Lessons of the Iraq War

(Commentary) - Victor Davis Hanson Why did the Iraqis fold so abruptly? The answer is at least partly generic, having to do with the Arab way of war in general. In Arabs at War, Kenneth M. Pollack analyzes the wider military culture that has brought defeat after defeat to modern Arab armies. Conscript soldiers are poorly paid, housed, and trained. Tribalism, not merit, is more likely to govern the promotion of officers. Most commanders have little knowledge of flexible tactical doctrine. Instead, outdated Soviet ideas still infect the thinking of the few generals who have studied military theory. Weapons are often poorly maintained. As American soldiers reported, Iraqi artillery was inaccurate and slow-firing, small-arms fire was poorly directed, and armored vehicles and tanks were in obviously inferior condition. Pressuring Israel to "take risks for peace" has long been seen by our State Department as a means of assuaging Arab humiliation after military defeat - almost as if the amazing military prowess of Western armies required some kind of psychological compensation in the form of political concessions.

2003-06-05 00:00:00

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