Lorentz on Exactly What Is Going Wrong in Iraq

Al Lorentz is a 20-year reservist currently serving with the US Army in Iraq. And he’s not happy: Why we cannot win.

(As posted to the comments on an earlier item by helpful reader PR.)

19 Responses to “Lorentz on Exactly What Is Going Wrong in Iraq”

  1. thomas Says:

    Why does Al Lorentz hate America?

    Sorry, somebody had to say it.

  2. Craig Says:

    Al doesn’t hate America so much as he hates the power of the Federal Government and executive state. You see, in providing some context to his statements, Al’s comments are posted on pretty radical Libertarian’s site, and Al himself is a former chairman of the Constitution party of Texas, which believes, above everything, in the Constitution’s intended severe limitations on the Federal Government’s influence, a more State-centered government, an isolationist attitude toward the world affairs, a total disengagement from the UN, a Defense system solely geared towards the protection of the US proper, repealing federal wetlands, endangered species acts and international environmental treaties(mainly to exploit any and all of our available natural resources), and so on.

    And just as an aside, here are some of the thoughts of the person who runs the website that Al’s comments are on, regarding Saddam and pre-war Iraq:

    “Iraq under Saddam was known as the most liberal Arab state. There was relative religious freedom. Women had rights. You could get a drink. You could own private guns. There were symphonies and arts. Fundamentalists had no power. The place was prosperous and enjoying immigration.”

    Part of this same author’s solution to the Iraq issue is for the US to call it a day, return the Baathists to power, release Saddam and allow him to run in an arranged election, held under international supervision through the UN.

    So its really no wonder that Al has shaped his anger around “unconstitutional” actions by an out of control Federal- dominated style of government.

    Say what you want about Al’s arguments on the way the war has been fought, but it helps to understand some background that created his particular opposition to an “illegal” war.

  3. Joe Says:

    I agree with Al. This war can’t be won with guns bombs and tanks. This war needs to be fought with intelligence agents and special forces. We can’t simply walk into a country bombing the hell out of it, killing civilians, and then expect them to openly accept our viewpoints about government, law, etc.

    I do believe that this war was not a war of necessity, but a war that was wanted by the political figures in Washington. If that isn’t unconstitutional, I don’t know what is.

  4. jacki Says:

    I disagree
    i think we have achieved one objective and are working toward others.
    Nothing is instant in this world.

  5. Abu Khaleel Says:

    From the other side of this war, I confirm everything Mr. Lorentz stated. I don’t just see it on the news; I see these facts on the ground everyday.

    Iraqi Letter to America

  6. Phrank in Foenix Says:

    Thomas wrote:

    Why does Al Lorentz hate America? Sorry, somebody had to say it.

    Thomas, it does your argument no good whatsoever lob a “he hates America” grenade and run. Perhaps you would care to cite two or three examples of “America-hating” statements by Sgt. Lorentz instead of bearing false witness against him?

    Lorentz has credibility re. Iraq that the Bush administration severely lacks:

    [Lorentz] has something in common with our own President George W. Bush, who was also active in a political party in Texas, worked on a ranch, and did some time in the National Guard. Of course, President Bush hasn’t served in Iraq. — Karen Kwiatkowski, Lt. Col. USAF (Ret.)

  7. John Zuill Says:

    Al’s comments reak of Vietnam. People said exactly the same things then. This is why Schwartkopf wouldn’t go farther north, the first time, and why he is not in the game in this second Iraq war.

    Hows that for hating the US. I’d prefer it learned from its mistakes.

    Does not hating the US mean following fools who don’t read history?

  8. John Zuill Says:

    never fight a land war in asia

    eisenhower – I think

  9. Vince Says:

    The British Army occupies a part of Iraq that contains a population of 4.5 million with 8,000 troops (soon to be reduced to 5,000). The US Army therefore occupies parts of Iraq that contain a population of 20.5 million. If the US Army was as efffective as the British Army, then they should only need 40,000 troops (soon to be reduced to 25,000).
    Read this article by Jason Burke. The British Army and Al Lorentz get it. The US Army doesn’t get it because they listened to the Israeli Army, now the most immoral army in the world!

  10. Charlie Says:

    While I may not agree with Al’s politics, he is exactly right in his analysis of the situation. I have been to Iraq twice (and perhaps will go again soon), and have concluded the same regarding the specifics, strategy, and tactics. There is no “war” to be “won” in Iraq. I try to be as truthful and accurate in my analysis and information as possible, despite my bias towards peacemaking.

    For more daily updates on what is happening in Iraq http://www.texansforpeace.org/endthewar

  11. Robert Says:

    I was in Civil Affairs back when it was a “D” MOS designator and not its own MOS. I have been through similar tough times in Bosnia and other locations. CA is not typically deployed in a war, they arrive after the way is over to rebuild nations. Al needs to reclass to 11B if he expected to fight. Building a nation is a tough job, like getting my little brother and sister to stop fighting. It will not happen overnight. We rebuilt Germany and Japan and folks like Al whined all the time. Today, the whiners are forgotten. Al, if you want a war, go 11B or 18 series. As a senior NCO it is YOUR job to get stuff working, YOU are the backbone of the Army. As I saw in Bosnia, one whiner like Al can void the work of a platoon. Do your unit a favor Al and volunteer for KP.

  12. BikeWriter Says:

    Robert, you may have been in Bosnia, but Iraq is signicantly different. It is also poles apart from Germany and Japan especially because of the differing factions of Islamic fundamentalism there.
    The Iraqis also know we should never have attacked them. They’d done nothing, it was and is a war for oil and political influence. In case you’re wondering, I toured the beautiful Republic of Vietnam during 1967 and 1968.

  13. Charles Meier Says:

    I was in Civil Affairs back when it was a “D” MOS designator and not its own MOS. I have been through similar tough times in Bosnia and other locations. CA is not typically deployed in a war, they arrive after the way is over to rebuild nations.

    I served as an SSG in a CA unit during the late 70’s – early 80s. Don’t know how things have changed, but CA units were set up back then to be first in and last out. First in because their mission during the fight was to keep civilians (refugees, etc.) from interfering with the 11Bs. Last out because they were in charge of getting the civilian infrastructure back up and running. And in fact, a little bit of googling will show that CA units were deployed in Iraq right along side the combat arms units right from the beginning of the war.

    I’ve also spent time working as a civilian academic doing research in overseas development. My experiences lead me to believe that Sgt Lorentz has a pretty good understanding of what is happening in Iraq.

    One thing Lorentz doesn’t point out is that the Bush Admin has made the DOD the point org for rebuilding the civilian infrastructure. Usually, it is USAID under the State Dept that handles this. DOD has made a mess of the process. They have given the contracts out to companies like Haliburton which have failed to give subcontracts to local outfits. The result is that the locals have no stake in the rebuilding. Under USAID it is policy to involve locals as much as possible. DOD is also way behind in spending the allocated money because it has limited experience with these kinds of contracts.

  14. Julie Says:

    Al does not hate America! He is saying what the media is to afraid or to lazy to report. And as for whining, just replay the debate last night over and listen to Bush. God Bless You Big Al!

  15. Robert Says:

    Saddam was a bad guy who did need to be removed, but I agree he is not the worst bad guy. The US did nothing in Tiananmen Square for 2 reasons: 1-the huge Army they have, and 2-no oil or other needed resource. But we need oil, hence we leaped to defend Kuwait. But the politics of all this rarely trickle down to the foot soldier. After Saddam was removed, I think we should have left, we did what we needed for the USA. Now it appears we are doing things for us and them mutually.

    I understand the Islam view, I was part of Operation Pacific Haven and heard all sort of horror stories I will not likely forget. Civil Affairs definitely served a purpose there. I’ll agree that Iraq may be different as I have not yet deployed there.

    I was also a CA instructor. One thing we figured out through Vietnam and other conflicts was that CA goes in after the bullets stop. It’s rather tough to rebuild while still blowing stuff up. Personally I don’t think the conflict is over, and CA is in a bit too early. But that is a strategic call. CA is no longer the first in but they are definitely the last out, as it should be. CA was first in Somalia, that is why everyone had little American flags when the press went in. CA was pulled out early and we lost our connection to the populace. We all know the results there.

    While Haliburton may be doing nothing illegal, I understand the perception. I am in a position to give lots of work to a company where my brother happens to work. However to avoid views of abuse, he will have to find this place on his own.

    The tough part in all this is that the smoke has not yet cleared. In ten years we can look back and come to better conclusions, as we will have a more definite idea of the effects of present day actions.

  16. Robert Says:

    On another note, surely there ar those who believe we can win, who are in the theatre and can chanllenge this posted claim. I invite Al Lorentz to find another soldier who feels opposite of him, and have that reply posted as well.

  17. Charles Meier Says:

    CA is no longer the first in but they are definitely the last out, as it should be.

    Bull. CA is still first in according to DOD. There were CA units in Iraq at the front lines from the get-go. CNN interviewed one CA Lt Col who was faced with the task of trying to get locals to claim the bodies of enemy and civilian casualties and bury them according to Muslim requirements (something about the max length of time allowed before a burial must happen) while the bullets were flying around him. CA units do more than just rebuild after the conflict is over.

  18. Robert Says:

    Yes, according to DoD. But we all know that politics drive the wars now, not the strategy of Generals. Sad. CA units were first in Somalia then pulled out to save money. So much for interfacing with civilians there.

  19. al lorentz Says:

    Discovered this thread and thank you to those who defended me in my absence while I was serving overseas. Robert your sniveling and whining is most unimpressive – former CA you are the epitome of “death before discomfort”. By the way Thomas, why aren’t you in the military and more importantly, why do YOU hate America?

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