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View Full Version : Must a nation be crushed to win?



Rising Sun*
05-04-2007, 05:14 AM
Iraq now is everything that Japan and Germany were feared to be after they surrendered in WWII, and everything they weren't.

One difference is that the Coalition creamed Iraq militarily in a very short time, but the Iraqi people weren't subjected to the sort of sustained and destructive battering that Germany and Japan experienced with their troops being steadily killed and injured and driven back over several years, and their nations bombed with great destructive effect.

Another difference is that Iraq was the victim of aggression, rather than the initiator of it, which undoubtedly affects the inclination of a people to resist the aggressor after an invasion or attack. As the French Resistance did in WWII, and the Americans would have done if Japan had landed in the US in WWII.

Does a nation in a modern war have to be battered into submission by attrition on both the military and civilian fronts to avoid the sort of post-victory insurrection that is being experienced in Iraq, whether or not the nation started the war, so that nobody in the militarily defeated nation wants to keep fighting?

If it was most wars up to the end of WWI, the military forces fought exclusively or largely on the battlefield and decided the war there. Now we have two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, which were stunning and complete military victories by the aggressor, with every sign that in the long term the victor can't convert the victories into domination of the vanquished nation or a solid treaty or peace.

Is a short 'surgical' war doomed to fail because, even if it is a military victory, the people in the defeated nation haven't suffered enough to accept that they've been beaten and don't want to fight any more?

Is the whole problem with a 'surgical' war that just defeats a nation's military that it leaves elements of the civilian population resentful and full of fight?

Amrit
05-04-2007, 07:07 AM
the Iraqi people weren't subjected to the sort of sustained and destructive battering that Germany and Japan

I would dispute that, to a degree. True, not to the the same sustained manner of WW2, but certainly high relative to overall casualties during the Iraq invasion.

http://www.iraqbodycount.org/database/bodycount_date_down161.php?ts=1178280378

Rising Sun*
05-05-2007, 07:34 AM
I would dispute that, to a degree. True, not to the the same sustained manner of WW2, but certainly high relative to overall casualties during the Iraq invasion.

http://www.iraqbodycount.org/database/bodycount_date_down161.php?ts=1178280378

The sustained aspect was more what I was looking at.

It cuts both ways.

The Americans aren't so keen on staying in Iraq after several years of getting nowhere, which is in marked contrast to their jubiliation when they defeated Saddam.

What I was getting at was more to do with: Do people have to be ground down over time to accept that it's time to give up?

In simplistic terms at the personal level, nobody gives up in an important fight with another bloke just because they cop a few smacks in the chops, but they usually alter their attitude when they're on the ground copping a kicking they can't stop.

32Bravo
05-05-2007, 08:29 AM
Problem with Iraq, as with Vietnam, is - who is copping the kicking?

Rising Sun*
05-05-2007, 08:40 AM
Problem with Iraq, as with Vietnam, is - who is copping the kicking?

Nice point.

I hadn't thought of it that way.

32Bravo
05-05-2007, 09:16 AM
Getting back to your original point, I would argue that crushing a nation, people or country is counter-productive. We saw this at the end of WW1.

THe destruction of Germany in WW2 was partly brought about by Roosevelts demand for unconditional surrender. Of course, there was also the fact that the Nazis had committed such crimes as to make it pointless surrendering. So, as they had nothing to lose by fighting on, that became their better option.

The rebuilding of Germany -at least in the West - after the war, was a lesson learned form the end of WW1, and probably one which was intended to be enacted in Iraq. However, their was little (if any?) resistance by Gemans after the end of WW2 to upset any plans for rebuild.

The factions fighting in Iraq come from various sources before we even get into the Sunnie- Shia dispute. These various factions each have their own reasons for fighting, which makes the situation all the more complex.

If the people have a cause to fight for, in which they believe and are committed to, then those powers opposing them had better be in for the long-haul. Perhaps, bombing them into destruction is a sign that they don't care much for the long-haul, and want to go home because the people aren't playing by their rules.

Our friend Mr Bush has often spoken of being their for the long-haul, but the tactics being applied do not demonstrate this - unless, of course, it is his wish to make the long-haul somewhat longer?

The people of Bazra are now turning to local political/para-military factions for security and sustenance as they perceive that the British have failed on their promises to provide vital security and services.

Rising Sun*
05-05-2007, 10:04 AM
Our friend Mr Bush has often spoken of being their for the long-haul, but the tactics being applied do not demonstrate this - unless, of course, it is his wish to make the long-haul somewhat longer?

The people of Bazra are now turning to local political/para-military factions for security and sustenance as they perceive that the British have failed on their promises to provide vital security and services.

Does this, and the wider Iraq problem, get back to an earlier point (I think) you made elsewhere about failing to identify the aim?

32Bravo
05-05-2007, 12:35 PM
Does this, and the wider Iraq problem, get back to an earlier point (I think) you made elsewhere about failing to identify the aim?


Yes, I think it does. I suppose all of the factors are inter-related. No clear aim and no exit-strategy.

In my opinion, the coalition thought that they were going to move in and take over. Make lots of dosh from the rebuild. However, they hadn't allowed for a protracted guerilla war. It was always a risky business. By removing the regime they create a power vacuum.They believed they could set in place a democratic government that was sympathetic to the West. After all, they had liberated the people from a despot - had they not?
Reality, is proving somewhat more difficult.

Firefly
05-05-2007, 03:09 PM
Well Iraq has what Germany didnt. For one, Germany was totally defeated and there was no support from outside Germany, say if Germany had only been defeated by the Soviets and covertly aided by the French? No outside support means no sustainability. Iraq insurgents get support through a porous border.

Vietnam was the same, porous border led to a persistent strategy by the NVA/VC. To stop persistancy you have to cut the support coming in, as was done in Malaya.

32Bravo
05-05-2007, 05:26 PM
True.

It all makes sense to us. Sadly, it doesn't to the people running the show. The assistance the insurgents in Iraq receive from Syria and Iran was predictable - another example of non-rocket science.

In order to winover the people they must first of all protect them, and then, secondly, improve their quality of life. This would be costly in both manpower and financial resource, which the coalition are either unable or unwilling to commit.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2954096.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6575717.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6627557.stm

Rising Sun*
05-05-2007, 08:56 PM
Well Iraq has what Germany didnt. For one, Germany was totally defeated and there was no support from outside Germany, say if Germany had only been defeated by the Soviets and covertly aided by the French? No outside support means no sustainability. Iraq insurgents get support through a porous border.

Vietnam was the same, porous border led to a persistent strategy by the NVA/VC. To stop persistancy you have to cut the support coming in, as was done in Malaya.

A solid point, which I'm afraid I overlooked.

Now that you've pointed me in that direction, another factor that's different with Iraq is that there wasn't any moral support from any other nation for Germany and Japan after they were defeated. Iraq has plenty, across the Islamic and Arab worlds. It gives heart to people to keep on fighting.

Firefly
05-06-2007, 05:37 PM
Yes a really good point. To the majority of Muslims, the West is the aggressor here, especially in the fringe countries or Iran, Syria and Saudi.

Now if it had been total war against the whole Muslim region it may have been a different story. But then that would have taken more resources than the West could ever hope to spare.