Growing support among Iraqis for the armed resistance against the US-led occupation has led top US military officers to acknowledge that the US is headed for defeat in Iraq. According to the May 9 Washington Post, this “view is far from universal, but it is spreading, and being voiced publicly for the first time”.
The Post reported that a “senior general at the Pentagon said he believes the United States is already on the road to defeat”.
“It is doubtful we can go on much longer like this”, the general, who asked not be named, said. “The American people may not stand for it — and they should not.”
His comments were echoed by US Army Colonel Paul Hughes, who last year was the first director of strategic planning for the US occupation authority in Baghdad and who is currently involved in formulating the Pentagon’s Iraq policy.
Hughes told the Post that the US military in Iraq was headed toward the same sort of strategic defeat that it had suffered in Vietnam. “I lost my brother in Vietnam”, said Hughes. “I promised myself, when I came on active duty, that I would do everything in my power to prevent that [sort of strategic defeat] from happening again. Here I am, 30 years later, thinking we will win every fight and lose the war, because we don’t understand the war we’re in.”
Many senior US officers, the Post reported, “are worried by evidence that the United States is losing ground with the Iraqi public”. It cited a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll conducted in March which found that about two-thirds of Arab Iraqis want the US-led occupation forces to leave Iraq immediately.
“In Iraq, we are rapidly losing the support of the middle, which will enable the insurgency to persist practically indefinitely until our national resolve is worn down”, an unnamed senior US military intelligence officer told the Post.
Major General Charles Swannack, the commander of the US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, told the Post he believed the US occupation forces were capable of winning any specific battle with Iraqi resistance fighters. But when asked whether he believed the US was losing the war, he responded: “I think strategically, we are.”