If you’re getting down about the recent battles in Iraq, don’t. We knew there were still a lot of bad guys over there, and I bet the Marines would much rather fight them like this, out in the open in direct combat, than a snipe here or there. Den Beste is arguing they’ve made a huge mistake, and I think he’s right. Whittle is advising courage and fortitude, and reminds us that our forefathers had to face much more difficult setbacks, that were seized upon by appeasers and cowards in their day, just like many are today. Forget them, and pray for our troops. If we give them the support to do the job, they’ll do it. A few thousand ragtag militiamen are not going to significantly change the balance of power over there, but they could change the political question here, which is exactly what they’re trying to do. So, courage.
I read somewhere that the main reason that Arabic (and most nomadic or tribal) armies have usually not been major threats for more organized societies is that in tribal societies, individual egos and prestige always end up winning out over broader strategic goals. I think this is exactly what’s going on. This Al-Sadr fellow and the holdouts in Fallujah have over-reached themselves, and especially in Al-Sadr’s case, personal ambition seems to be driving it. Pride goes before a fall, and may his fall be long, and the stop at the end sudden.
Update: I just remembered one place I read that about tribal societies- in T.E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom.