50,000 Troops can save Iraq

#2
in a while they will disengage from iraq, 'peace with honour' (deja voo!)

and in a few years the 'son of rambo' series of movies will come out to show all just how 'we wernt allowed to win' because of the UN.
 
#3
too little too late again! Sending more conventional troops will never work as they invariably end up creating more insurgents. Plus as they try and dominate the ground, the insurgents will just melt away (after being tipped off by local officials-SCU in Basrah anyone?) and resurface once the troops have gone.
Really liked the article's statement of how it's all been great in Basrah and Britmil's actions have subdued the locals 8O . keegan's on a different planet if he believes that one! Oh yes, the brits are really in control down in basrah..... :roll:
it went pete tong a long time ago due to fukd up policies and wallpapering the cracks will do no good here.
 
#5
I'm surprised by John Keegan, whose views I normally respect. Whilst there is a (fairly strong) argument for more resources across the board, he seems to suggest that 'conventional' application of force will win the day ie more of the same. It is this thinking that has manifestly failed so far. How are you going to undertake massive armoured assaults on the enemy's bases, when those bases are the houses he lives in? This is the Israeli approach of using overwhelming force against the population, simply because you can, rather than because it works.

Whilst there have been limited and local successes in the south by expressions of force (OP WATERLOO in Al Amarah being one), they have not achieved long lasting effects. The concept that Johnny Arab will 'respect' those who destroy his town and kill his mates, and thus return to peaceable existence seems a little weak in my mind. For every cowed individual there will be 10 angry ones clamouring to join the fight (I have heard first hand accounts of how even fairly trivial slights have led to Baswaris taking up arms against British troops). Sure, any force needs to be credible, and demonstrations have their place, but any consideration of human nature or history would not indicate that a population can be won over by what is effectively fear.
 
#6
Keegan really can't accept that he was wrong all along. He is the type who will say that the decision to invade was right but the post invasion plan was poorly executed by the Americans. Wrong wrong wrong. Do not invade and occupy, especially muslim land. Just admit it Mr Keegan, you made the wrong call. This was always going to go bad. The window of opportunity to withdraw from Iraq has been and gone, and now we are stuck in a terrible mess with no exit in sight.
 
#7
This just doesn't scan. John Keegan should have enough sense not to comment about the use of conventional troops against unconventional forces.

The object of the surge deployment should be to overwhelm the insurgents with a sudden concentration, both of numbers, armoured vehicles and firepower with the intention to inflict severe losses and heavy shock. The Mahdi Army in Sadr City should prove vulnerable to such tactics, which would of course be supported by helicopters and fixed-wing aviation
and

Military logic requires that any reinforcements should contain a sizeable number of armoured vehicles. Insurgents, though they have had some success in attacking tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, are not properly equipped to resist a heavily armoured enemy
Oh come on. What are your targets? A civilian clad force in a civilian town with loads and loads of potential collateral targets.

And the likelyhood of you having enough intelligence to attack a insurgent base/group before they bugger off and melt back in to the local populous? Practically nil. If I was an insurgent leader and these were the tactics, I'd be rubbing my hands with glee at this rubbish and saying "more targets coming, boys"

John Keegan generally makes sense but this article and its v worrying journo generalship is frankly daft and smacks of living in a different world. Sad thing is, with his rep, some people may believe it.
 
#8
nigegilb said:
Keegan really can't accept that he was wrong all along. He is the type who will say that the decision to invade was right but the post invasion plan was poorly executed by the Americans. Wrong wrong wrong. Do not invade and occupy, especially muslim land. Just admit it Mr Keegan, you made the wrong call. This was always going to go bad. The window of opportunity to withdraw from Iraq has been and gone, and now we are stuck in a terrible mess with no exit in sight.
Many of the lessons learnt by TE Lawrence have been forgotten or more likely ignored. Are the Seven Pillars of Wisdom no longer read?
 
#9
nigegilb said:
Keegan really can't accept that he was wrong all along. He is the type who will say that the decision to invade was right but the post invasion plan was poorly executed by the Americans. Wrong wrong wrong. Do not invade and occupy, especially muslim land. Just admit it Mr Keegan, you made the wrong call. This was always going to go bad. The window of opportunity to withdraw from Iraq has been and gone, and now we are stuck in a terrible mess with no exit in sight.
nigegilb, as a matter of interest when was that "window of opportunity" to withdraw in your opinion?
 
#10
Military logic requires that any reinforcements should contain a sizeable number of armoured vehicles. Insurgents, though they have had some success in attacking tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, are not properly equipped to resist a heavily armoured enemy.

The object of the surge deployment should be to overwhelm the insurgents with a sudden concentration, both of numbers, armoured vehicles and firepower with the intention to inflict severe losses and heavy shock. The Mahdi Army in Sadr City should prove vulnerable to such tactics, which would of course be supported by helicopters and fixed-wing aviation.

Hitherto most military activity by coalition forces has been reactive rather than unilateral. Typically, units have become involved in fire fights while on patrol or on convoy protection duties. During the surge, the additional troops would take the fight to the enemy with the intention of doing him harm, destabilising him and his leaders and damaging or destroying the bases from which he operates.
The cost of such tactics is likely to be high but not unbearable if enough armoured vehicles are used to protect the attacking troops. The advantage of committing recently arrived troops to such operations is that they will come to operations fresh and enthusiastic. Though there is the disadvantage that they may not be familiar with local conditions or topography, this need not be a disqualification since the purpose of a surge strike would be to create a shock effect, not to alter local conditions by informal action.

A recipe for a counterinsurgency triumph if ever there was one
 
#11
I dont like Keegan, he's another British neo-con wannabe. His analysis is a load of BS frankly, events in Iraq are too far gone for any military solution to be effective. Historians should stick to history, and avoid strategy.
 
#12
John Keegan seems to get more and more out of tune with the realities and the zeitgeist.

Frankly the only people who can save Iraq is Iraq. Whether they choose to do it "western democracy" style-y is up to them but on balance I cannot think of a western democracy that I would recommend to anyone else.
 
#13
Not just Keegan, the Daily Telegraph has been out of kilter on Iraq from the beginning. IMO the coalition forces should have withdrawn when the interim Govt was set up or soon after the democratic elections. The West made the big mistake of interfering with true democracy in the beginning and insisted on their own puppet Govt. Iraq is never going to be a liberal democracy in the Western sense, but that probably wouldn't have gone down well with the electorate in US and UK. I increasingly feel that the electorate doesn't care any more. They just want the hell out. I don't see that as an option anymore. Blair and Bush have shown poor judgement throughout.

29 December 2004

Window of Opportunity in Iraq

By Gwynne Dyer

As the Bush administration often says, "failure is not an option"
in Iraq. It is an accomplished fact. The initial US goals in invading the
country are now completely unattainable, and the remaining uncertainties
are mostly to do with the timing of the American pull-out and the extent of
US humiliation. But is it possible that the Bush administration has
understood this, and is planning to declare a victory and leave within the
next six months?

A window of opportunity is about to open for an early American
withdrawal from Iraq. It would involve a handover to an elected Iraqi
government that will refuse to serve any of Washington's aims in the
region, but will not insist on publicly humiliating the Bush administration
on the way out. Will they have the wit to take the exit?

President Bush continues to call all the anti-American resistance
forces in Iraq "terrorists", thus implying that a withdrawal from Iraq
would somehow mean a defeat in his "war on terror," but he is also starting
to shift the blame for the mess there to the Iraqis themselves. "The
American people are taking a look at Iraq and wondering whether the Iraqis
are eventually going to be able to fight off these bombers and killers,"
he said last week -- as if Iraqis were proving unworthy of the efforts that
Americans have made to help them.

The window of opportunity is the election of 30 January. The
winner, barring a last-minute cancellation or massive fraud, will be the
United Iraqi Alliance, a candidates' list sponsored by Grand Ayatollah Ali
al-Sistani that includes all the strongest Shia parties and groups. Since
60 percent of Iraq's people are Shia Arabs and many of the 15-20 percent
Sunni Arab minority will not vote, this alliance will almost certainly win
a majority in the 275-member national assembly and choose the new
.government.
The last line?
It probably won't happen, in which case things will go from bad to
worse.


Full article

http://www.gwynnedyer.net/articles/Gwynne Dyer article_ Window of Opportunity.txt
 
#14
Too little, too late. Rumsfeld screwed it up in 03 and there's no going back. In any case the militias know that the the US can't sustain that force level for long. If the pressure gets too much they will just keep their heads down until the US f#cks off.
 
#16
Crazy_FOO said:
Military logic requires that any reinforcements should contain a sizeable number of armoured vehicles. Insurgents, though they have had some success in attacking tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, are not properly equipped to resist a heavily armoured enemy.

The object of the surge deployment should be to overwhelm the insurgents with a sudden concentration, both of numbers, armoured vehicles and firepower with the intention to inflict severe losses and heavy shock. The Mahdi Army in Sadr City should prove vulnerable to such tactics, which would of course be supported by helicopters and fixed-wing aviation.

Hitherto most military activity by coalition forces has been reactive rather than unilateral. Typically, units have become involved in fire fights while on patrol or on convoy protection duties. During the surge, the additional troops would take the fight to the enemy with the intention of doing him harm, destabilising him and his leaders and damaging or destroying the bases from which he operates.
The cost of such tactics is likely to be high but not unbearable if enough armoured vehicles are used to protect the attacking troops. The advantage of committing recently arrived troops to such operations is that they will come to operations fresh and enthusiastic. Though there is the disadvantage that they may not be familiar with local conditions or topography, this need not be a disqualification since the purpose of a surge strike would be to create a shock effect, not to alter local conditions by informal action.

A recipe for a counterinsurgency triumph if ever there was one
Sounds like the approach Russia used in Grozni, and we all know how successful that campaign was :roll:
 
#17
svjazist said:
Crazy_FOO said:
Military logic requires that any reinforcements should contain a sizeable number of armoured vehicles. Insurgents, though they have had some success in attacking tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, are not properly equipped to resist a heavily armoured enemy.

The object of the surge deployment should be to overwhelm the insurgents with a sudden concentration, both of numbers, armoured vehicles and firepower with the intention to inflict severe losses and heavy shock. The Mahdi Army in Sadr City should prove vulnerable to such tactics, which would of course be supported by helicopters and fixed-wing aviation.

Hitherto most military activity by coalition forces has been reactive rather than unilateral. Typically, units have become involved in fire fights while on patrol or on convoy protection duties. During the surge, the additional troops would take the fight to the enemy with the intention of doing him harm, destabilising him and his leaders and damaging or destroying the bases from which he operates.
The cost of such tactics is likely to be high but not unbearable if enough armoured vehicles are used to protect the attacking troops. The advantage of committing recently arrived troops to such operations is that they will come to operations fresh and enthusiastic. Though there is the disadvantage that they may not be familiar with local conditions or topography, this need not be a disqualification since the purpose of a surge strike would be to create a shock effect, not to alter local conditions by informal action.

A recipe for a counterinsurgency triumph if ever there was one
Sounds like the approach Russia used in Grozni, and we all know how successful that campaign was :roll:
Grozny is still a Russian city and the Chechens still dont have independence. Sounds like success to me.
 
#18
tomahawk6 said:
svjazist said:
Crazy_FOO said:
Military logic requires that any reinforcements should contain a sizeable number of armoured vehicles. Insurgents, though they have had some success in attacking tanks and armoured fighting vehicles, are not properly equipped to resist a heavily armoured enemy.

The object of the surge deployment should be to overwhelm the insurgents with a sudden concentration, both of numbers, armoured vehicles and firepower with the intention to inflict severe losses and heavy shock. The Mahdi Army in Sadr City should prove vulnerable to such tactics, which would of course be supported by helicopters and fixed-wing aviation.

Hitherto most military activity by coalition forces has been reactive rather than unilateral. Typically, units have become involved in fire fights while on patrol or on convoy protection duties. During the surge, the additional troops would take the fight to the enemy with the intention of doing him harm, destabilising him and his leaders and damaging or destroying the bases from which he operates.
The cost of such tactics is likely to be high but not unbearable if enough armoured vehicles are used to protect the attacking troops. The advantage of committing recently arrived troops to such operations is that they will come to operations fresh and enthusiastic. Though there is the disadvantage that they may not be familiar with local conditions or topography, this need not be a disqualification since the purpose of a surge strike would be to create a shock effect, not to alter local conditions by informal action.

A recipe for a counterinsurgency triumph if ever there was one
Sounds like the approach Russia used in Grozni, and we all know how successful that campaign was :roll:
Grozny is still a Russian city and the Chechens still dont have independence. Sounds like success to me.
Have you seen Grozni lately? and I'm fairly sure that there is still an active insurgency in Chechnya :wink:
 
#19
Interesting that Keegan is now writing in this vein. He was very critical of the idea of "a war on terror" when the phrase first surfaced, and I read his view at the time as being very much in line that of his critics in this thread. So what that proves - dunno. Maybe just evidence of the incredible capacity of the human species, to simultaneously and passionately hold 2 entirely contradictory opinions.

Anyway, chap in the Indy seems to disagrees with him:


Patrick Cockburn said:
Saddam should not have been a hard act to follow. It was not inevitable that the country should revert to Hobbesian anarchy. At first the US and Britain did not care what Iraqis thought. Their victory over the Iraqi army - and earlier over the Taliban in Afghanistan - had been too easy. They installed a semi-colonial regime. By the time they realised that the guerrilla war was serious it was too late.

It could get worse yet. The so-called "surge" in US troop levels by 20,000 to 30,000 men on top of the 145,000 soldiers already in the country is unlikely to produce many dividends. It seems primarily designed so that President George Bush does not have to admit defeat or take hard choices about talking to Iran and Syria. But these reinforcements might tempt the US to assault the Mehdi Army.

Somehow many senior US officials have convinced themselves that it is Mr Sadr, revered by millions of Shia, who is the obstacle to a moderate Iraqi government. In fact his legitimacy in the eyes of ordinary Shia Iraqis, the great majority of the population, is far greater than the "moderate" politicians whom the US has in its pocket and who seldom venture out of the Green Zone. Mr Sadr is a supporter of Mr Maliki, whose relations with Washington are ambivalent.

An attack on the Shia militia men of the Mehdi Army could finally lead to the collapse of Iraq into total anarchy. Saddam must already be laughing in his grave.

Patrick Cockburn is the author of The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq, published by Verso
In Full HERE
 

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