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OK, a little more background on good ol' Deep Thought before we get to today's discussion of things Deep and Meaningful.
I spent almost 8 years in the U.S. Army as an Intelligence Specialist. Specifically a specialist in the Middle East. And I spent my time in a tactical batalion, mening I wasn't in an office, I was on the front digging foxholes and toting a rifle. I just spent my evenings code-breaking rather than swapping lies about by ability to metabolize liquor. I pulled a stint at the NSA and was part of a team attached to the French during the ground assault phase of Desert Storm.
Now 13 years later the Army is back at it. People who know my background sometimes ask me what's going to happen. I tell them there are four scenarios I keep in my head. To wit;
1) Saddam is virtually abandoned in the terror induced by the coming of the American Military Juggernaught. U.S. forces sweep in to swiftly surrendering conscripted soldiers and little old ladies waving the red, white & blue (never mind where they got 'em). A democratic regime is put into place, the damage is quickly cleaned up, and Iraq becomes both a beacon of stable democracy and a staunch American ally for 2 generations a la Germany and japan post-WWII. Their successful transition hastens the pace of reforms in neighboring Iran which soon becomes a true democracy. Together they stabilize the entire Middle East with a burgeoning economy and stable governments. Iraq even solve the Palestinian problem by accepting many refugees as citizens, financing the construction of new Palestinian settlements on the West Bank, and brokering a 4 way peace with Israel, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon.
2) A desparate Iraqi military, defending their families against an infidel invader, fight to the last man. The news is filled with months of bloody urban combat interspersed with little old lady suicide bombers, chemical and biological booby traps, and intense use of dirty radioactive waste weapons. Wave after wave of terrorist attacks wash over an increasingly battered America causing our hopes to vanish as the American dead at home and abroad stack up like cordwood. The ecological disaster in the Persian Gulf threatens the lives of millions and a substantial fraction of the world's oil reserves are burned, spilled, or made radioactive. The soaring price of crude combined with military fiasco crash the world's economy (starting with the US) for a decade.
3) Something in the middle, but closer to #2.
4) Something in the middle, but closer to #1.
My guess? based on the data I have, #4. Some units will fight hard and some cities will hold out, but in general the Iraqi military will crumble in the face of the unmatched American army. Some terrorist attacks will occur, but mainly overseas and with a relatively limited economic effect.
These are just guesses, so don't count on it. Only time will tell. And any 'analyst, expert, or consultant' who tells you he knows exactly what will happen is fooling himself - predicting the future is hard whether you are an intelligence analyst or the weatherman.
Today is my 11th anniversary. Last night my in-laws watched the boys while Jen and I went to dinner. Not having the kids with us was very strange. Its easy to forget how constant their presence is until they aren't underfoot! Jen had a filet mignon and I had the prime rib; we split a bottle of champagne. Afterwards we went to the bookstore and got a book on unix (for her) and theology (for me).
Yep, if you look up 'square' it has a picture of us.
Its been a very interesting two days. Jen and I met just days before the first Gulf War when I was ready to deploy. I was still in the Army when we got married and I have a few friends that are still in. We talked a great deal about the current political climate, but we need more data (the sort we don't get as civilians) to make a solid determination fo what's 'really' happening.
And, naturally, we've talked about the miracle of 11 years of marriage.
Eleven years! That's crazy talk. It seems like we were married just a few days ago....