Monday, May 7, 2007

New War Nerd Column

"Gary Breacher" War Nerd, Fresno's greatest military historian and data entry specialist has a new article out. This one "Who Won Iraq?", seeks to explain ...well, just who won in Iraq. As always its filled with dark humor, rich historical insight, and astute analysis. As always I like it.

Anyway, for those of you collecting War Nerd guidelines, here's what I think are some general rules for "Who wins wars?"

1) In a big bloodbath like the Thirty Years War or WWI, the winner is usually the powers that don't fight, but dabble in spycraft and wet ops, meanwhile consolidating their own economic power.

2) The biggest loser is almost always the country on whose territory the war is fought. (Note: You could argue that America entered WWII fairly early and still came out ahead, but on the European Front up to D-Day our role was supplying materiel to the Russians and letting them do all the bleeding for us. On both fronts we were far away from the action and that allowed us to pick where and when to commit money and troops, so the generalization still holds: the further away you are, the better.)

3) In a regional war, the big winner will be any neighboring states that can stay out of the war and work out supply contracts with the richer combatant (Thailand during Nam, Argentina in WWI, Switzerland in every war since Ur took on Ur South).

4) However, if there's an ethnic spillover, like Turkey has with the Kurds, this relationship can backfire.

5) The worst thing a major power can do is go to war alone for "moral" reasons. This is how medieval France wasted its huge advantages on pointless Middle Eastern crusades that did nothing but revitalize the Muslims and drive down the price of white slaves in the Cairo market.

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