Wednesday, December 22, 2004

"My guess is that this will take 10 years."

The headline of the article reads "Precision of Base Attack Worries Military Experts," but it's not the precision that bothers me. What bothers me is that this is gonna go on forever.
The attack also indicates that the insurgency is growing more sophisticated with the passage of time. One of the basic principles of waging a counterinsurgency is that it requires patience. "Twenty-one months" -- the length of the occupation so far -- "is not a long time to tame the tribal warfare expected there," said retired Marine Lt. Col. Rick Raftery, an intelligence specialist who operated in northern Iraq in 1991. "My guess is that this will take 10 years."
How's it going to play out? What choices do we have? I think I can answer the first question; as to the second question, well, I just don't know.
"This sure isn't playing out like I thought it would," said retired Marine Lt. Col. Jay Stout, author of a book about the 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq, in which he fought. He said he is no longer confident about what the U.S. strategy in Iraq should be.

"We have few choices: We can maintain the status quo while trying to build an Iraqi government that will survive, we can get the hell out now and leave them to kill themselves, or we can adopt a more brutal and repressive stance."

His choice? "I don't know the right answer -- I gave up guessing a few months ago."

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