"It sucks. Honestly, it just feels like we're driving around waiting to get blown up. That's the most honest answer I could give you," said Spec. Tim Ivey, 28, of San Antonio, a muscular former backup fullback for Baylor University. "You lose a couple friends and it gets hard."
Army Staff Sgt. Jose Sixtos:
"Think of what you hate most about your job. Then think of doing what you hate most for five straight hours, every single day, sometimes twice a day, in 120-degree heat," he said. "Then ask how morale is."
"We're trained as an Army to fight and destroy the enemy and then take over," added Dugger, 26, of Reno, Nev. "But I don't think we're trained enough to push along a country, and that's what we're actually doing out here."
"It's frustrating, but we are definitely a help to these people," he said. "I'm out here with the guys that I know so well, and I couldn't picture myself being anywhere else."
[Joshua] Steffey said he wished "somebody would explain to us, 'Hey, this is what we're working for.' " With a stream of expletives, he said he could not care less "if Iraq's free" or "if they're a democracy.
My personal opinion, I don't speak for the rest of anybody, I just speak for me personally, I think civil war is going to happen regardless," Steffey responded. "Maybe this country needs it: One side has to win. Be it Sunni, be it Shiite, one side has to win. It's apparent, these people have made it obvious they can't live in unity."
"They say we're here and we've given them freedom, but really what is that? You know, what is freedom? You've got kids here who can't go to school. You've got people here who don't have jobs anymore. You've got people here who don't have power," he said. "You know, so yeah, they've got freedom now, but when they didn't have freedom, everybody had a job."
"You know, the point is we've lost too many Americans here already, we're committed now. So whatever the [expletive] end-state is, whatever it is, we need to achieve it -- that way they didn't die for nothing," he said. "We're far too deep in this now."
But if you think those descriptions of life in Baghdad are bad, consider the plight of George Bush:
The latest crisis in the Middle East has disrupted President Bush's plans domestically and internationally at a sensitive juncture, reopening divisions with allies abroad and jeopardizing attempts to restore public confidence at home, according to officials, analysts and diplomats.
For the president, the timing could not be much worse. In a second term marked by one setback after another, the White House was in the midst of a rebuilding effort aimed at a political comeback before November's critical midterm elections.
Poor baby. How can we help him? How about rewriting history:
The crisis imperils one of Bush's signature ambitions. This is a president who eschewed Middle East peacemaking of the past as futile, embarking instead on a grand plan to remake the region into a more democratic, peaceful place.
Yeah? Tell that to the soldiers.
What Mr. Baker of the Washington Post calls a "grand plan to remake the region into a more democratic, peaceful place" the rest of the world knows as an unnecessary war --falsely sold- the purpose of which was to build American military bases in a country led by American sychophants near the largest collection of oil in the world.
But not to worry, the Administration has a plan. Not a plan to extract our soldiers. No, a plan to win the election. It has worked before, it might work again:
[Bush Advisors] note, Bush has three months to paint the Middle East conflict in terms of his vision of the fight against terrorism.
Odd, because to hear our soldiers tell it, they are driving around in the middle of a civil war "just waiting to get blown up."