As illustrated in the previous sections, in the long run, America cannot afford to continue the Iraq War. Thus, by default, an American defeat in Iraq is inevitable. The best result for the U. S. is to find some face-saving excuses to withdraw all forces from Iraq without acknowledging defeat. We have plenty of spin masters and a forever appeasing media that can call the defeat a victory and the vast majority of domestic audiences will believe it, even though the rest of world won’t be fooled.
However, Bush, our delusional Idiot-in-chief, paints himself into a corner by casting legitimate resistances as terrorists. You cannot negotiate with “terrorists” for a political settlement or a face-saving retreat. He is most likely to “stay the course” till it turns into a catastrophic military defeat. Here is why:
Most American forces are deployed in central Iraq, i.e. at least 200 miles from any nearest coast. There are three ground supply lines: one to the south from Kuwait; one to the north from Turkey; the third one to the west from Jordan. American forces also possess large airlift capacity to ship supplies by air into permanent air bases north of Baghdad.
From the map, we can see that our troops are not in an advantageous geographical position. Those ground supply routes are vulnerable, and our forces need a lot of supplies. For example, a M1 main battle tank has gas mileage equivalent to less than one mile per gallon and the tank needs maintenance and spare parts after two or three days of fighting.
It is not an accident that Iraqi attacks are concentrated along those supply lines, such as Samarra and Baqouba north of Baghdad, and Ramadi to the west, Triangle of Death to the south, etc. By the way, Falluja does not sit on any supply routes. Falluja has far less military value than afore-mentioned cities.
Assuming that we “stay the course” as Bush proclaims, the Resistance will grow stronger and American forces further weakened. Many Shiites now sit out of the conflict (except Sadrists). Sooner or later, Shiites will join the fight against American forces, for various reasons. One scenario is that, as the military balance further tilts toward the resistance, Shiites must join the fight in order to share post-war (after Americans kicked out) political power. Shiites cannot be perceived as passive, or worse, collaborators to a foreign invader. Another scenario is that, if the Iraqi election is held (doesn’t look likely right now) and Shiites legitimize their majority rule, then they will come out to fight to re-claim the sovereignty of a Shiite dominated Iraq with strong ties to Iran. Either way, Shiites will join the fight sooner or later.
Why did some countries support U. S. invasion of Iraq and send some symbolic forces to Iraq? They are certainly not interested in the fight. They all picked the quietest and easiest spots in Iraq, AFTER the fall of Baghdad, to station their small troops. It was very clear to the world, long before the first shot was fired, that Iraq will be defeated and occupied. Countries want to side with the winner. They want to gain favor with the U. S., get U. S. aids, and share a piece of the trophies from the Iraqi conquest. Now profits are dubious, but casualties are real. Country after country is pulling out of Iraq. Spain and five other Spanish-speaking countries are long gone. Thailand just departed. Hungary will be gone by the end of 2004. Ukraine has been slipping out quietly. The Dutch will be gone by March 2005. Poland announced plans to withdraw by the end of 2005.
In a year or two, it is not inconceivable that the resistance grows strong enough to cut off all ground supply lines completely. This is not fatal yet. U. S. can airlift supplies. But, the situation will be very bad for the world to see. At this turning point, will Bush decide to withdraw or to fight on? How will the rest of the world respond?
Yeah, countries tend to side with the winner, and it works both ways. After the ground supply routes cut, the world will perceive that the American defeat is inevitable or imminent. It then becomes even less likely for the U. S. to get any help. Who wants to join the losing side, especially as this war was a unilateral preemptive one (i.e. an aggression)?
No help is not the worst thing that can happen. On the eve of Iraqi invasion, Bush arrogantly declared to the world that U. S. has the rights to launch preemptive strikes against any country as it sees fit and no country in the world can tell America what to do or what not to do. With American ground forces trapped in central Iraq, will some countries then perceive it as an once-a-life-time opportunity to smash the army of an arrogant, aggressive, and unchecked super power, i.e. a threat to the world peace? At the critical moment, will any countries take advantage of the situation? Iran, France, Russia, China, just to name a few. All it may take is to provide the resistance with effective surface to air weapons to shut down the last escape route via air.
Will Bush eat the humble pie, admit defeat, and order an emergency retreat via air (abandoning all heavy weaponries) before it is too late? Will central Iraq become America’s Stalingrad?
My guess? Our “nightmare team” has a good chance to destroy our armed forces. With his usual, unshakable stubbornness (“strong leadership”), our Idiot-in-chief will “stay the course” – like Titanic did – till it hits the iceberg.