Sayonara Saddam

The Telegraph has an interesting piece on
defections among high-ranking members of the Iraqi government
. So much for the idea that everyone in Iraq is willing to fight to the death for Saddam.

It’s a matter of basic human nature. Most people in Iraq are not so stupid as to think that Saddam’s a nice guy. They all know that the secret police are the only thing that keeps him in power, and they know that the coming of the American military isn’t all that far off. So while Bonoir and McDermott get the Potemkin village treatment, the rest of Iraq is waiting to join up with the Americans.

There seems to be a fundamental belief by the anti-war crowd that the Iraqi military are intensely loyal to Saddam and are willing to fight it out for him in the streets of Baghdad. Based on what we know of the situation inside Iraq, that’s not all that likely of a scenario. More likely is the vast majority of the Iraqi army either dropping their weapons with a speed that would impress the French or moving over to the opposition side and fighting for the winning team.

It’s the same argument as was made in the Afghanistan campaign – that the people would fight in the streets of Kabul, that everyone loves the current regime, and that the US would be drawn into another Vietnam-style bloodbath. Except we handily won, the Afghani people embraced us as liberators, and the Taliban and al-Qaeda only put up a real fight in a few places, and even then we inflicted massive casualties on their side with few on ours.

Iraq won’t be that much different. It will be marked by our use of precision weapons which will eliminate Saddam’s ability to challenge our control of the air. We’ll see the Iraq military surrendering and defecting in droves, and we’ll see the collapse of Saddam’s control over the country. If there is urban fighting, it will be short and decisive as the partisans of Saddam’s regime will find them fighting against well-trained troops who have a superior technological advantage and much better training. We’ll find that the Iraqi people will more than likely welcome us with open harms (and hungry mouths – expect a major humanitarian airlift operation to be a hallmark of this war as it was in Afghanistan), and we’ll find that this operation will be anything but another Vietnam.

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