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He walked into the mini-mart with his Class A uniform on, specialist, with three rows of medals and a mountain division patch.  I asked if he was stationed at Fort Drum, he was.  Asked if he was deploying to Iraq again, and he is.  Two tours already completed, he's going back over on the exact date he's scheduled to leave the Army for good.  No orders have been issued pertaining to his seperation date, as 'stop loss' has become an assumed reality for thousands just like him.  His unit doesn't talk about it, in typical Army fashion it's treated with the same "suck it up and drive on" explaination given to any situation where the government is responsible for most, if not all, of the bullshit a soldier is being forced to deal with against their will.

I asked whether he was even being given word on whether or not this final deployment will be the end of his obligation, and his answer was, "it's useless even asking about that, because nobody knows anything".  I didn't press the issue, knowing from experience that hashing out such things over and over only makes it worse.  Instead I asked about the equipment his unit was shipping out with, what condition it was in.  Turns out, this unit he and others were transferred to was new, and hadn't yet received, inspected or operated up to half of the vehicles they'll be deploying with in two months.  What they did have was hand-me-down from other units, received "as is", meaning the broken down equipment was on the new unit to fix.  This is how the Army system works when units have to give up men or equipment to another, unfortunately, the best is retained while problems are passed on for someone else to deal with.

One rotation at NTC (45 day training rotation - in peace times combat units do this around 3 times a year), with an entirely new unit, half of the required equipment, and a dreadfull reality to face, that nobody in their chain of command, from squad leader to the President, knows how, when or if ever this military unit is going to receive what they need to do the job, let alone whether each individual is ever going to be able to take off the uniform.  Indeed, this Army of ours is in dire straights, and while you and I don't have to actually DO any of this work ourselves, it should concern everyone who cares about our military that this is the best we can do right now.

Like a carpenter asked to build a house without tools, this soldier is told he's going back to Iraq (contract seperation date be damned), with guys who have only been together for a few months and half of the required equipment, most of which is already on its last legs.

I'M SO GLAD I GOT OUT WHEN I DID, BECAUSE NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THIS GUY!  

http://deadissue.com/...

Originally posted to wwwdeadissuecom on Thu May 04, 2006 at 11:43 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  How many tours are normal in U.S. wars? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow

      Does anyone know?

      •  There is no normal in war. n/t (13+ / 0-)

        this message is intended to inform. any annoyance, abuse, threat, or harassment is solely in the perception of the reader, not the intention of the poster.

        by horsewithnoname on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:23:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think people were willing (5+ / 0-)

          to serve for the duration in WWII--and there was a draft, so the pain was shared far more fairly (if you had pull,m you could always get an exemption or a cushy stateside job) because we knew what we were fighting for.   In Iraq, it's clear most Iraqis don't want us there, and we're  losing nad we are dying for oil.

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:32:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A Book I read (15+ / 0-)

            I beleive the title was "Last True Story I'll Ever Tell" written by a National Guardsmen who commented on the fact that regular Army was being cycled out of Iraq while the Natl Guards guys had to stick around on indefinite rotations.  Poor guy lost his marriage and was unable to finish his education and was a big fucking mess.

            Years ago, I pondered joining the Guard just to help out locally.  One of the best things I never did....

            Love the soldier, hate the war

          •  In WWII, a lot of big names served (5+ / 0-)

            and died: Glenn Miller and Joe Kennedy, to name two; Teddy Roosevelt Jr. was in a ship off Normandy; John Kennedy was in a PT boat; George Friggin' HW Bush, f'cryin' out loud, flew in a torpedo plane in the Pacific. (All off the top of my head.) John Kennedy, for one, was rejected for Army service, and got a special letter so he could serve in the Navy.

            Love to see that kind of commitment from bigwigs and their kids now.

            Riiiighhhht . . .

            As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. - Justice William O. Douglas

            by occams hatchet on Thu May 04, 2006 at 03:17:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Quickly add a couple more off the top of my head (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              occams hatchet

              Actor Jimmy Stewart, US Army Air Corpo. Bomber pilot.

              Basebell Hall of Famer Ted Williams interrupted his babseball career twice - WWII & Korea. He never actually got in active combat in WWII but flew 39 combat mission as a Marine Corps pilot in Korea.

              Other Major League ballplayers who saw active duty include Bob Feller, Enos Slaughter, Warren Spahn, Hoyt Wilhelm, Dizzy Dean, Gil Hodges, Yogi Berra and Larry Doby, the latter a man who wasn't yet allowed in the majors because he was black.

              Over 600 NFL players served in WWII, 19 died in combat.

              Can't recall offhand how many NHLers did, but many did. The Boston Bruins lost their entire top scoring line (the famed Kraut Line - Bobby Bauer, Milt Schmidt & Woody Dumart) to the Royal Canadian Air Force during WWII.

              Where Hollywood etc.. is concerned. Many saw active combat duty, although in a lot of cases they became actors post-war. You can read a full list here

              There were a lot less rich, pampered, spoiled athletes & actors back then and lot more 'Pat Tillmans'.

              You can lock up a mouse or a man but you can't lock up an idea - Tommy Douglas

              by FrankFrink on Thu May 04, 2006 at 06:14:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Stewart stayed in the Guard (0+ / 0-)

                for years after WW II. I think he retired as a general.  He was very proud of hsi service.

                The big issue is why there isn't a draft--I don't love the idea, but it's the best way to make American aware of the losses military families face every day.  If there hadn't been a draft, Nam would have lasted much longer.

                The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

                by irishwitch on Thu May 04, 2006 at 07:11:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              occams hatchet

              I'm a proud vet and what you just typed has been on my mind for a long long time.

      •  That's a hard question to answer... (15+ / 0-)

        ...since this is the first prolonged deployment of the volunteer army.  Vietnam War draftees typically only had to serve one tour; some did volunteer for more than one tour.  In WWII, most combat units served from their deployment until the end of the war.

        At this point, over one million American servicemen and women have served in Iraq.

        The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

        by Jay Elias on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:25:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In WWII it depended on your branch (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          samddobermann

          Army, Navy tended to do one or two years, depending on amount of combat. Marines were in for the duration.

          Army-- an injury got you sent home.  Marines-- they'd fix you up in Hawaii and send you back out.

          •  How true (0+ / 0-)

               I knew a WWII Marine Corp vet who had five Purple Hearts, a couple of Bronze Stars, and a load of campaign ribbons. He was in it until the end; as you say, they just patched 'em up and sent 'em back.  

            "Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power" -Benito Mussolini

            by happy camper on Thu May 04, 2006 at 02:56:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  My father served in WWII from age 17 to 22 (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gmb, Simplify, Sophie Blue, xjac

              and came home in shell-shock.

              He dropped out of his senior year in high school directly after Pearl Harbor, and joined the Navy.

              Engineers run in our family, that must have showed up somehow in aptitude tests, so he was trained as an electrician in charge of the three smaller ships he was on (and master gunner).

              He served from Africa to Italy, also ferrying men onto the beach at Anzio under fire to the Pacific, Iwo Jima and ships outside of Japan.

              Two ships shot down while he was on them, spent 24 hours in the water in the Pacific waiting to be picked up, shot down kamikazi pilots, and from his ship watched Japanese women and children walk into the sea and commit suicide.

              I think he only got leave home once or twice in that five years, and came home in shell shock so severe he was hallucinating, my uncle confided to me that the family was certain he'd kill himself either in a driving accident, or death by alcohol.

              My father recovered, to a degree, but from personal experience I can tell you, that the equivalent of stop-loss in Iraq is creating a generation of soldiers and sailors who will live with "shell shock."

      •  1,2,3,4,...what are we fighting for? (8+ / 0-)

        'I'm Not Going to Come Home': One Marine's Third Iraq Tour
        <snip>
        A generation ago in the Vietnam War, grunts had to survive 13 months and then knew they were going home for good. But the nature of an all-volunteer military has changed deployments and expectations for America's troops.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

        I don't remember hearing of anybody who had to do more than one tour in Nam. Some volunteered for two or three. On the other hand, I think length of deployment now is shorter.

        Practice absurdus interruptus - Support ePluribus Media.

        by Catte Nappe on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:31:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think you're right (7+ / 0-)

          I've had a number of friends go, come back, and get ready again. They go anywhere from 5-11 months, come back fr 2-3, then go to Iraq again. Usually they go for 8-9 months. Its weird, random and totally weird and random. (as far as for what amount of time they get deployed)

          Luckily, my friends keep comming back. I guess Rumsfeld doesn't mind pressing luck when it's others' people's luck he's pressing.

          Why do people continue to support a system that supports only the top 5%?

          by NeoconSemanticist on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:38:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Tour Length (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pb, peraspera, Catte Nappe, Sonicreducr

          Most military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan deploy for a minimum tour of 12 months.  This doesn't include the 2 weeks to 6 weeks pre-deployment training at various points throughout the U.S. depending on service.

          Vietnam was 1 tour for 1 year for soldiers.  All tours after that were generally voluntary for enlisted, although career officers were sent back multiple times depending on their career paths.

          There are many USMC and USA units now on their 3rd tours of Iraq.  How many times an individual goes to Iraq is essentially a roll of the dice based on what unit he/she is currently attached to and where they go for a transfer.

          Individual augmentees usually serve at least 12 months and in some rare circumstances, 18 months.  How do I know this?  I've been to both Iraq and Afghanistan as an individual augmentee.  These are mostly Sailors and Airmen trained to fill ground billets the Army and Marines can no longer fill.

          By comparison, in WWII military personnel essentially left home permanently for 5 years with occasional 2-4 week leave periods granted for visits home during the year.

      •  You're probably looking for facts (5+ / 0-)

        or at least, subtle-cherry picked statistics pertaining to stop-loss or re-deployments. Well, I think what is significant here is that there is no factual precedent, there's no way to look back and compare this debacle to any other, even vietnam.

        Wars typically mean conscription. Even in vietnam there was conscription. So how does this stop-loss program compare to vietnam's usage of re-deployment? How do we begin to make a comparison? My dad was drafted for vietnam, served his two years, and came back. Others were drafted to replace him. He wasn't stop-lossed to replace himself.

        Maybe the best example is the Korean war, which stop-lossed a lot of WWII troops.  The Korean war was out of the American consciousness, and victory was redifined as resistence grew. The korean war seems relatable to Iraq in some respets, but... as some of you might suspect, I really don't know what I'm talking about. I took  war-lit class about 2 semesters ago, and am going off of a hazy memory of fictional stories anyways.

        The point I'm trying to make though, I think, is appropriate. How do we compare stop-loss now to anytime then? How do we compare deployments then to now?

        Why do people continue to support a system that supports only the top 5%?

        by NeoconSemanticist on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:34:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This Isn't a War. Major Combat Operations Have (10+ / 0-)

        ended according to the Commander-In-Chief.

        This is an understaffed occupation overseeing a quasi civil war.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:35:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  tours of duty in Iraq (0+ / 0-)

        My great-nephew (Marine) just returned from his third tour. He is due to complete his enlistment in about 4 months, so he won't have to return. I don't understand the drill on how long a tour is, as he was there less than a year this time.

      •  In Nam... (0+ / 0-)

        it was one one-year tour in-country (broken up by a week R&R) and then either discharge or serve out elsewhere whatever service obligation remained.

        If you liked it or could put up with it, you could volunteer for a second tour.

        Blatant plug: www.stumpysfindings.com

        by stumpy on Thu May 04, 2006 at 04:16:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Every war is different - But (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        maryru

        Each branch is different - but the Army and Marines make up the bulk of the ground of the ground forces there.  The Marines are much smaller and rotate units in for about 6 months and out  - I am not real sure for how long - but I think about 7 months to a year.

        As for the Army, there are combat units - divisions and pieces of divisions (sort of [but not quite] referred to as 'Units of Execution') and there are support units like the 13th Sustainment command. The 10th Mountain - obviously a combat division - rotates through Iraq for a year.  The goal on return is to give them 18 months 'loiter time'.  While you 'loiter', you refit (fix your equipment) and train up again, including a long deployment to NTC and maybe the JRTC.  It's far from relaxing. In practice, the loiter time is about 15 months for the division as a whole, but some go early and some stay late. Some Soldiers move or go to school in between deployments but are then reassigned to units that might deploy again. It is possible for real horror stories to occur.

        The stop-loss goes from about a year out to 90 days or so upon return. There are lots and lots of special circumstances that can change that.  We talk a lot about the stop-loss on Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (iava.org) because it is far from a single rule or single issue but one of the main reasons for disparities in treatment and dissatisfaction with the Army for many Soldiers.

        --deeeds not words--

        by Jeffzed on Thu May 04, 2006 at 04:55:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is an excellent book I once read (6+ / 0-)

      That Comes to mind right now  its called Armor By John Steakley, a genius  who wrote two incredible books and promptly disappeared.

      Its the Story of a soldier caught in the grinding gears of an impersonal Military command structure fighting a hopless war.  Because he is the only surivivor of a Brigade that is wiped out in the first few minutes of Combat, he ends up getting sent back into combat every time the computer selects units of his (now non existant) brigade for increasingly desperate deployments.

      I'm struck how often stories from this war now bring that long-ago read book to mind recently

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:40:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  i can't even come up with a word.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow

      only three letters:
      ...wtf?

      Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. - Samuel Johnson

      by sedrunsic on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:13:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Get them all out now! (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      rjo

      Click the dove to show your love.

      No act of peace is ever wasted. peacepositive always.

      by peacepositivemike on Thu May 04, 2006 at 06:25:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Plenty of us here , give a shit. (30+ / 0-)

    What else can we do but raise an outcry about the senseless endless war.

    "At Delta House we have a saying:Don't Get mad, Get even." Daniel Simpson Day

    by irate on Thu May 04, 2006 at 11:46:52 AM PDT

  •  Can't imagine any of that is good for morale (8+ / 0-)

    -4.63,-3.54 If the people will lead the leaders will follow

    by calebfaux on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:03:06 PM PDT

  •  Hopefully he gets out (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FrankFrink, trashablanca, Lashe

    before we bomb Iran.  Won't that be fun for the folks in Iraq when the bombs start to fall on Natanz?

  •  Why Aren't All The Cheerleaders For This War (38+ / 0-)

    signing up in mass so that existing soldiers can get out when their enlistment is over?  Why aren't all the cheerleaders petitioning their congress critters to increase their taxes to pay for the soldiers to get the proper equipment?

    Seems to me, that all these cheerleaders (including our Dear Leader) think war is just wonderful, patriotic and the right thing to do so long as they or their family don't have to fight or pay for this war.

    Steam coming out of my ears - head exploding.

  •  They're so desperate (13+ / 0-)

    they're giving sailors two weeks of weapons and combat training ns shipping them over. And some nameless idiots here are sure that driving in a convoy doesn't count as real combat--despite eh FACT that most deaths are from IEDs and that many times IEDs are backed up by snipers to pick off anyone who doesn't get blown to bits.

    We have a hollow military.  It sucks.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:17:53 PM PDT

    •  Hollow military (7+ / 0-)

      I disagree. We don't have a hollow military. What we have is hollow civilian leadership.

      That really sucks.

      •  You are wrong. (22+ / 0-)

        When you are calling the Guard and Reserved for multiple tours and you have  units doing multiple year long tours with only a ffew month between them, you have a hollow military--not enough soldiers to do the job. When you re training sailors, who already have legit jobs to do int he military, as grutes, you have a hollow military. When you have people on shore duty in the Navy putting in 14 hour days as a NORM, and oftne7 day weeks, it's a hollow military.  My husband  retired fromt he Navy in 2003. I know the pressure his (rather unusual) squadron was under--the men were constantly deployed. He was stateside because he did a job no one else was trained for and was more use to them there--and he worked very long days (12 Horus  was a short day, 14 was the usual) and many weekends. If you aren't military or have military families, your really don't know how worn out and strung out the guys are.

        We have civilian leadership with hollow skulls from lack of brains, who don't relaize you can't continue this pace of deployment without killing people fromt he stress. Divorce rates are WAY up, as is DV.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:30:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  On the subject of the Reserves (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          samddobermann, Schwede, Sharon Jumper

          It is important to understand that the use of the reserves reflects not the state of our Armed Forces in general, but the breakdown of specialty in forces.  Military Police, logistics corps, and many of the other essential services required for a prolonged deployment were tasked to National Guard and Reserve units in the post-Cold War military restructuring, with the thinking being that those tasks were better assigned to non-active personel as the military cut back.

          The active-duty forces did not and do not have those units.  So the extended tours and usage of Reserve and National Guard formations is a result of poor planning and understanding of the needs of the military by the civilian leadership.

          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

          by Jay Elias on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:41:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I say it's both. (0+ / 0-)

            We've also contracted out a lot of jobs military personnel could do far more cheaply, to Hallibrton.  And that meant rushing people who'd spent their whole lives as cooks into combat.  When you have to call in the Reserves and Guards as heavily as we have, it reflects that there are not enough combat soldiers  in the regular army. And the long hours people are working DO indicate there aint enough people to go around. My husband got out in 1003--I saw it first hand.  And he was Navy which want as bad as AF or Army or Marines.

            My husband was Navy. Our MPs wer regular sailors, some f them doing it as a secondary job.

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:02:38 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree with you... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              samddobermann, Schwede

              ...but it is important to look at this from the perspective of where these decisions are made.  Post Cold War, when the civilian government wanted to cut military personel, these tasks were shifted to the Reserves.  These are facts which Gen. McKiernan, the Third Army commander who planned the Iraq invasion, made absolutely clear to Sec. Rumsfeld and Gen. Franks.  Rather than push back the invasion, or retask certain units, Sec. Rumsfeld pushed to have even the deployments of the Reserve units pushed back.  As the war continued, and recruitment dropped, it was even more difficult to fill those corps.

              Regarding the Navy, most personel cuts were from the Army, not the other three services.  The Navy maintained its regular MPs and other auxilliary services because they lack the same reserve and National Guard units to task that to.

              The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

              by Jay Elias on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:15:15 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  A lot of those jobs were contracted (0+ / 0-)

                stateside. Cooks, other support personnel, were contracted out. NOT regular military.

                That's fine when you're stateside and peacetime. But in a combat situation? Hiring cooks and support personnel is a very, very, VERY expensive proposition.

                When you can even find anybody to hire.

          •  The reason those were tasked to the Reserves (0+ / 0-)

            is that they cut the military too fr--thso jobs should ahve ben done by regualr soliders, nto Reserves.

            The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

            by irishwitch on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:03:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          quiet in NC

          I have not experienced what you have experienced. My point is this, the military may be hollow--their resources stretched to the limit--but it isn't their fault.

          I think it's the fault of this asshat of a President and his Secretary of Defense. Given what you say:

          We have civilian leadership with hollow skulls from lack of brains, who don't relaize you can't continue this pace of deployment without killing people fromt he stress. Divorce rates are WAY up, as is DV.

          I think we agree. :-)

    •  Gets even worse (3+ / 0-)

      They're now training helicopter pilots in infantry and counterinsurgency tactics.

      Granted, it's a useful skill.

      So's knowing how to keep a copter in the air.

      But maybe it's just me.

      Confidence is high. I repeat: Confidence is high.

      by cskendrick on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:32:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks (7+ / 0-)

    for posting this.  Would you please, please turn this into an op-ed or letter to the editor for your local and state papers? And also send the letter to your Congressional rep and your Senators?

    They need to know on the same visceral level that you've just shared with us.


  •  I give a shit about this guy and all soldiers (4+ / 0-)

    I also give a shit about the families they leave behind who live day to day wondering if their loved ones over there will make it back home safe and whole.

    "Watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal..."-7.75, -7.28

    by solesse413 on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:28:22 PM PDT

  •  Yeah, where are all the yellow ribbon Repubs? (6+ / 0-)

    Any support from them beyond those damned ribbons? Eff no.  Any support from our corrupt chickenhawk "leadership"?  They can't even come up with a plan b after 3 years.  Morally bankrupt bastards.

    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." J. Lennon

    by trashablanca on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:29:45 PM PDT

  •  I give a shit. (9+ / 0-)

    But like my Drill Seargant used to say:  I feel for them but I can't reach them.  I send them packages. I scream at the Yellow Elephants.  I write letters to my criminal "representatives."  I protest for peace.  I am certainly on a watch list somewhere.

    But at the end of the day, most of those guys think I'm their enemy and the Repiglicans are their friends.  And until that changes, they will be eternally fucked.

    "Out here in the middle, where the center's on the right, and the ghost of William Jennings Bryan preaches every night..."

    by Nineteen Kilo on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:31:43 PM PDT

    •  The Military is Making Darned Sure You Remain (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ilona, javelina, esquimaux

      their enemy, between censored news and information access.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:38:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  'Repiglicans' (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inky, rhubarb, FireCrow

      That's just insulting to pigs. Pigs are highly intelligent animals who, unless forced, don't shit where they eat or sleep.

      The "Republican conservatives" currently in power are busy shitting all over the damn place.

      Give me the pig any day.

      Ignorance killed the cat. Curiousity was framed.

      by Lashe on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:42:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Remember in WW2 when the USA made a Liberty Ship (11+ / 0-)

    A DAY

    That´s right, the navy yards produced at least one liberty ship a day ontop of countless other war materials also being spitted out across the country.

    My question is, why not fire up and reoutfit the automotive plants in Michigan that are mothballed to produce the hardware we need?

    Why not reoutfit outher manufacturing plants to produce body armor, camel packs or other much need gear?

    Why does Washington have its head so far up its own ass ?

    This is truly unacceptable. Makes you wonder if the Senate Armed Services Committee even has the standard war time subcommittee on Preparedness open for business. And if so, what in the hell are those guys up too.

    •  makes sense (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pinche tejano

      but Cheney / Bush would only do it if Halliburton got the contract and the profits.

      •  at 8000% markup, no less. (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Schwede

        ->Even Fox News says Iraq is a civil war <-

        by maxomai on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:51:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, heard people are looking for work too (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Schwede

        If Bush and Cheney would just stop for a moment and read a little history, they might realized the production of war material actually helps a stagnant economy.

        Has worked like a champ before. The tax base increases since more people are working, the soldiers get their materials.

        Remember, the USA wins wars for 3 reasons:

        1. We pile more goods ontop of the enemy than any other country ever can match.
        1. We have elite code breakers.
        1. American Grunts are best damn fighters in the world.

        We got away from this model in Korea and Vietnam, we should really go back to what we know works. But then again, I like to live in a rational world.

    •  Apparently those contrctors didn't ante up (0+ / 0-)

      for Cunningham's Poke Her Parties.

      The Republican Projection Machine acuses us of engaging in class warfare while in fact it is a core component of their philosophy.

      by Carbide Bit on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:09:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not sure... (0+ / 0-)

      we want to militarize our society to that degree.

      "It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them." ---Ralph Waldo Emerson

      by goon 01 on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:36:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're assuming we have a heavy manufacturing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nowhere Man

      base. We don't. We have some car plants. We have a few other things. That's about it. We have hardly any shipyards. We have no real textile manufacturing. We don't MAKE much of anything anymore.

      We move money around, and wait on people. That's about it.

    •  Because (0+ / 0-)

      It would actually require someone to sacrifice something.

      If this war was really necessary a WWII scale industrial buildup would be churning out war matiarial at a blistering pace.

      Since there is no bond drives or scrap metal collecting I can only think Bush and his crowd never considered this war as nothing more than a publicity stunt to turn that retard in the White House into a "war President".

      Makes me want to puke.

      Thorby

  •  Military people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jancw

    Can one of you PLEASE provide a link where I can look at the contract you enter into with the government?  I'm really curious to see one of these things

    •  here ya go (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, blueoasis

      Contract:

      We, the Armed Forces of the United States, own you.

      Signed:______________________

      I'm being somewhat sarcastic for snark value but it's true.  They own you in a way you cannot possibly imagine unless you've been in, or you've had family that's been in.

  •  Wasn't WWII won in the time spent in Iraq? n/t (0+ / 0-)
    •  Not Iraq... (0+ / 0-)

      ...WWII lasted (for the US) less time than the War on Terror has.

      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

      by Jay Elias on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:47:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Put another way (5+ / 0-)

        The US fought through the Japanese military and the Nazi war machine and captured Hirohito and destroyed Hitler's forces in less time than it's taken to find a 6'5" asshole with bad kidneys hiding in a cave with 50 guys and a palmcorder.

        Florida Democrats: Learn how to WIN at the polls! www.victoryfordems.com

        by JR on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:06:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  a 5'6' asshole, supposedly running around the (0+ / 0-)

          mountains of Afghanistan with a dialysis machine strapped on a camel... And we can't get him? What is going on?

          we're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression

          by Lepanto on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:12:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm increasingly thinking (3+ / 0-)

            that the Bush Administration is not even trying to find Bin Laden anymore. Moreover, they don't want to find him because he's more useful to them as bogeyman (a la Emmanuel Goldstein in "1984").

            As long as Osama's out there somewhere, they can use him as a pretext to scare Americans into going along with whatever twisted policy they'll come up with next.

            Either that, or they'll announce his capture about a week before the elections this fall.

            Yeah, I know. I'm a bit cynical.

        •  The objective here is war (5+ / 0-)

          not winning a war. Anybody can win a war. But it takes a real fool to keep a war in mid air.

          The Republican Projection Machine acuses us of engaging in class warfare while in fact it is a core component of their philosophy.

          by Carbide Bit on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:15:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sure... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Silverbird

          ...of course, we had help from Britain, the Soviet Union, China, the free French, and various other allies in WWII.

          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

          by Jay Elias on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:16:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Britain was under almost constant attack (0+ / 0-)

            China wasn't a manufacturing giant, Russia was besieged by Hitler, and the free French were a guerrila force for the most part.

            They weren't cranking out planes, ships, fuel, weapons, etc. for US. They were barely keeping up with what THEY needed. That's if they weren't under occupation or fighting the enemy on THEIR soil.

            Russia's losses were enormous. France and most of Europe was occupied, as was most of North Africa. Japan controlled a large portion of the Pacific.

            We DID have allies, for sure, and they DID help. But they weren't supplying US with food or equipment. If anything, we were supplying THEM.

            •  Sure... (0+ / 0-)

              ...but it is important to bear in mind the attrition those forces took on the Germans and Japanese before the arrival of American forces.  It wasn't like we were fighting the Werhmacht at their peak strength.

              The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

              by Jay Elias on Thu May 04, 2006 at 02:24:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Difference between Islam and Nazism (0+ / 0-)

          Nazism was a pure ideology of conquest, which only had support as long as it was winning (after 1943, only fear of Soviet vengeance kept the Germans fighting).  Military defeat utterly discredited it.

          By contrast Islam is so tenacious that nothing short of the genocide of all Muslims could destroy it.  That's why WWII-type methods cannot be used against Muslim terrorism.

    •  and cost the same $1 trillion n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  I don't believe in people boiling in hell forever (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, joynow

    but at this rate it seems that George Bush deserves to simmer in purgatory for about 70,000,000 years - at least.

    "In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is."

    by Wee Mama on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:52:37 PM PDT

    •  Not sure he will simmer. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave

      In the 9th circle of hell, where leaders who betray their country are sent, they are immersed in ice.
      Well maybe Dante made that up, but I didn't want you worrying about him boiling if he goes to hell.

  •  Yeller 'Phant o' Texas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, samddobermann

    Thar's a Yeller 'phant in Texas, so scared It's gonna pee,
    No one else would miss it, not half as much as me.
    It cried so when It left home, it like to broke my heart,
    And if It ever gits out, we nevermore will part.

    It's the sweetest little pachyderm that Texas ever knew,
    It's eyes are yeller as urinals, they tinkle like the dew;
    You may talk about yer demorcrats, and sing of John Kerry,
    But the yeller 'phant of Texas is the yeller-phant fer me.

    "[T]hat I have no remedy for all the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong probability that yours is a fake."

    by Heronymous Cowherd on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:52:38 PM PDT

    •  Extended Version (5+ / 0-)

      I spent fifteen minutes on this, as opposed to two, on the first one:

      I'm not that creative. I'm sure that most of you guys/gals can do better.

      Thar's a Yeller 'phant in Texas, scared It's gonna pee,
      No one else would miss it, not half as much as me.
      It cried so when It left home, it like to broke my heart,
      And if It ever gits out, we nevermore will part.

      It's the sweetest little pachyderm that Texas ever knew,
      It bleats in fear an' terror, it reeks of chicken stew;
      You may talk about yer fightin' dems, and sing of John Kerry,
      But the yeller 'phant of Texas is the yeller-phant fer me.

      When the Chardonnay is flowin', it sweats with fear an' fright,
      It pisses out a river in the quiet summer night:
      I know that it remembers, when recruiters came to church,
      It turned around an' run like hell, to leave us in th' lurch.

      It's the sweetest little pachyderm that Texas ever knew,
      It bleats in fear an' terror, it reeks of chicken stew;
      You may talk about yer fightin' dems, and sing of John Kerry,
      But the yeller 'phant of Texas is the yeller-phant fer me.

      Oh now I'm gonna to run away, my heart is full of fear,
      And we'll cry our lil' hearts away, like a poleaxed steer.
      We'll play our games o' solitaire, and sing of bravery,
      But the real people in our world are colored just like pee.

      It's the sweetest little pachyderm that Texas ever knew,
      It bleats in fear an' terror, it reeks of chicken stew;
      You may talk about yer fightin' dems, and sing of John Kerry,
      But the yeller 'phant of Texas is the yeller-phant fer me.

      "[T]hat I have no remedy for all the sorrows of the world is no reason for my accepting yours. It simply supports the strong probability that yours is a fake."

      by Heronymous Cowherd on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:15:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What a freaking joke. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arbiter

    And there are still those out there that think the republican party is better equipped to take care of our brave soldiers. The treatment of our armed forces and veterans is an absolute disgrace.

    Also, something like this really drives home how talented the lower ranking officers are. Imagine trying to keep up morale and keep your men and women safe with that kind of shitty support from military leadership.

  •  I give a shit about this guy! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, samddobermann

    I'M SO GLAD I GOT OUT WHEN I DID, BECAUSE NOBODY GIVES A SHIT ABOUT THIS GUY!

    Totally with you: we need to have more attention on this vast tragedy. We need to agitate to get more of their voices out in the open and we need to as a nation get serious about this discussion and force the media to televise the debate (since that's how most people get their news).

    Recently from the Morris [NJ] Star-Ledger (via VCS):

    Although their views differed drastically, the five veterans who gathered at Drew University last night had one thing in common: They wanted people to talk about the war in Iraq.

    "It's got to remain in the American consciousness," said Rob Tim mins, a veteran outreach coordinator for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. "You hear whatever poll numbers are going on ... but people aren't really talking to each other about the war." The Iraq War Veterans' Forum, held in commemoration of the third anniversary of the war in Iraq, drew approximately 125 people to the university campus in Madison. ...

    From an anti-war activist to a full-fledged war supporter, the event featured a panel of veterans from both Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. "It was designed to be nonparti san, and just to have people speak about what they've seen, what they've experienced," said Joe At tamante, a World War II veteran who helped organize the event.

    Rajai Hakki, a Marine Corps veteran who served as a translator and provided personal security for a commanding officer, was a staunch supporter of the war. "I'm a veteran. I believe in what we're doing in Iraq, and I think we're going to succeed," said Hakki, who is of Syrian descent. "Democracy and Islam can go hand in hand. I'm saying this as an Arab and as a Muslim."

    Other panelists were not so optimistic. "No military can install democracy. It can't happen. It's impossible, " said Geoff Millard, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, a national organization that urges the immediate withdrawal of troops, support of troops once they return home and full reparations for the Iraqi people.

    Other panelists shared their stories about serving in the war, and urged the audience to be informed. "We read our own news sources, and we talk to people with the same views, and get into a circular mode where we're just getting positive feedback on our own views," said Charles Sheehan-Miles, who was a tank crewman with the 24th Infantry Division during the 1991 Gulf War. As the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, Sheehan-Miles pointed out the country's responsibility toward its returning vets.

    Thanks for sharing this experience in your diary, and for doing what you can to forward the debate. Boy, do we need more of this kind of stuff...

    •  We give a shit but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ilona

      those whose shit giving matters most do not. The military is just not treated with respect, given what is due them. We can care with all of our hearts but that does not get them the good equipment they need, it doesn't get them out of the service on time or stop the many redeployments.

      It would be better for them if it was you and I who didn't care that much but congress and the civilian and military leadership cared so deeply it made them their top priority.

  •  This is why we need a draft (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    samddobermann

    We need to Get Out Now.  But if, just in case, there is a regime in power here that is likely to stay in power for another three years, and the war is far too profitable for them to ever retreat or redeploy, we have to be more realistic.

    We need a draft, and a war tax that garnishes 10% of all capital gains, inheritances, corporate profits, and wages above $30k (except for military).  That tax needs to be allocated for troops only: Food, housing, equipment, ammo, & health care.

    I wrote a letter to the Prez asking for this.  He responded with a form letter.

    This war is not what Going To The Mat to win looks like.

    •  I'd love to see every rightwing fratboy and (1+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      MacheteJames
      Hidden by:
      condoleaser

      sorority gal drafted out of spite. Let their sorry asses dodge RPGs in Sadir City.

      Unfortunately playing babysitter to this scum would endanger our volunteer troops. Can you imagine being in a foxhole with Jenna Bush unless she gave great head which is highly doubtful?

      When I grow up I want to be a little boy. ~ Heller

      by vic ariel on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:56:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  'nobody gives a shit about this guy' (3+ / 0-)

    and nobody will give a shit, until "this guy" becomes everybody's parent, spouse, child - until the draft is reintroduced. It seems that only the draft could jolt most of America out of its complacency. For most Americans the war just doesn't involve them...

    Alas, the Repubs consider the reintroduction of the draft political suicide (they're right on that one) and I suspect they'll be hiring mercenaries in wherever rather than do so...

    we're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression

    by Lepanto on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:08:28 PM PDT

  •  Soldiers abandoned; just like the rest of us (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow

    I agree with ilona that we should be focused on this everyday.

    Abandoning true Americans is simply business as usual for Bushco.  Look at New Orleans; look at those who are seeing their pensions evaporate in smoke; look at those who are losing health care-- while Bushco. makes it illegal to even negotiate lower prices with drug companies.

    Soldiers in combat are treated like shit, just like every other ordinary American.

    "Ah, what an age it is when to speak of trees is almost a crime for it is a kind of silence about injustice" (Brecht)

    by tsackton on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:12:44 PM PDT

  •  OK, count of hands... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goon 01

    Who has emailed their US Congresspeople about preventing stop-loss and other service extension practices.

    US Senate

    US House of Representatives

    Take action.  Tell them we need to treat those who have served better.

    Live Free or Die-words to live by

    by ForFreedom on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:13:22 PM PDT

  •  Welcome to the New Age of Slavery (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bellevie

    There's an old (and erroneous) saying that freedom comes from the barrel of a gun.

    Slavery does, too.

    Just ask the soldiers.

    Confidence is high. I repeat: Confidence is high.

    by cskendrick on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:31:05 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for your report. (2+ / 0-)

    I didn't get one. I stayed at a large hotel at the St. Louis airport last weekend where a large number of soldiers were staying. Many of them were dressed in their desert fatigues. Some were even wearing backpacks. Those who weren't with their mates appeared to be looking for one. I'm assuming this was their last weekend stateside before shipping out to Iraq.

    Maybe it was because they were in such great physical condition but most appeared to be a cut above the typical young person. These kids had personalities and looked to be in great spirits. I couldn't help but wonder why these youngsters chose to be warriors. Some joined the military out of patriotism for sure, but I have a feeling that most were looking for adventure.

    I'm proud to have such fine people representing us in this dastardly war. May all of them return to our shores alive and well.

    When I grow up I want to be a little boy. ~ Heller

    by vic ariel on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:31:40 PM PDT

  •  Diary from a short while ago (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow

    I made an attempt to score the Iraq War against previous American wars. My attempt: Figure out what was wrong, then showcase the various paths from where we are right now.

    here's the diary in full...

    And here's the part that matters most, right now...

    Staying the Course = Chosin Reservoir-like Wrongness

    If inertia decides the next fiscal year of war, the Coalition presence in Iraq will probably fall to pieces probably by Election Day if not sooner. I submit that this is a bad thing for the Bushies and the Republicans...and an even worse thing for America is general. We've not seen an American army or any significant component of it put to rout since the Chinese entered the Korean War in force, the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in particular.

    The insurgents, the militias, and even the putative Iraqi Security Forces are hardly in the same bandwidth as adversaries as the People's Liberation Army, even that of the 1950s.

    But increasingly, the factions in Iraq have relatively (to us) poorly-armed, numerous, enthusiastic friends in Iran who see the continued American presence (never mind recent rhetoric) to be a threat to their existence as a nation.

    That's how the Chinese saw things in 1950. And they up and did something about it, rather than wait for the hammer to fall.

    Right now, the American armed forces are far too strong to risk such a move. But a degradation of the situation past a certain point might invite, oh, movement of arms en masse to sympathetic factions in Iraq, especially in the south, more clandestine movement of training cadres and irregulars (sic?) to fight alongside the Mehdi Army or its like, and radicalize the situation even further. Perhaps that is happening right now. In fact it is quite likely, seeing as how the dominant Shia factions (despite infighting) are strong advocates of closer ties with the Islamic Republic.

    It's what the Chinese did ahead of crossing the Yalu River in force, and it's a very real threat in the here and now.

    And if that occurs, suddenly the War in Iraq is not just the War in Iraq.

    I submit that staying the course is bad freakin' news for everybody.

    But Perhaps The Corner is Nigh

    But perhaps a real, bona corner might be turned. The best-case scenario is that intel improves, as new contacts are developed, via Iraqi political parties and factions that are better served by American backing than without it vis a vis their domestic competition. Ironically, that means Sunnis more than Kurds and Shia. All it would take would be some insight, imagination and initiative.

    There is a consensus recognition from all corners that existing American combat doctrine isn't quite keeping up with the situation in Iraq. A rollout of a new! improved! doctrine could occur. While a one-year implementation in the midst of a conflict would be astonishing, such feats have occurred before (the decision of the US Navy to beef up its Pacific submarine fleet versus build more carriers, for example, during WW II probably shortened the war by a year or more, due to the effective blockade of the Japanese home islands). Of course, one reason this change was easy to make was the wear and tear on the existing carriers, and the long time required to build replacements....though new carriers were manufactured, as well.

    Perhaps there will be a sudden improvement in the quality of leadership. After all there is an election coming up. Independent of that, significant efforts to keep the NCO cadre from collapsing -- "rest" tours homeside, for starters -- and more open and accepting debriefing of the CO experiences in-country -- could do some wonders.

    And there would be loyalty benefits from such efforts. Better intel, a battle plan that makes sense, and leadership that shows concern for the troops, not its polls, would be strong signals of positive change.

    Less fast food and more body armor, ammunition, replacement vehicles -- the stuff that lives as opposed to comfort depends upon -- would work wonders, as well. It's a rough place, that Iraq. It's hard on equipment, needful things that need to be there when the furball starts. What's that money going toward?

    And if these things occur, morale will improve, and instead of looking down the barrel of a meltdown, perhaps an actual corner will be turned, after all. Then you got options.

    What this would require, of course, is learning behavior from the top on down of a sort that would be unprecedented in the current-day situation.

    It's not impossible, just...well. There is always room to hope, one supposes.

    Then again, maybe it really can get far, far worse.

    The Nightmare Scenario

    About the only thing that is different from the 'Stay the Course' venue is that command and control of the troops breaks down completely. Units are manning their stations, running their patrols, holding down their piece of turf, but they are doing 'whatever it takes' to survive, and that is not always good for the big picture. Discipline decays, unauthorized retribution taken out against local Iraqis, executions of civilians become the rule rather than the exception.

    This is the 'Fort Apache' model of liberation: the Iraqis cease to be people that we are helping, become savages that we much subdue or shove aside, to make room for the settlers to come. Only it's worse than that from a military vantage: it's a public relations disaster (never mind that whole war crimes thing) that provokes an intense hatred of all things Coalition, which antes up the tensions on both sides that much further.

    At some point beyond this, the troops via their officers start making their strong desire to be relocated, first from nasty corners like Al-Anbar and Sadr City, then from strongholds up to and including the Green Zone itself. Where are the supplies? Where's the relief? A sense of abandonment ensues. Moral, already very low, cannot easily collapse further, but resistance to taking chances, even balking at some orders from command, creeps into the picture.

    At which point real risk of mutiny is on the table, and all this within a country that is melting down, with us or without us, and all around us.

    Like I said: It. Can. Always. Get. Worse.

    Quickly! The Good News! How to Fix The Army and Be Effective In Iraq

    For price of intel gathering and control ops, improve doctrine a bit and supply a lot, also rotate, rest and recruit to retain higher-caliber personnel and give them time to become even better. Stop-loss if you must; rotate stateside for tours to make it work.

    Next, further improvements on cadre, esprit de corps, with attendant benefits to morale, which acts as a force multiplier here.

    Final round of improvements on leadership (refinement of strategic objectives, leverage good political resources), beef up intel assets both ops and analysis, more morale boosting.      

    More intel enhancements, now's the time to crank up emphasis on command and control, now that a long-term viable fighting force with experience in the theater and a means of sustaining and building on same is available.                

    If further improvements are required, make them by throwing a lot of money and supplies at the problem -- logistics, big battalions winning battles, army fights on its stomach, that sort of thing.                                              

    Wrap

    I’m quite sure the current dust-up in the sandbox is winnable --- in the sense that American policy interests can be harmonized to local realities, and repair (quite possibly reparations) are made to mend fences with the country that we destroyed in order to save. However, we either implement major changes, right now, and commit to the change for a full three years, and do whatever we have to (including a departure from Iraq, if needs be) to salvage not Iraq, nor some politician's legacy, but to save the United States armed forces from a bona fide meatgrinder that is doing in the service branches.

    And if we win in Iraq, too, well, that's gravy. But it's not the most important thing right now.

    Hindsight's all nice and all; there are so many, many ways that we might have invaded, if we absolutely had to, regardless of the motive, and had we gone about things smartly and patiently, we'd have long since left Iraq, or remained with the full faith and credit of the Iraqi people behind us.

    But that's another universe, and we must live in this one, and make our way forward as best as we can.

    Confidence is high. I repeat: Confidence is high.

    by cskendrick on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:42:52 PM PDT

  •  great dairy .... (0+ / 0-)

    some Repuke was telling me how great things wer their in Iraq ... seem to shut up when enlist talk came around

  •  question (0+ / 0-)

    nobody in their chain of command, from squad leader to the President, knows how, when or if ever this military unit is going to receive what they need to do the job,

    uh...what IS their job?  Does anyone know?  Are they there to shoot, or prevent shooting?  Are they there to kill Iraqis, or help them survive?  Are they there to protect themselves, Iraqis be dammed, or is it the other way around?

    We were promised a democracy, sold an oligarchy, and ended up with a kakistocracy...

    by topicalstorm on Thu May 04, 2006 at 01:58:31 PM PDT

  •  a good friend of mine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow

    recently left the army after 8 years and quite a few promotions (he attained the rank of Staff Sargeant when he refused to resign his contract last month, despite promises of a nice bonus).

    He'd already been accepted to flight school (he was a reservist in the Army), and he was waiting for a spot to open up in the program for more than 6 months. The flight training was literally a childhood dream of his...something I remember him talking about even when he and I were little 12 y/o brats...but he'd already spent a year in Iraq and came back with a lot of questions he didn't like the answers to after he actually took the time to look into them (Bush & his connections, corporate profiteering in Iraq, the reasons we went to war, etc). Rather than risk a second deployment to Iraq while he waited for the spot in flight school, he figured it just wasn't worth it and turned his back for good, giving up both his prospects of a successful career in the military, as well as his dreams of going to flight school.

    I feel pretty bad for him, because he's always been an incredibly loyal, REALLY hard-working guy who was willing to sacrifice so much of himself for the benefit of others. He gave all he could to the army and really, really loved it...but I suppose you can only ask so much of someone when they know what's really right in their heart...

    I don't really believe in violence, and I admit I'm idealistic and naive enough to feel like there's hardly such thing as a necessary war....but regardless, the military lost a damn good soldier when he refused to resign, and I think it's a damn shame.

  •  14 Permanent U.S. Bases in Iraq (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, truong son traveler

    Don't forget.

    This guy could see alot more tours before it's over, but it will never be over. This is just the beginning of the neocons' "endless war."

    I love the smell of impeachment in the morning!

    by gabbardd on Thu May 04, 2006 at 02:53:45 PM PDT

  •  Sounds like a great time to invade Iran. (0+ / 0-)

    Even though this Iraq debacle is a pointless exercise in death and suffering, I still feel a great deal of pride for our soldiers.

    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by Five of Diamonds on Thu May 04, 2006 at 02:59:32 PM PDT

  •  I knew an O-4 here who (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, MacheteJames

    was recovering from a very serious training accident. He was fighting to keep his arm, had reconstruction on his back, and a messed up knee, and while he could walk he did so like he had a two-by-far shoved up his rear. The guy was in constant pain and it seemed like he had to go in for surgery once a month.

    The Army for reasons that were never clear to me filibustered him on his separation date. Instead they gave him "Notification" duty, which meant he had to notify the relatives of KIAs. I was shocked he was assigned this without any real training for it, no logistical help, and in some cases assigned to cases that were thousands of miles away. He had the choice of going through the agony of traveling with serious back injuries on short notice or trying to do the notification by phone.

    I know the protocols have changed a lot, and I've heard horror stories about some families getting cursory phone calls and even being told about their loved ones' casualty via answering machine messages. I can't say for sure how typical this is. But my grandfather was an Army chaplain who retired a bird colonel, and he did constant notification duty during WWII. Thousands of casualties. The way he described it back then, he, as a chaplain, had both the training in what we'd call grief counseling and a staff to support him. The notification detail consisted of at least one other officer and often several enlisted persons for logistics, plus material support from civilians lined up to assist the family. This during the deadliest war we've had outside the civil war.

    One day I was chatting with him in the yard when he got "a call" -- a notification detail for a close friend of  his. I can't really describe the pain that followed, as he first tried to put up a brave front and then broke down right in front of me. He told me later it was the 11th personal friend that had died in Iraq.

    Fortunately, he finally got his separation processed a few months ago and has moved off-base and seems to be putting his life back together again as best he can. It's not just the brutality of the war that gets me, it's the lack of empathy in command that seems to permeate the system right now.

    Honestly, this is the kind of thing that almost makes me favor a draft again. Because at least this will become a shared responsibility, instead of asking our volunteer military to do double-, triple-, and quadruple-duty because the senior command has no idea how corrosive this war has been.

    I realize this is a "different kind of war" and that a day here isn't exactly the same as a day on the Western Front in WWII. But if I think back on my grandfather's generation and the hard fighting they did, most of them were fighting less than 12 months -- from June '44 to May '45 -- and not every day was on the line.

    If you add up three tours of OIF and OEF, despite the internet, long distance, leave, and training rotations, that's a helluva lot to ask even from a career volunteer. It's like we're using a sharpened wooden stick that we keep beating against a rock, and you know, the rock doesn't really get any smaller but the point on the stick sure isn't what it used to be.

    Is "doing the best that you can" the best you can do?

    by TheCrank on Thu May 04, 2006 at 03:08:25 PM PDT

  •  I had a nice 'conversation' (0+ / 0-)

    with a soldier the other day.

    I had a bumper sticker that says:

    "Support the troops, Impeach Bush."

    So I'm at a stoplight. This guy in army pants with a marines sticker on the side of his motorcycle pulls up beside me, in between the lanes... how motorcyclists do. But he stops right at my window. He's looking at me through his helmet and facecover... just staring.

    I'm totally confused. I shrug and put my hands up: "what? whadya want?"

    So he pulls forward. Coward.

    Then he turns around and points the gun finger sign at me and pretends to let off a few rounds. Then he flipped me the bird and sped off when the light changed.

    Coward.

    85% of the troops still insist that Saddam was in on 911? I used to give them the benefit of the doubt. I used to think the ignorant bigots were only the minority, although I had my suspicions about the types of people that would even join the military. I used to remain quiet for political reasons. I used to be willing to ignore the reality in order to win over moderates. I used to be willing to forgive our troops, again. But no longer. And this frustration with them has been a long time coming. But now it's over. This asshole was the last straw, for this week anyway.

    The troops are exactly the problem with America.
    And I no longer support them. That bumper sticker is coming off my car. I hope the U.S. military eats it... I hope they are destroyed by this war. They deserve nothing less.

    That's the average soldier in my world. They are ignorant, hateful, killers with all the wrong attitudes and ideas. They are the precise brand of American voter we are fighting against to win this country back. Those are the people that join the army from my hometown... where I'm from. And it's the reason I have no respect for those in our military. None. They aren't special. They aren't honorable. They're the precise brand of ignorant bigoted asshole that votes for Bush despite everything.

    They are the enemy. They are my enemy, as much as any sonofabitch asshole Texan who is hell bent on destroying this country and killing poor people so we can control the oil spigot.

    •  I respectfully disagree with you. (0+ / 0-)

      So many of these troops are young and unexperienced who joined up in order to better themselves. I imagine quite a few signed up for the money...especially those from small town America where there are no decent living wage jobs.

      With so many of our high-school/college age citizens completely unaware of what happens in Washington or not into politics why do you hold them to a higher standard? They are doing their job, and their job is to obey orders. It isn't for them to decide policy.

      I imagine there are many troops as you describe, but I have a hard time believing it is the majority.

      "Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers." Voltaire

      by Esjaydee on Thu May 04, 2006 at 04:28:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't hold them to a higher standard at all... (0+ / 0-)

        that's the point. I hate them exactly in the same way I hate all Bush voters.

        I used to hold them to a lower standard for the reasons you mention... but not even that is low enough.

        In my view, these "unexperienced" young people are meanspirited monserts. It's perfectly reasonable to expect 18 year olds to be good enough people to see through what our military is about, particularly under Republicans.

        But they believe in the Republican mantra. They support all of this insanity.

        85%. That's a majority.

        They are the sons and daughters of the montsters who vote for Bush. They are the people we are fighting against.

        They just are. And I can't ignore it any longer.

        I do believe the 85% who think Saddam was part of 911 against all logic are a majority.

        I think they're the same kind of people that think that here in America. And that's why they joined the military.

        These people make me sick. And I refuse to ignore it any longer merely because it's apolitic to criticize the troops. They're terrible people and they deserve to be criticized.

  •  Look on the bright side (0+ / 0-)

    Our fearless leader still has 10 or so B2s if he hears God telling him to "free" Iran.

    mali principi malus fini -8.88 -5.08

    by SecondComing on Thu May 04, 2006 at 03:40:02 PM PDT

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