concludes that the US's major error was to waste a lot of
energy fighting the Viet Cong, who could never be defeated
militarily. There's every reason to think that this
reasoning applies to Iraq.

To me the nagging aspect about a complete pullout is the
fact, as I mentioned previously, that there still seem to be
valid Iraqi voices (e.g. Sistani) who support continued US
involvement. Is Sistani simply self-serving? Is the US
paying him? I don't know the answers to these questions but
he strikes me as a man of wisdom and I am inclined to follow
his guidance unless matters get much worse around the
upcoming elections.

I agree that Sistani appears to be an honest actor. I'm not sure whether it matters, though--Sistani is capable of doing a lot of harm if we cross him, but even if we don't, I'm not sure he can avoid a larger civil war.

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