A few days ago Laurel and I spent an interesting evening with someone who had just come back from a tour of duty in Iraq. He told it like it is: awful. He was asked, “Often it’s said that the media just reports the bad stuff that’s going on in Iraq. Do you think that’s true?”
His response: “Actually, the situation is a lot worse than the media is reporting.” He had nothing good to say about the Bush administration’s failed war policies. This is from a guy who had his boots on the ground.
He quoted an officer who likened the American presence to a self-licking ice cream cone. Meaning, the insurgency problem is mostly caused by our efforts to quell the insurgency. Patrols go out in their inadequately armored Humvees. They get attacked because they are patrolling. Then more patrols go out to deal with the attacks.
It’s an insane policy. Aaron Glantz, who also has had first-hand experience of what’s happening in Iraq, wrote in January 2005 about what a resistance fighter told him:
"We have to fight for our country and our religion," he told me, "so when an American Humvee goes by, we attack it. Sometimes there are American snipers on top of the police station, so we hit the police station. Sometimes there are no Americans around, so we just hit the police. When anyone puts himself on the Americans' side, he's a traitor."
But why are the Americans on patrol to begin with? Officially, we are told they are patrolling the streets, hunting down insurgents. My experience in Iraq leads me to believe that the Humvees themselves create the insurgents.
… What, exactly, is the point of these Humvee patrols? Why are American soldiers being sent out night after night to be attacked by Iraqi nationalists? If America suspended these Humvee patrols and pulled out of Iraq, these fighters would go back to their regular jobs. As it is, no amount of armor will keep American soldiers from dying in Iraq.
When you’ve got a self-licking ice cream cone, the only way to stop the messy drips onto the floor is to throw the cone away. Which is just what should be done with the Bush administration’s crazy Iraq policy, ASAP.