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Monday, July 28, 2003

Iraqi Occupation: How Long Will it Last?
As we settle into an occupation of the cradle of civilization, our troops are coming under frequent ambush and friendly Iraqis and infrastructure are also being targeted. How long can we expect this to continue? Why does it happen? The answer to the second question is the key to the first.
Why are some Iraqis resisting our occupation to the extent that they are using guerrilla tactics against us and against peaceful Iraqis? It is because no one surrendered. We have destroyed the Ba'ath regime but they never admitted that they were destroyed and they never called upon their followers to submit. They simply stopped being in control and left their people to decide for themselves whether to surrender or not. Those with the most to lose, and those with the hottest tempers have not decided to submit and without orders to submit they feel justified in continuing to resist.

The end of the second world war came about with Germany and Japan surrendering formally, robbing any resistors of any hope of legitimacy to their resistance. If we did not drop two nuclear weapons on Japan and instead invaded, then it is possible that we could have destroyed all semblance of social order and political cohesiveness among our enemy. The emperor may have been killed and the government's ability to control the army destroyed. Without orders to surrender, many in the army would have carried on the war until they were all killed. As evidence for this theory, recall that on many of the islands we bypassed, and even on some we took in the war, individual Japanese soldiers who were isolated and never received word of the emperor's surrender continued fighting and resisting up to the 1970's!

By destroying Saddam Hussein's ability to control his people before we controlled him, his people are at moral liberty to decide individually whether to submit to us or not. Ironically, it was the superb brilliance of our military success that has shattered Iraqi political organization so completely that no internal authority was able to re-establish itself in order to restore some semblance of social order.

But this is not necessarily bad. The only down side is that we will be faced with guerrilla fighting for some time. My second question was, how long will this guerrilla fighting go on? My prediction is that we can expect it to continue for two more generations, and it will only end then if we systematically destroy the social standing at all levels of those who resist. That is, all gangs, all established families, all groupings of people have social organization. Powerful families in all societies have power that reaches a long way. We must systematically punish, ridicule, and reduce their power if they are not enthusiastic supporters of a new, democratic, pro-western regime. We must kill the patriarchs of these clans and their heirs, both blood and appointed. We must do everything we can to encourage new power within the society that is centered on a pro-American policy.

The Hatfields and McCoys just signed an armistice recently over a family feud that has lasted over a hundred years. Iraqi resistance will easily last at least that long unless we kill the leaders of the resisting social circles and reduce their members to a subservient status. We should not be queasy about this. They are the ones enabling the murder of our soldiers and innocent Iraqis, and destruction of the nation's wealth and oil industry. They are not blameless and until they are gone, we can expect continued bloodshed.