Two noteworthy articles on Iraq have come out in the last couple of days.
The first is by Seymour Hersh, the who uncovered the My Lai and Abu Ghraib scandals.
A key element of the drawdown plans, not mentioned in the President’s public statements, is that the departing American troops will be replaced by American airpower. Quick, deadly strikes by U.S. warplanes are seen as a way to improve dramatically the combat capability of even the weakest Iraqi combat units. The danger, military experts have told me, is that, while the number of American casualties would decrease as ground troops are withdrawn, the over-all level of violence and the number of Iraqi fatalities would increase unless there are stringent controls over who bombs what. (New Yorker)
The second is by the Israeli military historian Martin Van Creveld:
What had to come, has come. The question is no longer if American forces will be withdrawn, but how soon — and at what cost. In this respect, as in so many others, the obvious parallel to Iraq is Vietnam. (Forward)
Van Creveld incidently is a strong proponent of the thesis that the state as an institution is in decline. The situation in Iraq, and not least the role of private military companies there, seems like a significant confirmation of his thesis.