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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
I was as critical, I think (though I may not have blogged it) about the military's choices in Fallujah and Najaf as anybody in recent months. Now, based on the relative quiet (though it could still just be a bad guy stronghold) in Fallujah and today's news out of Najaf I seem to have been proven wrong.
The analogy that comes to mind, and what I think may be a more useful way to think about things, comes from the martial arts. Americans tend to prefer a Karate/Taekwon-
Do model, in my opinion; that is, lots of fast movements, impressive athleticism, sharp, obvious strikes and kicks. I grew up on the movies of Bruce Li (I know--Jeet Kune Do: read his book--its a hybrid non-form (brilliant in its complex simplicity)) and Chuck Norris, and when given the opportunity, it is that art that I studied. But I think the military looks at things from a more Jiu-Jitsu perspective. If you ever watch a Jiu-Jitsu master at work (the Gracie family comes to mind), its a little bit ugly, not impressive, very slow and subtle. It really doesn't even look like they're trying to do anything. . .
And then all the sudden their opponent is screaming in pain with a joint about to snap or tapping out, unable to breathe.
The US military, as near as I can tell, took a very Jiu Jitsu approach to these two troubled cities. Particularly in Najaf, where the offensive was never overwhelming, never "impressive"--just relentless, unforgiving, and slowly constricting. Before Sadr knew what was going on, he suddenly couldn't move, couldn't breathe, couldn't summon any support--and the city remains standing with a population clearly not in open rebellion.
Could there be anything more fearsome on earth than an opponent with an overwhelming ability to destroy you and limitless patience to let you do it yourself? That is what the US military seems to be.
I am hoping that patience will pay the same dividends with regard to bin Laden and with regard to Zarqawi in the next. . .say, six months.