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Superpower mythology

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I dont believe a superpower can seriously wage war ever again. The deception of superpower status has been exposed.

1) Iraq has proven that the world largest superpowers are impotent. It is now clear that if a superpower invades even a modest semi-third world country with no weapons and little military, that it still cannot win.

2) It has now become clear to everyone in the world that if you are invaded, the tactic is to run and hide and conduct a gorilla war that will last years

3) few trust the intelligence community, or the politicians, so there will be a massive public outcry at any further attempt to attack another country knowing it will last years and cost thousands of lives.

4) You cant wage war like you used too. War used to be horrific, brutal and uncomprimising. It still is, but the advent of instant communications means that you have to be very careful what you do now, or it will be all over tomorrows headlines. You cannot win a war like Iraq unless you are unmerciful and downright evil.

The threat of a superpower knocking on your door is laughable. Iran, NKorea and the axis of evil now know that threat of war cannot be realised. They'd lose a hundred thousand citizens or so, but does a dictator really care?

The world is now a much more dangerous place. Superpower mythology has been exposed. Iraq has made it clear that all you can really do is lob a few hundered cruise missiles and launch b52 after b52. Ground war is over. You cannot win a war without the ground war.
post #2 of 23
go ahead and tell everyone why don't you.
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post #3 of 23
but... but... but, what about shock and awe???
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post #4 of 23
it is still possible for regime change without war...
but given the fact that we can't find bin laden, the ability for a coup is unlikely...

the key is education
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post #5 of 23
Iraq, like Vietnam, is the wrong war. When you know you are not right, you don't put full effort into it (I mean the leadership back home, not the men over there getting blasted, who can and must do their best regardless).

However, I reject the idea that America/allies cannot win a war involving insurgents who are using guerrilla warfare and terrorist tactics against our troops.

A just war, with strong allied presence, properly funded and manned and with clear leadership can tackle any problem.

There are legitimate threats out there (and now they are in Iraq because of Bush) but God help us now that Bush has increased our enemies 100 fold.

At this point we do need a draft. This so called "all volunteer" military is at it's wits end. Stop loss orders are making suicide an attractive option for a lot of grunts. Stop loss is fine in a "good war" like WWII when you already have a draft and you still need people. But this cowardly bullshit of not being politically brave enough to suggest a draft just punishes our volunteers by forcing them to serve beyond what they signed up for and is a red flag to those that would have have volunteered otherwise.
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post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Johnq, that reminds me of no.5 but it just escaped me at the time.

In order to win a ground war you need around 250,000-500,000 troops on the ground even in a modest country, this leaves you wide open to attack in other places, like at home, increases the financial burden significantly (personell, equipment, ammo, vehicles, accomodation, logistics, etc) making it economically unviable.

WrongRobot, - Im sure the axis of evil have worked this out for themselves.

Consider North Korea - Knowing full well America has had it ass handed to itself on a plate in Iraq, what have they got to worry about now, considering they are one of the most militarized nations on Earth?

6) I dont accept the nuclear threat is significantly a deterrant to Evil States, if all that is left now is to threaten Evil states with nuclear attack, America will soon be more isolated than ever. If not causing WW3.

7) Draughting is going to cause as many problems as it solves, especially if it is the wrong war.
post #7 of 23
Superpowers may not be considered the automatic victor in long duration conflicts involving occupation,
but they often retain the mythical ability to smite the crap out of anybody lower on Olympus.

No longer a safe vegas bet for winning hearts and minds, but 90 to 1 your infrastructure is toast.

Zeus with a loose bolt or two perhaps isn't the best leader, but still packs mighty wrath.
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post #8 of 23
The Iraq war is different then most wars. In past wars like WWI and WWII we knew who was the enemy and knew how to identify them. With Iraq we don't know who is an innocent civilian or a terrorist. Being a superpower doesn't mean everything must be a win. We lost some battles and wars but, that didn't destroy our superpower status.
post #9 of 23
If two superpowers went to war then one would win and it may well be a traditional war.

The last few wars have been guerilla wars because you have had bullies picking on the 'easy prey' who had no other recourse and they have got their butts kicked because of one or more of the following reasons:

1) arrogance and overestimating their ability

2) underestimating the enemy

3) wrong wars - as johnq said above

4) in Iraq's case: Rumsfeld's obsession with his own (wrong) 'light army' concept and refusal to adapt to on-ground conditions.

5) refusal to commit ground troops for fear of casualties - to avoid adverse public reaction

6) lying: when someone lies consistently and gets found out it erodes faith in the liars at home and emboldens the enemy. Especially of the 'enemy' see itself as 'moral' and you as 'immoral'.

Basically the reason Iraq went FUBAR is not so much because of the conditions of modern war but because Bush and his team are incompetent.

With someone else in control it could have been a different story. We'll see after Bush wins how Iran pans out - personally I think they will be forced into a ground war.

I recently spoke to a friend in the region and the concensus is that 'regime change' will happen in Syria and Iran whatever and resistance plans are being formed (that is opposed to the 'official' government army resistance). It will be different to Iraq though as there no stockpiles of ammo lying about.

Th nightmare scenario for the US is also a good one for insurgents and is how it will naturally go anyway: Syria, Iran and Iraq will remain hotbeds of resistance.

That is to say, the situation will be just like Iraq, but stretching over Syria and Iran to - in fact those three states will in effect be one state under occupation making the insurgent's job 10 times easier and the US job 10 times harder.

That is military madness but they will still do it if given half a chance. That's where the mistakes lie - not in war theory but in the deranged psyche of the administration. Even the military top-brass can see that.
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post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
If two superpowers went to war then one would win and it may well be a traditional war.


That is to say, the situation will be just like Iraq, but stretching over Syria and Iran to - in fact those three states will in effect be one state under occupation making the insurgent's job 10 times easier and the US job 10 times harder.
.

But thats my point entirely,

If say, the US invaded another superpower, lets say Russia, not really a superpower anymore, but far more militarized then Iraq, should the Russians put their armies in a field and fight it out? Not unless they're dumb. They become plain clothed militia and hide in the cities, doing just enough to make the war last long enough to crack the US resolve and pull out. Who has won then? Sure they may lose their infrastructure, have a puppet government for years, but they will win.

We cannot invade Iran, syria, for the same reasons, there will be no war, just years of insurgency until the US pulls out. It cannot happen, they might try it, but it will be so foolish, expensive and unrewarding, that it would cripple America for a century.

For instance, the price of oil has trebled in 2 years, if it doesn't fall soon and it doesn't seem likely, there will be another recession, Attack Iran or Syria, and the price of oil doubles again, this will kill the world economy. You cannot sustain 10 years of 300,000 troops in a ME country when the world is in recession or depression.

All the while China establishes itself more and more as the domintant force, by keeping out of trouble, and they'll be the ones kicking everyone around in 50 years.
post #11 of 23
This war didn't show that the superpower can't win wars, it showed that people more focused on ideology, instead of objectively approaching problems, will invariably fail. The problems in Iraq were bad mistakes, like trying to wipe the Iraqi political and military slate clean and starting from scratch or, of course, even going in the way we did in the first place.
post #12 of 23
The United States has not "won " the war in Iraq yet because of our mercy for the people of Iraq. After the initial assualt we, for the most part, put down the big guns and went to the ground where our troops are more vulnerable. This was done to limit the death and destruction in Iraq. Do you really think that we could not "win the war" in a few days if we were not concerned about innocent folks in Iraq? We could kill them all in a week and turn the place into glass if we were so inclined. Get real!
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post #13 of 23
^^^ This is what happens when a teenager's reading consists of nothing but 4th hand partisan sources.
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Common Man
The United States has not "won " the war in Iraq yet because of our mercy for the people of Iraq. After the initial assualt we, for the most part, put down the big guns and went to the ground where our troops are more vulnerable. This was done to limit the death and destruction in Iraq. Do you really think that we could not "win the war" in a few days if we were not concerned about innocent folks in Iraq? We could kill them all in a week and turn the place into glass if we were so inclined. Get real!

But I believe I pointed out that you just cannot get away with that in this kind of instant communications world.

No doubt we could have levelled all of Iraq in 30 minutes with a couple of nukes, but we cannot do that either
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Common Man
The United States has not "won " the war in Iraq yet because of our mercy for the people of Iraq. After the initial assualt we, for the most part, put down the big guns and went to the ground where our troops are more vulnerable. This was done to limit the death and destruction in Iraq. Do you really think that we could not "win the war" in a few days if we were not concerned about innocent folks in Iraq? We could kill them all in a week and turn the place into glass if we were so inclined. Get real!

Oh for gods sake. What reason is left for the war in Iraq. We have had people here claiming that a very prominent reason to invade Iraq was the freedom of the Iraqi people and even now when its the only one left (No Al Quada ties and no WoMD) they would still have wanted us to invade Iraq for taht reason only. So to still keep that little reasoning for the war in Iraq your way of "winning" the war is impossible.

To liberate Iraq we have to destroy it
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post #16 of 23
I didn't say we should do that Anders nor do I think for a second that we should. I was just making the point that we have the power to clean house if we want to. This power should never be used in a place like Iraq though.
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post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Common Man
I didn't say we should do that Anders nor do I think for a second that we should. I was just making the point that we have the power to clean house if we want to. This power should never be used in a place like Iraq though.

Fine My bad. Sometimes I just have the tendency to read the worst into your posts
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post #18 of 23
I sort of agree with common man on this one. The Iraq war does nothing to dispell the correct line of thinking that a superpower can obliterate just about any country in a very short period of time.

What the war has exposed is the inability by the armed forces to properly conduct a war in which we can't simply destroy everything in our path.

Make no mistake, the idea of superpower is alive and well and still taken quite seriously. But we aren't fighting any war that actually makes demonstrating that power a feasible idea.
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post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by Common Man
I didn't say we should do that Anders nor do I think for a second that we should. I was just making the point that we have the power to clean house if we want to. This power should never be used in a place like Iraq though.

That's exactly the point in Iraq. You don't have the power to clean the house. You only have the power to destroy it.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by durin oakenskin
That's exactly the point in Iraq. You don't have the power to clean the house. You only have the power to destroy it.

They don't even have that power.

In my religious belief (and theirs) only God has that power. Whatever Bush does is because God allows him to. God could destroy the US or anywhere else in an instant.

Even Christians (such as Bush is alleged to be) purport to believe this.

But this is 'just belief'. Fortunately there is also another proof:

The Us could destroy Iraq, but then they would annoy Iran. They could destroy Iran but then they would annoy X. It is an interlinked network of dominoes.

And the us cannot destroy them all. It may be true that it can destroy one or two, but for the proposition to be true it would have to be able to destroy all - and this is impossible.

The very act of going on such a killing spree would make certain countries take certain anti-US positions: Russia, France, Germany, China, N Korea for sure - Pakistan possibly depending on circumstances.

These countries could take out the US (as a fighting force)- some acting in isolation even.
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post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by segovius
They don't even have that power.
The Us could destroy Iraq, but then they would annoy Iran. They could destroy Iran but then they would annoy X. It is an interlinked network of dominoes.

And the us cannot destroy them all. It may be true that it can destroy one or two, but for the proposition to be true it would have to be able to destroy all - and this is impossible.

The very act of going on such a killing spree would make certain countries take certain anti-US positions: Russia, France, Germany, China, N Korea for sure - Pakistan possibly depending on circumstances.

These countries could take out the US (as a fighting force)- some acting in isolation even.

I agree with you. They could not literally destroy Iraq without having big parts of the world against them -- the situation would be similar as at the beginning of WWII, when Nazi Germany attack Poland.

There's a difference between having the power to do something and accept the consequences of it.

I just took Common Man's analogy literally.
post #22 of 23
You guys are silly. Look at afghanistan, the place that the soviet union could not conquer, was over in months. Iraq was the same.

Almost all countries that were conquered in Europe took years to clean up the insurgencies there. Many then also felt the post war effort was a quagmire.

If you can't differentiate the major combat phase with the cleanup phase of a war, then you are just fooling yourself.

Iraq after major combat has been invaded by radical muslims who have waged a new offensive alongside the post war insurgency. However it will be cleaned up with the insurgents as time goes on. The new Iraqi government can't let it continue. And it looks like Alawi won't.

A superpower is only as strong as it's leaders. That my friends is where the power vacuum is. Our political leaders are jellyfish and prefer other jellyfish to vertebrates like GWB. Noone wants to define right or wrong in liberal America as it is today.
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally posted by NaplesX
Almost all countries that were conquered in Europe took years to clean up the insurgencies there. Many then also felt the post war effort was a quagmire.

This is a bit of revisionist history. Actually, that's too generous. Revisionism usually involves motivations and interpretations. This is just factually incorrect.

There were zero American combat casualties during the occuaption of Germany.

Slate has a debunking of this idea that Iraq is no worse than Germany was. It was based partly on a RAND study of American nation-building efforts since WWII. Germany, Japan, Hati, Bosnia, and Kosovo, there was not a single post-conflict US combat casualty. The best you can say is that some people felt that reconstruction in Germany went too slowly, and that there was civil disorder for several years after. But there was no guerilla war, no insurgency. No post-war combat.

In contrast, Iraq is in an ongoing guerilla war. To say it's post-conflict is disingenuous. 138 dead and 550 wounded during the two-month "major combat" phase. 963 dead and 6982 wounded in the 18 months of "occupation". Since April of this year, the rate of US KIA is about the same as it was during major combat - 66/month vs. 69/month - and that despite US forces mostly disengaging from the enemy.
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