Unfortunately, media attention on Iraq rarely finds its way to the root of the problem. However, an AP article from early October gives a more clear picture of the true nature of the fighting there.
BAGHDAD, Iraq – The U.S. military is fighting the most complex guerrilla war in its history, with 140,000 American soldiers trained for conventional warfare flailing against a thicket of insurgent groups with competing aims and no supreme leader.
The three dozen or so guerrilla bands agree on little beyond forcing the Americans out of Iraq.
In other U.S. wars, the enemy was clear. In Vietnam, a visible leader – Ho Chi Minh – led a single army fighting to unify the country under socialism. But in Iraq, the disorganized insurgency has no single commander, no political wing and no dominant group.
U.S. troops can’t settle on a single approach to fight groups whose goals and operations vary. And it’s hard to sort combatants from civilians in a chaotic land where large parts of some communities support the insurgents and others are too afraid to risk their lives to help foreigners.
Can we win? Maybe, but not without an overhaul of current strategy.