[Paleopsych] The fatal strategic errors of the Iraq war

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Fri Oct 8 04:19:12 UTC 2004

First and foremost, the errors of intelligence.

In terms of the justification for war, bad information
about the actual existence of WMD's.  Today they
are claiming that they made their decision on
the best information available at the time.  Not.
The best information available just before the
war was the results of the ongoing inspections,
which were turning up nothing of importance.

We all know about the mistake about our likely 
welcome: not flowers but bullets and bombs.  
Our piddling force (150,000 compared to 500,000 
in Nam) is surrounded by a population that may 
smile at them in the day and shoot at them 
in the night, and which will certainly cooperate
with the opposition with very little coercion.

There is the error of logistics: Our supply lines,
as in Viet Nam, are about 8,000 miles long.
It is very costly to transport men and material
over that distance.  It consumes vast quantities
of the petroleum which is now rapidly increasing
in price.

Choice of climate:  in the hot season, 120 in
the shade, and 20+ degrees hotter inside our
uniforms.  Sandstorms that raise havoc with
all equipment.  You can't fight a war by sitting
in the shade, and you may die from the heat
if you go out to fight.

Alliances:  No significant help from the other
major powers in the world.  Likelihood of
covert assistance by some of them to "the 
enemy."  Such alliances as we have are being 
successfully undermined by calculated acts of terror.

There is, most important of all, the error in
the size of the force, which is too small and
which cannot be replenished or relieved
without resorting to conscription, and all the
political hubbub that will result from that.

Can anything be done to "win" in Iraq?
Probably not.  That is the problem with making 
strategic mistakes: all you can do is to bring
in fresh leadership to unwind the situation as 
fast as you can.

Steve Hovland

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