1/23/2005

Losing the War?

Knight-Ridder has done its own investigation of the US military operation in Iraq. Its conclusions:
The United States is steadily losing ground to the Iraqi insurgency, according to every key military yardstick. Its analysis of U.S. government statistics shows that through all the major turning points that raised hopes of peace in Iraq, including the arrest of Saddam Hussein and the handover of sovereignty at the end of June, the insurgency, led mainly by Sunni Muslims, has become deadlier and more effective. The analysis suggests that unless something dramatic changes - such as a newfound will by Iraqis to reject the insurgency or a large escalation of U.S. troop strength - the United States won't win the war. It's axiomatic among military thinkers that insurgencies are especially hard to defeat because the insurgents' goal isn't to win in a conventional sense but merely to survive until the will of the occupying power is sapped. Recent polls already suggest an erosion of support among Americans for the war.
The unfavorable trends of the war are clear, including sharp increases in US military fatalities/casualties, attacks on the coalition forces, mass-casualty bombings, and sabotage of electricity and oil production. Most worrisome, the insurgency is getting larger. Gen. Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, the director of the Iraqi intelligence service, said there are 200,000 insurgents, including at least 40,000 hard-core fighters. The rest, he said, are part-time fighters and supporters who provide food, shelter, funds and intelligence.

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