Why We Cannot Win
09/20/04 "LewRockwell.com" --
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.
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
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
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
2004Al Lorentz [email@example.com]
is former state chairman of the Constitution Party of Texas and is a reservist
currently serving with the US Army in
Copyright © 2004