And ye shall beat your swords into plowshares and your spears into pruning hooks; neither shall you study war any more. Variously attributed to the prophet Isaiah, the prophet Micah and numerous non-religious wise men through the ages.And the last thing we'd want to do is leave all those swords and spears laying around on the erstwhile battlefield after the soldiers have headed home, some horizontal, some addled and broken, others hooting about "Mission Accomplished".
Is anyone gonna clean up this mess?
Yes, of course. That's called Logistics.
I became an expert in questions of movement of armies and Bonaparte's dictum that armies travel on their stomachs by referring often to the astonishingly tragic and heart-breaking story told in this graphic by Charles Joseph Minard. The subject: Napoleon's Moscow campaign of 1812.
They were no match for the vicissitudes of weather, terrain and fleas. Typhus-ridden fleas which Grand Armee bedded down with in the countryside as they foraged their way into Russia that summer. Fleas probably killed more of Napoleon's men than the Cossacks did. And each new day brought the choice: ride that horse or eat it.
The Czar's crafty military strategy was to stay fifty miles ahead of Napoleon's column, slaughtering and burning everything edible, a day or two before the enemy planned to capture and eat it.
Fast forward 200 years.
Merely looking at the map of Iraq suggests the difficulties in removing hundreds of thousands of men and women and $$$Tens, probably hundreds, of Billions $$$ of materiel and equipment from that place. Iraq's bordering states: Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia present a simple fact: everything has to leave by way of the single port on the Persian Gulf, on ships that must travel practically within hollering distance of the Iranian coast, then make a hairpin turn while wriggling through the 30-mile-wide Straits of Hormuz.