March 31, 2008

Basra: Not exactly the Battle of Stalingrad II

The human race really just isn't into this whole war thing anymore. Here we were, all gearing up for a re-enactment of the Battle of Stalingrad in Basra, center of trillions of dollars of oil reserves, and they go and decide to call the whole thing off after a few days.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

Heh. Arabs don't fight like that. After some circling and snarling they cut a deal where the loser gets paid and the winner takes the territory. Or, in this case, the oil.

Anonymous said...

Steve, did you ask Gary to supply a paragraph for you because you are suffering from the mistaken notion that they would leave your blog in droves if you didn´t update at least once per day?

Anonymous said...

You know Steve, this whole Iraq thing reminds me of the musical: "West Side Story" and it's eternally warring gangs, the Jets and the Sharks.
The U.S. would be cast as the clueless Officer Krupke, who makes no difference at all as the neighborhood's policeman, and is in fact seen by the two gangs as a spoiler of their daily battles, which gives them purpose and recreation in an otherwise bleak territory.

Anonymous said...

Heh. Arabs don't fight like that.

Did your extensive patronizing of the Arabs lead you to overlook the Iran/Iraq war?

The U.S. would be cast as the clueless Officer Krupke, who makes no difference at all as the neighborhood's policeman

I don't think Officer Krupke trashed the entire place, as we've done. Clueless, but we make a difference!

Anonymous said...

Steve the rhetoric shows how stupid and uninformed the media has been on military affairs since WWII.

The media predicted a bloodbath and defeat in Afghanistan right before the Taliban fled Kabul. The media predicted Stalingrad in Baghdad right before Saddam fled. The Media predicted Stalingrad in both Fallujahs, which never happened.

The first battle of Fallujah was called off by the US military because of too much unfavorable press and media reports. So the battlefield was "cleared" with help from AQ (who killed everyone not working for them) and the second battle commenced with no media coverage whatsoever ... and therefore no political pressure at home.

Nearly all wars operate with the enemy of the West using and assuming Media pressure to call off attacks.

The Maliki band of thieves is using the Iraqi Army, which has performed better than expected (it didn't desert and took casualties, did not disintegrate either) to essentially lay siege to the other band of thieves, Sadr and his band.

Sadr is having problems getting ammo, food, and water. The weakness of militias like Sadr's is that they don't have good logistics. They fight where they are but unless they have years to dig in and supply (like in Lebanon) they quickly run out of supplies. Maliki is using US logistics to go "Roman" on Sadr, i.e. a huge siege to attrition grind him down, away from cameras. Sadr wants a cease fire but Maliki is still operating.

The political implications of Maliki inflicting defeat (reducing Sadr's thug-count and thus his ability to control politics in the South) is pretty big. It means whoever is allied with the Americans and their patronized force the Iraqi Army can crush their opponents. A huge incentive to bargain and keep the bargain instead of renege.

Like Yogi said it's not over till it's over. And it's not over. [Expect another round once the media has been cleared out and the real killing can begin.]

Garland said...

Is it the human race changing or just that in this case, the combatants know that it doesn't matter? Until the Americans leave, nothing decisive will happen. Any fighting until then is just random stirring of the pot, and why get killed in that.

Anonymous said...

The amount of money available for the Iraqi factions to split among themselves are enormous if they can just stop the shooting and blowing shit up long enough to bring in foreign oil companies to modernize their infrastructure. Someone should get senior people from every faction and fly them to Dubai for a long weekend. Let them eat in 4-star restaurants, watch the camel races, sleep in luxury hotels. Then explain to them that their towns in Iraq could look like this if they stop shooting at each other.

AmericanGoy said...


We will neevr refight WW2 or even Desert Storm.

No, the majority of wars are and will be low intensity conflicts, with ragtag militias on both sides or one side vs an industrialized opponent on the other.

I did blog about this (obligatory blogspam here) on what the current inter-Shia fighting is all about:

The title of the piece is "Iran thanks the brave American soldiers!", because we, the USA, support with our troops and aircraft the Shia closely aligned with Iran (Maliki and Hakim), while the more nationalist al-Sadr is supposedly our enemy...

It is very discouraging to me how dumb we are as a nation that we effectively work for Iranian interests in Iraq...

Anonymous said...

Statements such as "never" American Goy tend to end up in the "peace in our time" category.

Certainly I could see the possibility of a major, mechanized war between Pakistan and India, if some group in Pakistan decided to "first strike" with nukes. Or a general conflict in the Pacific involving China, Japan, both Koreas and Taiwan over some incident. Or a general war in the Balkans. Or another mechanized war in the ME between Egypt and Israel. Egypt nearly won in 1973, except they ran out of supplies right as they were about to destroy the Israeli armor.

There is plenty of (non-budgetary) military spending. Plenty of hostility. India and Pakistan really don't like each other. We are on the hook for Europe and the UN's play in Kosovo. The Serbs are backed by Russia flush with oil money.

It might happen, it might not. But people in the 1930's predicted the end of war, because of all that destructive power. They were wrong. It's likely you are wrong too because Human Nature does not change that much.

Let's put it this way: the Iran-Iraq war cost about a couple of million men and boy's lives, with much of the fighting being done WWI Trench/minefield/machine gun style attrition, but with Jet Fighter duels and "the War of the Cities" with missiles and jets bombing Baghdad and Tehran.

Anonymous said...

mq, would I be patronizing you if I pointed out Iranians aren't Arabs? If they were the whole thing would have been over years earlier.

American Goy: You may be right, but that's what they said before Gulf I - we'll never fight a war with big unit movements, large tank battles, etc. And before Gulf II they said "tanks are obsolete. What matters is battlefield mobility and electronic superiority." And yet the M1 has been the most useful asset on the ground.

Anonymous said...

What's also clear is how media coverage shapes battlefields, or vice versa. Putin leveled Grozny, but you never hear about it. That's because people who do stories on Putin fall out of windows or get shot in elevators.

Meanwhile, Iraq generates all sorts of credulous to false reporting. Latest is Washington Post reporters filing stories (from stringers in Ramallah) in Baghdad about US troops firing on a bus there. One problem. Milbloggers who were there say it never happened. Link here.

So new media/blogs allow guys on the front lines to immediately rebut false reporting and make reporters look stupid and (mostly) propaganda tools for the enemy which most admittedly are (it's a way to survive there -- be useful to AQ).

Anonymous said...

It is a point valid not just for arabs. There is no longer much benefit in winning wars. Used to be if you wanted a bigger tougher country you went out & annexed your neighbour. However wealth now depends on people not land area & people's loyalsty is not bought by victory (the US civil war may be the last time it was).

If you want to become an important country running a growing econmoy works well, indeed in an era of 10% growth, beter than annexation ever did. China knows this, the US & Europe don't.

Thsi doesn't mean you can't lose a war as the Serbs & some peoples in Ruanda know, or that war cannot be a useful distraction, as the Argentine junta hoped & Clinton over Kosovo proved.

Anonymous said...

Statements such as "never" American Goy tend to end up in the "peace in our time" category.

Great, and then he lists a whole bunch of conflict very, very, far from the US, but close to Israel.


Sure, never was probably too much, but unlikely is probably spot on.

Fact is, the winner of the Iraq war was Iran, and Chalabi was probably working for them.

Anonymous said...

Did your extensive patronizing of the Arabs lead you to overlook the Iran/Iraq war?

Iranians aren't A-rabs.

Anonymous said...

To neil craig:If China demonstrates that success is no longer determined by grabbing land,er,why are they in Tibet,not to mention all over Africa...grabbing land? The African adventure is a peaceful cooperative venture with the Africans,you could say,but what if the Africans all of a sudden dont want them there? Chinese dont like to be told "No". :) As far as Basra,the name makes me think of the Japanese word,'bacca' for some reason. The head of Iraq gambled that he could put Sadr in his place--and failed. Oops.