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December 08, 2008

Special Forces are called for in Iraq

Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ comments about transitioning to Special Forces are right on target (12/4, A-9, “Pentagon moves to step up military’s ‘irregular warfare’”). But they’re a bit late. Greece (’40s), Vietnam (’60s) and Desert Storm (’90s) all utilized Special (as opposed to conventional) Forces effectively while minimizing casualties.

Tanks and infantry did not win these campaigns; Special Forces did. In Desert Storm we could probably have had tanks in Baghdad in less than 48 hours and taken out Saddam Hussein on Day 1. But perhaps some military leaders were worried about a lengthy occupation with a lot of guerrilla warfare, which is exactly were we are today.

A timely withdrawal of conventional forces does not equate to “defeat.” Just what constitutes “victory,” anyway? Iraq and Afghanistan are not conventional wars. Transitioning to a Special Forces strategy will allow us to better assist Iraq in rebuilding, self-governing and joining the 21st century world community.

Andy Miller
Grandview

Comments

Pub 17

You can grow bananas on the moon. The question is whether you want to pay that much for bananas. Similarly, you can continue a hopeless fight as an invader against determined local fighters forever...

If you want to define "defeat" as being when the enemy takes your capital, we could of course never have been defeated by the North Vietnamese. So what? We left in such disarray that we had to take people out by helicopter.

Now we've been told to get out of Iraq by what was supposed to be our puppet regime, who, by the way, currently consists of the Shi'ia who are dispersing the Sunni and killing Kurds. The war is costing us our economic independence, since to finance it we've sold our future to the Red Chinese. And should anything but a fundamentalist victory occur in Iraq, Ahmadinejad can take the country back by letting the Revolutionary Guards start supplying the insurgents advanced weaponry again at any time.

You have a funny way of looking at victory,
Engineer.

Engineer

Pun 17
In the final stages of the war the opposition was the North Vietnam regulars. We did not get beaten, we just quit. You know, just as you and Obama waned to do some time ago in Iraq.

Pub 17

Our forces got their asses kicked by an "enemy" who was fighting for their home turf against invaders.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Do yo mean ONLY Army SF or do you mean elite services in general?
The average person does not understand the roles of each elite unit.
SF are already in country and have been from the start. US Army Ranger, Delta, Recon, AS ST, US Navy S.E.A.L, etc. all are deployed already in some capacity.
The question remains what defines a win?
We need to simply tighten up our own borders and immigration policies then stay out of other nation's business unless there is genocide or a true threat directly to us or an ally. Viet-vet is correct, we did get a win in Nam although our forces did what they were asked to do by LBJ.

viet-vet1970

Hold on ... we won the "campaign" in Vietnam? I missed that entirely.

And I don't recall us fighting in Greece in the 1940s. Even if we did ... the U.S. Army had no Special Forces at the time.

Plus ... didn't Desert Storm end in a self-imposed stalemate? I don't call that winning, myself.

The Army's Special Forces can be very effective in certain circumstances. But the biggest problem lies in the fact that they are "special." Our Special Forces soldiers are so carefully selected and so highly trained that we have only a few thousand on hand at any one time. We can't just decide to double our Special Forces without diluting their quality.

So ... sorry Andy ... the Special Forces can't solve our problems in Iraq.

 
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