August 11, 2006

Michael Yon's Sobering View of Iraq

MIchael Yon is a fine blogger who has embedded with troops in Iraq and shown us aspects of our troops' heroism and effectiveness.

When he says, as he does here, that we are in danger of losing the war, I take it seriously. When Ian Masters harps on the war being lost, I was skeptical. When Michael Yon says we are in danger of losing, it's worthy of notice.

Iraq was an artificial creation of Winston Churchill and Gertrude Bell, joining the Ottoman provinces of Mosul, Basra and Baghdad in a single artificial nation-state. One reason for Saddam's brutality, aside from his character, was that Iraq wasn't really a nation, and in fact was less a nation than Yugoslavia, and he thought only extreme brutality could keep it together.

What's the answer? More troops and sticking it out? I doubt our democracy can sustain that burden. Partition? It would still threaten a bloody civil war, with a real danger of Turkish intervention in Kurdistan. The Turks always coveted Mosul, and fear Kurdish independence because of their own Kurdish minoirty problem.

The greatest danger is that on a command from Iran, or spontaneously, the Shi'a would block our resupply from the south and attempt to envelop our troops. We could extricate them, perhaps through Jordan, but it would be our Dienbienphu.

I thought, on balance, the war was worth the gamble. It might still be, but it's been mismanaged from the moment Baghdad fell. We need statesmen. We have pygmies.

UPDATE: Added Dienbienphu link and reference to reason for Saddam's brutality.

No comments: