Costly Mistakes in Iraq

Interesting posts by Stirling Newberry analyzing the campaign in Iraq in military terms.

We have an enemy

Up until now the highest level of discipline that the Iraqi resistence showed was the ability to execute an ambush. Control was localized, and there was little evidence of operational planning, unit discipline, or logistical control.

That has changed in the last week, with two separate operations by two separate groups. This raises the threshold of danger in Iraq, from disgruntled elements, to organizations which have the ability to see, and exploit, weaknesses.

We have an enemy in Iraq now. And we are violating the tactical doctrine that defeats guerilla movements.


The Vigilant Resolve offensive was meant to reassert control over a series of cities – Fallujah, Nasiriya, Basra, the Sadr district of Baghdad being the most important. At each step of the way, the insurgent forces – though out gunned and out fought – showed a higher level of operational and situational awareness than their US counterparts. Thus, while the Coalition Troops were, in almost every encounter, superior to their antagonists, the result was a series of stings to the occupation forces.

The signs are that there are now armies on the ground in Iraq, opposing Coalition forces, capable of operational level discipline. This drastically increases the complexity and difficulty of crushing the resistance. And yet, the US and UK have made defeating them a matter of confidence. The future of Bush and Blair is now on the line, failure to crush Sadr and the uprising will be failure in the eyes of the public.

The failures of the Coalition offensive…

… have been costly.

Both good reading…