Think the Balkans, Rwanda or Darfur, but with this grim difference: the United States won’t be able to stand back from the slaughter and wring its hands in Iraq. It is implicated up to its elbows already, and there’s more to come.And if you thought that was bad:
As respected Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld pointed out when I called him at Hebrew University in Jerusalem the other day, the notion that Americans can teach Iraqis the brutal arts of counterinsurgency is at best improbable. “I think that this whole idea of Americans training Arabs is so silly I cannot take it seriously,” said Van Creveld, whose new book, “The Changing Face of War” (Presidio), will be out early next year.
If winning hearts and minds is supposed to be part of the plan, then the U.S. troops just don’t have the means. They don’t speak Arabic, they don’t understand the culture, they don’t share the faith, they don’t know the history. Van Creveld doesn’t mince his words: “The American military have proved totally incompetent.”
The United States, grabbing here and there for a politically correct model to control the chaos, has only engendered more bloodshed. Most Iraqis want us gone, according to the polls, and the U.S. trainers giving instruction in combat techniques eventually will see that knowledge turned against us by their students. “All they really teach is how to fight Americans,” says Van Creveld. “How stupid can they be?”