Scottanlily brings up a good point about needing to use something to remove heavy oxidation, and the steel wool thing is scary if a manufacturer is suggesting using it on aluminum.
He makes an additional good point about using the finer grades of polish, rather than a coarse compound and more passes- but you have to have a lot of patience to achieve this. It works well with an Airmark/Spec/L&L type polishing system, but isn't as necessary because these systems don't swirl on aluminum, they rotate against it.
Scotchbrite pads or wet sanding are used professionally to address this, but are used in a horizontal motion only, not swirled. The grit has to be judged by the user, to get results and utilize the least abrasive system possible.
Laziness creates all kinds of problems in polishing- as it seems people dig for ways to "get it done" quickly and easily. There is no way I would ever consider using gritty compound- be it Nuvite, Rolite, 3M or anything else, combined with a wheel. These people telling you this will possibly do so to sell you the next 3 grades to be necessary to remove the damage they just advised you to do.
Unfortunately, for most folks, the Airmark/Spec system is expensive to buy, and justifying the great results and time savings are not so clear when they start on the journey- but would probably do so after the job is half done.
SOLUTION???? I JUST FIGGERED IT OUT!!!
Somebody with Photoshop expertise help me out...
These professional tools not only cost a lot, but they have another drawback- you need a LOT of air to run them- like 95psi @ 35cfm....
I'm taking my high powered, gas engined WEED WHACKER, removing the mono line head, and attaching a rod with threads on the end, then we'll take a stack of 10(!) bench wheel type polishing wheels- where the outer circumference is the polishing surface, and insert it on the rod and bolt it down! This will give us about 14" of polishing surface, NO swirl marks because its the soft end spinning against the aluminum- Voila! A backyard, poor boys version of the Airmark! No big compressor, no cords or hoses- heck- you can go and polish out in the middle of nowhere!
OK- You guys have fun with this while I start making my $5 plans to sell in Pop Mechanics