Sunday, March 19, 2006

More on Operation Swarmer

The Belmont Club has a terrific post today on an aspect overlooked by most of the media analysis of Operation Swarmer: the showcasing of the nascent Iraqi security forces' operational capabilities.

The foundation of a successful conclusion to Operation Iraqi Freedom is the ability of a sovereign Iraq to secure itself, both from internal as well as internal threats. Swarmer shows how far the Iraqi security forces have come in the past 12 months. The Belmont Club also argues that Swarmer itself points out that a great deal of US Central Command's strategy since the beginning of OIF may have been more correct than it was given credit for:

It now seems fairly clear that many of the 'far better' strategies which were suggested in 2004 and 2005 in place of CENTCOM's may not have been as good as they were made out to be. There were many calls for more American troops on the ground, up to 400,000 men. There were even calls for a return to the draft to rescue a "broken army". It had been suggested that it was a "mistake" to fire the old Saddamite Army, which alone could maintain control, or so it was said. In the end, CENTCOM's strategy did not prove so amateurish after all.

While the final tactical results of swarmer may or may not yield anything of major significance, the mere fact that an operation is occurring that was planned and mostly executed by Iraqi forces is illustrative of a strategic end in itself. The world (America/the West, Arab and Muslim countries, Iran and Syria, Islamist terrorists, Iraqi insurgents, supporters, and the Iraqi people as a whole) sees the not insignificant growth in Iraq military capabilities via the conduct of Swarmer. A nation that can defend itself from threats both internal and external can no doubt embark on a course of democratic self determination as well.

Post Script. Again, the lack of any analysis of this sort in the mainstream media represents a contiinual inability on the part of the press to transcend bias and discern realtity on the ground. Brian Bennett's piece for Time is a case in point. Bennett's piece, one of the earliest filed relating to Operation Swarmer, implies failure because the area where Swarmer occurred was sparsely populated, and because there were no shots fired during the operation. Conversely, by Bennet's own account, a fair amount of materiel was recovered as a result of the operation:

the [Iraqi] soldiers had found some 300 individual pieces of weaponry like mortars, rockets and plastic explosives in six different locations inside the sparsely populated farming community of over 50 square miles and about 1,500 residents. The raids also uncovered high-powered cordless telephones used as detonators in homemade bombs, medical supplies and insurgent training manuals.

So Bennett has now effectively elevated the media's standard for a successful coalition military operation in Iraq; not only must weapons and explosives that have no civilian utility whatsover be recovered for an operation to be considered successful, but there must be an intense, cinematic, and ultimately climactic battle as a component of the operation as well. Time is one of the widest reaching "newsmagazines" in the United States, and other than Bennett's limited and condescending piece, it offers no analysis on what this operation may or may not have represented. A pity.

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