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'Victory' in Iraq leaves scary options on the table

Jan Frel: US forces are obsolete in the face of the Iraqi insurgency, and the military alternatives prove that there's nothing to do but suck it up and admit we lost.
 
 
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Still think there's a path for victory in Iraq? After years of thinking that there's no chance at all for anything but increasing disaster, I'm a convert after reading a brilliant column on the options left on the table by Gary Brecher in the eXile. I now think we can. And there are two ways to do it: The options remaining on the table are trying to trigger an endless bloodbath between factions or using weapons of mass destruction. Not exactly what you were hoping to hear, was it?

If those are the choices, I'll take losing any day... well, as a believer in non-violence, I'd rather that we lost and surrendered before we invaded, but that's just me. And upfront, since I've made my pacifist disclosure, leave your PC blinders at the door before reading this, because the arguments here only bolster the idea that there's no way to win this. The crazy idea that Democrats like Rahm Emanuel support, such as adding 20,000 troops temporarily, looks only more insane in light of this analysis.

Brecher makes this case because he says that US forces as they are presently organized are essentially obsolete against the kind of war they are facing in Iraq:

[W]e're living through one of those moments in military history where a powerful, successful military model runs into its limitations. The military-industrial steamroller that won WW II for us and the Soviets was a glorious thing, but then so was the phalanx, and the medieval heavy cavalry, and the British square. They all hit a wall eventually, and so have we. ... [W]hat we've got now is a huge gap between the military force a superpower has and what it's actually ready to use. We've got a problem in the Sunni Triangle, and we're fighting it with mid-20th century weapons, armor and cannon and air strikes. Sure, it's much better armor, cannon and air support than we had in 1944, but we're talking little refinements of old weapons. Cannon have been around for 600 years, people! A 25mm chain cannon is just a much smaller, faster, more accurate version of the humongous, sloppy tubes that blasted the walls of Constantinople in 1453.

What is a modern day war-monger to do?

Jan Frel is AlterNet's senior editor.

 
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