What happened in Iraq this week was a beautiful lesson in the weird laws of guerrilla warfare. Unfortunately, it was the Americans who got schooled. Even now, people at my office are saying, “We won, right? Sadr told his men to give up, right?”
Wrong. Sadr won big. Iran won even bigger. Maliki, Petraeus and Cheney lost.
For people raised on stories of conventional war, where both sides fight all-out until one side loses and gives up, what happened in Iraq this past week makes no sense at all. Sadr’s Mahdi Army was humiliating the Iraq Army on all fronts. In Basra, the Army’s grand offensive, code-named “The Charge of the Knights,” got turned into “The Total Humiliation of the Knights,” like something out of an old Monty Python skit.
Thousands of police who were supposed to be backing up the Iraqi Army either refused to fight or defected to Sadr’s Mahdi Army. In Basra, the Iraqi
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