Why we can not win

September 22nd, 2004  

Topic: Why we can not win

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 nave 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 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 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
September 22nd, 2004  
Dude, good luck out there. God SPeed
September 22nd, 2004  
I believe that we could have won this un-Constitutional invasion of Iraq...
I seem to recall not one, but two separate votes in Congress authorizing the use of force. Votes in which, I might add, John Kerry voted yes on. If Congress authorizes the use of force, how does this constitute being un-Constitutional?

If that is the case, then except for the 5 declared wars in US history: The War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, WWI and WWII; all other conflicts and wars are also un-Constitutional.
September 22nd, 2004  
Check your PM Buddha....
September 22nd, 2004  
Airborne Eagle
Will we see anything other than copy/paste jobs?

It's tough to have a conversation with someone not present. EDIT: Meaning, I can't debate this with the purported author because the piece is static.

For example, over 2/3rds of COngress voted to authorize force if Saddam failed to comply. While the legislation did not contain "Declaration of War," the language was in no way vague:


In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon there after as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, and

(2) acting pursuant to this resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or persons who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorists attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.


(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION. -- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.
(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS. -- Nothing in this resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.


(a) The President shall, at least once every 60 days, submit to the Congress a report on matters relevant to this joint resolution, including actions taken pursuant to the exercise of authority granted in section 2 and the status of planning for efforts that are expected to be required after such actions are completed, including those actions described in section 7 of Public Law 105-338 (the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998).

(b) To the extent that the submission of any report described in subsection (a) coincides with the submission of any other report on matters relevant to this joint resolution otherwise required to be submitted to Congress pursuant to the reporting requirements of Public Law 93-148 (the War Powers Resolution), all such reports may be submitted as a single consolidated report to the Congress.

(c) To the extent that the information required by section 3 of Public Law 102-1 is included in the report required by this section, such report shall be considered as meeting the requirements of section 3 of Public Law 102-1.

Regarding the specific terminology, "Declaration of War," you'll notice the US COnstitution does not require specific language. The President must be authorized by Congress and was by a super majority.

Next, we are clearly fighting both the hangers-on from the Baathists regime and terrorist elements that were in Iraq prior to the war and have come to Iraq after the war. Among the notables in IRaq prior to the war include Abu Abbas, Abu Nidal and the Jordanian born Palestinian (and top al Qaeda operative),Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Now, regarding the popular support for the Baathists and terrorists, it would be worth noting the localized nature of the turmoil and the relative peace in 95% of the nation. If they enjoyed widepsread support, I'd suspect more widespread violence. If, for example, the majority or a sizeable minority fully supported the groups, the US would have flareups nationwide. It's not the case. Mostly, it's localized in the "Sunni Triangle."

I think the gentleman writing this is also guilty of prejudicial thinking and an inability to put himself in the place of the average Iraqi. While I have little doubt the Iraqis want the US in there, I also think they want the areas secure and for Iraqi forces to be ready before we leave. So, it's a matter of national pride mixed with common sense. I wouldn't think anyone would like their nation patrolled by foreign forces. However, the alternative is more unappealing. The good news is the government is increasing control over vital elements and the security forces grow each day, in the face of bombings at police precincts and recruitment centers. Interesting, isn't it? The Iraqis are defiant in the face of the terrorism striking their nation and continue to line up to get the police, military, security positions.

This person has no way of verifying the numbers of the insurgants or their recruitment. It seems entirely based on specualtion.

While the LOC are shorter, he fails to note the difference in sophistication, speed, and availablity of the US supply lines. If he seriously contends (what he presumes to be) a homegrown insurgancy to have a more effective LOC than a super power with air supremacy and billions at its disposal, I think we cna chalk this up to more ideologically driven speculation.

On his fifth point, he makes a contradictory statement. How can our tactics be so falwed if, in fact, the "body count" he derides is so high on the insurgancy? In other words, they are being killed en masse. I also reject the notion that we are in a "body count" war, especially since the vocal opposition in our nation makes every attempt to remind people of our fatalities and wounded. Yet, I do not hear the Pentagon releasing total sums of enemies killed. Regardless, with 95% of the nation pacified, al Sadr run out of town after town, and the violence localized, I think the strategy is sound and the tactics are good. Now, I may have issues with the execuation, in the sense that the US doesn't want to level Fallujah once and for all. Not "level" in the common sense, but a continued and heavy assault to dig out and kill the Baathists and terrorists in that town.
September 22nd, 2004  
I'm guessin Airborne that the Capn is runnin raid op's . He's hittin and runnin. If he stuck around he might have to rely on his own opinions rather than what he's read in the media.IMO
September 22nd, 2004  
Airborne Eagle
Is he the Chomsky guy?
September 23rd, 2004  
Am I the only one who doesnt want to read these long posts?
September 24th, 2004  
Originally Posted by ACTaFOOL82
Am I the only one who doesnt want to read these long posts?
i dont read them either, the titles are enough to give u some hint of propaganda.