[Homestead] Iraq war unwinable
don.bowen at earthlink.net
Fri Oct 1 19:29:44 EDT 2004
by Al Lorentz <mailto:alorentz at truevine.net> *
[Salon.com is reporting that the Army Reserve staff sergeant may face up
to 20 years in prison for "disloyalty and insubordination" for writing
this article. Note, the article contains no classified information.]
Before I begin, let me state that I am a soldier currently deployed in
Iraq, I am not an armchair quarterback. Nor am I some politically
idealistic and naïve young soldier, I am an old and seasoned
Non-Commissioned Officer with nearly 20 years under my belt.
Additionally, I am not just a soldier with a muds-eye view of the war, I
am in Civil Affairs and as such, it is my job to be aware of all the
events occurring in this country and specifically in my region.
I have come to the conclusion that we cannot win here for a number of
reasons. Ideology and idealism will never trump history and reality.
When we were preparing to deploy, I told my young soldiers to beware of
the "political solution." Just when you think you have the situation on
the ground in hand, someone will come along with a political directive
that throws you off the tracks.
I believe that we could have won this un-Constitutional invasion of Iraq
and possibly pulled off the even more un-Constitutional occupation and
subjugation of this sovereign nation. It might have even been possible
to foist democracy on these people who seem to have no desire,
understanding or respect for such an institution. True the possibility
of pulling all this off was a long shot and would have required several
hundred billion dollars and even more casualties than weve seen to date
but again it would have been possible, not realistic or necessary but
Here are the specific reasons why we cannot win in Iraq.
First, we refuse to deal in reality. We are in a guerilla war, but
because of politics, we are not allowed to declare it a guerilla war and
must label the increasingly effective guerilla forces arrayed against us
as "terrorists, criminals and dead-enders."
This implies that there is a zero sum game at work, i.e. we can simply
kill X number of the enemy and then the fight is over, mission
accomplished, everybody wins. Unfortunately, this is not the case. We
have few tools at our disposal and those are proving to be wholly
ineffective at fighting the guerillas.
The idea behind fighting a guerilla army is not to destroy its every man
(an impossibility since he hides himself by day amongst the populace).
Rather the idea in guerilla warfare is to erode or destroy his base of
So long as there is support for the guerilla, for every one you kill two
more rise up to take his place. More importantly, when your tools for
killing him are precision guided munitions, raids and other acts that
create casualties among the innocent populace, you raise the support for
the guerillas and undermine the support for yourself. (A 500-pound
precision bomb has a casualty-producing radius of 400 meters minimum; do
Second, our assessment of what motivates the average Iraqi was skewed,
again by politically motivated "experts." We came here with some fantasy
idea that the natives were all ignorant, mud-hut dwelling camel riders
who would line the streets and pelt us with rose petals, lay palm fronds
in the street and be eternally grateful. While at one time there may
have actually been support and respect from the locals, months of
occupation by our regular military forces have turned the formerly
friendly into the recently hostile.
Attempts to correct the thinking in this regard are in vain; it is not
politically correct to point out the fact that the locals are not only
disliking us more and more, they are growing increasingly upset and
often overtly hostile. Instead of addressing the reasons why the locals
are becoming angry and discontented, we allow politicians in Washington
DC to give us pat and convenient reasons that are devoid of any
semblance of reality.
We are told that the locals are not upset because we have a hostile,
aggressive and angry Army occupying their nation. We are told that they
are not upset at the police state we have created, or at the manner of
picking their representatives for them. Rather we are told, they are
upset because of a handful of terrorists, criminals and dead enders in
their midst have made them upset, that and of course the ever convenient
straw man of "left wing media bias."
Third, the guerillas are filling their losses faster than we can create
them. This is almost always the case in guerilla warfare, especially
when your tactics for battling the guerillas are aimed at killing
guerillas instead of eroding their support. For every guerilla we kill
with a "smart bomb" we kill many more innocent civilians and create rage
and anger in the Iraqi community. This rage and anger translates into
more recruits for the terrorists and less support for us.
We have fallen victim to the body count mentality all over again. We
have shown a willingness to inflict civilian casualties as a necessity
of war without realizing that these same casualties create waves of
hatred against us. These angry Iraqi citizens translate not only into
more recruits for the guerilla army but also into more support of the
Fourth, their lines of supply and communication are much shorter than
ours and much less vulnerable. We must import everything we need into
this place; this costs money and is dangerous. Whether we fly the
supplies in or bring them by truck, they are vulnerable to attack, most
especially those brought by truck. This not only increases the
likelihood of the supplies being interrupted. Every bean, every bullet
and every bandage becomes infinitely more expensive.
Conversely, the guerillas live on top of their supplies and are showing
every indication of developing a very sophisticated network for
obtaining them. Further, they have the advantage of the close support of
family and friends and traditional religious networks.
Fifth, we consistently underestimate the enemy and his capabilities.
Many military commanders have prepared to fight exactly the wrong war
Our tactics have not adjusted to the battlefield and we are falling
Meanwhile the enemy updates his tactics and has shown a remarkable
resiliency and adaptability.
Because the current administration is more concerned with its image than
it is with reality, it prefers symbolism to substance: soldiers are
dying here and being maimed and crippled for life. It is tragic, indeed
criminal that our elected public servants would so willingly sacrifice
our nation's prestige and honor as well as the blood and treasure to
pursue an agenda that is ahistoric and un-Constitutional.
It is all the more ironic that this un-Constitutional mission is being
performed by citizen soldiers such as myself who swore an oath to uphold
and defend the Constitution of the United States, the same oath that the
commander in chief himself has sworn.
September 20, 2004
* Al Lorentz [send him mail <mailto:alorentz at truevine.net> ] is former
state chairman of the Constitution Party of Texas and is a reservist
currently serving with the US Army in Iraq.
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