Here's what he wrote in the November 25 edition of Forward about the Bush War in Iraq:
The number of American casualties in Iraq is now well more than 2,000, and there is no end in sight. Some two-thirds of Americans, according to the polls, believe the war to have been a mistake. And congressional elections are just around the corner.He continues:
What had to come, has come. The question is no longer if American forces will be withdrawn, but how soon and at what cost. In this respect, as in so many others, the obvious parallel to Iraq is Vietnam.
Handing over their bases or demolishing them if necessary, American forces will have to fall back on Baghdad. From Baghdad they will have to make their way to the southern port city of Basra, and from there back to Kuwait, where the whole misguided adventure began. When Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled Israel out of Lebanon in 2000, the military was able to carry out the operation in a single night without incurring any casualties. That, however, is not how things will happen in Iraq.Mr. van Creveld says the U.S. will be forced to withdraw from Iraq but cannot afford to leave the region because of the oil there. He says the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice team is not up to the job of maneuvering the complex situation that will exist on the backside of the U.S. failure in Iraq:
Not only are American forces perhaps 30 times larger, but so is the country they have to traverse. A withdrawal probably will require several months and incur a sizable number of casualties. As the pullout proceeds, Iraq almost certainly will sink into an all-out civil war from which it will take the country a long time to emerge if, indeed, it can do so at all. All this is inevitable and will take place whether George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice like it or not.
First and foremost, such a presence will be needed to counter Iran, which for two decades now has seen the United States as "the Great Satan." Tehran is certain to emerge as the biggest winner from the war a winner that in the not too distant future is likely to add nuclear warheads to the missiles it already has. In the past, Tehran has often threatened the Gulf States. Now that Iraq is gone, it is hard to see how anybody except the United States can keep the Gulf States, and their oil, out of the mullahs' clutches.Mr. van Creveld has to reach far back into history to find a war of imperial overreach with such disastrous impact on the country that launched it:
A continued American military presence will be needed also, because a divided, chaotic, government-less Iraq is very likely to become a hornets' nest. From it, a hundred mini-Zarqawis will spread all over the Middle East, conducting acts of sabotage and seeking to overthrow governments in Allah's name.
The Gulf States apart, the most vulnerable country is Jordan, as evidenced by the recent attacks in Amman. However, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, Israel are also likely to feel the impact. Some of these countries, Jordan in particular, are going to require American assistance.
Maintaining an American security presence in the region, not to mention withdrawing forces from Iraq, will involve many complicated problems, military as well as political. Such an endeavor, one would hope, will be handled by a team different from and more competent than the one presently in charge of the White House and Pentagon.
For misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 B.C sent his legions into Germany and lost them, Bush deserves to be impeached and, once he has been removed from office, put on trial along with the rest of the president's men. If convicted, they'll have plenty of time to mull over their sins.My guess is that the first impact of this piece will be for someone at the Pentagon to make sure that van Creveld is no longer required reading at any U.S. military college. That's fits a Bush administration pattern, too: attack the messenger.