When the war started, I meant to post that I thought that I expected a quick military victory over Iraq, followed by a slow crushing defeat as we half-heartedly tried to remold the country while distracted by other foreign and domestic problems.
I never got around to it, and it is probably just as well, because I think I may have been over optimistic. Something isn’t right about the news we are getting back, even from the officially sanctioned and manipulated “embedded journalists.” It isn’t just that we are facing more resistance and defiance than we were led to expect. Its that we have claimed to have “taken” this or that city once, only to have to restate the point repeatedly after addressing one setback or another.
We have far fewer troops in the country than we need to control it. From that weak foundation, we have extended ourselves far into its interior. Iraqi troops are engaging in guerrilla tactics, posing as small groups of civilians. Meanwhile we have left large numbers of Iraqi forces unengaged in our hurry to reach Baghdad. This seems a bad combination. The forces we have bypassed now have time to de-group and blend into the civilian population. Once they have, it will be that much harder to distinguish them from civilians, and from true deserters, increasing the amount of effort we have to put into “crowd control,” something we are probably understaffed to do right now even in the best case.
I understand why Bush thought we needed to get into this fight. I don’t understand his great hurry.