Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Carlisle, PA
We Didn't Kill Enough Iraqis?
If I understand Maj Gen Dunlap's argument here, we could have prevented the Iraq insurgency if we'd only allowed the Air Force to kill more Iraqis during the conventional campaign.
Can another 'Iraq' be prevented?
What has not been analyzed much is the way major combat operations (MCO) were conducted and the effect of this on the subsequent insurgency. Thinking about a potential insurgency is vitally important....
Unfortunately, during MCO for Iraq, airpower was not permitted to completely crush insurgent potentialities. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, then Central Command commander Army General Tommy Franks elected to cut the air attacks short in favor of an early start to ground operations, reportedly out of concern (later proven to be unfounded) that the Iraqis were destroying their oil fields...
There is, perhaps, a counterinsurgency lesson here that runs completely counter to the philosophy, “the less force the better,” that pervades FM 3-24. Some societies are only prepared for radical change after they consider themselves truly defeated. William R. Weir offers in Turning Points in Military History (2005), his conclusion that “f the enemy population does not accept defeat, you can’t win until you kill every last person in that enemy population.”
To reiterate, no one is suggesting that innocent civilians should be made the object of attack. Rather, it is merely to say that Operation Iraqi Freedom’s too-rapid transition from the air assault, which the coalition was conducting effectively and with impunity, to the ground campaign that stretched hastily established lines of communication to the point of vulnerability, permitted enemy forces to secure some success. That success, however meager, may have had a more seriously negative impact on the ultimate outcome than was apparent at the time...