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We sent a soldier when we should have sent a cop

Cernig links to an article in the Observer highlighting the misgivings that Army officials are having about our effectiveness at combating the Iraqi insurgency.
In a bleak analysis, senior officers described the fighters they were facing in Iraq and Afghanistan 'as smart, agile and cunning'.

In Vietnam, the US was eventually defeated by a well-armed, closely directed and highly militarised society that had tanks, armoured vehicles and sources of both military production and outside procurement. What is more devastating now is that the world's only superpower is in danger of being driven back by a few tens of thousands of lightly armed irregulars, who have developed tactics capable of destroying multimillion-dollar vehicles and aircraft.

By contrast, the US military is said to have been slow to respond to the challenges of fighting an insurgency. The senior officers described the insurgents as being able to adapt rapidly to exploit American rules of engagement and turn them against US forces, and quickly disseminate ways of destroying or disabling armoured vehicles.

The military is also hampered in its attempts to break up insurgent groups because of their 'flat' command structure within collaborative networks of small groups, making it difficult to target any hierarchy within the insurgency.

Reading this got me thinking about my reactions to promos for Ted Koppel's special "Our Children's Children's War". I have not seen the program and can't comment on it directly but my first thoughts on seeing the ads were "great, more porn for the Long War crowd".

This has been something that has always irked me about the Bush administration and its supporters. They always try to control the debate about the war in Iraq by framing it as part of the larger war on terror. But few, if any, will ever point out that that is only the case because we made it so. We removed Saddam from power and by doing so, opened up the country to Al-Qaeda and any other terrorist organization looking to hone their deadly tradecraft in a real world laboratory. And while our fighting men and women are trying to tamp down on the bloodshed in the Sunni/Shia fight for supremacy, Bin Laden gets to celebrate another birthday free.

I have never been comfortable with characterizing the fight against terrorism as a "war" to begin with. Perhaps because for the most part this "war" will be fought not by soldiers on some distance battlefield but by police and intelligence professionals on the streets of cities throughout the world (case in point). And while there are times when a military response is called for, to me, our misadventure in Iraq best illustrates the folly of trying to send a solider to do a policemen's job.

(Filed at State of the Day)