Attrition War

Seth Cropsey wrote in his Wednesday Wall Street Journal op-ed that the US and Israel should fight an attrition war against Iran. He then disparaged the view of attrition war held by us and by Israel:

Attrition is a dirty word in American and Israeli strategic circles. In America, it evokes the Western Front’s brutal stalemate from 1914 to 1918, during which millions were sent to their deaths, and tens of thousands wounded and crippled, for no territorial gains. …

He omitted, though, that Israel is already in exactly that type of attrition war, the one inflicted by Hamas over the last decade and more, and an attrition exacerbated by Progressive-Democrat President Joe Biden’s incessant pressure on Israel to agree a ceasefire right damn now, and never mind that that would leave Hamas bloodied but unbowed—and undefeated.

Cropsey, though, wants a broader version of attrition war:

…cumulative effect of pressure applied over time and in many contexts. The North African, Sicilian, and Italian campaigns that preceded the invasion of Normandy are examples. The US has seldom fought wars it can win with a single maneuver campaign, making attrition a coherent strategy.

Those “attritive” campaigns, though, were possible only by a massively superior industrial power engaging a tightly circumscribed industrial power where the engagement flowed from one side being able to replace battlefield losses by far larger margins than could the other. That situation doesn’t obtain today for Israel or—shockingly—even for the US.

Cropsey fleshed out, some, his version of attrition strategy:

Israel and the US need to put Iran’s strengths at risk. …
Iran provides financial backing to its Axis partners, and in Syria and Lebanon to the states themselves. …
Israel and the US have the tools to strike Iranian military capacity in Syria and Lebanon.

Strike. Not destroy. On a limited field in a limited way. Never mind, either, that those kinetic means would not touch Iran’s financial capability.

On the contrary, it’s time to get out of Israel’s way and actually help them to destroy Hamas utterly.

Then, get after Hezbollah, and destroy that terrorist organization utterly.

In parallel with that, it’s time for the US to stop being timid in the Middle East, and destroy the Iranian proxies in Syria and Iraq, and in Houthi-occupied Yemen.

Stop responding to Iranian actions, and force Iran to respond to Israel’s and ours, shorn of its proxies.

That’s an attrition war worth supporting and executing.

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