Out4Blood & El_Cap's Rise of Nations Strategy

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Bad strategy in action
Yahoo has a story on the theory that Saddam might be behind the insurgency in Iraq.
The recent string of high-profile attacks on U.S. and allied forces in Iraq has appeared to be so methodical and well crafted that some top U.S. commanders now fear this may be the war Saddam Hussein and his generals planned all along. Knowing from the 1991 Persian Gulf War that they could not take on the U.S. military with conventional forces, these officers believe, the Baath Party government cached weapons before the Americans invaded this spring and planned to employ guerrilla tactics.
This was actually something I had considered before the war in our watercooler talk around the office. Saddam's bluster was just a front. He had to know there was no way he could win a head-to-head battle against U.S. forces. Given that situation, what was his best course of action? When faced with a superior force, avoid battle. Appear weak where you are strong. Use surprise attacks to sap the will of the enemy occupation forces. These are basic strategy concepts. I find it hard to believe that this outcome comes as much of a surprise. But, the Yahoo story goes on to say:
If these observations are borne out, it would be a significant departure from previous U.S. government assessments. Before the war, the Bush administration never gave any indication that it expected to face a large-scale, planned guerrilla campaign. Just recently, U.S. officials who interrogated former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz and other former Iraqi officials said they found no evidence of such a strategy.
Where was mighty RAND? Some simple game theory analysis would have likely indicated that the Iraqi leadership would attempt some form of long haul insurgency. They know we can't stay there forever, but they can. Time is on their side.

This is one reason why I think a prerequisite for promotion to General should be some form of hard-core strategy gaming experience. This is something that probably should have been obvious. We should have planned for it and set appropriate expectations with the UN, our allies, and the people of this country. Success will probably require us to have a presence there for years. Maybe longer.

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