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letter from a civil affairs reservist in iraq

heya, sorry if this comes up twice, lost power.
its making the rounds on the internet.

dear all-

this guy is being investigated by the military for writing this piece. he could
get prison time, the first such legal action since the vietnam war.

david

Why We Cannot Win

by Al Lorentz

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 we’ve seen to date but again it would have been possible, not
realistic or necessary but possible.

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 support.

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 the math.)

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 guerilla army.

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 here.

Our tactics have not adjusted to the battlefield and we are falling behind.

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] is former state chairman of the Constitution Party of
Texas and is a reservist currently serving with the US Army in Iraq.

Copyright © 2004 LewRockwell.com

by teru kuwayama at 2004-10-02 21:16:38 UTC (ed. Jun 24 2006 ) | Bookmark | | Report spam→


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