In response to Alathon (#19)
Still, what has the world come to where "months" is considered a long time for a war? People have no patience... I blame microwave popcorn and MTV!
In response to Alathon (#19)
Alathon wrote:
Deadron wrote:
It's been 5 days, and things are moving along pretty fast. You were looking for a 2 day war, maybe? Time was, wars took years. This will take weeks or, at worst, a month+. Extremely fast war (probably shorter than the first Gulf War).

Bush has apparently admitted that it is going to take longer than he predicted, going towards several months.

There is a saying that "All battle plans are useless after the first shot is fired."

Some reality bites:

Bush actually said on day 1 of the war, "This will be longer and more difficult than some are predicting." Whatever they thought internally, it wasn't the administration that was predicting two day wars and the like, that seemed to be coming out of the media, though it certainly looks like it will take longer than the administration initially thought.

Expectations are harsh here. In a matter of days the US/British/Australian forces have taken a huge amount of ground. I heard, though I don't know how accurate it is, that this is the most ground taken in this period of time in US military history. Some of their problems are actually related to how fast it's going, as it is hard to establish supply lines for people who are moving 100+ miles in a day. If it weren't for the initial silly concept that this would be a two day war (even Afghanistan, which was extremely short, was a matter of months, not days), people would be writing stories about how amazingly fast the war is going.

Given the current apparent situation of massing forces (and, I suspect, chemical weapons) in Baghdad, combined with spreading out a few key forces in other cities to keep the "annoyance factor" fighting spread out so the US can't move too fast, I revise my estimate from around four weeks to somewhere from six weeks to three months. Still very short for a war, but worrisome for keeping civilian casualties down.

If it weren't for trying to keep the infrastructure of Iraq in place and trying to avoid civilian casualties, this would be a much, much shorter war. If, as some have claimed we were doing, we *actually* "bombed them into the stone age" without regard for casualties or infrastructure, this would be done pretty quickly. And it would be a much more bloody affair.

My biggest concern currently is the stashes of clean, new chemical weapon protection suits we're finding, but without finding chemical weapons. Given that these suits have clearly been distributed recently (a bunch were found in a hospital that the Iraqi military had recently taken over), they are intended for this war. And since our forces don't use chemical weapons, for the Iraqis to take the time and effort to distribute them must mean they are expecting to use them on their end.

Since we haven't encountered large caches of chemical weapons, this tends to support the idea that all such weaponry has been pulled back into Baghdad, possibly for a massive final confrontation. The Baghdad fight is a worrisome thing indeed.

To be honest, I was hoping they didn't have the weapons we've been saying they have. To my mind, that justification wasn't necessary anyway (though it would certainly be a big problem for Bush if they didn't find any), and it would mean that many fewer people would die. However, the discovery of all these chemical suits kind of throws that out the window.

My next hope is that this is a bit of propaganda warfare...that these suits have intentionally been placed so we'd find them, and perhaps decide not to try and take over Baghdad, but that they don't actually have large amounts of such weaponry stockpiled there.

That's grasping at straws, but one can hope, eh?
In response to Deadron (#21)
It's funny, I keep talking to people who say, "Weren't we done with Afghanistan in about a week?" That's honestly how they remember it now... and when we're done with Iraq and the next conflict comes, people will probably say, "This isn't going to be another Baghdad. This could take months!"
In response to Hedgemistress (#22)
Hedgemistress wrote:
It's funny, I keep talking to people who say, "Weren't we done with Afghanistan in about a week?" That's honestly how they remember it now... and when we're done with Iraq and the next conflict comes, people will probably say, "This isn't going to be another Baghdad. This could take months!"

The last year is a pretty incredible lesson in how the process of war memory tends to work:

1. There is some kind of long drawn out process of saber-rattling. In WWII, the whole "maybe Hitler will stop if we let him have one more country" affair. In Afghanistan, the "Taliban needs to hand over Bin Laden" thing that lasted for a while. In Iraq, the UN/inspections stuff.

2. The public around the world is against going to war. There is usually lots of "This will just go away if we do nothing!" sort of stuff, no matter how much proof there is to the contrary. (Don't forget "The Taliban has nothing to do with Bin Laden, why are we fighting these innocent bystanders! And hey, Bin Laden probably didn't do it!")

3. War is declared.

4. People in the involved countries switch to supporting the war for their side.

5. There are initial complications which lead to dire predictions (with the inevitable "But we thought they were going to lay down and let us walk in!" bit).

6. The war takes however long it takes. There are ongoing protests against it.

7. The war ends, time passes, and one of two things happens:

a) If the war went well, people start remembering how it was a widely supported action all along. Amazingly, I recently heard a knowledgable person say "Of course the entire world community was behind the war in Afghanistan, as that was clearly necessary. But this is different..." Um, excuse me? Yeah we had more UN support, but the world as a whole was calling the US bloody murderers for going into Afghanistan, and every single bullet that missed its mark was getting a story written about it.

b) If the war went badly, people start remembering how they opposed it. For example, the people against the Vietnam war were the young, right? Their parents were the knee-jerk war supporters, right? Well, no. The young largely supported Vietnam, and the largest single group opposed to it was older women.

I mention all this not only because it's interesting and it's easy to observe in last year and a half, but because we should all be aware of how these factors impact each of us, the world community, and the press. We will misremember things in our favor (that's probably a gift from evolution), and it always feels like "*This* time around things are going to hell in a brand new way" when, actually, the same set of events pretty much happens every time around, throughout history.
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