Monday, October 23, 2006

The Mounting Death Toll

There has been a lot of talk about the high death toll this month in Iraq, and a lot of facts about it have been distorted from those trying to spin the events. The plain and simple truth is that this is the meat grinder that urban warfare brings. When I say this, I'm not talking about the full scale level of urban warfare we saw in Naraf against the Madhi army or in the siege of Fallujah. It is more of a intermediate level of violence, one that will continue for a long time. It is also one that could have likely been avoided.

Think what you want about the idea of attacking Iraq, I though it was foolish then, I think it is foolish now, but no matter what you think, it is clear that a lot of the problems we have now are a clear manifestation of the lack of the adequate application of force at the beginning of the conflict, ie. using the Rumsfeld Doctrine of warfare instead of the Powell Doctrine.

Once we failed in that respect, we kind of went through the looking glass, that is, we set things in motion that we have the inability to curtail with the number of troops we have there. In essence, we created a self fulfilling prophesy.

Right now, we are trying to clear the single city of Baghdad. To accomplish this, we would likely need every combat brigade we currently have in country, roughly 60,000 soldiers. Obviously, we don't have all of our combat brigades in Baghdad so clearing the city is unlikely, especially given that the people we are fighting do not have to conform to the same rules of engagement or code of conduct that we do.

Instead, what we are doing is similar to what 1980's gang task force members referred to as "the self cleaning oven" approach to the problem. That is, if enough people kill each other or simply leave, the problem will get better through simple attrition. Unfortunately, like the drug trade those gang bangers were fighting for, these people are also fighting for control of America's other drug, oil. There is just way too much money for the winner to get their attrition rates to end the problem.

I guess I'm just saying that it is totally fucked up and there is little we can do to unfuck it up, and as long as this president is in charge, nothing will be done to unfuck it up.

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