Iraque não é o Texas.

Iraque não é o Texas. Bagdade não é o Álamo: a estratégia da Águia Imperial

Then we’ll carve up the city into areas that can be isolated and systematically reduced. We’ll use psychological ops and humanitarian relief to try to separate the civilians from the combatants. We will seek local assistance and even try to build local resistance.

And then we’ll move forward, sometimes block by block, searching, clearing, and holding what we have ? or sometimes striking rapidly with armoured vehicles to take out key centres of resistance. We’ll helicopter assault teams to the tops of buildings, or race through gutters and tunnels to the next key position. We’ll rotate the troops, rest and resupply. And we’ll hope the Iraqis are foolish enough to come to us and expose themselves to our superior firepower.

Too much has been made of America’s unwillingness to accept US military casualties. No army wants to lose its frontline fighters. But for us, the aversion to losses is a strength, for we take care, use our heads and protect our force because that’s not only better for the troops, but because it’s a more effective way to fight. And there’s no shortage of courage and daring among the American troops, when it comes to that. Baghdad is going to be taken.

First, he will delay: the longer the fight, the more potent the Iraqi defence will appear. Second, he will seek to inflict casualties on the coalition, for the more casualties the Iraqi forces can inflict, the greater the Iraqi claim for a moral victory; and finally, the more civilian casualties and destruction he can cause us to create, the more hard feelings we’ll create in Iraq and elsewhere, and the better the chances for Saddam and the Baathists to gain support from outside and to retain a covert grip on Iraqis afterwards. Saddam may be seeking an Iraqi battle of the Alamo.

So as we fight to take Baghdad, we will be thinking not only of military success, but also the speed, friendly losses and civilian casualties and destruction of the battles. These considerations will involve difficult trade-offs.

As for Saddam, he’ll be doing the same calculus, aiming for the opposite results. He is a wily opponent and should not be underestimated. He will attempt to secure his own survival and play for the geopolitical long term: Islamist rejection of the Crusaders. But we see his strategy and believe we know how to defeat it. Iraq isn’t Texas.

General Clark was Supreme Allied Commander Europe 1997-2000 and led Nato forces during the Kosovo campaign

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