Victor Davis Hanson discusses the end game in the destruction of Saddam's regime: the fight for Baghdad.
And herein lies the problem: We are suddenly supposedly at war not with tens of thousands of veteran conscripts in the desert, but only with 50,000 or so tribal thugs who owe everything to Saddam, killers who have everything to lose with his defeat and nothing to gain with a humane government in his place. Ensconced in Baghdad — in private homes, mosques, hospitals, and tunnels — with access to biological weapons and perhaps a few Scuds — in theory they will be hard to evict and harder to hit amid women and children as they strike from afar. They are, in other words, analogous to the Taliban gangsters in Kabul or Kandahar — only more numerous, savvier, and perhaps with a few missiles and lots of germs.
Davis is optimistic that Baghdad can be sealed off and then slowly parts of it can be sliced off from Saddam's control with fairly low casualties. Whether that is the case depends heavily on how many of Saddam's core fighters stay loyal to him and for how long. One question I have is whether, once Baghdad is sealed off, will the US military be able to maintain a large enough constant surveillance in the skys above the city to be able to instantly spot a Scud that is being pulled out of a building for launch. My guess is that they can. There is the additional problem that Saddam could start releasing germ warfare agents locally which would kill many civilians.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2002 November 23 09:36 AM Military War, Rumours Of War|