Thursday, June 12, 2014

FOR SALE: Iraqi Army rifles....

....never fired....only dropped once.
 

The pride of the 10th Annual Baghdad Jaycees Goat Roast and Labor Day Parade has proven they aren't worth a damn when it comes to defending their country.

Observations of a non-military man:  What is it about middle eastern / Arab armies that makes them such lousy soldiers?  I've read that the Egyptian Army fought fairly well at the opening of the Yom Kippur War with Israel in 1973, but other than that they seem to fold up like a card table when faced with anyone actually shooting at them. Snappy parade performers, lousy fighters.

After investing a decade of our time, thousands of American lives, and hundreds of billions of dollars helping get Iraq to the point they can become a self-sufficient, stable, law-abiding citizen of the world, it seems they can't even stand up to the first hint of determined opposition they faced.

Shades of the Fall of Saigon!  Al Qaeda affiliated rebels have seized control of the northern city of Mosul while the Iraqi Army was loading up and making a run for it.  

Now the insurgents are even in control of a formidable armored force left by the Americans for and now abandoned by the Iraqis.  Emboldened, the insurgents are now marching towards Baghdad while the Iraqi Army is melting away.

It's a sad situation.  On the one hand I feel sorry for all the downtrodden in the region, all the women who are treated little better than cattle, the little girls who are denied an education, etc, but the bottom line is it seems beyond our ability, anyone's ability, to bring them into the 21st 20th 19th Century.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all the rest are simply from a different branch of the Homo Sapien family tree.  Our values are irreconcilable, our brains wired differently.  We can build them all the sewer treatment plants they could possibly use, but they're still gonna crap on the sidewalk.  The only reason we have anything to do with them at all is because of a freak of geography....they're sitting atop an ocean of oil.

I say we learn to live without their black gold, keep far, far away from them all, and let them stew in their own juices.  F___ 'em.

S


18 comments:

  1. It took really until World War I for the American army to be much of an effective fighting force. So give them another century or two to get their stuff together.

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    1. OK, but not a day past 2214 AD. My patience does have its limits.

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  2. Afghanistan has never been conquered by any other nation. The British and Russians failed, and we did, too. I agree with your thesis completely.

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  3. Tough to fight when you don't really know what you are fighting for. Unstable governments are going to have an unstable army. But yeah, we should probably stop trying to help these people when we don't really know who the heck they are.

    We do need to support Israel, they know where to crap.

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  4. I realise you don’t intend this to be taken too seriously, but one of the main answers to your question “What is it about middle eastern / Arab armies that makes them such lousy soldiers?” is ‘internal division’. In European and North American countries we’ve had regular, standing armies for over a century, and these countries – for the most part – use them to fight external enemies. In Britain we haven’t had a civil war since the 17th century. Soldiers in the British Army have a clear idea of what their country is, and that their fellow-soldiers aren’t plotting against them to make a putsch.
    The problems that we keep seeing in the Middle East are largely due to tribal divisions that don’t match the national boundaries that were created by colonial powers – the Ottoman Empire, the Napoleonic Empire, the British Empire, and so on. These countries don’t, for the most part, have a history stretching back more than about a century, and are composed of factions who are engaged in power struggles against each other.

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    1. Simon, you are so right about the fake boundaries and tribes. I forgot about that when I originally posted.

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    2. So true Simon. The boundaries of many Arab/Persian countries established by the victorious WWI powers had no relation to actual tribal loyalties on the ground, and Iraq was probably the most absurd example. That being the case, why do we keep trying to make all these factions come together to form sovereign nations? Should we encourage Sunniland, Shialand, Kurdistan, etc? Why do we keep trying to establish and train national armies when there is little chance they will stand and fight an enemy who is likely to be one of their own tribes?

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  5. I read recently that oil deposits recently discovered in Texas are larger than the Saudi oil fields. I don't know if this is true, and it would certainly be bad for the environment, but if countries stopped buying Arab oil those countries would sink back into the sand because they have nothing else to offer.

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    1. Essentially true Steve. It is said that more new oil has been discovered in the Permian Basin (West Texas) than has been produced there since day 1. The good news is it's there. The bad news....it's recoverable by fracking. They need to make safe fracking a Manhatten Project type national priority.

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  6. Simon hit the nail on the head.

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  7. Love your quote! One of my favorites from the movie [Full Metal Jacket] about another lost American War, proving that people do NOT learn from history. Or, if there is a lot of money to be made, they simply don't care.

    fin

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  8. What chaps me is that when the Iraqi Army folds, the insurgent Sunnis take over all the equipment supplied by the good ol' US of A. Sunnis snapping up U.S. grenade launchers and Humvees. What a mess.

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  9. I agree with Stephen...if we don't need their oil, they'll sink into non-importance. As much as Reagan liked to boast about the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall falling because he said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!", the real reason the communist East fell to pieces was because the world was flush in oil and gas and it was dirt cheap (wasn't it about 93 cents/gallon then).

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    1. Exactly! Plus the fact that they imploded because of the the bloated military.

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    2. As Bill noted, we found out after the USSR imploded that they were spending about 35% of their GDP trying to keep up with us militarily, while we were spending less than 5% of our GDP on our military. We had guns AND butter, they had only guns. We spent them into the ground.

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  10. The previous comments have covered most things, tribalism, oil, etc.
    My son spent 3 deployments over there, one in Iraq and two in Afghanistan as a Army Ranger, at the sharp end of the stick. He felt the methods we were using there, military-wise, would have no lasting effect. We have no national experience with civil wars that center around religion. Turns out he was correct. The concept of jihad, religious war, does not resonate with us, we don't understand it.
    Another minor point: I don't think the fall of Saigon is a good example. I was there for two years prior to that, 66-68. We were backing a corrupt government, against a foe that truly believed in what they were fighting for. We were there because of the lingering belief in the 'domino theory', if South Viet Nam fell to communism, the surround countries would also. The reality is today Viet Nam is edging towards capitalism, and all that entails. We just set that back a couple decades by our backing the south's regime
    .

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