Every conflict a nation on this planet, has ever been in, is essential in one way or another, and in many cases, several ways, to that nation. Let it be economic, security related (could include military, economic, and governmental concerns), physical political boundaries, ethnic, religious, or societal causes that give rise to the conflict. In the case of the first conflict between the United States of America and Iraq, the U.S. had in its mind, the maintenance of the sovereignty of Kuwait and various other Middle East nations in mind, along with economic concerns of the flow of petroleum from within the Middle East, of which a disruption is not desired in the least. It must be remembered that although many will spout off about ’unjust’ or ’just’ wars, war is war, conflict is conflict, one human stabbing or shooting another with a firearm is an act of violence, physical violence at that. To try and say that it is, in any case unjust, is to enter into a la-la-land in which people will be quick to say "hey that war is unjust!" and then spout off their favorite reason for that being. I will then instantly give myself to the presumption that they then forget that there will always be an equal quantity of people willing to stand up and say "hey that war is just!" and then spout off their favorite reason for that being. It could be said that it is similar to a notion that there is a wrong and a right to everything in this universe, just as the only true constant in this universe is change. The actions of the United States and Saddam Hussein from 1992 to 2003 exhibit the second series in the conflict, what with Saddam gassing his own people, promoting the use of torture chambers for political rivals and their supporters, etc etc etc, along with the U.S. keeping a small amount of control over them through the North and South No-Fly Zones. Various economic devices were also used against Iraq during that time period. And now, we have had the third conflict with Iraq, which ended with the capture of Saddam.
Currently we are in action against terrorist forces, an army of warriors not of a one single nation or alliance of nations, but of various peoples acting on a perverted religious faith in order to accomplish religious, political, societal, and economic objectives. This is an army of terrorists we are facing, and we are facing them in an urban environment, take note that urban warfare is the way to the future for humanity; most of humanity now resides within cities. Next, once upon a time and for those of you who forget what resides within human history, for the largest amount of time in human affairs, close in, hand to hand combat was the mainstay for conflict between humans. Only with the advancement of technology with the musket, and then the rocket, and then the rifle, and then various other advances, did we reach a point in which you did not have to reach out and touch the enemy you are to kill or maim. However, my dear citizens of Earth, you poor fools are in for a rude awakening if you haven’t already awakened. Humanity is beginning an evolution yet again in human conflict in terms of physical violence. Once again we are seeing the need and the inevitability of close in, hand to hand combat. Iraq is just one current example. Hamburg, Germany; Waco, Texas; Mogadishu, Somalia; London, England; Baghdad, Iraq; Kirkuk, Iraq, Basra, Iraq; Beirut, Lebanon. Urban warfare, street to street, house to house, room to room, the grenade, the firearm, the knife, chemicals, dangerous indeed. However, it must also be remembered that the course of human events will take us deeper and deeper into this new trend of developments in warfare. Thus there is no escaping it, if anything, embrace it before it embraces you and turns you into a cynic and fearful little creature afraid of what might be in the next room.
Objectives and causes in urban warfare, something to be explored yes? Well then what of the securing of industry and business? The securing of adequate living quarters? Food sources? Political centers of power? The transportation methods, centers, and routes? Distribution centers of both raw and refined resources? Centers of societal power? The preservation of utilities and construction equipment and personnel? There are hundreds more we could come up with, granted all must be flushed out and expanded upon eventually, but those are essays for another day.
Effects of urban warfare? Effects considered either positive or negative depending on the point of view of the person presenting them? The consideration of effects normally considered negative by either spectators, combatants on both sides, and civilian populations: The loss of physical resources? The loss of human resources (civilian)? The loss of human resources (governmental, military, nongovernmental)? The destruction of facilities necessary to provide for human survival in an urban environment? The mental effects on spectators, civilians, and combatants? The societal effects that come with the loss of wealth? The possible loss of the family unit’s living quarters? The possible loss of the human being’s job market? There are multiple positive effects, normally they exist for the combatant force that will exist as the victor, or even for a civilian population previously besieged or held powerless in the face of an authoritarian regime. Positive effects could include as many possibilities as that of negative effects of urban warfare: The acquisition of resources for human subsistence? The effect on the morale of the civilian population of the victorious combatant? The effect on the moral superiority of the victorious combatant? The securing of industrial or even financial centers to further national aims? The destruction of enemy combatants? Objectives realized are also possible effects of combat in urban environments, on a positive note. Furthermore, that is to take into consideration primarily the point of view of the combatant that is successful in the face of the other combatant or combatants.
Objectives and effects of urban warfare realized and understood? The fact that objectives will change with the occurrence of any conflict must be understood. One nation may begin a conflict under several different causes, one may be to discover used or unused Weapons of Mass Destruction, another may be to uncover mass graves of thousands of citizens murdered by the secret police of their own governmental leaders, the search for missing combatants, the securing of raw resources within a given geographical or geo-political region, the creation of a center of gravity to eliminate thousands more enemy combatants who have come forth from a perverted form of an internationally recognized religion, the creation of a political state stable to a degree of either an authoritarian, democratic, or even utilitarian political system, and the list grows longer and longer with more and more objectives being added or discarded as the conflict begins, continues, and eventually ends or metamorphoses into another form of conflict. The Iraq War of 2003 to 2004 and then its transformation into the Iraq Campaign of the Global War on Terror from 2004 onward to this very day March 24, 2008, displays the very fact that objectives, and effects, will inevitably change in conflicts between human beings.
"Most Americans are used to being at war with a single enemy or single country. But this war is different because this time we are at war with an ideology."
Time to wake up America! In this conflict there will be no grand surrender ceremony of the enemy! Only multiple milestones, both good and bad, of all kinds to take into consideration in this conflict, this first major conflict of the twenty-first century, a conflict of a kind that has not been fully encountered since before the American Revolution! The milestones must always be taken into consideration hand in hand with each other, never to be singled out individually when they are first broached! It must be understood that we will lose many more family, friends, coworkers, classmates, and others in this conflict. Furthermore, that the loss of others, must never be looked upon as a singular milestone in this conflict, and it must be realized that in reality. The reality we live in, in which life is precious and that yes it will not last forever, that meanwhile there is no more greater need for tribute to life and life that has passed on, than there is for recognition of it and its existence, for if that were to be; then we have already lost the conflict if set off upon that conflict recognizing only one objective out of many others. The United States of America has lost to date four thousand of its men and women serving in military functions in Iraq. They lost their lives to accidents, conflicts with our enemy the terrorists and insurgents existing in Iraq, and multiple other unfortunate events. Their loss is never to be taken lightly! Never to be used as a political statement to say "Ha! There you see we are losing lives! Thus we are in effect losing the conflict!" Yet they still use it thus!