“Ideology and idealism will never trump history and reality.”

From reader Ben comes another fascinating, if disturbing, article about Iraq. This one is from a 20-year career NCO, and it is titled, unfortunately, “Why We Can’t Win”:

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 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.

There’s (a lot) more, and it carries on with the same sunny tone.

I can’t help this feeling… I swear that I have heard this argument… somewhere… I know someone has said something like this… I just can’t recall exactly what they were talking about.