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Has the War changed? « Previous | |Next »
March 31, 2003

The American military command is saying that they are on plan, have had great success, that there are only pockets of resistance and they have control over large tracts of Iraq. By all accounts the dash to Baghdad for coffee has stopped 80 kilometres short of the gates of the city, where it waits for supplies and reinforcements. The battle for Basra is a stalemate. And is the northern front all show and no go? Its time for re-assessment. There is less swagger and arrogance by the militarized Enlightenment machine.

There has been a shift in the way the war is being fought, and governments are worried.

What has changed is an awareness of Iraq's capacity to counter of the American strategy for conventional engagements in which the US forces Iraq into fixed-position warfare where American technological superiority and air power can then destroy Iraq's best fighting force. They are now aware of Iraq's strategy to fight a partisan war; a guerrilla warfare across Iraq that is motivated by Iraqi nationalism resisting a foreign invader. Consequently, the strategy of street-to-street fighting that the American strategists had sought to avoid now looks more likely.

A guerrilla war undermines the key strategic goal of American Military Command: the acceptance by Iraq's people of an invasion intended to change their government. The Iraqis people were characterized by the militarized Enlightenment as being so brutally repressed by Saddam Hussein's regime that they would quickly rise up to overthrow the dictator when the Americans arrived. A guerrilla war indicates that, rather the Coalition soldiers being welcomed as liberators, they are often confronted with resistance and the possibility of street-by-street fighting in the rubble of Baghdad and other cities.

The military strategy of the Bush administration response is to escalate and keep escalating to destroy the Iraqi regime. That wil reinforce the dominant Arab view that it is war on Islam; may result in a Muslim jihad against the US and Australia, and undermine the long-term goal of stability in the Middle East and in Indonesia. Australia may well need to deal with regional instability and threats alone --there is no guarantee of US support.

Many ex-military types only see the military campaign in Iraq and continue to thunder away. The pro-war media continue to concentrate on the narrow goal of destroying a dictatorship for good: finishing the job and destroying Saddam Hussein's apparatus of terror forever. They are oblivious to, or simply ignore the political fallout. For Australia the political fallout comes from the shift from the internationalist position of supporting the UN and independence from the United States to a foreign policy selfish national interest defined in terms of falling into the template of knee-jerk support for the United States. Within the Asia Pacific region Australi's creditibility is on the line.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:34 AM | | Comments (0)
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