November 1, 2003
Marine Corps Gazette
By MajGen Ray Smith, USMC (ret.) & Bing West
The first war fought under the new doctrine of Maneuver Warfare, with several observations and suggestions for future change.
This article will first address broadly the recent war in Iraq, and then focus upon matters most pertinent to the Marine Corps.
Geopolitics. At the broad level of geopolitics, the significance of Iraqi Freedom was an increase in what may be called “the deterrent quotient”; that is, nations antithetic to the United States will tread more cautiously. Defeat encourages aggression and victory discourages aggressors. The speed and ease of the televised American victory in Iraq impressed the global audience. Conversely, after Saigon fell in 1975, the US experienced a bout of national dyspepsia and for a period of about seven years we were challenged by the Soviet Union, by China, by Cuba and even by Iran and Nicaragua. On the other hand, after Baghdad fell in Aril, Iran, North Korea and Syria, to name but a few, reacted by avoiding actions which would antagonize the United States. Secretary Rumsfeld growled at Syria, which hastily expelled some of the Iraqi supporters of Saddam who had fled to Damascus. The military leaders of nations hostile to the US will counsel against their governments openly supporting terrorists, because they know this President has the will and possesses an array of weapons with which to strike. Iraqi Freedom abetted, rather than diverted from the war on terrorists.