The Warrior Scholar

This is a blog about current events - a way to provide a constructive outlet for some of the thoughts I have on the issues of the day. It's also a way to generate some discussion and to get my ideas out into the world. Enjoy!

Name:
Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

I'm a doctoral candidate in Virginia, with a love of history and politics. My dog is a great companion, and my family always keeps me in good spirits.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Stray voltage for the day

Beginning to get back into the swing of things academically - terrorism and politics being the issues of the day. The bombing in Jakarta (as reported in the BBC) today appears to be an attempt to influence the upcoming Australian elections. This bodes poorly for the upcoming American elections in November. Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Ladin's deputy, released a videotape today claiming that the United States was "facing defeat" (as reported in Al-Jazeera) in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Interesting perspective...let's see...both countries are on-line for elections, the people that the Islamofascists are killing the most of are Muslim (which is just simply destroying Al-Quida's popularity in Iraq and Saudi Arabia), and the number of insurgents and terrorists that have been killed in Iraq is being reported by the StrategyPage is being around 30,000. Generally, the Iraqi and foreign fighters that decide to fight it out with the Americans and their coalition allies end up either dead, in the hospital, or imprisoned. al-Zqwahri is willing to send lots of others to their doom, but I don't see him nominating himself for any missions. The US is actually suffering unprecedentedly low numbers of casualties (as reported by James Dunnigan), with relatively few numbers of troops killed in relation to the number of overall casualties. It is a testiment to both the skill of the troops and the rapid learning and application of technology that is providing an edge in combat. Lieutenant General David Petraeus is working on training more Iraqi soldiers to take on the fight and secure their own country, but it will still take time. We've now got about 200,000 Iraqis conducting security operations, in addition to the 175,000 coalition troops we have in country. The Iraqi numbers indicate a capability a bit more than is really there, because they are not fully trained. Training takes time - we train our officers for 18 years before they get to take command of a battalion (750 men), and Petraeus is trying to get 200,000 trained in a couple of years. The US will have to be there for at least five more years (and maybe longer) to ensure that Iraq doesn't backslide into chaos. The US and NATO have been in the Balkans for the past ten years, and that zone of conflict has nothing on Iraq. Between terrorism to pressure allies, and insurgents who keep deciding to challenge the Americans in combat (and then die), the world is a bit unsettled now. Now for the good news - the United States has over a quarter million deployed troops on battlefields around the world, and they are doing an amazing job. We're lucky to have Americans that will fight for what they believe is right.

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