View Full Version : Eating at Mohammed’s Restaurant

04-16-04, 06:00 AM

Guest Column: Eating at Mohammed’s Restaurant

By William S. Lind

In the twelve-course meal that is the war in Iraq, America has just been served the first entree. The fight with Iraq’s state armed forces was merely the amuse-bouche. The subsequent guerilla war with the Ba’ath, as distasteful as we found it, was still just the appetizer.

Over the past two weeks, we have been presented with the first of the main courses, Fourth Generation war waged for religion. If, as is traditional, this is the fish course, our reaction suggests it is flounder.

Frankly, I was surprised how quickly this dish arrived. It seems Mohammed’s kitchen is working rather more speedily than usual. While a broadening and intensifying of the anti-American resistance was inevitable, I did not think it would reach its present intensity until this summer. The fact that is has erupted so early has political as well as military implications.

The full scope of our disaster in Syracuse – er, sorry, Iraq – may be evident before the party conventions, as well as prior to the fall election. Might Bush do an LBJ and choose not to run? Will a Kerry who voted for the war be a credible nominee? Military disaster can displace all sorts of certainties.

It is not yet a disaster, some may say. On the tactical level, that is true, although it may not be true much longer. But on the strategic level it is not just one disaster, it is four:

The pretense that we came to “liberate” the Iraqi people and not as conquerors is no longer credible. Faced with a popular uprising, we effectively declared war on the people of Iraq. The overall American commander, Gen. John Abizaid, “gave a stark warning for the Iraqi fighters, from the minority Sunni as well as the majority Shiite populations,” according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“ ‘First, we are going to win,’ Abizaid said, seated at a table in a marbled palace hall. … ‘Secondly, everyone needs to understand that there is no more powerful force assembled on Earth than this military force in this country .…’ ”

That is the language of conquest, not liberation, and it destroys the legitimacy of America’s presence in Iraq, both locally and around the world.

We have now picked a fight with the Shiites, who control our lines of communication and who make up a majority of the Iraqi population. I thought that even the Valley of the Blind that is the CPA would have better sense than to make this final, fatal strategic blunder, but it seems they can always find a new ditch to stumble into. We did it over the utterly trivial matter of Muqtada al-Sadr’s newspaper printing lies – this from an American administration that long ago won the Order of Pinocchio, First Class, with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds.

While many Iraqi Shiites don’t much like al-Sadr, they like seeing Americans kill fellow Shiites even less.

The Marines threw away the opportunity to de-escalate the fighting with the Sunnis in Fallujah and instead have raised the intensity of anti-Americanism there. For months, the Marines trained for de-escalation. But because of one minor incident of barely tactical importance, the killing of four American contractors, the de-escalation strategy was thrown out the window and replaced by an all-out assault on an Iraqi city.

The Marines may have been given no choice by the White House, but it also looks as if their own training did not go very deep; the Plain Dealer quoted a Marine battalion commander in Fallujah as saying, “What is coming is the destruction of anti-coalition forces in Fallujah. They have two choices: Submit or die.” That is hardly the language of de-escalation.

Finally, our whole “say good-bye at the end of June” strategy depends on the reliability of the Iraqi security forces we have been busy creating. But when faced with fighting their own people on behalf of Christian foreigners, most of them went over or went home. This was utterly predictable, but its effect is to leave us without any exit strategy at all.

So what comes next? The current violence may follow a sine wave, ebbing and then flowing again, with the whole curve gradually trending up. Or, it may rise in a linear, accelerating curve, in which case we will soon be driven out of Iraq, possibly in a full-scale sauve qui peut rout. The former appears more likely, but it still leads to the same ending, if taking a bit more time to get there.

Unlike traditional twelve-course dinners, this one does not finish with a dessert or a savoury. It ends, to borrow one of the late Col. John Boyd’s favorite phrases, with the “coalition” getting the whole enchilada right up the p--- chute. You cannot get anything you want at Mohammed’s restaurant.

Guest Contributor William S. Lind, a veteran defense policy analyst, is Director of the Center for Cultural Conservatism at the Free Congress Foundation, where this article originally appeared. He can be reached through the foundation’s mailform. Please send Feedback responses to dwfeedback@yahoo.com.



04-16-04, 10:03 PM
Horse Puckey!

This guy Lind, is full of "it".

04-16-04, 10:27 PM
I don't know about that Sgt Namgrunt. You have to give Lind a little credit. This guys writings and theories on Maneuver Warfare are required reading in most of the schools in the Marine Corps today (The Basic School, Expeditionary Warfare School, Command and Staff etc.) . They guy is a pretty smart cookie.

04-16-04, 10:39 PM
That "Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds" is definately a Third Reich Iron Cross reference. Not cool.

Other than that, I do not like not being able to winnow the truth between a 'popular uprising' and 'a few terrorists'. All the news sources are in disagreement.

I'm sure our Brothers in Falluja don't give a flying fling what they are calling it.

04-18-04, 12:27 AM

Its one thing to put out writings and theories on Maneuver Warfare, and quite another to apply those theories to an area where age old feuds are a way of life. We are engaged against more than one nation here. We are faced with a multi-headed hydra which acts like a cancer within the fabric of human relations.

The people who wrote their book of tactics have had over a thousand years to cull the nuggets of working solutions, as applied to dozens of countries on almost all continents of this planet. Their theories are not just military, but bolstered by theological precepts which we can see, but do not fully understand. I am in the process of studying their beliefs because that is what motivates their mindset. What I have found so far, is disturbing and raises the hackles on back of my neck.

I would have to read the works by Mr. Lind to see if I agree with your assessment. I haven't ever taken courses in any Officer Candidate School, nor have I had exposure to any Annapolis training, other than examples demonstrated by my commissioned superiors. Nonetheless, if Lind is deemed worthy of study, then I'll check out his work when I can.

I'm sure there will be titles I can look into, which can be listed on sites found in a Google Search. The books should be available in libraries or bookstores, and I will look into his mind. I still don't agree with the way Lind frames the process above. It leaves little room for victory. I took it as a warning, not a concrete outline of future events. There is always room to win, you just have to make it, if it doesn't already exist.


You are spot-on target regarding the reference to "Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds". It is the highest order of the Knights' Iron Cross, that I'm aware of. It was the pinnacle (not Pinnochio) of achievement for a warrior of the Third Reich.

It is interesting to see it used in describing an American administration. If I was a cynic, I might say Lind was taking a swipe at one political party over another, but that would be absurd, ...wouldn't it? That is one "fly" I see in this ointment.

Semper Fi!

04-19-04, 07:04 AM
Better pay attention to Lind. He knows his stuff.

04-19-04, 07:13 AM
Thanks for backing up the Lt's suggestion, Kent.
I'll be checking Mr. Lind's work, but can only read so much at a time. I never took speedreading courses, so reading his works won't be immediate.
My Google search resulted in over 6,000 entries. It will take time to find the ones which are pertinent, or eliminate the ones that are not.

04-19-04, 07:19 AM

I was told that Marines Do Everything and Better....;)

Are you telling me something different:eek:


04-19-04, 07:28 AM
Nope. I'm not saying that at all, Ms. Ellie.

I'm being honest.

I'll get it done, but on my own schedule.

The only time I tapdance to someone else's tune is when they're shooting at my feet (and other useful body parts).


Semper Fi!

04-19-04, 08:34 AM
Hang in there Namgrunt. So far I concur with your synopsis and first impressions.

Having been to some of the Schools, LT refers too, there is always the Book Solution and the real life solution. Courtsey of School of Hard Knocks.

This Lind character, I am sure, is quite good at what He does -- writes and pontificates. Makes a lot of money.
However, now He believes what He writes - serious tactical error! The Dude lost his humility!

Which gets back to my point, sorry a little pontificating there, I wonder if this Lind was ever in a Gunfight? Does anyone know? LT?

Snake out

04-19-04, 05:45 PM
William Lind is an interesting author. I can see why he might be recommended, or ever required reading in military leadership schools. I also found that the opposition finds his works equally useful as arguments against the military.

One webpage I found his work on is entitled "MyAntiwar.org". You'll never guess what they espouse. Yes, indeed, William Lind is a most useful writer. I shall read more, but have tempered my openness to his suggestions. He has a long way to go before I become a "disciple".

That is how I see it.
Semper Fi!

04-19-04, 07:02 PM
Gentlemen... I haven't looked into the man's service record. Let me get back to you on that one. I obviously came across wrong. I only thought you might have dismissed him a little too quickly. I am well aware that I am inexperienced and rely more on the "by the book" way of doing things. Since I'm currently a student naval aviator, its going to be awhile until I get to the fight and gain that experience. So... until that time, I try to read up on the doctrinal pubs and other stuff on the reading list. I guess all this reading makes me a little more susceptible, but don't worry. I assure you I still listen to those who have been there and done that. I was able to knock out the first phase of AWS through correspondence, and it was there that I ended up reading alot of Lind's work along with MCDP1 Warfighting, Command and Control etc. I noticed alot of the same text in Lind's Handbook on Maneuver Warfare and MCDP1. (which is no wonder because General Gray was a big fan of the "maneuver warfare" school of thought, and he had the most to do with MCDP1 coming into existence). I realize actual experience can't be learned from books, however if I can glean just one little nugget of understanding from all that study, it might be worth it. I'll look into the service record, but it might be a few days. I have a check-ride coming up in a few days.

Semper Fi
LT Fairman

04-19-04, 07:05 PM
Whether you like it or not, Lind ACCURATELY reflects the views of the Iraqi people that we are "liberating."

Lind is the doctrine guru and has the ability to take the long view of these things.

Just as time and perspective have shown that (get ready to lob your grenades, boys) that Viet Nam was a F***** up war and the US Administration lied to get us into an unwinable situation (See "Gulf of Tonkin Incident"), this "war" is showing frightening similarities.

The "coalition" is starting to fall apart - today Spain - tomorrow, it could be Micronesia pulling out!

Rummy, Cheney and thier wind up mouthpieces fought this war for Haliburton and oil. They had no "end game." Do you remember "we'll be welcomed as liberators?" or how 'bout "We'll have all our troops home in 6 months," or "This is the end of major action."

If we are so big on eliminating "despots" with WMDs, why haven't we invaded North Korea?

It's the oil, boys, the oil! The administration is run by "oil men."

Is anybody listening????

04-19-04, 07:30 PM
Lt Faiman:

Sir, we all begin from the same position. I thank you for bringing the writings of William Lind to my attention. I wasn't aware of him before I read the original message posting. What I read came across as negative from my standpoint. Your recommendation and the reason for it were a surprise to me. Kent Mitchell's seconding your recommendation made it obvious I had to look into Lind's work more closesly.

I'm not saying I will agree with WS Lind, but I will explore his writings because of how you presented the importance of his works. Don't take words too personally, since they are not intended as a question of your personal character or integrity. We learn on a daily basis until we die. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Remember, Lt. That is why the Marine Corps has NCOs, to train Officers for leadership :D

Thank you for your opinion. As an American, you are entitled to that opinion, the same as the rest of us.

With all due respect, Major. Yes, we are listening. Some of us just don't happen to agree with your assessment of the situation. That may be caused by your previous use of all the standard Democrat talking points, and the false impression given, that we must sit at attention while you expound your theories. We are no longer under your orders, Major. Please remember that.

Enough said for now on my part.

Semper Fi!

04-23-04, 04:39 PM
Oil? Then here is an interesting development:

"CBS's 60 Minutes reported Sunday night that Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward said Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, had promised Bush that Saudi Arabia would lower oil prices in the months before the election to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on Election Day.

"That's the Saudi pledge," Woodward told 60 Minutes for a report on his book about the Iraq war, Plan of Attack. "Certainly over the summer or as we get closer to the election they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly."

Excerpts from Mike Glover, Associated Press (http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/nation/8470950.htm?1c)