As I write, we still don’t know if Saddam has been killed. I sure hope so. But we do know that this war is almost as good as won after three weeks. The Saddam regime no longer controls its two biggest cities; its armed forces seem in disarray; Saddam’s palaces are occupied by G.I.s. Again, measure this against Kenneth Pollack’s neutral projection:
Probably the most likely scenario would be about one third of Iraq’s armed forces fighting hard, limited use of tactical WMD, and some extensive combat in a few cities. In this most likely case, the campaign would probably last four to eight weeks and result in roughly 500 to 1,000 American combat deaths.
Three weeks. Under 100 American casualties, half of which came from accidents. No use of tactical WMD. Extraordinarily targeted bombing; exceptionally light force; oil wells intact; Israel secure; Turks kept at bay. War is terrible, of course. It may flare up again for a while. There’s still a chance of last-minute atrocities. And every civilian casualty is a tragedy. But it’s beginning to look as if this was an amazing military campaign, something of which the American and British people – and their governments – can be deeply, deeply proud.