Stonewall Saddam? I Don’t Think So

In a commentary on my post yesterday about the world war in which we find ourselves (if, unlike the dominant media, we’re sufficiently perspicacious), fellow blogger Rich Hailey points out that the technological asymmetry between the West (and particularly the U.S.) and the Arab powers may not be as advantageous to us as we hope, by comparing the situation to the War Between The States, in which the North, a burgeoning industrial power, had fits defeating the South, a confederacy of rural, agrarian states.

I find the analogy extremely strained.

He points out having Lincoln as the difference, but there are many differences. The South had technology available to them, and knew how to use it–they even ramped up their own industrial production. Their problem was that they didn’t have a navy with which to defeat the northern blockade, and after the Emancipation Proclamation, they could no longer hope for Britain as an ally.

But the main reason they put up such a good fight for so long was not because of fanatical bravery and devotion to their cause (though they had that in abundance)–it was vastly superior generalship, until Grant was put in charge. And while the South had some brilliant generals, this is more of a commentary on the poor quality of those of the Union, most notably McClellan, who threw away opportunity after opportunity to follow up a battlefield victory with the destruction of Lee’s army, instead always failing to follow through and pursue.

Somehow, at least based on what we’ve seen from Iraq in the Gulf War, and more recently in Afghanistan, I suspect that we’ll also have an asymmetry in military leadership, as well as in technological and industrial resources. Except, this time, unlike the Union, it will vastly favor the U.S. government.

The Arabs have shown themselves to occasionally be very good at tactics (e.g., hijacking airliners and crashing them into buildings), and blunderingly idiotic at strategy. It’s possible they’ll learn, but based on the rhetoric coming out of the region, it seems unlikely.