Sunday, November 7, 2010

Petraeus Gives War a Chance

Some substantive insight is coming from analysis of the WikiLeaks Iraq war reports... Not from the New York Times of course, but from...

Antiwar: Torture Orders Were Part of US Sectarian War Strategy

Here, Gareth Porter argues that in designating Shi'a and Kurd forces to raid Sunni areas and interrogate Sunni civilians, General Petraeus was deliberately stoking an Al Qaeda led Sunni insurgency and the ethnic civil war that resulted.

Petraeus then would subscribe to the Luttwakian doctrine of non-suppresion of violent conflict. The opening paragraph of Edward Luttwak's 1999 essay in Foreign Affairs: Give War a Chance, summarizes the main points...

An unpleasant truth often overlooked is that although war is a great evil, it does have a great virtue: it can resolve political conflicts and lead to peace. This can happen when all belligerents become exhausted or when one wins decisively. Either way the key is that the fighting must continue until a resolution is reached. War brings peace only after passing a culminating phase of violence. Hopes of military success must fade for accommodation to become more attractive than further combat.

Essentially, the best that outside moderators can do is to create an arena in which ethnic conflicts can be contained until either a victor prevails or sheer exhaustion suspends the violence. As applied in the Iraqi theatre, however, the outside moderator is neither outside nor a moderator, but an invading force. In order to redirect insurgent violence away from itself, then, the U.S. military adopted a strategy of creating a framework or mise-en-scène in which indigineous ethnic tensions could explode.

But we're still waiting for the exhaustion...

Sunday: 11 Iraqis Killed, 30 Wounded - November 7th, 2010
Saturday: 2 Iraqis Killed, 52 Wounded - November 6th, 2010
Friday: 5 Iraqis Killed, 9 Wounded – November 5th, 2010
Thursday: 9 Iraqis Killed, 28 Wounded – November 4th, 2010
Wednesday: 3 Iraqis Killed, 8 Wounded – November 3rd, 2010
Tuesday: 120 Iraqis Killed, 369 Wounded – November 2nd, 2010
Monday: 7 Iraqis Killed, 13 Wounded – November 1st, 2010


Luttwak is also the author of Coup d'État: A Practical Handbook

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