The last thing we wanted was to take thousands of prisoners of war.
One major mistake the U.S. is considered to have made in Iraq was to disband the Iraqi armed forces, following the U.S./coalition invasion. May seem odd; why would a national army follow the orders of an invading force and provisional government? In post-World War II Germany, there was no issue of relying on defeated German troops to maintain social order, though don’t know when or how the German armed forces were reconsituted. In Egypt, and many other countries with a history of military takeovers of government, the armed forces end up being the ultimate political arbiter. In most if not all democracies, the armed forces serve the government of the day, with no direct political role.
Raises a more general issue of regulation. Governments formulate legislation to regulate behaviour. Legislative enforcement is through those who work for government, but are not engaged in the political process of government. The service of the implementors of regulation is to the larger social order. Can’t use the term “enforcers”, since much regulation involve general deterrrence strategies that do not involve constraints on liberty.
So maybe it made sense to disband the Iraqi armed forces. Though only if social order can be maintained in substitution. Didn’t happen: