A seemingly farcical and losing battle by American-backed Iraqi forces raises some serious questions about the future of the fledgling Middle East democracy (which today we find has the 2nd largest oil reserves on Earth).
1) Has President Obama's announcement that the, "American combat mission in Iraq has ended. Operation Iraqi Freedom is over," scared the heck of out Iraqi citizens and emboldened Islamist enemies of democracy? After all, "...nearly 60 percent [of Iraqis] feel it is the wrong time for U.S. soldiers to leave..." 2) Has living under the dictatorship of Saddam created a sense of sheepishness in Iraqis -- a lack of venturousness, innovation, initiative...? 3) Is the average Iraqi military recruit sheepish? 4) Why are some of Iraq's Sunnis and Shi'ites very un-sheepish about killing each other? 5) Do American military strategists really understand the complexities of "Urban Low-Intensity Conflict (Urban-LIC) warfare?" Unfortunately, it's most likely all of the above. Consider the details of the recent failed military venture:
... Lt. Col. Bob Molinari of the 25th Infantry Division based in Hawaii says the fight in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala, now being called the Battle of the Palm Grove, involved hundreds of Iraqi soldiers, U.S. ground troops and American fighter planes dropping two 500-pound bombs -- all to combat just a handful of insurgents. And in the end, the enemy got away. ...
Molinari says Iraqi commanders from a total of seven different units showed up at the scene. Even the minister of defense was there. Molinari says too many commanders meant no coherent plan of action.
Iraqi soldiers were sent into the grove, in single file, each headed by an officer, Molinari says. The insurgent snipers would simply take aim at the officer who was leading each column.
"It was a matter of, as soon as the officers went down, the [Iraqi soldiers] went to ground. They didn't know what to do next," Molinari says.
The Iraqi soldiers fled from the palm grove and requested American firepower, Molinari says. So the Americans employed bombs, mortars, grenades and special forces. But the enemy only hid in drainage ditches, waited, then came out again, shooting. ...
The only constant in this reality is change. In general answer to the questions I've posed: Best we keep on our toes and concentrate on adaptiveness. In the specific, we need to: 1) Maintain a significant military presence in Iraq much longer than another year; 2) encourage our warfare strategists to get out of a Cold War/massive battles mindset and into a Urban Low-Intensity Conflict (Urban-LIC) mindset; and finally, 3) elect a president and congress willing to do what needs to be done -- un-sheepishly.
"Iraq Raises Oil Reserves Estimates 25 Percent," http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2010/10/04/130323309/iraq-says-it-has-more-oil-than-thought-143-billion-barrels
Cross-posted at netwmd.com and Newsvine