A quick follow-up to yesterday’s post “Wrong playbook” about the differences between the fighting in Iraq and people’s perception of guerrilla warfare from Blackhawk Down.
The fighting in Iraq isn’t over. It isn’t even close to over. We might be through the worst of it, but I’m not so sure. The capture of Saddam will certainly demoralize many of his followers, but a lot of the folks fighting our troops aren’t fighting to return Saddam to power. They’ll carry on the struggle, maybe even more savagely than before, in an attempt to swing public opinion in the US and the rest of world back against the Allies.
I’ve read several places that even more foreign fighters, many of them trained and directed by al Qaeda, may be on their way to Iraq. I’ve also read that rumors indicate that they may be marshalling their strength for a March offensive, to coincide with the anniversary of our invasion.
Whether any of this is true or not remains to be seen. But what is certain is that, even though we have an astronomical advantage over our foes, we will continue to suffer losses. Or men are going keep getting injured and killed. This doesn’t mean that it’s Somalia (or Vietnam) all over again, though. Most of our current opponents are not very skilled, and I believe, that as the campaign wears on, they are going to become increasingly poorly equipped.
I’ve read that the irregulars in Mogadishu were down to their last couple of RPG rounds after they shot down the second Black Hawk in 1993, and as we continue to confiscate weapons and destroy arms caches, the irregulars in Iraq are going to start having to scrounge for weapons and ammunition, as well. There’s a long way to go, of course, since Iraq is virtually afloat in Russian-made weapons. And new arms will continue to make their way into Iraq. But every AK-47 and RPG we blow up is one less that the bad guys can take potshots with.
We are winning. Maybe not as fast as hoped or predicted, but we are winning nevertheless. Our foes, with a few notable exceptions, don’t seem to coordinate their efforts very well or display any particular skill.
A reader just commented on yesterday’s post:
A typical ambush results in dead, wounded and captured ambushers, with few to no losses for the “victims.” They’re like a basketball team whose fast breaks somehow result in three-pointers for the other team.
Tactics without execution is suicide.
The basketball analogy is very apt. They are throwing men away in a futile and seemingly-desperate attempt to turn American opinion against the President and the occupation. That may have worked in 1983 and 1993. It isn’t working in 2003.