MICHAEL RUBIN SAYS PUNDITS ARE overestimating Iraqi military power, just as they did in Gulf War I. Reader Tim Callahan adds:

I predict a ground war of less than 72 hours, with massive desertions, less than 1,000 Iraqi civilian casualties and less than 100 American military ones. This will have to be preceded by an air campaign of 15-30 days. The number of civilian deaths caused in that is the wild card — expect howls of outrage from the usual suspects quoting “official” Iraqi gov’t figures multiplied by a factor of 5. On the other hand, an effective air campaign might cause such massive desertions or even a coup that would obviate the need for any ground action.

Of course, I’m nobody, but if you look at Gulf War I and compare both militaries then and now, it’s hard to argue otherwise. My only worry is that the US won’t have the will to implement a Marshall Plan-like restructuring of the country. As far as I see it, *that’s* where the debate should be right now.

Yes, and that last item is what the Saudis, and the other Arab despots, fear most.

UPDATE: Here’s an interesting piece from the Asia Times on U.S. military operations in and around Iraq.