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Who Won Iraq's "Decisive" Battle? - Adventures in Engineering — LiveJournal
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-04-08 11:37
  Subject:   Who Won Iraq's "Decisive" Battle?
  Music:Rage Against The Machine - Vietnow
  Tags:  iraq, politics, reddit

What happened in Iraq this week was a beautiful lesson in the weird laws of guerrilla warfare. Unfortunately, it was the Americans who got schooled. Even now, people at my office are saying, "We won, right? Sadr told his men to give up, right?" Wrong. Sadr won big. Iran won even bigger. Maliki, Petraeus and Cheney lost.

If you want to know how NOT to think about Iraq, just start with anything ever said or imagined by Cheney or Bush. Our Commander in Chief declared a week ago, when the Iraqi Army first marched into Basra, "I would say this is a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq." But when the Iraqi Army fled a few days later, he suddenly got very quiet. But anybody could see how deluded the poor fucker is just by all the nonsense he managed to cram into that 15-word sentence. I mean, "the history of a free Iraq"? That’s like that Mad Magazine joke about the "World’s Shortest Books." But that’s nothing compared to Bush’s fundamentally wrong notion that there’s even such a thing as a "defining moment" in an urban guerrilla war. Guerrilla wars are slow, crock-pot wars. To win this kind of war, the long war, takes patience. Trying to force a "defining moment" by military action is not just ignorant and idiotic, but risks further demoralizing your side when that moment doesn’t happen, as it inevitably won’t. What happens when you launch premature strikes on a neighborhood-based group like the Mahdi Army is that you just end up convincing their neighborhoods that the occupiers are the enemy, and the Mahdi boys — all local kids you’ve known all your life — are heroes, defending your glorious slum from the foreigners and their lackeys.

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  User: osmium_ocelot
  Date: 2008-04-08 22:14 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
As soon as I heard about this I thought "Tet Offensive". This occured to me not because of any military parallel, but because of what it would likely do for the morale on both sides of the conflict. In the coming weeks/months we'll see if I'm right.
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  User: (Anonymous)
  Date: 2008-04-11 06:25 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
TET was one of the strangest things in history. It was a complete disaster for the Viet Cong, they were completely wiped out as part of the offensive, but they won the media battle and proved that it was the perception rather then reality that mattered.

Given that this was a attack by the Iraqi government against a splinter Shia group, that the government has broad support from Shia, Sunni and Kurds, and that the media is doing everything in their power not to cover Iraq right now (and avoid the black eye that would occur if people examined media prognostications from last year), I don't think a tet offensive is possible here.

I think you will see a last ditch tet style offense from Al Qaeda in Iraq at some point - but Sadr's group is loosing power too quickly, and there are other hills to die on for his followers - I don't think a tet is in the cards there.
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  User: (Anonymous)
  Date: 2008-04-16 16:44 (UTC)
  Subject:   Survey Sez

From the French AFP (one of the biggest critics of the war generally)

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  User: ohmisunao
  Date: 2008-04-09 21:54 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Speaking of Cheney.. What are you looking at Mr. Vice President?
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May 2015