In the last post we talked about the biggest mistakes of Iraqi leaders and politicians and today I'm going to talk about America's mistakes. I chose this order for my thoughts because Iraqis with their mistakes contributed more to the current problems in Iraq than America did.
America too had her share of mistakes that made things go in the wrong direction instead of helping out. Perhaps America's biggest mistake was the hesitation in keeping up the strategy of preemptive war.
Yes, America used that strategy in Iraq but failed to go on, and instead of chasing terrorists, America stopped at Iraq and sat waiting for terrorists to come in.
Keeping a large number of troops in Iraq and hoping they could root out terrorists can only be described as a bad plan. It really wouldn't matter much if we had 50 thousand in stead of 150 thousand troops in Iraq and in fact what really matters is the distribution of these troops.
If we look back at the record of the war since April 2003 we'll see that adding more troops on the ground resulted only in making the enemy call for more reinforcements and the war kept getting more violent.
In other words, how much troops we have is not the question, where we put the troops is.
The huge mass of military power looks dull here and there's no meaningful objective for its presence but to protect the political structure of post-Saddam Iraq and this can be done with much less troops than there is now in Iraq.
It is unfair to leave this highly-trained, heavily-equipped mighty forces to fight a guerilla war against gangs and faceless insurgents and militias armed with old rifles and rusty mortars.
All the sophisticated warplanes, tanks and big organized units will have not have a chance to make the desired impact on the ground or meet the goals such units are built to achieve, which means smaller, more agile units backed by strong intelligence-gathering capabilities can replace the bigger units when the latter can move on to engage bigger targets elsewhere.
The insurgents, terrorists and militias operating in Iraq depend on foreign support for money, training, technology and in some cases men. Moreover the influence of foreign interference is clear even in the political arena in Iraq through the numerous political crises the country had faced.
Thus, this war will not see an end unless America revives the preemptive war strategy and start chasing the enemies and striking their bases in the region, especially in Syria and Iran.
We all saw how Saddam's regime collapsed in two weeks and we learned then how fragile and weak that regime and similar regimes are. And we discovered how ridiculous and futile the rage and warnings of the "Arab and Muslim street" were.
The same thing can happen to Syria or Iran; there's every reason to believe that regimes and armies will fall apart and surrender in the same manner that we saw in Iraq, and few will volunteer to stop Asad or Ahmedinejad from falling.
When this happens it will recharge the war on terror with great momentum and then Syria and Iran will no longer serve as training camps and recreation resorts for terrorists. The entire region from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean will be a dangerous place for terrorists just like Iraq and Afghanistan are and terrorists will have to keep running and hiding and will not be capable of launching organized campaigns from secure bases.
By expanding the war on terror to engulf these major terror hideouts, the huge military force will once again resume playing its logical role as a hunter not as a target trying to defend itself against incoming enemies.
Like what happened with OIF, the price of the operation itself would be much lower than the price of waiting and when the troops finish their primary objectives the peoples of the liberated countries and the troops will have the advantage over the remaining terrorists who will have their finance and support network disrupted.
Terrorists will then be forced southwards to Somalia, Yemen and Sudan which are countries already having problems with the international community and incapable of providing generous support for fleeing terror groups.
America's worst mistakes were hesitation, failing to invest the initial victory in Iraq and Afghanistan and not using her power and influence to achieve more. America simply did not act like a winner but instead stood idly like a weary giant doing nothing but complain about mosquito bites.
Some might ask…Do we have to do all of this? Go through all these battles and change those regimes?
My answer is Yes. For one reason; terrorists and terror-supporting regimes have chosen war and America, and the values it stands for, is the target and they will not stop shooting at America until they are dead or arrested.
It is a war that was imposed on the free world by murderous maniacs who would do anything to destroy the human civilization and they would not hesitate to use any means to destroy those who are different. Fighting those criminals now will cost less blood and resources than fighting them later.