Understanding US’s soft tactics in Iraq

June 21, 2006 at 12:18 am (Iraq, Islamism, Middle East, Military, The United States)

Bruce of One Horse Photo made the following remark in this thread of the Ace of Spades HQ:

We would have laid the town where this happened to waste after the discovery of the dead GIs.

Killed every living thing. Not a brick left intact.

That’s how we used to fight- and win- wars.

This half-stepping shit is gonna get a lot of guys killed before it’s all over.

Exterminate the brutes.

I want to first of all thank Bruce for saying this. As extreme as it may sound, this is sound warfare policy particularly during guerilla warfare.

People today seem to forget many policies of The Armed Forces of The United States during World War II. We firebombed numerous civilian areas in Germany and Japan. Whereas recently The Armed Forces have targetted only military or militant targets, in World War II both sides targetted civilian areas as well. As a matter of fact, The Armed Forces’ attacks on Japanese civilian areas resulted in more casualties than both atomic bombs put together. Numerically these weapons of mass destruction could not measure up to what The Armed Forces had thrown at the Japanese up to that point. What made the nuclear weapons so feared was the fact that The Armed Forces would use such deadly, destructive, novel, and unprecedented weaponry. The idea of them was more horrid than the actual damage they inflicted. We should not forget this.

(I should add that since then nuclear weapons have evolved to becoming weapons that truly ought to be feared.)

I used to think how Bruce thought. I would complain about The United States’ strategy in Fallujah. To me, it seemed the best solution should have been to flatten the entire area. The fault for anyone who would die would be on that person’s head, as The United States gave its inhabitants plenty of prior warning. Instead, The United States took a softer approach. When it was explained to me (mainly on protein wisdom) why this was done, The United States’ tactics and stratedy made sense.

The Armed Forces of The United States are not in Iraq to occupy or rule the country. This may seem obvious, but this has a significant impact on The Armed Forces’ policy in Iraq. The Armed Forces are not trying to eliminate the insurrection: they are trying to train and equip the Iraqi Armed Forces to eliminate the insurrection, to obtain domestic stability, and to maintain domestic stability. If The Armed Forces took it upon themselves to secure and maintain Iraq’s stability, Iraq’s Armed Forces will loose its purpose, legitimacy, effectiveness, and relevance. The onus is on Iraqi forces to deal with insurgents. From the beginning The Armed Forces of The United States have set out to help Iraqi forces rather than to impose themselves on Iraq.

Consider, finally, the consequences of stability secured by The United States. Any time an issue of domestic stability comes up, The United States would be asked to deal with it. Iraqi forces would have no idea how to deal with such situations, particularly since they have had no experience doing so. Fighting alongside The United States is fundamentally different from fighting at the head, leading the way, and doing their own work. We are erecting such infrastructure that the Iraqis will take over and secure their own state without the need of foreign intervention. The United States wants Iraq to be sovereign and independent, not dependent on The United States or, for that matter, any other state. (The latter point is important: if Iraq remained in need of foreign assistance and The United States steps away or for some reason would be unable to assist as may be needed, Iraq may turn to Iran, Syria, Turkey, Russia, or any other of many states courting Iraq, for assistance, which would undermine the entire liberation of Iraq, not to mention Iraq’s independence and sovereignty.)

Let it be known, however, that if The Armed Forces were in Iraq to truly rule, this insurrection would have been brutally wiped out a long time ago. But because of their role and purpose in Iraq, they use very restrictive rules of engagement. This should not be taken to be weakness.



  1. Christine said,

    Ok, this is better. (Had my muslihoon post map turned around.)

    As usual Muslihoon, you have rather eloquently explained the truth.

  2. Dex said,

    And if they way we’re doing it now doesn’t work, there is always the other way.

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