Massacre in the Congo:

The Daily Telegraph has the story. I just heard an NPR interview with an official from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (rule of thumb: any state whose name includes the word "Democratic" is a brutal hellhole) which seemed to suggest that this might be a tribal thing, as women and children were doing some of the killing.

This follows an incident earlier this year involving cannibalism, as well as the more usual killing and raping.
So why am I confident of victory?

Well, also from the MOUT manual:
The attacker won all urban battles where the defender was totally isolated. Even the partial isolation of the defenders resulted in attackers enjoying a success rate of 80 percent. Conversely, attackers won only 50 percent of the battles in which defenders were not significantly isolated, and those victories came at great cost.
It's hard to get much more isolated than the Iraqi government is just now. There is no government in the world that will openly ally with them in the war. The roads in and out of the city of Baghdad are controlled by the United States. Soon the surface streets will be owned by us as well, and they'll be fighting out of buildings and tunnels. We'll control the buildings soon enough, though the tunnels will be a sticking point. There is nowhere they can go, and no help is coming except in the form of terrorists, who can't offer a standup fight to professional soldiers and Marines.

No, the danger is in the long term, when we find our occupation forces under occasional assault by terrorist groups. However, we've shown a great deal of success at fighting such forces (see yesterday's entries), and our techniques have only improved of late. Special Operations forces are ideal for antiterrorist operations of this type. Furthermore, if the postwar period is handled carefully, it should be easy to deny the terrorists the allegiance of the population of Iraq. Without that, they can't operate with long term success.

If we operate with decency and fairness--as we ought to do anyway--and if our troops behave in the long term with a devotion to chivalry and honor, as they doubtlessly will, victory is certain.

The cost is not. Raise a glass to the honor of the soldiers and Marines who will pay it. If the human destiny is according to a vision of liberty, rather than tyranny, it is their blood that will buy it.
How much longer will the war last?

Well, that really depends on what you are ready to consider "the war." If you include terrorist actions and fights against terrorist groups--probably a long time yet, likely years. I won't be surprised if we end up moving a large number of our troops who have been garrisoning Germany to garrison Iraq in the postwar period--really, it would be wise to do so, to provide stability to the new government during the first years.

But, if you mean the war against Hussein's government... well, that won't be as long. Still, there are several reasons to think that it will be a while yet before Baghdad is secure, and Tikrit is still to come. Rumsfeld thinks the war isn't yet at the 'tipping point,' which is a pretty good indication that we may see some serious fighting yet. Furthermore, there are those underground fortresses, which may require weeks or months to clear. And, last, there is this admonition from the MOUT manual cited below:
In most cases, successful conclusion of an urban battle took two to three times longer than the initial estimates. This often had adverse affects on the overall campaign. Well-planned urban defense, even if the defender is isolated or lacking in aviation, armor, or artillery weapons, can be time consuming to the attacker. Time can allow the defender to reorganize, re-deploy, or marshal resources in other areas.
Ah, Reuters:

One wonders why they even asked:
A travel ban imposed on Baghdad by Iraqi authorities would have no impact on the activities of U.S.-led military forces attacking the city, a Pentagon spokesman said on Sunday.
"We will go wherever and whenever we want," the spokesman told Reuters.

InstaPundit, sage of the University of Tennessee, links today to an good article on city fighting. It's interesting to compare to the USMC MOUT manual for NCOs.

The National Review on the Arab warriors coming to fight the Jihad against Americans in Iraq. Outraged by our destruction of an Arab state, these men are swarming by the hundreds to join the war against America.

This was the anti-war argument fielded by the most intelligent doves. It was unfairly scorned by some hawks, who scoffed that doves were simultaneously arguing that Saddam had nothing to do with terrorists, but also that we daren't fight him because it would inflame terrorists. But the hawks who stopped with such scoffing were not playing fair, as they were themselves arguing that Saddam -was- in league with terrorists, but dismissing the danger of enhanced terrorist recruitment for war in Iraq.

The proper hawkish response was, and is, this: The time has come for fighting terrorists. We need to break these terror groups now, before weapons of mass destruction--particularly radiological/nuclear weapons--become more commonly available. It is therefore a benefit of the Iraq war that it will bring those who are ideologically disposed to terrorism into the fight now, while they are fighting at a disadvantage, so that they will be dead later, when weapons of mass destruction might be ready to hand. This is the proper time for the conflict. If we are to remake the Middle East, eliminating the subset of the population that is willing to commit terrorist acts is necessary.

Yes, it greatly increases the danger of the struggle to our soldiers in the field. They understand about danger. It is time for this fight. We cannot go on like we have, treating terrorists as criminals, and limiting our responses to law enforcement. By all means, let's call up the enemy to his fullest, and fight him down. We have thousands of special-operations qualified troops in the region. Breaking these terrorists is part of making America safe--the most important part, in fact. Anyone who wants to fight, let's fight now.

The Daily Telegraph on the fall of Basra. Registration may be required, but it's free. The Telegraph reminds us of one way in which the offensive is very different from Medieval battles:
In medieval and early modern times, cities that resisted siege could expect havoc and slaughter when they fell.

Even today, armies are sometimes prepared to raze urban areas rather than risk house-to-house combat, Grozny being the most recent example. Yet British troops managed to fight their way to the centre of Basra with miraculously few casualties, either to themselves or to the civilian population.
The Economist on DPRK:

The Economist's latest take on the situation with North Korea.
From William Raspberry:

William Raspberry is my favorite liberal columnist. (My favorite conservative columnist, if you are curious, is Mark Steyn). Raspberry's piece today is on affirmative action. He and I do not agree, but his take is, as always, thoughtful.
Interservice humor:

Q: How do you know when a soldier is about to say something brilliant?
A: He starts by saying, "A Marine once told me..."
Maybe if you ask them nicely:

Some additional business for the war summit in Northern Ireland. Since he's going to be there anyway, the BBC asks, couldn't Bush devote a little energy to getting the IRA under control?
North Korea:

The DPRK has tested an antiship missile this week, the third such test of the KN-01 system. Meanwhile, the BBC is having some fun with Bush administration officials, who can't seem to decide whether the DPRK or Iraq has the worse human rights record. The DPRK has suggested that, actually, it's the US who is the worst. But certainly one can't fault the US for being insufficiently interested in human rights... almost over-interested, really...
Elements of the State Department report have been viewed with some derision by commentators - in particular its 16-page exposition of human rights in largely trouble-free Canada, and its noting that the Palestinian Authority has failed to install ramps at public building entrances to allow disability access.
War's Finest Weapon:

The Black Watch took Basra today, devoting their Challenger tanks. Those tanks are rated by some experts as the best in the world, better even than our M1A1 Abrams, though personally I suspect the Abrams is more likely to survive a battle. Air support was provided by US Marine Air, using Super Cobra attack helicopters that, excepting updated munitions and avionics, date to Vietnam. It's hard to imagine a more irresistable force than the Scots and the Marines fighting together. The Scotsman provides here a very thorough account of the battle.

This battle also saw, for the first time in the war, the British army using its most feared and awesome weapon.
As he began to play, the sound of Scotland the Brave drifted across the bridge towards the city, competing with the clatter of rotor blades as four Cobra helicopters raced in to join the attack.
The Highland pipes were declared weapons of war after 1746, when Bonnie Prince Charlie's last Jacobite uprising was defeated by an army of Lowland Scots and a few British gentlemen. The prohibition didn't take: soon the Highlander regiments carried those pipes around the world in service to the Crown. These regiments included the Black Watch, also known as the "Gallant Forty-Twa," or 42nd Regiment--they had been the 43rd, but one of the older regiments was "reduced." The Highlanders made the sound of the pipes feared by Britian's foes, from Napoleon's Eurpoe to India and China. They'd had the same effect upon the English in their day:
"There are those who when the woollen bagpipe sings i'th nose/ cannot contain their urine."
William Shakespeare, "Merchant of Venice"
Vive les chevauchees!

More "war rides" along the perimeter, provoking enthusiastic but uncoordinated resistance. Via the W. Post. If you don't know what a chevauchee is, page down to yesterday's entries.
Two from the Post:

Today's Washington Post has two good articles on the use of American power in the war: one on ground forces, and one on the use of air assets.
DPRK News:

From the Washington Post. The DPRK says it plans to rely upon a "tremendous military deterrent force," and will regard any sanctions as an act of war. I wonder if that applies to a PRC oil embargo? The Chinese Army on one side, and the US Military on the other--that's not a vice I'd want to put myself in.

Still, the language today is worrisome. It's not really new--the DPRK has been saying for a while that preconditions for negotiations with the US would be that we (a) sign a nonagression pact, and (b) accept them becoming a nuclear power. Today's language says the same thing, but in uglier terms:
"Even the signing of a non-aggression treaty with the United States would not help avert a war," said the statement, distributed by the official Korean Central News Agency.

"Only the physical deterrent force, tremendous military deterrent force powerful enough to decisively beat back an attack supported by any ultra-modern weapons, can avert a war and protect the security of the country and the nation," the statement said.
"Experts" seem to be divided on whether or not the DPRK is "pushing to become a recognized nuclear power[.]" Well, you've read their statement: what do -you- think?
Wrong Again, General:

From Al Jazeera:
"The occupation of the airport is not of major military value. The advancing forces cannot use this airport, which is 15-20 kilometres off Baghdad unless they occupy the capital. The victory is more a political or media success than a military one," said General Mohammed Bilal, commander of Egyptian forces during the 1991 Gulf War.
From CNN:
The first U.S. military planes landed at Baghdad's international airport Sunday night as U.S. forces tightened their control over the Iraqi capital, U.S. military officials said.

Army officials told CNN's Walter Rodgers that two C-130s and a C-117 cargo planes were flying into the city under the cover of darkness, two days after U.S. troops captured the facility.
Political Correctness:

That USMC manual I cited in the last post has an amusing bit of PC garbage toward the end.
(3) Wetting Down. After a promotion, it is customary to
celebrate by spending your first pay raise on your fellow Marines
at your favorite tavern. Tradition has it that the new grade
insignia was placed in the bottom of a glass of spirits, and the
Marine drank the glass dry. Remember... alcoholic beverages must
be consumed with moderation.
One suspects a civilian editor.
Not All Outlaws Are Merry Men:

InstaPundit today links to an article from the Jerusalem Post on U.S. successes against guerrillas. Not convinced? Did you know that the United States Marines fought guerrillas every year from 1898 to 1934, excepting only 1905? Well, there's a reason it's not commonly taught in schools--it wasn't, really, a big deal. The Marines even had forces to spare for the First World War, when they earned their epiteth "Devil Dogs".
To Dwell in the Greenwood with a Butt of March Beer:

The Daily Telegraph reports on the balmy weather of the Early and High Middle Ages. For the Telegraph, it's about global warming:
According to Prof Stott, the evidence also undermines doom-laden predictions about the effect of higher global temperatures. "During the Medieval Warm Period, the world was warmer even than today, and history shows that it was a wonderful period of plenty for everyone."
Well, of course. This makes sense of something I have wondered about since my boyhood. How could Robin Hood and his Merry Men live such fine lives with no better shelter than the Greenwood and a skin of March beer?
So Little John gave Arthur the money, and the others stepped to the thicket, there to await the return of the Tanner.
After a time he came back, bearing with him a great brown loaf of bread, and a fair, round cheese, and a goatskin full of stout March beer, slung over his shoulders. Then Will Scarlet took his sword and divided the loaf and the cheese into four fair portions, and each man helped himself. Then Robin Hood took a deep pull at the beer. "Aha!" said he, drawing in his breath, "never have I tasted sweeter drink than this."
Now I know.

It will not be thought unfit, I think, to celebrate even as we mourn: that is the lot of men in times of war. Congratulations to the Agonist and his lovely bride, with thanks for their many sacrifices and much hard work during these days of fighting.
Hail the Heroes:

What Richard Blaine said cynically, I say with conviction: Today they are the honored dead.
From the NY Post:

A critique of Donald Rumsfeld. The complaint seems to focus on two central points, which are supported by evidence. His two main complaints are:

1) The Secretary of Defense, and others at CENTCOM, have made implausible statements about the war going "according to plan."
2) The Secretary of Defense, and his civilian advisors, did not allocate sufficient troops for the war.

A short response, then we'll do point by point:

1) One does not hold a press conference during a war and say, "Our plan has failed, and we're improvising," even if it has and you are. We know that the Pentagon had a number of options on the table; and, further, that wars don't run according to plan. "The plan" in war is always a construct of contingencies--it's a chain of "if they do this, we'll do that, unless they do this, in which case we'll do the other, unless..." To hold any war plan to a standard of "it can't be said to be a success if you changed it" means no war plan has ever succeeded.
2) Horseshit.

Now to the man's own words:
As far as events proceeding according to plan, well, if your plan is vague enough, with a sufficient number of "branches and sequels," as the military puts it, even defeat might be presented as having been anticipated.
War plans are vague, involving branches and sequels. Journalists who don't like that ought to write about something other than war.
The much-heralded initial airstrikes failed and are now conveniently forgotten. The ground campaign assumed the lead from the first days of the war - which definitely was not according to the plan. And the number of ground forces permitted to the theater commander was inadequate by any honest measure.
The intial airstrikes did what now? The first occasion when a coordinated military response hit our troops was when we got to Baghdad. Iraqi command and control is so degraded that we haven't seen any kind of coordination farther from the Baghdad Bunker than you can drive a pickup without being shot at by Apaches. The Republican Guard units ringing Baghdad were reduced, officially, to 50% strength, 65% strength, but in fact were reduced almost to no strength--both the 3rd and the 1st Marine plowed through what was left.

As for the ground troops taking the lead, several strategems positing that were available in the public eye by early March. Look here particularly at the "Fast Roll," and see if it doesn't sound similar to what we've seen. The Pentagon probably had ten potential versions rather than a handful, all of which understood that adjustments would be made according to what cards the enemy played.

And as for this statement--"the number of ground forces permitted to the theater commander was inadequate by any honest measure"--how's this for an honest measure: Baghdad in 17 days with fewer than a hundred US fatalities? Sure, things could have been worse. War is fluid. But honestly: the troops committed have shattered the opposition with astonishingly few losses. That's a fair measure that the troops committed were sufficient to the task.

If you aren't convinced, try this thought experiment: first, think of what would have been different if the Guard had been twice as tough as they were. Answer: we would still have won, though we would have taken either longer to do it, or suffered more casualties, depending on whether we chose to invest them and take them with airstrikes, or fight through them. Now, consider what we might have done to make things easier. What would an extra division have really meant to our frontline forces? If we'd moved a bit more slowly, we might have protected our supply lines from guerrilla raids, which could have saved a few American lives--but not very many, because we haven't lost very many to start with. War is dangerous, but it doesn't get much safer than this. Baghdad may yet prove bloody, but as for facing the Iraqi army--we had more than adequate forces even for a tougher foe than we faced.

Fortunately, the 4th Infantry Division, denied access through Turkey, unexpectedly became available to rush to southern Iraq, where it has been much-needed. Secretary Rumsfeld may lack humility, but he does have good luck.

Still, Secretary Rumsfeld cannot have it both ways. Either he expected a short war, in which case he did not intend to deploy those heavy divisions from the States, or he expected a long war all along.
At this writing, the 4th Infantry is "weeks away from joining the fight in Iraq." Their equipment is in Kuwait, but the soldiers aren't yet, excepting a few lead elements. This assertion that the 4th's arrival was sorely needed is twice false: first, they haven't arrived; and second, no serious disruption of Coalition operations is resulting. The 4th may be used in the battle for Baghdad and Tikrit, which is what they were going to be used for had they been deployed from Turkey. That is to say, on this point the plan has changed only insofar as they are approaching from the south, not the north.
At one point in the long planning process, Secretary Rumsfeld's civilian advisers - not one of whom had served in the military - insisted the ground campaign would require less than 10,000 combat troops, who would take a Sunday drive to Baghdad after the regime had been toppled by technology. The generals had to fight bitterly to overcome such madcap notions.
Maybe, but what they got was a force of 250,000. The Marines alone number more than double the figure cited here. Obviously Rumsfeld listened to the generals--he just didn't give them everything they asked for. Between the stunning success he's enjoyed and the fact that it's really difficult to imagine a set of circumstances in which this force could have been bested by the Iraqi army, I'd have to say Rummy did all right.

Dangers remain before us, let's not kid ourselves. The ones in Iraq don't have to do with force levels, though, they have to do with counterinsurgency. The fall of Baghdad and Tikrit will mark the end of the war, and the start of the occupation. We've got a surplus of troops for the war, and more arriving for the occupation. The situation is well in hand (and remember how that statement traditionally begins?). If you want something to worry about, turn your thoughts to North Korea. That way lies peril.

Keeping Syria Out:

We've had statements from Colin Powell, Tony Blair, and many others denying that we are planning invasions of Syria or Iran. I believe them. I still wonder what's going on with the Syrian oil pipeline, though. The Gulf Daily News, citing unnamed "analysts" and "economists," says that Syria can absorb the loss of contraband Iraqi oil--thought to have been supplied to the tune of 200,000 barrels a day!--if and only if it engages in market reforms and exploratory drilling:
Syria may miss the extra cash from Iraq, but some economists say it has enough foreign exchange to cushion the fall for now, and its own oil production of about 500,000 bpd can meet immediate domestic needs. "Iraqi oil was a boost for Syria's economy, but is not essential," said Syrian economist Nabil Sukkar.

"Syria has been alright as far as foreign exchange is concerned since it discovered and started extracting its own oil."

But Syria's oil reserves are dwindling and economists and diplomats say it must find new oil or develop its gas sector fast if it is to continue seeing revenue from energy exports.
So, my guess at this stage: the administration is after free market reforms in Syria, combined with a drop in revenue available to the government for the purposes of sponsoring terrorism. Since we will soon be in charge of the Iraqi oil fields, at least for a while, access to them on generous terms would be a nice carrot to go with the "or else" stick represented by the I MEF, 3rd and 4th Infantry, 7th Cavalry, and 101st Airborne.
The War-Ride:

I wrote on the medieval quality of this modern war, with its apparent notions of chivalry and the sanctuary of holy places. Today's heavy cavalry raid has interesting historic resonances. The Iraqi command apparently plans to retreat into underground fortresses designed to be virtually impregnable, while conducting its fights in a house to house fashion to reduce the effectiveness of American technology. One response to this resort-to-fortification in the Hundred-year's war was the development of the chevauchee, a heavy cavalry raid designed to smash the enemy before he could withdraw into the fastness:
The English contract armies of the fourteenth century, at their best composed of mounted retinues of men-at-arms and archers, fast-moving and tactically proficient if brought to battle, were wholly appropriate to a war strategy based upon the chevauchee. They were, however, less well suited to strategic commitments requiring long-term occupation.
The American chevauchee--or "war ride," if you would prefer a non-French name under the circumstances--does not target civilians, as the Norman system often did, but irregular combatants. Rather than fight them house to house for control of the city, a quick raid draws out relatively undisciplined forces who can be slaughtered on the hoof.

Eventually--and probably fairly quickly--Baghdad will have to be brought under formal, full control. As a short term strategem for breaking the large numbers of irregular forces in the Baghdad urban enviornment, however, the chevauchee isn't bad. It keeps us on terms in which American military hardware can be brought to bear, rather than the infantry-to-infantry fighting required of house to house. Once the numbers of these folks have been reduced a bit, the house to house combat will go more easily.

The elite American forces are similar to the English army in one other way: they are second to none on the battlefield, but not well suited to peacekeeping and occupation. Look to see the Marines and 101st Airborne heading to new ground (like, perhaps, East Asia) as soon as the occupation becomes stable. The 3rd and 4th Infantry may remain behind, and we will likely see some of the units in Germany rotated into Iraq as well, perhaps reserve units. Coalition of the willing members who want to supply forces for peacekeeping will probably also make an appearance.
CIA Agents Dead:

This report is from UPI. It says that three CIA assets--that is, a foreign national recruited to provide intelligence--who were Iraqi nationals were the source for the decapitation strike. They are now dead, according to the report, executed by Iraqi counterintelligence. This report offers a remarkable amount of detail on the operation--enough, in fact, to make me doubt its authenticity. It's almost enough to go into the "Can this be true?" category: particularly the notion that there were/are three hundred Green Berets in Baghdad, linking up with Delta Forces and CIA paramilitaries (this will be the Special Operations Group) already in place.
Col. North:

Jed Babbin at NRO carries a report from embedded journalist, Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North (Ret.). It looks like the Marines are getting the fight they've been wanting. I raise a glass to them, and wish them the best.

The DPRK says that making missiles is their fundamental right.
Military maxim:

Here is a story on the nuclear-proof bunker Hussein had constructed in Baghdad. It reminds me of one of several maxims I was taught while studying urban warfare: "If they can't get in--you can't get out."
Mourning on the Front Lines:

There has been a great deal of mourning from the media, but one rarely hears our soldiers say anything sad. I found a few sad sentiments, though, running at the bottom of articles from the embeds. Here is a compilation of our fighting men's sadness:
"I'm getting pissed off about it, really," said one British Fusilier, a
member of the famed "Desert Rats." He said, "This is getting to be
peacekeeping duty, like in Bosnia and Kosovo. I came here to fight a war."
Some young Marines who had anticipated a major battle appeared disappointed. "I was told that if I would ever get to shoot my rifle at someone, today would be the day," Lance Cpl. Douglas Sanders said.
"He really doesn't have an army anymore," Capt. Ronny Johnson, a company commander in the 3rd Battalion, said of President Saddam Hussein.

Johnson said he had mixed feelings about the disintegration of the Republican Guard targets. He said he was disappointed because "when you plan and rehearse for something" for so long, you want to carry it out.
Air Force jets, Army AH-64 Apache helicopters and multiple-rocket launchers "destroyed our objective," said Lt. Bevan Stansbury, executive officer of Bravo Company in the 2nd Brigade's 3rd Battalion, 15th Regiment. "So we have no fight right now."

"They pretty much destroyed every vehicle in the brigade," Stansbury said. With a trace of disgust, he added, "Now we're just rolling in and will probably be an occupation force."

Live to fight, love to fight.
Not a Conspiracy Theory:

About those Russian military advisors to Iraq: I have a question. Since 9/11, we've seen an increasing amount of cooperation between the CIA and the Russian intelligence service, which has been dealing with al Qaeda because of the Chechen situation. Does it not strike you as odd that there are high-level Russian advisors operating with Iraqi forces from just before the start of this war? I'm just asking: doesn't it seem possible that they are there because we want them there? A general officer functioning as a military advisor would have a lot of access to information that could be passed right on to Russian intel--and from there, to the CIA.

This is not a conspiracy theory. I'm not asserting this is what is going on. I'm just asking if it doesn't seem plausible. We've been getting some good intel, including the location of the meeting we disrupted with the decapitation strike. It most probably is a turned Iraqi general, but Saddam is known for keeping his generals on a very short leash, as he considered them the largest threat to his survival. Here's an alternate source. Putin is a former KGB man, after all; and as for our president, his father was once the head of the CIA.
Keeping Syria out of it:

Special Forces have destroyed a major oil pipeline between Iraq and Syria. They also cut the railroad line. That last makes sense, as it raises the difficulty of moving troops if Syria decided to join the war. Cutting their oil supply, however, is pretty aggressive. We went to some trouble to do this--it wasn't just a Tomahawk missile, but a spec-ops team risking their lives to make sure it was done right. I don't know if this is a carrot-and-stick approach to Syria (what, then, would the carrot be? Offers to subsidize their oil needs in the meanwhile?), or if the administration is trying to bait them into war.

The British have invested Basra "on three sides" according to news reports. Against the complaints that such an almost-siege demonstrates that we didn't have enough troops present, I'll repost something I said at the start of the campaign, when the 3rd Infantry performed the first investment of the war:
The usual fashion is to invest on three sides, leaving open a way for an enemy to retreat. This isn't an act of kindness. The notion is to hit them until they are forced to abandon their defensive positions, withdrawing in the only way that is left available. Since you know which way they are going, you can set ambushes (or, in this case, use air power) to rout and slaughter them along the way. Recall here the "highway of death" from Gulf War I.

It is also possible to perform a complete encirclement. Usually this is not done, unless your forces are so superior that you do not fear having to defend all points against a breakout attempt. The three-sided investment allows for greater predictability of enemy actions.
Medieval Warfare & Iraq:

US forces fighting outside the gold-domed Shrine of Ali have not responded to attacks from within the shrine, rather than damage the holy building. I have been reflecting on this over breakfast. There is only one precedent in the history of mankind of which I am aware for this. That is, of course, the Medieval tradition of sanctuary, which puts holy places beyond the reach of war and even justice. I suspect that eventually we'll have to flush these snipers out, but it may be using tear gas and police tactics, rather than the military approach.

This story, taken in context of the war as we've seen it develop, speaks to the new "way of war" being developed by Rumsfeld and others. It looks remarkably like the early Medieval way of war. Professional armies, schooled in a theory of Just War (in fact, the same theory, which has its origins in the Catholic monasteries of the Middle Ages), are clearing border realms of bandit kings. They do so in a way designed to protect the holy places, and in doing so they uplift the folk of the land who had been living under the tyranny of those powers. If there is a living tradition of chivalry in the world, these men are the ones who bear it. I cite again the opening message to the Marines:
"When I give you the word, together we will cross the Line of Departure, close with those forces that choose to fight, and destroy them. Our fight is not with the Iraqi people, nor is it with members of the Iraqi army who choose to surrender. While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime under Saddam's oppression.
The great question for this emergent way of war is weapons of mass destruction. They are still out there, and have not yet been used. This action in Iraq, and the resolution of the increasingly dire situation with the DPRK, will determine whether or not this generation lives under the shadow of such weapons, or if we master them. These two scenarios are possible: a return to the conditions of the Cold War, when the destruction of our cities was a daily fact of life; or, a world in which these weapons are controlled by only a few, stable states, and programs to develop them elsewhere are eradicated before these weapons can fall into terrorist or rogue-state hands. If the latter is to be the case, it will be the military forces of the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia that bring it about.

This is, really, the choice on offer. Policies which allow rogue states breathing room to develop weapons of mass destruction encourage the development of the deadly future. The only policy that avoids that future is one predicated on the chivalry and sacrifice of our fighting men.
On J. M. Marshall:

Twice now in recent days I've had J. M. Marshall called to my attention. His latest piece in the Financial Times takes Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to task for what Mr. Marshall considers an inadequate force deployed in Iraq. Mr. Marshall has a number of friends in the defense establishment, who share his opinion that the deployed force was simply not of the overwhelming force that conventional military doctrine calls for. Mr. Marshall:
Mr Rumsfeld and his associates did not need much convincing that they knew modern warfare as well, or better, than anyone. But success in Afghanistan buoyed them considerably. When they began planning to invade Iraq, the success in Afghanistan played a key role in their thinking. Indeed, Mr Rumsfeld and his deputies first pushed for a war plan that had considerably fewer troops than are stationed in Iraq and Kuwait even now.

Beyond their theories of modern warfare, they brought two priorities to the current war plan. First, they are committed to a vision of military world dominance that requires the US to be able to mount a number of rapid moves against hostile, rogue states around the globe. As a result, they wanted to take down Saddam Hussein in a manner than made clear that the US could act rapidly against others. Attacking Iraq without mobilising America's entire arsenal was an important part of making that that threat credible. Second, they embraced an interpretation of the politics of the Arab world that made it seem extremely likely that US and UK troops would be welcomed as liberators in Iraq rather than invaders. They discounted the likelihood of the guerrilla warfare we are witnessing now.

Still, some are wondering today why Mr Rumsfeld, an American patriot who has dedicated much of his life to public service, would take such a chance with the war in Iraq. The answer is simple: hubris. He and his deputies did not regard it as a risk. They were sure that they were right.
I have two things to say about this. The first is: they -are- right. The force deployed is more than adequate to destroying the Iraqi regime, quickly and efficiently. That will become clear in the next few days. The war is now thirteen days (!) old. Paris fell to the Nazi army in forty-four days. The 1st Marine Divison is now driving on Baghdad, and the 3rd Infantry had a big fight with the Republican Guard today. Things are going to happen quickly now. With a substantial number of special operations forces already contesting the streets of Baghdad, the destruction of the ring-defenses is all that remains to the liberation of the city. There is no safe haven for the Republican Guard; there is no resupply for them. There will be no reinforcements--there is nowhere from whence they might come. The 1st Marine alone is larger in size than the remaining Republican Guards, has better equipment, better training, better intelligence, and air support. Anyone trying to fall back on the city will be exposed first to air strikes, and then to hammer-and-anvil tactics between spec ops units in Baghdad, and Marine units closing on the rear.

The second thing to say is that Rumsfeld's strategem has demonstrated a capacity to take down regimes quickly. The decapitation strike at the start of the war seems to have shattered the Iraqi command structure. It is increasingly unlikely that Saddam is alive. His statement today--the most important statement a leader can make to his army, bolstering them in the face of certain defeat by a foreign army--was delievered by his information minister. It wasn't even a recording of him giving it. If the Rumsfeld strategy can kill the enemy leaders within half an hour of the start of the war, it's no strategy to lightly malign. Hubris? It's a level of competence the Greeks would have called isotheos. Indeed, they used that word--"equal to the gods," it means--on men who achieved far less.

Some difficulties remain. Syria must be kept out of the war, and also Israel--Syria could plunge the region into chaos by attacking both US and Israeli lines, forcing a reply from both of us that would look united to the Arab world. There will be some cleanup work on these irregular forces that are harrassing supply lines. The war is nearing its close, though. Twenty thousand Marines are a force not easily resisted.
Calling Down the Thunder:

Marines have entered an Iraqi town in order to recover the body of one of their fellows, rumored to have been hanged in the town square. The government also revealed today that a rescue operation for the 507th Maintenance soldiers went badly, with 9 Marines killed and eight missing in the aftermath. Four bodies have been recovered from shallow graves, and each of these bodies is thought to be an American.

Better to have tried and failed, than not to have tried to rescue our soldiers. Yet the price is not forgotten. I have said we walk in the morning of the world, and in the tales of old often dead men speak, give advice. Here are some who speak to us now.