Friday, May 25, 2007

Strategic overview

A classic is something that is still worth reading. Here is one, Steven den Beste's strategic overview of the war in Iraq. A "high level strategic view of the cause of the war, the reason that the United States became involved in it, the fundamental goals the US has to achieve to win it, and the strategies the US is following, as well as an evaluation of the situation as of July, 2003." TigerHawk has an annotated version, about which den Beste said "Nicely done. I am not omniscient, and as you mentioned we've learned a great deal in the last two years. I don't agree with everything you added but I think you are substantially correct overall."

Den Beste's closing section, still just as relevant as anything:

IX. We can still lose this war.
  1. If nation building in Iraq fails, we won't succeed in demonstrating that reform can work for Arabs and make them happier and more successful. We will fail to show them that reform is a better choice for them than jihad.

  2. If we permit low level resistance in Iraq to drive us out, the Arab street will once again conclude that we are ultimately cowardly, and will again feel contempt for us. And no nation or group in the region will ever again take the risk of helping us in any future operation there.

  3. If other nations in the region don't implement reforms, their people will continue to be angry and will continue to support terrorism and extremism.

  4. If the other nations in the region don't cut off support for terrorist groups, those groups will continue to have the wherewithal to operate, and may eventually target us.

  5. If we do not bring about general reform before one or another nation in the region successfully develops nuclear weapons, the political situation will become vastly more complicated and we will be in extreme peril. It will become extremely difficult for us to continue to foster reform in the region, and there will be an unacceptably high likelihood that one of our cities will eventually be nuked.

  6. It is therefore critical that we continue to be engaged in the region and continue to work for reform there, doing whatever we must to prevent development of nukes by hostile nations in the region and continuing to work to weaken existing terrorist organizations. We are winning the war but we have not won it. It will take decades to win, just as the Cold War took decades to win. The greatest danger facing us now is that we'll lose heart and give up before we finish the job.
Sounds like just where we are now. Are we about to "lose heart and give up?"

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