Thursday, November 18, 2004

Mike Zummer Sends Word From Iraq
Long-time readers of this blog and Stanford students know of Mike Zummer, one of my good friends from the class below me at Stanford Law School, who took a leave of abscence to serve his country in Iraq. About a week and a half ago he sent me and a few other friends an email detailing his experience and growing disillusionment with the bureaucracy that is in his opinion hindering our war effort. I didn't have his permission to post it until yesterday, but now that I have it, here it is.

Just thought I'd try to give everyone an idea of how the war is going for me. One of our little jokes is that war is hell, unless you're at Al Asad. A Master Sergeant around here came up with that one.

The problem is what happens outside the wire, or at the gate 300m away from where I am right now, in the case of the suicide car bomb on the 23rd.

You can see what's happening on the news and the lastest if you check the internet are police stations in Haqlaniyah and Hadithah that are my responsibility. Unfortunately, there's little I can do, except read the reports. I've come up with a plan to try to recover everything, but it will take time and may not even be approved. The worst part is that a week ago, I told people that these stations would be next. Nothing I could do to stop it. I had the same thing about the station before these. I'm not trying to say I'm a genius, it's just that I know what's going to happen and I have no resources or authority to do anything about it.

You can read the news and see where the focus is. Our enemy may be murderers, but they're not stupid. While we mass near Fallujah, they're going to roll back any successes we've had with the Iraqi Security Forces, especially the police.

I don't know what's happening elsewhere. I don't know how things are in the south. Apparently, the British learned how things are up here compared to down South. I hear the Army plays baseball in the North.

So, I wouldn't say that we need a whole bunch more troops, but we do need more where I am. I can't say I blame this on the administration as a lot of what I've seen has been a psychosis from the military planners. They just don't seem to understand what it takes to make the Iraqis operational. There's a completely unrealistic view of what we're going to need to do. I used to get mad when I read some of the stupidity emanating from our military in Baghdad or people below that. Now I just laugh.

Anyway, so while my stations get attacked, I continue to plan and hope that I'll get the resources that I need to implement a plan that I hope will work. It's not what I would like to do. It's not everything that I think we need. It's just the best I can do with what I have to work with.

The worst part is knowing that the longer it takes for us to bang our heads against the bureaucracy at our own level and at higher headquarters, the longer it will take to get going in the right direction. The longer that takes, the longer we'll be here, and the more people will die.

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