Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"there are finite numbers of skilled combatants"

Victor Davis Hanson:

"between 2003-7 American forces took an enormous toll on jihadists. We have heard mostly how many Americans have been lost, rarely how many of the enemy they have killed or wounded—but the aggregate number is in the tens of thousands. Even in postmodern wars, there are finite numbers of skilled combatants—and many of them simply did not survive their encounter with American troops."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Give Credit When Credit Is Due

Many have downplayed the role of US troops regarding the Anbar Awakening. I wonder how they explain this?

"This drawing by an Iraqi child depicts the American-Iraqi alliance against Al Qaeda. Notice the sword is Iraqi and the muscle is American."

Complacency Kills

It's great that security is much better now in Iraq, but remember...

"Most of the victims are fellow Muslims"

War Updates at the Strategy Page:

Worldwide, violence continues to decline, as it has for the last few years. Violence has also greatly diminished, or disappeared completely, in places like Iraq,
Nepal, Chechnya, Congo, Indonesia and Burundi. Even Afghanistan, touted as the new war zone, is seeing less violence this year than last.

And as for Islamic terrorism, the real losers are Muslim civilians:
The War on Terror has morphed into the War Against Islamic Radicalism. This religious radicalism has always been around, for Islam was born as an aggressive movement, that used violence and terror to expand. Past periods of conquest are regarded fondly by Moslems. The current enthusiasm for violence in the name of God has been building for over half a century. Historically, periods of Islamic radicalism have flared up periodically in response to corrupt governments, as a vain attempt to impose a religious solution on some social or political problem. The current violence is international because of the availability of planet wide mass media (which needs a constant supply of headlines), and the fact that the Islamic world is awash in tyranny and economic backwardness. Islamic radicalism itself is incapable of mustering much military power, and the movement largely relies on terrorism to gain attention. Most of the victims are fellow Moslems, which is why the radicals eventually become so unpopular among their own people that they run out of new recruits and fade away. This is what is happening now. The American invasion of Iraq was a clever exploitation of this, forcing the Islamic radicals to fight in Iraq, where they killed many Moslems, especially women and children, thus causing the Islamic radicals to lose their popularity among Moslems.

Meanwhile, many more are dying from non-terrorist related conflicts:
While Islamic terrorism grabs most of the headlines, it is not the cause of many casualties, at least not compared to more traditional wars. The vast majority of the military related violence and deaths in the world comes from many little wars that get little media attention outside their region. Actually some of them are not so little. While causalities from terrorism are relatively few (usually 5,000-10,000 dead a year worldwide), the dead and wounded from all the other wars actually comprise about 95 percent of all the casualties.

Much more at the link above.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Al Qaeda in Iraq has been subjected to a battlefield defeat at our hands"

Christopher Hitchens:

If it is true, as yesterday's three-decker front-page headline in the New York Times had it, that "U.S. Considering Stepping Up Pace of Iraq Pullout/ Fall in Violence Cited/ More Troops Could Be Freed for Operations in Afghanistan," then this can only be because al-Qaida in Iraq has been subjected to a battlefield defeat at our hands—a military defeat accompanied by a political humiliation in which its fanatics have been angrily repudiated by the very people they falsely claimed to be fighting for. If we had left Iraq according to the timetable of the anti-war movement, the situation would be the precise reverse: The Iraqi people would now be excruciatingly tyrannized by the gloating sadists of al-Qaida, who could further boast of having inflicted a battlefield defeat on the United States. I dare say the word of that would have spread to Afghanistan fast enough and, indeed, to other places where the enemy operates. Bear this in mind next time you hear any easy talk about "the hunt for the real enemy" or any loose babble that suggests that we can only confront our foes in one place at a time.

This is not the least of what he says. Note his three points with regard to those who argue Iraq as a "war of choice," versus Afghanistan as a "war of necessity."