Friday, August 22, 2003

What a mess

There's a reason I shouldn't be blogging right now: I'm spreading myself a bit thin, since the deadline for the book I'm writing (Sept. 1) fast approaches. But there are issues hitting the news that I feel compelled to stay on top of, even so. I'm still doing a lot of reading, not all of it well -- and sometimes my posts reflect it.

A good example is my post yesterday about the gigantic flustercuck that the war in Iraq is fast becoming, drawn largely from analysis by my friend Paul de Armond, aka Warbaby at World in Conflict. The thrust was accurate, but some of my conclusions were way off.

Paul weighs in with a useful corrective today:
Polycentric Iraqi Nationalism

Anyone grasping for a single convenient handle on the Iraqi resistance is going to have a small piece of a big problem. The resistance movement behind the growing turmoil is a welter of competing and conflicting factions. ...

Saddam Hussein's tyranical Baathist regime was more like a giant organized crime family than a government. What we are now seeing is a transnational gang war for the spoils of Iraq.

Saddam may have planned for a resistance before the invasion, but after setting the juggernaut in motion he is now in hiding. As was the case with his sons, Hussein's big problem right now is staying out of sight. The notion that he would expose himself to death or capture by serving as centralized command and control node in a resistance network is the least likely of all possible circumstances.

Paul gives a nice rundown of some of the various factions that are now converging on Iraq and our sitting-duck military. It isn't pretty. Go read.

None of this, by the way, negates my suggestion of historic parallels to the First Anglo-Afghan War -- in some ways, it more closely resembles that scenario.

Incidentally, I'm not sure that I agree with Paul that getting out of Iraq summarily may not be "a bad idea." I think it is a bad idea. It's just that the alternatives may be much, much worse.

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