Thursday, August 03, 2006

To Wage War or Not To Wage War

Over at GScobe today my intrepid fellow blogger ponders whether, or at least how, the West should fight an insurgency.

Reading this piece on Hezbollah's growing appeal and turning over the oft-repeated dictum that insurgencies win by merely existing, I wonder whether the West should reconsider engaging in this type of warfare. Is it essential for the West, or for the U.S., to "master counter-insurgency" as so many wags put it? Does our survival depend on it? Can we even do it?

To me the question is not should we fight, but how can we not fight. After all the Iraqi terrorists/insurgents attacked us after the fall of Saddam. At that point we had two possible responses, pack up and leave or fight back. We had no choice. Israel has even less of a choice since Hezbollah and Hamas are dedicated to its total destruction.

The trickier "how to fight an insurgency" question not difficult to answer, but very hard to implement given the current state of the world.

The direct method of beating, say the Iraqi insurgents, is to eliminate their support. Iran and Syria, in this case. We threaten these two nations on a regular basis, but each knows we are unlikely to back up our chest thumping with bombs and therein lies the problem. As long as we are willing to let arms, people and money flow into Iraq from its neighbors we will not win.

Israel faces the same problem and has also refrained from turning the terrorist's supply spigot off.

I can only imagine that neither the U.S. nor Israeli governments has kept the conflicts localized because each does not to deal with the international condemnation that would follow any such attack nor put a damper on the world's economy, another surefire result of any fighting to involve oil soaked Iran.

I'm amazed that the world would rather see several low-level conflicts continue indefinitely then to take direct action to end them once and for all.


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