Is the US walking into a trap in Iraq?

As I keep track of the war in the Iraq, I find something rather upsetting - US and her allies seems to be pushing into Iraq too quickly, too fast and opening their rears to attack. My hunch was confirmed when there were news of ‘ambush’ and captured soliders.

Sun Tzu mentioned that invading a defender’s homeland is perilous because of the unfamiliar terrian and it is the defender’s home ground - he knew where would be the best places for ambushes. But of course, Sun Tzu didn’t live to comment on the military tactics or technology of the 21st century, but isn’t it still rather unsafe just to rush at Iraq’s capital?

Looking at the map on CNN, it seems that there’s only one path from which the US and allies could retreat if something goes amiss (Murphy, anyone?)…

What does everyone else thinks? Is the US and her allies in such a perilous state as I thought (the News doesn’t help. Both US and Iraq are playing a stiff upper-lip)

The Iraqis are out gunned, out manned, and just plain uncapable of sustaining a long term war. The problem comes in when you have reporters telling the American and Global populace how many casualties we get. Thats just bullsh*t and should not be happening. This is WAR and people die. I just feel like I should stand by our troops. We need to not be told how many people die, I hate that his war is televised…

It’s certainly Saddam’s hope that he can get sustained guerrilla resistance going, such that the cost of maintaining order, as well as taking cities, will be more than the US is willing to bear.

Sustained guerrilla resistance, though, isn’t just a matter of seeding the populist with fanatic volunteers with guns. The general populace has to support such activity, both aiding and abetting the core fighters, and joining their ranks over time. It’s too early to tell whether that will happen, but I hope that we will soon get a “hearts and minds” campaign in place, enhanced by our overall policy of restraint and technologically-enabled precision in the use of force. I agree that press coverage is far more of a hinderance than a help in this regard, but it’s part of the price of freedom.

Among the favorable factors clearly distinguishing this conflict from Vietnam are the far more favorable terrain, the lack of a geographically secure source of supply and support for Iraq, and the fact that our avowed purpose to establish a democratic government hasn’t yet been discredited by a corrupt “elected” regime. There’s plenty of reason to be wary, but it’s far to soon to start flailing one’s arms and shreaking “quagmire”.

As far as literally “trapping” us in Iraq, I don’t believe that the Iraqis could seriously hurt substantial US forces in a set-piece battle (as opposed to jumping groups of stragglers, as happened this weekend), even if they did surround us on all sides. We’ve just too much firepower to lose a pitched battle, which was the case in Vietnam too, for that matter. Sun Tzu’s hand is on this war, but only through the filter of Mao and Ho Chi Minh.

On the war scale. This has been easy.

Even one loss is hard on the humanity scale. However, in terms of taking down a country, it’s not been rough overall.

Will Baghdad be harder? Yes, but this is still a dominating display of coordination, safety and exceeded goals.

You have to expect all sorts of strange enemy stuff, and yet you can’t stop all of it.

Not to be told? Oh, I think I’d prefer that information to be available to the public. Just one of those odd little democratic quirks, I suppose.

War. Who uses “war” in the common context: the print and broadcast media, and now habitually used on the internet.

There is not a war in Iraq. There is an invasion, and the planet had better wake up to this.

Has a formal declaration of war been registered anywhere by the “the coalition”? If so, please advise me where.

As for LostCause’s open enquiry, no, there is not too much haste. History repeats itself. The blitzkrieg is historically proven very effective.

We will lose two hundred poor souls and a billion dollars in this invasion and Iraq will lose two thousand poor souls. In return we will gain a ten billion dollar problem and you and I will pay for it for the next five years.

In Britain, from where I write, we can ill afford it.

Incidentally, Umbriel seems well informed and there are hints of some experience of this sort of thing, from what he says. I’ll vote him to the strategic arms committee, any day.

Way to stay on topic guys. Back to OP, I don’t think we are moving to fast. I think in the bigger scheme of things, it’s too early to tell, I feel Bagdad will be the test.

My opinions seem to be changing daily on this one. On one hand I don’t think Saddam and co. have anything they could throw at us that would save them, on the other hand it seems that everyone is seriously underestimating them considering they’re supposed to be enough of a threat to make war on…

As a self-defence practitioner I know that one of the biggest follies in a conflict is over-confidence, I think this could definitely be an issue here, always remember that any animal becomes 10 times more dangerous when cornered - who know’s what they will do/try when they realise they are well and truely screwed?

So yeah, in summary: I dunno.

I have to agree with the OP. It has been “too quiet” compared to the Gulf War. Why haven’t more SCUD missles been fired, for starters? Is Saddam (and/or the Iraqi leaders) waiting to pounce? I hope I am wrong, but it seems too easy so far…

  • Jinx

Thank God the SDMB doesn’t have img tags enabled so we wouldn’t have to see pictures of Admiral Akbar in this thread.

The U.S. might be, but I think it’s a very big might. I don’t think our intelligence would be so poor as to send our troops marching into Baghdad only to have Saddam go out in a blaze of glory by leveling the place with whatever he’s got left, conventional weapons or not.

Not to steal from the OP, but along the lines of the OP’s question:

Another note of interest: I find it curious that it took Bush “Sr” several days to gain total control of the air over Iraq in the first Gulf War. (I forget the military term used for this - air dominance?) In this War, we seemed to have gained it almost from the start. Why would this be? Is it simply that Iraq never rebuilt everything we destroyed 12 years ago? Surely they rebuilt some! Maybe it is true they didn’t, but my mental image doesn’t picture it this way… Please correct me if I am wrong…

Because there’s no Iraqi forces out in the desert. They are all in the cities. That’s why the “coalition” forces haven’t taken any urban centres and strategic locations. The real fight has just begun when they threw a whole bunch of Apaches against a Republican Guard elite division, and were beaten back.