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View Diary: Pentagon forbids troops to buy better body armor (259 comments)

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  •  Should have seen this coming (2.00)
    You push from one side and something falls off on the other.

    At first (OIF and OIF II), many troops had to go out and buy stuff before they shipped out because the RFI was not yet available.

    That's what started the stink about reimbursing servicemen/women for buying needed gear.

    The while OIF II was boots on the ground, they started getting their RFI. By the time OIF III was gearing up, they got their RFI, and what few items they didn't getting before being boots on the ground, they got while there - but those were all "minor" items (fleece jackets, gortex gloves) - all critical PPE was issued prior to departure for Iraq.

    I am sure that things have gotten eve better with OIF IV, although I cannot say from personal experience or observation - I am merely drawing a conclusion from the previous trends regarding RFI.

    Now, I am going to tell you the complete truth, and I have the digital images to back it up. We did not get our RFI until we were within thirty days of flying out. I was concerned that we weren't going to get our gear, and I am also a firm believer in "you train as you fight", so I went out and had bought many items on my own MONTHS before we were even called to active duty - many of which ended up being the identical items we were issued by RFI (Camelbak, Wiley X, Elbow/Knee pads) - I had done my research.

    Here's the trip of it all - I was prejudice toward using the items I had bought, as I had spent money on those items, so I wore and used them instead of the items issued by the RFI. However, about halfway through my tour, I got a wild hair and decided to start using the modular MOLLE vest with attachments, and I found that I much preferred it over the Spec-Ops stuff I had bought out of my pocket.

    In other words, the gear that we were issued was actually surprisingly good, especially considering that it was issued by the government.

    But this is getting slightly off the topic.

    The issue here is about body armor.

    This is the deal - the DoD held off forever on reimbursing those who had spent their own money to by PPE as they were trying to fund buying PPE that was needed in the here and now for the troops that are or will soon be deploying. Yes, it may suck to be stuck with a debt of a couple of thousand dollars for having bought body armor, but if you been to Iraq and you are back, your debt is not a priority when compared with the life of another soldier who doesn't yet have his IBA. So, you stall in paying back the guy who spent his own money and you take care of the guy who is deploying.

    So now all the whiners and naysayers kept pissing and moaning about all these guys from OIF and OIF II who spent all that money out of their pockets and asking "What about them?". Politicians saw an election year was coming and they wanted this issue far off the table long before then, so they started pressuring the DoD to put in place a policy, as Congress had authorized over a year beforehand.

    So now everyone gets what they want: The troops deploying get the gear they need. The troops who spent their money are now getting paid for what they bought out of their pockets. The politicians are glad to have the troops taken care off and a potentially disastrous political issue off the table.

    Ah, but what about the DoD?

    Well, now they have been forced to start reimbursing the servicemen and women for what they bought. But it is not that simple. They are actually buying those items back from the troops, as the government just can't hand out "free money". In order to be reimbursed, the serviceman/woman has to (a) show proof of purchase and cost of the item when bought, and (b) has to turn the item(s) over to the government. No receipt or no gear - no money - plain and simple.

    So now that the DoD has been backed into a corner and is now being forced to buy back old, worn out, used, and non-standard equipment, it is going to clamp down on what it allows servicemen and women to use in theater, as the DoD has a procurement system and standard issue items for a reason. It is not going to allow each and every soldier to now become a freelance purchasing agent for the government. The government now has enough equipment for the everyone, and from now on, everyone will no longer have a choice - they will wear what the government issues to them - period - nothing else. And if they do somehow do got their own privately purchased equipment, the government is not going to pay for it, as part of the reimbursement program requires that the soldier shows a need for the equipment, as the government would not provide the equipment. Guess what? The government is providing the equipment. Is the equipment provided by the government always the latest and greatest? No. Does it work? Yes.

    So, I can't really see what all the complaining is about.

    Activists, critics, and families yelled, screamed, and cried that they wanted to troops to have the gear that they needed and that those who had to buy their own gear be reimbursed.

    Well, it took a while, but they all got exactly what they wanted.

    But as the old saying goes, you should be careful what you wish for, as you just might get it.

    Well, that is what happened. Now the troops are being issued what they government wants them to have and the troops no longer have a choice in what they can wear, hence they cannot buy anything to use instead of the government issued equipment.

    So, you wanted to let the troops have the newest equipment on the market?

    You should have kept your mouth shut and took up a collection and bought a soldier his own body armor.

    Now he is stuck with the government issues to him.

    Hope you are happy - you got what you wanted.

    Or perhaps you are still getting what you want - to complain endlessly about everything, no matter what?

    ----------------------------

    "Clockwise" served as a Non-Commissioned Officer in Operation Iraqi Freedom III, performing the duties of Infantry, Military Police, and Scout, serving as Crewman, Gunner, and Vehicle Commander on several combat missions, and was awarded the Combat Action Badge and the Army Commendation Medal for his service. He is also a prior service Marine who served for ten years during the Cold War, and returned to military service after "9-11" and has over twelve years of active duty military experience.

    •  asdf (4.00)
      Sorry the Spec-Ops stuff didn't work out for you... next time buy Eagle;-)

      Seriously, great insight. Thanks for posting this.

    •  What we want. (none)
      No, we do not want to complain no matter what.  We want good government, and we are angry that we are not getting it.  We want a government that will go to war only when it is necessary, and when it does, to devote the resources needed to give the troops what they want.  We want a government that will support the troops for real, and not just talk the talk.

      Thanks for your comment.  It is good to get information from the field.  I disagree with making excuses for a clearly negligent government, but I appreciate your perspective.  A veteran's perspective is highly valued in these discussion threads.

      A note on etiquette: You won't make a whole lot of friends around here zipping around and labelling everyone's comments "unproductive."  That is, itself, pretty unproductive.  If you disagree, say why.  That's the game.  And if it is done with respect, it will be appreciated.

      The Republican party: An alliance of madness and greed.

      by jem6x on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:42:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you for your advice! (none)
        I was only trying to honest with my ratings, for that is how I felt. However, I will be mindful of your advice and not immediately walk into the room and commence to stepping on toes. Look, let's be very clear and honest upfront - I am no Neo-Con, but I do tend to agree with the Conservative philosophy. I know that most of you do not feel the same way. That's okay, and that's what makes this country great - we are allowed to agree to disagree without taking of each other's rights or doing violence unto one another for our views. We are all Americans and in the end, that is what I serve for and that is all that matters.
        •  fine... (none)
          but the president says every other day that i'm (we're)giving aid and comfort (i.e. committing the capital offense of treason)  to the enemy by pointing out (and i'm pretty careful in trying to discern the facts) that he and his supporting power structure are steeped in lies and crime.

          you've stated why you serve.  i don't see that as having anything to do with why you were sent.  

          we'll stand him up against a wall and pop goes the weasel /rufus t. firefly

          by 2nd balcony on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:31:23 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for contributing, Clockwise, (4.00)
          and yes, etiquette holds that you do not "1"-rate comments you merely disagree with. (Just so you know, you can go back and change or delete those ratings, if you're so inclined.)

          You'll note that I stated, in the very first comment in this diary, that "If this is true . . . " What that means, in shorthand, is, "If it's true that political cronyism and corruption had anything to do with our troops not only not getting, but being denied the opportunity to provide themselves with, the best, most life-protective gear available, then those responsible should pay the price, preferably now, but at minimum in the Hereafter."

          I think you would probably agree. And that is absolutely not a function of Democratic, Republican, conservative, liberal, veteran, civilian, whatever - that is a function of being an American. There is no room for that kind of practice in this country. Ever. By anyone. Period.

          Now - if it's simple bureaucratic/government/DOD incompetence, that is another matter. It's no excuse, but it's a whole different level of transgression. I just don't know.

          And yes, this deserves more investigation than I can afford to give it. But at least the conversation can be had.

          And again, thanks for contributing. I appreciate it.

          We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor -The Declaration of Independence

          by occams hatchet on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:32:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Who's "incompetence"? (none)
            I am not sure that I would call it "incompetence" on the part of the DoD, but rather of the whole way our bureaucratic government operates these days, with politicians playing their games, the courts playing some more games, and activist playing their games as well.

            The bottom line is the DoD spends billions and everyone is trying to get their hands on it - everyone for their own reasons - and sometimes the goal of getting to best gear to the troops, as fast as possible, gets lost in everyone else's desire to either make a buck or redistribute that buck to someone else.

            That's not the DoD's problem - That's the Beltway culture and way of doing things. It doesn't matter if there is a (R), (D), or (I) behind your name on that one - they are all just as guilty as the other.

            •  Clockwise - (4.00)

              the whole way our bureaucratic government operates these days, with politicians playing their games, the courts playing some more games, and activist playing their games as well

              I can tell you that none of the activists on this site is "playing games" when it comes to military procurement. What any serious-mnded Kossack wants for our military personnel is the best effort made to get them the best possible equipment, within the constraints of time and budget. It appears that perhaps that is not happening in this case, but we can't be sure. It certainly warrants further investigation.

              And of course, all of that is completely aside from how any of us might feel about the war itself. We all want our troops to be safe and well-protected. Most Kossacks, if I had to guess, believe that the best way for that to happen would be to bring them home, but that's another diary. Given, then, that the troops will be in theatre, we want for them to have the best we can provide them, or at least not to deny them the best simply because of greed and/or incompetence.


              The bottom line is the DoD spends billions and everyone is trying to get their hands on it - everyone for their own reasons - and sometimes the goal of getting to best gear to the troops, as fast as possible, gets lost in everyone else's desire to either make a buck or redistribute that buck to someone else.

              No, not "everyone" is trying to get their hands on the DOD's billions. I'm not. Not "everyone" has the "desire to either make a buck or redistribute that buck to someone else." I don't. I just want that buck to be spent wisely for what it was intended - to supply our troops with the best possible equipment. I'm pretty sure that's what almost everyone on this site wants, too, when it comes to this issue.

              Getting back to the question of the "1" ratings you dropped on so many comments in this thread:  Again, etiquette would indicate that you not scatter them about like so many cluster munitions, wreaking random havoc. I personally don't care - I've got plenty of mojo, so it doesn't matter to me. But to troll-rate a legitimate comment just because you disagree with it, is not an appropriate response. You can, provided you do it in the next day or so, go back and change the ratings on those comments. I would suggest you do, but it is entirely up to you. I happen to believe that your perspective on the world is one that this site will greatly benefit from, and I hope you will continue to contribute. But please reconsider your "1"s.

              Peace.

              We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor -The Declaration of Independence

              by occams hatchet on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 02:46:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  OK, I see that (4.00)
              you're trying valiantly to change the "1" ratings, from your comment upthread. Sorry it's proving difficult; I wish I could help in that regard, but I'm not "tech-y" enough to have much of a suggestion. If you're logged in to the site, I think you should be able to make the changes on the comment ratings, the same way you left the ratings in the first place.

              I think.

              We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor -The Declaration of Independence

              by occams hatchet on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 02:56:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  clockwise (4.00)
      Thank you for your service and for this post.  There's nothing like the voice of experience.

      Of course, there are all kinds of experience. For instance, there's the experience of highly paid contractors driving empty fuel trucks across the desert and their companies charging the US (taxpayer) for the shipment at the very same moment that soldiers were without body armor, and families were having to take up collections to supply equipment that should have been standard and was not. There's the experience of worrying about a war in which people are dying and about which we are very poorly informed. There's the experience of buying phone cards for soldiers in hospitals who can't afford to phone home or of contributing to the lunch fund for wouned outpatients who have to return to the hospital for therapy but are required to pay for their lunches off-base.

      All kinds of experience.  Some close up, some from a distance. All, equally real.

      And then, right beside experience, there're opinions. You think of us as complainers. An opinion. I think of us as committed citizens, willing to make the time to apply whatever pressure we can to correct what we call wrongs, incompetence, crimes and you call errors.

      A simple question of perspective, I suppose. In any case, I am glad you have armor now.  What about your humvee? Is that armored yet? Do guys still have to go scavaging in the dumpsters? Or has the supply caught up with the demand?

      Take care of yourself, Marine.

      •  The supply system has definitely caught up (none)
        When we first got to Iraq, we had "Hillbilly Armor", and yes, I was appalled. It just so happened that the incident with the soldier asking SecDef Rumsfeld about scavenging for armor during a press conference was less than a week before I saw what I was going to riding in on my first convoy across Iraq - and I was not happy.

        I was in an open back variant of the HUMVEE, with an empty oxygen/welding tank converted into a mount for my machine gun. Metal had been welded across each side of the back of the HUMVEE where I would be sitting, as a gunner, more than halfway across Iraq, while the Driver and Vehicle Commander were surrounded by the armor of a bolt on "up armor" kit.

        Several hours into the mission, in the late afternoon, on a very busy highway, I heard a very loud clanking and skidding noise which startled me. I spun around to see what it was and to my shock and surprise, I saw the metal plate that had been welded across the side of the back of the vehicle - my ONLY armor protection - skidding down the side of the road next to our HUMVEE! Evidently the person had welded the plate onto the vehicle had done a poor job and the weld didn't hold!

        So, here I am in a huge convoy, my VERY FIRST day in Iraq, and I am literally sitting out in the open in the back of a HUMVEE, with only my body armor and helmet for protection against enemy fire or IEDs.

        You know what?

        Shit happens!

        I did what any other good soldier would do!

        I started laughing and singing and made the best of the situation (For months I was actually a legend in my unit over this - "Hey, you see that Sergeant over there? He's that crazy mother-fucker that went across Iraq laughing and singing when the armor fell off his HUMVEE!")

        The convoy took two more days to reach our final destination in the Al Anbar Province, but no one rode in the back of that HUMVEE and no one else was exposed to the same danger I was the first day.

        But what you have to understand is this: It goes far beyond what you are seeing in this article or discussing as a result!

        During out time there, each and every vehicle, even if it had "Hillbilly" armor as a stopgap measure, was retrofitted with factory uparmor kits within a few months. We had a few vehicles hit by EIDs, with both armor configurations, and only in two cases was anyone injured, and it was the Gunner who was exposed on the top of the vehicle - the armor on the vehicle was not a factor. Please make note of this very important fact - in one year, NO soldier from our unit was killed due to hostile fire. Our armor worked!

        SecDef Rumself was completely correct when he stated that when you go to war you take what you have.

        Did you know that the very first up armored HUMVEE rolled off the assembly line in 1994? However, during the time that the Clinton Administration was in office, the Defense budget was tight, so military planners and Generals had to make some hard choices as to what they wanted to spend their money on. Unfortunately, buying items such as improved body armor, improved helmets, and uparmored HUMVEEs was not a high priority. As a result, when September 11, 2001 happened, we had very little of these items in the U.S. inventory. Remember the $80 Billion that John Kerry voted for before he voted against it? The same $80 Billion the Democrats held up for weeks of debate in unsuccessful bid to trade it for stopping the "tax cuts for the rich"? $67 Billion of that was to fund what is now known as the "Rapid Fielding Initiative" (RFI). These items had to be manufactured, tested, shipped, and distributed to the troops. Believe it or not, this was done with an amazing amount of speed; especially considering the modern military procurement system and the point at which we started.

        Anyone who really knows anything about military history knows that this is the nature of the beast - this always happens in times of war. Sadly, but true, time and time again, during times of "peace" we cut defense spending, cut training, and cut the number of people in the military. This last time, at the end of the Cold War, it was done for in the name of the "Peace Dividend". In reality, what this all boils down to is this: Had we not cut defense spending, or at least not as drastically as we did during the 1990s, we could have had all of these things BEFORE we went either into Afghanistan or Iraq.

        You can argue all day about whether or not we should be in Iraq or not, as that is your right which I fully support and defend.

        However, you cannot argue with what I am saying on this subject, for they are facts - and can be completely backed up with some simple research on the internet, if you desire learn the truth.

        I am not trying to tell you whether or not to "support the war". I am merely asking you to be intellectually honest and understand that whole root cause of the issues you are discussing - body armor - and in the grander scope of things - procurement of needed equipment for the troops at large; whether in a time of peace or a time of war - for you can change from the one state to another in the time it takes for a heart to beat, an eye to blink, and a terrorist to crash and airliner into a skyscraper full of innocent people.

        If you want to know about the "empty fuel tankers running around Iraq and the contractor charging the government for it to happen", as you put it, I also worked closely with both private security firms and civilian contractors while I was in country. I would be more than happy to help dispel many of the myths I see being perpetuated in this conversation - just ask.

        Again, I am not here to dissuade from your political/ideological beliefs, but rather make sure you get facts without inflammatory or prejudicial comments and propaganda.

        I am merely interested in sharing the truth I saw with my own two eyes.

        ----------------------------

        "Clockwise" served as a Non-Commissioned Officer in Operation Iraqi Freedom III, performing the duties of Infantry, Military Police, and Scout, serving as Crewman, Gunner, and Vehicle Commander on several combat missions, and was awarded the Combat Action Badge and the Army Commendation Medal for his service. He is also a prior service Marine who served for ten years during the Cold War, and returned to military service after "9-11" and has over twelve years of active duty military experience.

        •  wow (none)
          Singing!  What a story.  You sound fabulous. Hey, listen, lots of us value your experience and we are careful listeners.

          Yup, seems we disagree about the war (& probably about this administration, about which I, like many, feel very strongly) but not about the troops. So that's something.

          Here's hoping you stay around. A lot of people are pooling information, experience and insight here and we are all sorts of people-- doctors, lawyers, teachers, students, scientists, soldiers, homemakers, grandparents, teenagers, animal lovers, you name it. Sure, the conversation gets raucous sometimes. Why not? Our goals are simple-- to think straight, learn, vent, act, organize and create change. Idealistic and surprisingly practical. Clockwise & counter-clockwise. You know?

        •  nit picking (none)
          Clockwise,

          You said that SecDef Rumsfeld was correct when he said you go to war with the military you have vs. the one you want.

          I agree in part.

          But the war in Iraq was,is an elective war. There was/is no clear and present danger in Iraq. There is clear and present oil; but I digress.

          Notice I've not downrated your comments just because i disagree.

    •  No. NOT happy. (none)
      What would make me and millions of others happy is not to be at war in the first place. BUT since we're there, and the DoD is running things,...do you think there's waste, corruption and bid-rigging going on at the DoD? Probably. And probably also in most large purchasing sections anywhere on the planet. But I'll make a deal for you: Take the money from just one of the sweetheart deals the DoD made with a Halliburton-related company and you'll have more than enough money to buy all the best body armor for every soldier in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and wherever else we are or "aren't." I truly and deeply appreciate your service, Clock, but your thinking feeds directly into Rummy's maxim that "you go to war with the army you have, not the one you WISH you had." He's right only if the leadership is so totally inept, it can't even fathom what might come next in a theatre of war. And in this case, we're stuck with the "leadership" we "have, not the..." You get the idea.
      Us "whiners" would rather see our soldiers well-protected with the best equipment and are not satisfied with "making do" with government-issue stuff that's anything less than the best. Really, I and others could care less what we're called -- "whiners," etc. Whatever. But if we think we can save an American life, we'll "whine" as long and as hard as is necessary. And if that doesn't work, then we'll find another way. We're doing the best we can and the best we know how to do. We value the lives of our soldiers, Clock. Deal with it.
      Maybe you should be out front, telling the American people just how exactly we should be maneuvering through the DoD labyrinth to get our soldiers the best stuff, or maybe you complaining about "do-gooders" makes you feel more superior, especially that you've served there and many of us haven't. Well, I hope you're happy. You got what you wanted.

      "...and the ones that are lucky ones come home on the day after tomorrow..." -- Tom Waits

      by Newton Snookers on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:32:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sometimes you hurt when you want to help (none)
        But sometimes your "whining" will end up being counter-productive and ending up serving against the cause in which you believe.

        As for the rest, please read the other comments I have made in this thread and I think you will find that you may have judged me to quickly and too harshly.

        •  I did. (none)
          And you might be right. You're a pretty blunt guy. No problem with that.
          But I'll challenge you, however, just as you've challenged us "complainers," to be part of the SOLUTION, not just another voice lost in the electronic version of the Tower of Babel.
          Get out front of this armor mess. Make yourself available to people (even the God-forsaken MEDIA, if necessary) who WANT to help, but don't know exactly HOW.
          You can tell us we're wrong, and that's fine. BUT WE CAN --- AND WE ARE WILLING TO --- LEARN.
          You basically tell us to "put up or shut up." Great. Back at ya.

          "...and the ones that are lucky ones come home on the day after tomorrow..." -- Tom Waits

          by Newton Snookers on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 12:19:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I speak to the media all of the time! (none)
            I was interviewed via phone several times while in Iraq, in person while home on R&R from Iraq, and via phone even after I returned from Iraq.

            I am not your "typical soldier". ;)

            Although it was not a daily blog, I did, in fact, within the DoD regulations, operate a blog from Iraq - and with them I have many videos and digital images from my time in Iraq available for download.

            It's all online - all you have to do is ask where to find it and I might even be a nice guy and tell you! :P

            I will probably be giving away where you can find all of this and who I am by doing this, but I will be a nice guy and give you a sample:

            Video Link: We Chosen Few - This could possibly be one of the greatest "tribute" videos on the internet, dedicated not only to the men of the 2-112th Armor and the Marines who serve directly with them at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq but to all soldiers and Marines who have served on the ground during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom II, and Operation Iraqi Freedom III. This video is nothing less than majestic in its visual and musical content. Produced by SPC Jacob Smith.

            •  Well, I know two things - (none)
              You don't change hearts and minds by unilaterally troll-rating thoughtful comments and you sure don't steer a discussion by calling your opposition "whiners."

              The whole tenor of this thread makes it sound like we are more concerned that U.S. military personnel have bad armor than a U.S. Marine Sergeant does.

              I find that hard to take.

              My father and brothers were all military personnel and I have a nephew on active duty in Iraq.  They put the safety of their buddies first, always, whatever the political implication of the concern.

              They also always respectfully said that they were fighting for my freedom to disagree with them.

              And they never called me a whiner, even in the heat of verbal battle.

              •  No... (none)
                The "tenor" of this thread, if you actually and objectively go back and honestly read it, is not about a bunch concerned citizens say "Gee, it sure is bad those soldiers don't have they need".

                For if it was, my attitude would be totally different.

                No, this thread is all about politics, and how this subject can be used as just another club to bludgeon the Bush Administration.

                Don't believe me?

                Go back and read the comments about "a special place in hell for Republicans", etc.

                I don't care if any of you support the war or not.

                I don't care what political party or ideology any of may believe in.

                That's your right and none of my business - but when you take what could and should be a serious - life and death - story, and then cheapen it by turning into a political debate topic and talking point; I am not going to have any patience for it or the person(s) making the argument.

                You want to talk to someone who knows something about the topic? You want to get to the real facts? You want to find the most accurate and honest version of the truth?

                Fine.

                Otherwise you are making a mockery of something quite important.

                When you do something like that for the sake of politics, in my book you are a "whiner".

                The question is: How are you approaching this topic?

                Only you can answer the following question as a result: "Are you a 'whiner'"?

                If not, calm down, for the shoe does not fit.

                Otherwise, why are you whining because someone called you a "whiner"?

                Simple, eh?

                •  Clockwise - (none)
                  Again, I want to thank you for contributing to this thread, and this site. (And, by the way, you can still go  back and change those "1" ratings.)

                  You said some things in this comment in particular that I want to give you some feedback on.

                  First, take a look at these from your comment:


                  The "tenor" of this thread, if you actually and objectively go back and honestly read it, is not about a bunch concerned citizens say "Gee, it sure is bad those soldiers don't have they need". [snip]

                  No, this thread is all about politics [snip]

                  Go back and read the comments about "a special place in hell for Republicans", etc.

                  I would invite you to reconsider those remarks. First, the entire motivation for this diary and most of the comments in the thread - the "fire in the belly," if you will, of the people writing - is, in fact, outrage that the possibility exists that "these soldiers don't have what they need" because somebody is fucking up in some way, whether deliberate (God forbid) or otherwise. If it were the case that, say, the White House Christmas tree were lacking decorations because of a bureaucratic snafu or because somebody's brother-in-law got paid off and didn't deliver the goods, do you think anybody here would give a rat's ass? The answer is no, and I think you understand that. No, it's very simply that these are our soliders (including you, for that matter), and dammit, they should have what they need. Believe me, knowing that you will be redeployed in another few weeks gives me a queasy feeling, now that we have made even this tenuous electronic connection. I want you to be as safe as you can be under the circumstances.

                  So, no, this thread is not "all about politics". And, nowhere in the thread does anyone write, "a special place in hell for Republicans." No, the special place in hell is reserved for those who would profit from a war where soldiers are dying because of someone's corruption. Believe me when I tell you that no one at DailyKos would have one iota of problem escorting a Democrat to the "Abandon Hope, all Ye Who Enter Here" sign if it was discovered that they had done that.


                  You want to talk to someone who knows something about the topic? You want to get to the real facts? You want to find the most accurate and honest version of the truth?

                  I'm sure it wasn't your intention to imply that yours was "the most accurate and honest version of the truth." Obviously, there is only one "truth," and no "versions" of it. And, as I'm sure you're aware, there are plenty of people on DailyKos who "know something about the topic," not just you. No one else can speak to your experience, to be sure, but everybody can speak to their own experience. That's why there are 260 comments on this thread, not just 1.

                  One thing you will find as you spend more time at dKos - and I hope you do - is that a HUGE pool of human experience - including lots and lots of military experience, even at the highest levels - contributes to this site. You are not the only vet here, not even close.

                  You will also find, almost without exception, that Kossacks support the men and women who are serving in our armed forces. Many, many of us have friends and relatives in uniform. Many, many of us have lost loved ones in war. Some of us lost loved ones in World War II, and not just in combat, but in concentration camps.

                  I gather from your bio, etc., that you're in your mid-20s. If my surmise is correct, that means, ipso facto, that you have not lived through some of the times that others on this site have. Just as a for-instance, you were not alive during the Vietnam War and the 1960s, or during Watergate. For that matter, you were probably not a cognizant political animal during the Reagan years. Now that, in and of itself, doesn't mean anything; however, those of us who were alive during all of these things have a perspective unavailable to you - just as your combat experience gives you a perspective unavailable to me (or George W. Bush, Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan, for that matter). The beauty of this site is that it is a forum for all of those perspectives to be shared and drawn upon.

                  Nobody has a monopoly on wisdom or insight or knowledge because of age or experience - and that works in both directions.

                  And, finally, your comments are welcome - by most people. As you've seen from some of the responses on this thread, some people can get very worked up over things that are written here. It's important (not just for you, but for everyone posting) not to get personal, to maintain respect. Generally, judging from what you've posted here, I would say you have done that in your writing. (The "1" ratings are another issue, but let's put that aside for now.)

                  The reason I'm taking so much time to write this response is that I truly value your participation in this forum. I know I speak for many when I write that.

                  Peace.

                  We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor -The Declaration of Independence

                  by occams hatchet on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 08:54:31 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're alright! (none)
                    I don't care what they say about you!

                    Yeah, I tend to be a little grandiose at times, but hey, that's just me - take it with a grain of salt.

                    Would it interest you to know that I "celebrated" my fortieth birthday while I was in Iraq last year? My ass may be getting ready to slide over the top of the hill, but the heart and mind are still young and as sharp as ever! My father, God rest his soul, was a WW II vet and my military experience started under a President who's name was Carter. So, yes, I have been around the block a few times, and I have a special love of history, especially post WW I and onward. What I am trying to tell you is a have an idea of how things work. ;)

                    While I will be reporting to my next duty station with the next two weeks, I doubt I will be sent back to Iraq within the next two years - if even at all, as much can happen in two years. But you never know - that is the life of a warrior. Could be in Iran in a few months if things don't cool down, and sooner or later we will have to tassel with China, but that's much further down to road and is not going to be pretty.

                    I hope all of this calms your jittery nerves! ;)

                    I promise as soon as I figure out how to rectify the scores I handed out, seemingly unfairly, I will do so.

                    Would I lie?

                    :)

                    •  Roger that (none)
                      and, once again, my presuppositions get blasted.

                      God, I love this forum!

                      Best of luck to you. Please continue to post. And think about diarying soon, if you can.

                      OH

                      We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor -The Declaration of Independence

                      by occams hatchet on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 11:57:21 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  CW - here's one for ya (none)
                      A current Front Page (FP) story you might have an opinion on:

                      Swiftboaters in the crosshairs

                      Your thoughts, I believe, would be welcome in the comments.

                      Just go easy on the "1"s !!!!

                      <joke>

                      We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor -The Declaration of Independence

                      by occams hatchet on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 01:33:27 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

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