Iraq disaster warning
By WILLIAM S. LIND
UPI Outside View Commentator
11/10/06 -- - WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The third and
final act in the U.S. national tragedy that is the Bush
administration may soon play itself out.
Sources indicate increasing indications of "something big"
happening between the Nov. 7 congressional election and
Christmas. That could be the long-planned attack on Iran.
An attack on Iran will not be an invasion with ground
troops. We don't have enough of those left to invade
Ruritania. It will be a "package" of air and missile
strikes, by U.S. forces or Israel.
That this would constitute folly piled on top of folly is no
deterrent to the Bush administration. Like the French
Bourbons, it forgets nothing and it learns nothing. It takes
pride in not adapting. Or did you somehow miss President
George W. Bush's declaration of Presidential Infallibility?
It followed shortly after his May 1, 2003 visit to the
aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln with the "Mission
The Democrats taking either or both Houses of Congress, if
it happens, will not make any difference. They would rather
have the Republicans start and lose another war than prevent
a national disaster. Politics comes first and the country
Many of the consequences of a war with Iran are easy to
imagine. Oil would soar to at least $200 per barrel if we
could get it. Gas shortages would bring back the gas lines
of 1973 and 1979. Our European alliances would be stretched
to the breaking point if not beyond it. Most people outside
the Bush bubble can see all this coming.
What I fear no one forsees is a substantial danger that we
could lose the American army now deployed in Iraq. I have
mentioned this in previous columns, but I want to go into it
here in more detail because the scenario may soon go live.
Well before the second Iraq war started, I warned in a piece
in The American Conservative that the structure of our
position in Iraq could lead to that greatest of military
disasters, encirclement. That is precisely the danger if we
go to war with Iran.
The danger arises because almost all of the vast quantities
of supplies American armies need come into Iraq from one
direction, up from Kuwait and other Gulf ports in the south.
If that supply line is cut, our forces may not have enough
stuff, especially fuel, to get out of Iraq. American armies
are incredibly fuel-thirsty, and though Iraq has vast oil
reserves, it is short of refined oil products. Unlike German
World War Gen. Heinz Guderian's army on its way to the
Channel coast in 1940, we could not just fuel up at local
There are two ways our supply lines from the south could be
cut if we attack Iran. The first is by Shiite militias
including the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades, possibly
supported by a general Shiite uprising and, of course,
Iran's Revolutionary Guards -- The same guys who trained
Hezbollah so well.
The second danger is that regular Iranian Army divisions
will roll into Iraq, cut our supply lines and attempt to
pocket us in and around Baghdad. Washington relies on
American air power to prevent this, but bad weather can shut
most of that air power down.
Unfortunately, no one in Washington and few people in the
U.S. military will even consider this possibility. Why?
Because we have fallen victim to our own propaganda. Over
and over the U.S. military tells itself, "We're the
greatest! We're number one! No one can defeat us. No one can
even fight us. We're the greatest military in all of
It's wrong. The U.S. armed forces are technically
well-trained, lavishly resourced Second Generation
militaries. They are being fought and defeated by Fourth
Generation opponents in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They can
also be defeated by Third Generation enemies who can
observe, orient, decide and act more quickly than can
America's vast, process-ridden, Powerpoint-enslaved military
headquarters. They can be defeated by strategy, by
stratagem, by surprise and by preemption. Unbeatable
militaries are like unsinkable ships. They are unsinkable
until someone or something sinks them.
If the United States were to lose the army it has in Iraq,
to Iraqi militias, Iranian regular forces, or a combination
of both (the most likely event), the world would change. It
would be our Adrianople, our Rocroi, our Stalingrad.
American power and prestige would never recover.
One of the few people who does see this danger is the
doyenne of American foreign policy columnists, Georgie Anne
Geyer. In her column of Oct. 28 in The Washington Times, she
wrote, "The worst has not, by any means, yet happened. When
I think of abandoning a battleground, I think of (the
1840s), when thousands of Brits were trying to leave
Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass and all were killed by
tribesmen except one man, left to tell the story."
Our men and women in Iraq are in isolated compounds, not
easy even to retreat from, were that decision made. Time is
truly running out.
William S. Lind, expressing his own personal opinion, is
Director for the Center for Cultural Conservatism for the
Free Congress Foundation.