Big Red Car here. Another nice day in the ATX. Enjoy it and move here. Now.
OK, sorry, getting a big obnoxious with all the “move here” stuff but still, the Big Red Car loves you and you will be so happy here in the ATX.
Let’s get serious and discuss why the United States should intervene in Iraq with boots on the ground.
Decisive engagement defined
The classic definition of a “decisive engagement” is a battle in which the combatants are fully committed and cannot maneuver or otherwise extricate themselves and therefore must fight to a conclusion and either win or lose with the forces at hand often resulting in the destruction of substantial forces and creating an inflection point in a war.
In layman’s terms it is also defined as a battle in which one side can force the other side to commit all or substantially all of its forces to fight with the outcome being the annihilation of the enemy forces.
General Colin Powell when asked what the American strategy would be before the beginning of the first Gulf War when the Iraqis had invaded Kuwait replied to the effect: “First we’re going to cut them off and then we’re going to kill them.”
This utterance indicated that American forces intended to engage the Iraqi army in a decisive engagement and ultimately did just that at several different locations most notably in the 101st Airborne’s 700-mile airmobile insertion on to the Iraqi MSR (main supply route) and the tank battle at the Kuwait airport. Both battles were decisive engagements in that the American forces joined battle with the Iraqis with no intention of allowing the Iraqis to disengage or otherwise maneuver out of the trap. The outcomes speak for themselves.
Other examples would be the Battle of the Bulge in which the German forces initially attempted to destroy the American armies before them and were in turn substantially destroyed themselves by brilliant American resistance centered on Bastogne; or, Washington’s defeat of Cornwallis at Saratoga where the French driving off of the British fleet prevented Cornwallis from withdrawing and left him hopelessly trapped on a peninsula as Washington moved in for the kill with combat engineers and artillery choking the life out of the Brits.
If you have a military education, you understand the significance of this type of thinking but also the opportunity it presents — to destroy your enemy.
The War on Terror (oops, can I still use that term?) is an asymmetric war in that it does not involve the engagement of large armies from sovereign nations. There are no sovereign nations engaged and the armies are loosely formed groups of fighters often with no ability to field large numbers because they don’t have the leadership and training to operate above the platoon level. Even that may be charitable.
This not a new concept and has been evolving for years with the groups of combatants becoming smaller and smaller; and, employing tactics that are difficult for organized armies to counter. Hence the growth of special operations which can take battlefield intelligence convert it into actionable intelligence and conduct a series of raids to capture or kill HVTs (high value targets) thereby seeking to decapitate the leadership of the opposition, always a good idea. The headless chicken always being less effective than the headed chicken.
Various militias and rebels the US Army has fought against are radically asymmetrical and the American spec ops community has returned the favor operating in a similar manner and conducting unending raids to combat these tactics.
Now you know what it would take a VMI degree, Command & Staff College and the Army War College to teach you.
The ISIS opportunity in Iraq
The opportunity in Iraq is to undertake a decisive engagement–the ability to defeat and annihilate ISIS–en route to Baghdad.
ISIS is the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant which is an Al Qaeda affiliate which has announced its intentions to create a Caliphate or Islamic state in Iraq complete with a head of state or “Caliph” (Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi).
On the road to Baghdad there are somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 ISIS fighters who are attempting to drive the Iraqi army before them and to capture Baghdad from the Maliki government. They are understandably encouraged by their capture of Mosul, a city of two million people which the pathetic Iraqi army simply abandoned to an inferior force.
The opportunity is very simple.
1. Establish a firm blocking position north of Baghdad to stop forward movement.
2. Cut the ISIS unit off from retreat to the north.
3. Firm up one flank if you must; and,
4. Destroy the entire ISIS rabble by din of artillery and air power then ultimately go around and bayonet the wounded.
It will take American combined arms expertise — the ability to maneuver forces in contact, the ability to position and fire artillery and the ability to effectively direct tactical air power against troops in the open. These are skills that any good Infantry Captain possesses but are also the bread and butter of Special Forces teams.
If you are a student of arms and recent wars, you will recognize this as exactly the tactics which annihilated the Taliban armies north of Kabul (Northern Front) and which disappeared a 45-60,000 man Taliban army from the face of the earth in less than two months. In this instance it was American leadership, Afghan rifles, American artillery fired by Afghans and American air power — a potent cocktail of death and destruction.
It did not hurt that approximately 100 Special Forces and SAS teams were dispatched each night to every large crossroads in the AO to kill anything that moved. At a harvest rate of 500-2,000 souls nightly it did not take long for 45-60,000 shitheads to disappear. You do the math.
The opportunity in Iraq is to destroy a huge number of Al Qaeda who have made the mistake of coming out of their rat holes en masse, massing in a single location and giving battle as a large unit. They are ripe for the killing and America may never get another chance to kill so many at one time ever again.
In doing this there is, of course, the war weariness of the American public to consider. America is tired of war.
American leadership is suspect in the Obama administration. They are simply not strategic thinkers and never have been.
The 900,000 man Iraqi army should be able to do this by themselves but they clearly lack firm leadership and resolve. When your officers are stripping out of their uniforms and donning civilian clothes to avoid combat, you are an army in word only.
It is incomprehensible that a 900,000 man army is incapable of whipping ISIS like a rented mule. Someone in the US military who announced these clowns as being capable of defending themselves and their nation has some ‘splaining to do. One well trained Infantry division should be more than enough to do this.
Remember the Syria-Iraq border is only a line in an otherwise trackless desert and all those who wonder who these new guys — ISIS — are needs to know they are the rebels we supported in Syria against Assad. We apparently armed them on the theory the enemy of our enemy is our friend. This is a good lesson. We crawled into bed with Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria, they crossed the border and now these guys we armed are fighting against our interests in Iraq. Go figure!
Rented shitheads do not stay rented long.
The whole Shiite, Sunni, Kurds, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia tribal/religion thing is at work here except that ISIS intends to create a sovereign nation (Sunni) and declare a Caliphate and headquarter it in Baghdad. These are real considerations none of which trump the opportunity to annihilate 10-30,000 shitheads in one location. These guys are the worst of the worst and will be calling on American interests worldwide soon. Let’s kill them now and let God sort them out.