Thursday, December 08, 2005

Winning A Won War

In chess, the term "won game" refers to a position where one player has a decided advantage over the other such that -- barring any mistakes on his part -- he can force checkmate on his opponent. In other words, it's his game to lose. Of course, players do make mistakes and won games are often lost, at least at the amateur level. At the level of play of international grandmasters, however, won games are a foregone conclusion, and such games usually end with the resignation of the other player. But not always. One of the worst blunders that can be committed in chess is to resign a won game.

In Iraq, the military position of the US is that of a won war. While the insurgency may continue for many more years to come, the insurgents cannot drive the US out of Iraq through force of arms. Only by way of a major blunder by the US -- withdrawing before final victory has been secured -- can the insurgents hope to defeat the US.

Politically, the situation is somewhat murkier. Perhaps in retrospect history will judge that victory in Iraq was assured with the January 2005 elections. More likely, I think, the upcoming election next week -- if successful -- will prove to be the political watershed in Iraq. With heavy participation from all major ethnic and religious groups, the election of the first democratic government in the Arab world will deliver a blow to the insurgents from which they will likely not recover. With the increasing size and capabilities of the Iraqi security forces, along with continued support from the US and its allies, the insurgency will in time be crushed by an ancient and proud people yearning to breathe free.

Victory in Iraq has not yet been fully secured. Many difficulties remain, and there will be more of the loss and suffering that comes with war. But withdrawing today, or in six months, or on any kind of schedule driven by political expediency, will spell almost certain defeat. And the US won't be the only one to lose.

Update
A view from the ground in Iraq: Failed War?
(hat tip: Mudville Gazette)

2 Comments:

Blogger opotho said...

Good post enigma.

I only realized late in the game what some of you may have been hip to in the 90's - that our enemy had long ago grasped the reality that "only by way of a major blunder by the US -- withdrawing before final victory has been secured" could they hope to defeat the US in any theatre. I credit them for that degree of astuteness, though they be wrong in the end.

Catch Rumsfeld on Jim Lehrer's 'Newshour' tonight? He was in top form, at "the level of play of an international grandmaster".

Winning a won war, indeed.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Enigma said...

Thank you opotho. I missed him on TV but I read some highlights of what he said online. Good stuff, as always.

4:51 PM  

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