BALLOTS, NOT BULLETS, will see off Iraq's Islamofascist terrorists, John Keegan writes:
Those who supported the decision to go to war against Saddam Hussein in March 2003 may not now remember why they did so.Read the rest.
I supported the war and, given the emergence of similar circumstances, would do so again. Saddam's refusal to satisfy the outside powers that he no longer possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) justified the use of force against him.
It is more than likely that the proven existence of WMD in the hands of rogue rulers will require force to be used again. Both America and Israel are clearly contemplating military action against Iran, which scarcely bothers to disguise that it has embarked on the production of weapons-grade uranium and already has missile delivery systems.
Yet it is not so much the spectre of WMD that prompted my espousal of the war two years ago but the likely outcome of the war itself. In the teeth of those who warned of hard fighting and heavy casualties, of a Stalingrad-on-Tigris, I took the view that the war would be won quickly and cheaply at little cost in lives to either side.
As things turned out, those who made that judgment were proved right. Iraq's armed forces were demolished and Saddam's regime overthrown, at a cost of 150 coalition battle casualties, in a campaign that lasted only three weeks. Regarded solely as a military operation, the Iraq war of 2003 was a scintillating success. It is the aftermath that has sowed doubt among those who supported the decision to risk an attack.
Casualties among the Western forces have risen. Casualties among Iraqis have risen even higher and continue to rise; not, however, for the reasons foreseen by the anti-war party. It is not conventional force or conventional defence tactics that end lives, but something quite different, which may be called large-scale terrorism, largely by car bombing, suicide bombing and the assassination of Iraqis who co-operate with Westerners.
This is not a new development. What is going on in Iraq resembles the second Palestinian intifada, though it is more intensive and better organised. It is also more difficult to counter, since the Western forces lack the detailed intelligence to which the Israeli security forces have access.