Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Why US Lost The Baghdad Battle

US President George W. Bush with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst
Washington (UPI) Oct 27, 2006
The U.S. strategy for suppressing the militias of Baghdad has failed disastrously. The reasons are far-reaching. The price of adopting an unsuccessful confrontation policy with the militias of Baghdad has been very high for the United States. American troop casualties for October soared to very high levels.

Political and strategic tensions and distrust between the U.S. government and the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki are worse than they have been in the half a year since Maliki took office. The militias are stronger and more credible than ever. And the Bush administration has been forced to make an urgent reassessment of its Iraq strategy when it never expected to have to do so at this time.

Little time need be assigned to considering U.S. officials' demand for the Iraqi government to meet "benchmarks" in taking over responsibility for controlling the militias and ending the widespread sectarian violence that is in reality a state of civil war in many regions of the country.

For all previous U.S. official predictions and timetables for progress in Iraq have proven to be unfounded fantasies with no tangible connection to evolving political and security realities on the ground there. There is no indication that the latest projected "timetables" will be any different.

Nor does President George W. Bush's widely reported comment at his news conference Wednesday that "we are winning" in Iraq conform in any way to the widely reported realities on the ground there.

The grim truth is -- as we have repeatedly noted in these columns since the metastasizing of the sectarian conflict in late February this year, the Iraqi government produced by the ambitious and convoluted political process imposed by Bush administration policymakers on Iraq is not an independent or viable national government in any significant sense of the word.

Maliki has proven himself an able politician and national leader insofar as he is able to be one, but he is trying to build a house on a foundation of thin air. His government only has credibility and can guarantee security insofar as it cooperates with the Shiite militias in Iraq that are willing to cooperate with it.

Instead, current U.S. policy demands that the Maliki government and its still very unreliable security forces try to roll back the militias, Sunni and Shiite alike. U.S. policy has been aggressively focusing on trying to destroy the power of anti-American charismatic Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army in their main Baghdad stronghold, the working class, predominantly Shiite, district of Sadr City. So far, that policy has utterly failed.

There still seems to be little understanding within the Pentagon and none whatsoever in the White House or among Republican congressmen as to why that policy has failed. On Tuesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., the chairman of the Armed Services Committee of the House of Representatives, sent a letter signed by him and 32 other Republican members of the House to President Bush urging him get at least 20 more battalions of the new Iraqi army deployed as quickly as possible to strengthen the drive against the militias in Baghdad.

Hunter's call is reminiscent of the calls on President Harry S. Truman during the darkest days of the Korean War in late 1950 to "unleash" the military forces of Chiang Kai-shek from Taiwan, then widely known as Formosa, against the newly installed Mainland Chinese Communist government of Mao Zedong.

There was no recognition among those armchair strategists of 56 years ago that, as Truman and his top Pentagon generals well knew, Chiang's armies, supposedly millions strong, had melted away like snow in the Sahara as Mao's communists swept across China in 1948. Chiang did not have a tiger to unleash on the mainland. His military forces at the time were more like a drowned whale.

Similarly, the new Iraqi armed forces have proven repeatedly unable or unwilling or both to seriously engage militia forces, especially Shiite ones in Baghdad. And when operating by themselves, they have proven far less effective than the small, over-stretched, U.S. military forces in protecting Iraqi civilians from terror attacks by Sunni insurgents.

The underlying reason for the continued weakness and lack of credibility of the new Iraqi forces is very clear: Maliki's government is unable to function credibly by itself and its much touted armed forces, raised far too fast and with far too rapid training and individual security checks, fail to command the depth of loyalty the militias have. For the militias are rooted in their local communities and have proven far more credible at providing basic security and order in the enclaves they control than the central government has.

The U.S. policy of forcing the new Iraqi army to try and shut down the Shiite militias, especially the Mahdi Army, has therefore been comparable attacking a man in strong steel army, with a brittle, rusty old iron sword. The sword will shatter against the armor. And the Iraqi army is shattering against the militias that enjoy far stronger local support than it does.

Maliki this week showed in his rejection and defiance of U.S. pressure that he recognizes this reality. But Bush administration policymakers do not. Until they do, conditions in Baghdad will only get far worse.

Source: United Press International

Related Links
Iraq: The first techonology war of the 21st century

A One Year Plan For The US To Get Out Of Iraq
Washington (UPI) Oct 24, 2006
The top two U.S. officials in Iraq predicted Tuesday that within a year, Iraq would be well on its way to political stability and economic health. Within 18 months, it should be able to provide for its own security, paving the way for the withdrawal of a large number of U.S. troops.

  • Cold War Policies Could Return
  • China And US Closing Ranks Over North Korea Issue
  • US Military Would Have To Rely On Brute Force In A Second War
  • Chirac Says Partnership With China At The Heart Of Foreign Affairs

  • Activities Underway At North Korea Nuclear Test Site
  • South Korea Fears Armed Clash If Ships Stopped Near North Korea
  • US Ready To Meet NKorea -- If It Returns To Six-Way Talks
  • Defiant Iran Scents World Split On Nuclear Issue

  • South Korea Successfully Tests Longer-Range Cruise Missile
  • Unique Surface-To-Air Missile Baffles Foreign Military Diplomats In Egypt
  • Breakthrough Could Lead To New Warhead Technologies
  • Command Destruct/Self Destruct Capability Tested In Surface-Launched AMRAAM

  • Lockheed Martin Delivers Key Payload Hardware For Second Missile Warning Satellite
  • USAF Seeks SBIRS Alternatives
  • SBIRS Payload Acoustic Tested
  • Russian Options For Ballistic Missile Defense - Part Two

  • China Marks 50th Anniversary Of Aerospace Industry
  • German-Chinese Aviation Opens New Horizons For Cooperation
  • GAO Report On Progress Of Implementing Aerospace Recommendations
  • US Air-Transportation System Must Become More Agile

  • Unmanned Aircraft Key To Future Operations
  • QinetiQ's Unmanned Fast Inshore Attack Craft Into Service With The Royal Navy
  • Northrop Grumman Enters Broad Area Maritime Surveillance Competition
  • Video Imagery Delivered To Military Forces In Urban Combat

  • Why US Lost The Baghdad Battle
  • A One Year Plan For The US To Get Out Of Iraq
  • Insurgents Target The Will Of The US
  • Iraq War Will Soon Outlast US Involvement In World War Two

  • Breakthrough Could Lead To New Warhead Technologies
  • General Dynamics And Rafael Unleash Thor In US For Standoff Ordnance Neutralization
  • Page One Science Releases The NO-PLODE IED Countermeasure
  • Northrop Grumman and University of Central Florida Partner for Military Physiological Study

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement