Field commanders tell Pentagon Iraq war ‘is lost’


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

From Capitol Hill Blue
Field commanders tell Pentagon Iraq war 'is lost'
Jun 5, 2006, 07:13

Military commanders in the field in Iraq admit in 
private reports to the Pentagon the war "is lost" 
and that the U.S. military is unable to stem the 
mounting violence killing 1,000 Iraqi civilians a 

Even worse, they report the massacre of Iraqi 
civilians at Haditha is "just the tip of the 
iceberg" with overstressed, out-of-control 
Americans soldiers pushed beyond the breaking 
point both physically and mentally.

"We are in trouble in Iraq," says retired army 
general Barry McCaffrey. "Our forces can't 
sustain this pace, and I'm afraid the American 
people are walking away from this war."

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff, has clamped a tight security lid 
on the increasingly pessimistic reports coming 
out of field commanders in Iraq, threatening 
swift action against any military personnel who 
leak details to the press or public.

The wife of a staff sergeant with Kilo Company, 
the Marine Unit charged with killing civilians at 
Haditha, tells Newsweek magazine that the unit 
was a hotbed of drug abuse, alcoholism and 

"There were problems in Kilo company with drugs, 
alcohol, hazing [violent initiation games], you 
name it," she said. "I think it's more than 
possible that these guys were totally tweaked out 
on speed or something when they shot those 
civilians in Haditha."

Journalists stationed with the unit described 
Kilo Company and the Third Batallion of Marines 
as a "unit out of control," where morale had 
plummeted and rules went out the window.

Similar reports emerge from military units 
throughout Iraq and even the Iraqi prime minister 
describes American soldiers as trigger happy 
goons with little regard for the lives of 

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki says the 
murder of Iraqi civilians has become a "daily 
phenomenon" by American troops who "do not 
respect the Iraqi people."

"They crush them with their vehicles and kill 
them just on suspicion. This is completely 
unacceptable," Maliki said. The White House tried 
to play down Maliki's comments, saying the prime 
minister was "misquoted" although Maliki himself 
has yet to made such a public claim.

''Can anyone blame Iraqis for joining the 
resistance now?'' Mustafa al-Ani, an Iraqi 
analyst living in Dubai, told The Chicago 
Tribune. ''The resistance and the terrorists 
alike are feeding off the misbehavior of the 
American soldiers.''

As the resistance mounts and daily violence 
escalates, the overstressed U.S. units are unable 
to control the mounting violence and conclusions 
escalate that the war is lost.

"Our troops overreacted because of the pressure 
on them, and they killed innocent civilians in 
cold blood," says Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.

The former commander of American forces in 
Northern Iraq admits incidents like Haditha add 
to the impression that the U.S. cannot win the 

"Allegations such as this, regardless of how they 
are borne out by the facts, can have an effect on 
the ability of U.S. forces to continue to 
operate," says Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham.

Others say the incident just shows the U.S. has 
lost he "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people.

"When something like Haditha happens, it gives 
the impression that Americans can't be trusted to 
provide security, which is the most important 
thing to Iraqis on a day-to-day level," says 
Anthony Cordesman, an Iraq expert at the Center 
for Strategic and International Studies. "It 
tends to confirm all of the worst interpretations 
of the United States, and not simply in Iraq, but 
also in Afghanistan and in the region."

© Copyright 2005 Capitol Hill Blue

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