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The War Nerd July 25, 2002
Iraq 2: Here Comes the Dumb-Ass Sequel
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email
Page 2 of 3
The leaked war plan, calling for a classic massed firepower attack from all directions, comes from Tommy Franks, who gave you the big Afghan plan. There are a lot of whispers leaked from the Pentagon about Franks. The basic story is that he's a plodder, a classic three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust offensive coach. There's another plan floating around that's more "imaginative." This one comes from Gen. Wayne Downing, who ran a lot of the special ops in Afghanistan and sees the Iraq problem as part of the counterterrorism campaign. He doesn't want it to be a big conventional war. He wants to use special forces, proxy fighters, local anti-Saddam forces -- irregular warfare, in short, backed up by occasional smart strikes directed by a few laser-designating Rangers and Delta guys on the ground.

But Downing just resigned. So much for doing it the smart, quiet way. So it looks like they're going to do it the big, loud, stupid way. I mean, which way sounds more like Dubya to you? Loud and stupid is just his kind of war. And it looks like he's gonna have it his way, bigger than a Greek wedding, with a quarter of a million troops, bombs thicker than grass seeds and leaflets dropped on the Shiites and the Kurds telling them to rise, rise, RISE! up against the bogeyman, ol' Soddom (as Dubya's dad used to call him, just to rile'im.)

But a lot of those methods won't work the second time around. That's what creeps me out about the whole plan: it's based on the notion that you can use the same tricks on the same people and still expect them to work.

The Gulf states, for starters: they don't want any part of it. They know what Cheney and Bush don't: the Emirs are holding onto power very shakily and they don't want more angry young men milling around, looking for a traitor to shoot. They're too good a target. If we blast Iraq, the crowds are going to be out in every street shooting off those damn AKs again, and places like Qatar are going to wobble like a trailer tire on a Caddy.

And the Saudis -- they hate the idea too. The Saudis are sitting on some very scary people -- not just all the Palestinian expats who run their air conditioners and desalinization plants, but the Islam-crazy little Saudi boys who want jihad now.

There's something you have to remember: it wasn't poor Palestinians who took over those jets on Sept. 11. 15 out of 19 of the hijackers were Saudis. Nobody seems to notice how weird that is. If the US has been nice to any Arab state, it's been Saudi Arabia. We coddled those fuckers for 40 years -- and they're the ones who aimed the jets at us. They weren't "the dispossessed" or any of that shit. They were rich Saudi boys. They weren't pissed about Israel -- they were pissed at us for stepping on holy ground, which is what they consider that expensive desert they live in.

(Just like fucking Bakersfield. Why does oil always grow under the deadest, hottest, driest real estate on the planet? I swear: go to Bakersfield in the summer and you think you're in Riyadh. Hey, it just occurred to me there's this other connection: religious crazies! You go to Bakersfield and I swear everybody you meet is a crazy hardshell Baptist. Just like Riyadh! It's too fucking weird.

The Kurds, for one thing, ain't gonna get played again. They announced it last week: the Grand Kurd or whatever said, "You know when you told us to rise up back in the Gulf War? An' how you said you'd be right there behind us if we did? Well, uh, you musta got lost on the way, because the Republican Guards showed up and started gassing us and bombing us and shooting our babies and YOU DIDN'T DO SHIT, YOU GODDAMN LIARS!"

Which is absolutely true: the US Army dropped all those leaflets in Kurdish promising help, and not one little bit of help came. Same with the Shiites -- we did our humble American best to make sure the poor fuckers, who have about the most miserable history in the world, got another episode of Hell on Earth. They rose up; we took pictures from our recon satellites and laughed at 'em while they got slaughtered.

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Gary Brecher
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Email Gary at, but, more importantly, buy his book.

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