The Boston Globe this morning, front page headline, “US facing guerrilla war, general says.” General John Abizaid described in a press conference yesterday at the Pentagon US troops facing organized opposition, including surface-to-air missiles and targeted assassinations.
At a previously reported cost to US taxpayers of $3.9 billion per month of occupation, and a death toll yesterday of 146 and rising, this situation is becoming more, not less difficult.
This is not surprising, tragically. The best networks win. We had the best warmaking network–much better than Iraq’s third-world, authoritarian military (and of course, without WMD). Now, however, the network struggle switches to peacemaking and economy-making. We don’t have much of a peacemaking or economy-making network in Iraq–and no good plans, it seems, for how to do so. Neither does the opposition, but for them to keep us tied up, all they need to do is destabilize our construction of a peacekeeping network and economy–which is pretty easy to do. For example, yesterday’s killing of a pro-US Iraqi mayor seems likely to discourage other high profile support for the US among Iraqi politicians.
Making war is relatively easy–it just requires destroying or destabilizing an ecosystem. Making peace and economic progress is very difficult, and requires establishing and nurturing an ecosystem.