Paradox 4: Sometimes Doing Nothing Is the Best Reaction
This paradox is, in fact, a criticism of another cardinal principle of the occupation: the application of overwhelming force in order to teach insurgents (and prospective insurgents) that opposition of any sort will not be tolerated and, in any case, is hopeless. A typical illustration of this principle in practice was a January 2006 U.S. military report that went in part: "An unmanned U.S. drone detected three men digging a hole in a road in the area. Insurgents regularly bury bombs along roads in the area to target U.S. or Iraqi convoys. The three men were tracked to a building, which U.S. forces then hit with precision-guided munitions." As it turned out, the attack killed 12 members of a family living in that house, severely damaged six neighboring houses, and consolidated local opposition to the American presence.
Paradox 7: If a Tactic Works This Week, It Will Not Work Next Week; If It Works in This Province, It Will Not Work in the Next
The clearest expression of this principle lies in the history of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the anti-occupation weapon of choice among Iraqi resistance fighters. Throughout the war, the occupation military has conducted hundreds of armed patrols each week designed to capture suspected insurgents through house-to-house searches. The insurgency, in turn, has focused on deterring and derailing these patrols, using sniper attacks, rocket propelled grenades, and IEDs. At first, sniper attacks were the favored weapon of the insurgents, but the typical American response -- artillery and air attacks -- proved effective enough to set them looking for other ways to respond. IEDs then gained in popularity, since they could be detonated from a relatively safe distance. When the Americans developed devices to detect the electronic detonators, the insurgents developed a variety of non-electronic trigger devices. When the Americans upgraded their armor to resist the typical IED, the insurgents developed "shaped" charges that could pierce American armor.
And so it goes in all aspects of the war
Monday, October 16, 2006
The Paradox of Iraq