Teeth in the Jellyfish
By WILLIAM S. LIND
"When Iraqi Prime Minister al-Kerensky sent his "army" to fight the Mahdi Army in Basra, President Bush called it "a defining moment." It turned out instead to be a confirming moment. It confirmed that there is no state in Mesopotamia.
One of the most common signs that America's leadership is clueless about 4GW is the language they use. Fourth Generation war has few if any defining moments. Nor does it have "turning points," another common Bushism. In his testimony on Tuesday, General David Petraeus revealed the limits on his own grasp of 4GW when he said, "We've got to continue. We have our teeth into the jugular, and we need to keep it (sic) there." 4GW opponents have no jugular. 4GW is war of the capillaries. What we have our teeth into in Iraq is a jellyfish.......
American policy proved even more reckless than that of Mr. al-Maliki. To win in Iraq, we must see a state re-emerge. That means we should stay out of the way of anyone with the potential to recreate a state. Muqtada al-Sadr is at or near the head of the list. The al-Maliki "government" isn't even on it.
So what did we do? Why, we went to war against al-Sadr on behalf of al-Maliki, of course. Our leadership cannot grasp one of the most basic facts about 4GW, namely that the splintering of factions makes it more difficult to generate a state. Should we have the bad luck to "win" this latest fight and destroy the Mahdi Army, we will move not toward but further away from that goal......"