NATO guarantees

How to ensure that Iraq remains a democracy and moves further along the liberal democracy path without terrorists trying to halt progress

NATO guarantees

Postby kerravon » 2011-02-12 09:46

A lot of people thought the Iraq war was unwinnable. That was always a fundamental misunderstanding of military science. These terrorist attacks are no different from car crashes or The Plague. They reduce the population a bit, but have zero (0) military effect. Military people don't learn how to kill random civilians the best. They learn about logistics etc because that's actually useful to winning wars.

I read some amusing comments from Americans during the insurgency. One was from an American soldier who had been hit by a roadside bomb and his gut reaction was a desire to just round up some nearby civilians and kill them. But he pointed out that actually random civilians were already being killed by the insurgents, and it seems pretty strange to be going after the exact same targets as the enemy is already going after!!!

Another American pointed out that in traditional military terms the reaction of the Iraqis was completely insane. Their response to foreign invasion was to kill their own countrymen to see if that would help drive out the foreigners. Straight out of Monty Python's "The Life of Brian" in fact, where the Jews kill each other over who has the right to kill Romans.

Anyway, once the heavy equipment had been transferred to the new Iraqi army, the war was basically won - or at most simply required US air support. For legitimate reasons, the US provided more than just the bare minimum required to ensure that "their" side of what was basically a multi-pronged civil war won.

A lot of people said that democracy would never work in the Middle East, that the culture "needs a strongman". I never actually understood how that could possibly be true, because the people were free to simply elect a strongman, and be no worse off. Unfortunately I didn't have any working examples until Iraq.

The possible threats to Iraq would be:

1. External invasion from Iran etc - this can easily be protected against by NATO (or just US) security guarantees which can all be delivered from the air. The only thing that allowed North Vietnamese tanks to defeat the South was the US withdrawing its air cover, and no other member of the free world being prepared to pick up the slack. It required aircraft to take out North Vietnamese tank columns once every 3 years or whatever. Probably 1-2 days of action every 3 years. That's it. For insane political reasons (read - John Kerry's support of a Soviet psyop), the US withdrew air cover. So pretty simple. A rock solid guarantee that the US will blast anything moving whenever requested. Which is why the Iranians wouldn't try it on in the first place.

2. Military coup - this one requires a bit more effort if it is to be done purely from the air (ie flying out of Kuwait, which will probably be happy to see US planes flying from its soil and bombing anyone at all in Iraq for the next 50 years). Ideally the Iraqi military would have individual components that can independently call in US air support to usher them to victory over any opponent. The US managed to do this successfully in the Philippines in 1989. They basically didn't need to fire a shot even. Once the US planes were in the air, the rebels had the required military knowledge to know that the game was up, bar the shouting, and folded. Which is why the military wouldn't even try it on in the first place.

3. Civilian attempt to usurp power - this one requires the military (and other security forces) to be loyal to the constitution rather than an individual politician, so that any attempt to do so would lead to the arrest and charging of the politician. Which is why the civilian wouldn't even try it on in the first place.

I have noticed politicians playing patty-cake on number 1, somewhat requiring Iraqis to buy their own warplanes instead of doing what Iceland and everyone else does (ie bludge off the Americans). Number 2 is the scariest - nobody has this concept, and the Philippines is a fairly lone example done in exceptional circumstances (ie the planes were already there). You could argue that this is something like the support of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan too - but only in military terms - it's the political side that is missing. They need to coup-proof the country. Number 3 I would hope is already in place, and indeed, I have heard some promising stories, e.g. a police chief being directed to eject a politician who had lost an election and was refusing to move being refused, and saying that he would arrest anyone who tried - and that if their case for removal is sound, they need to get a court order which he will then enforce. Anyway, those elements of civil society are fairly well understood and non-radical, so I would hope that all is well.

The good news in all of this is that the Iraqi politicians who are being elected are far from being terrorist supporters, and with the elections we have seen so far, we pretty much know what to expect into the future, and support for terrorism isn't remotely on the agenda. Instead, we appear to have a foothold for democracy in the Middle East, which has potentially inspired Tunisia and others to try to get the same sort of thing for themselves. This time next year we will have some secret ballot results and know what's going on in the world! :-)
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