|Facultative Elements of War: Publicizing Enemy Body Counts
By Terrance Jones
“Nevertheless, no formal review of the practice has been ordered, according to spokesmen at the Pentagon and in Baghdad. Several senior officers and Pentagon officials involved in shaping communications strategies argued that the occasional release of body counts has important value, particularly when used to convey the scale of individual operations.”
Enemy Body Counts Revived
U.S. Is Citing Tolls to Show Success in Iraq
By Bradley Graham
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 24, 2005; Page A01
*Note- The assertion of the Pentagon officers are correct, as not only are casualty lists effective in assessing the flow and success rate of individual battles as well as the cumulative strategy, but they provide a detailed ascertainment matrix of our sustained casualties over the course of the war.
U.S. casualties- 2,000
*The current casualty rate of U.S. soldiers clearly suggest that while we have had much success in battles that have executed intense pursuit strategies over strategic areas of Iraq, insurgent forces have used the lack of sustained continuity in these attacks to inflict consistent casualties on our forces through the continuity of their improvised explosive device attacks on convoy forces as well as those implemented in urban areas. These factors suggest that seasonal reprieves have been counter productive to our strategic initiatives in Iraq. The insurgent forces are willing to sustain large casualty ratios on a strategic level as long as it can maintain the continuity of its attacks on U.S. and coalition forces through the benefits of seasonal reprieves which allows insurgency forces to recruit insurgents and replenish its weaponry in convoy regions as well as urban areas targeted for insurgent attacks. The enemy body count list validates this assertion. Seasonal reprieves have facilitated an environment where the cyclical recruiting and replenishment of insurgent fighters and weaponry has encouraged talk of a U.S. presence in Iraq for up to 10 years(Rice: U.S. May Still be in Iraq in 10 years Washington Post). This last point should be examined carefully, as it will be extremely hard to accomplish our strategic initiatives if we are forced to maintain the current troop levels in Iraq for up to 10 years.
For those who like to speak of Vietnam like parameters and realities, it is important to note that seasonal reprieves were not implemented during the Vietnam War. The protracted term of the Vietnam conflict was due to global proliferation issues of a strategic nature as well as flashpoint intervention factors in Vietnam concerning China and Russia which limited our tactical assaults to adaptive warfare/ assymetrical assaults in order to adapt to the guerilla tactics of the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army. These facts present us with strategic benefits concerning the intensity and length of the war in Iraq:
In the absence of Cold War parameters, Vietnam would have no chance of prolonging the war due to the lack of seasonal reprieves and the tandem force of conventional and assymetrical warfare tactics that would have dramatically increased the intensity of an already grueling war that was facilitating highly exertive casualty rates on the side of the Vietcong and NVA soldiers. These facts have a direct correlation to what can be accomplished in Iraq:
1. Seasonal Reprieve Abolishment- This will allow America to step up the intensity of military offensives against insurgency groups. This will also lead to the disruption of the insurgency training and command and control networks that link insurgent leaders in the rugged terrain areas that benefit from seasonal reprieves with the insurgency groups in convoy and urban areas.
2. Exertive/Protracted War Factor Aversion- The government of Iraq is newly formed, yet it is already developing a strategic alliance with Iran. This fact alone makes it imperative that the seasonal reprieve abolishment initiative is implemented as it will lead to an exertive/protracted war factor aversion due to the war in Iraq being brought to a successful(American Victory) conclusion in a dramatically reduced fashion. Considering the current situation in Iraq, this can be accomplished in an 18 month timeframe. Without this initiative being accomplished, it will be extremely difficult to train Iraqi security forces that realize that the majority of Iraqi’s are waiting for Iran to fully develop a nuclear weapons capability which will translate into a short term compliance by Iraqi security forces(with American initiatives) as well as the Iraqi civilian population who would prefer to unite with Iran due to the shared Shia majority leadership of both nations. It is important to note that if initiatives 1 and 2 are not implemented, time will work against the strategic initiatives of America, as Russia and Iran’s strategic