Al Lorentz is an Army Sergeant currently serving in Iraq. He recently wrote a brilliant article entitled, “Why We Cannot Win“. In it, he lays out, with hard facts and the perspective of an experienced civil affairs officer in country, what is wrong with our Iraq policy.
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.)
Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatowski has written a follow-up article, “Roadmap for the Prosecution,” about Sergeant Lorentz’s assesment.
Al penned a factual personal assessment of what is happening in Iraq. He revealed no classified information. Far more detail on Iraq challenges has long been provided by respected retired military officers like Marine General Tony Zinni and former Director of the National Security Agency William Odom. Al wrote nothing more damning than what has already been published and released in part by the Central Intelligence Agency regarding conditions and future possibilities in Iraq.
So what is the problem?
The problem is that Al Lorentz, “Big Al” to his friends, has something that the Bush administration needs badly.
The Holy Grail in Washington is credibility. Bush and the Pentagon brass want it. The administration’s credibility deficit is its Achilles’ heel. Lack of credibility is the primary reason Bush will lose in November. George W. Bush’s own troubled past, a presidential lack of interest in terrorism until 9/11, criminal mendacity on the way to war in Iraq, flagrantly abused tax dollars at home and abroad, Patriot Act absurdities, artificial dummy governments amidst social and economic disaster in Kabul and Baghdad, the odd Iranian agent provocateur (Chalabi) and the more familiar Israeli-linked ones (Chalabi’s former allies in the Pentagon), the list goes on and on. It is as if Bush and Company signed up for a credibility destroyer of the month club at a special four-year subscription rate.
This is the kind of wisdom that the leaders of our country need to listen to. Unfortunately, neither Bush nor Kerry will seriously discuss our Iraq problems or propose any real solutions to it. Michael Badnarik has a real position on the war in Iraq and what our policy should be. It may not be perfect, but it’s honest and actually deals with the issues. If you think this message needs to be heard, donate to the campaign today.
Until something changes, I’ll keep getting emails like the one I got from my friend Brian today.
I was up in Boston this weekend to visit my brother-in-law who’s back from a 6 month gig in Bosnia. He’s a highly skilled tank commander, and went over to “keep peace” and maintain a few tanks for his final gig. But once he got over there they handed him a 75 lb backpack and an M16. He’s fucking 45 years old! He is so pissed. Now his back is shot. And he’s being “held in” until December 6th…so far. See, he was supposed to finish his service after Bosnia. Now there’s talk of sending his unit to Iraq in January. It’s just too close man. So at the base, right after getting back, He got fitted for desert gear and had his picture taken (for his obituary, not because he’s so damn cute). Welcome home. Thank you for your 11 years of service. You’re almost done. Kinda.
So there’s our backdoor draft, in case anyone needs a little evidence.