Friday, January 23, 2004

Politics and the Military

Sorry for all those people who keep visiting my site and haven't seen really hardly any updates. I am just home, and my life is pretty boring here. The only thing I can really talk about is what is on the news.

First off, I don't know why people bring their political ideology here. My site is about my experiences in Iraq and experiences of others. Also, to see how I feel about it and see things through the eyes of an American soldier in Iraq. I don't talk about politics because the US military is an Apolitical organization. We are not the CIA or NSA. We are not brainwashed zombies. We aren't put in classrooms being taught the greatness of democracy and America. We live normal lives just like anyone else. We are just here to do a job. Some may not believe in the merits of why we are there, but we put that aside and still get the job done. People's lives are at stake, and we have to focus on our task at hand.

As my time in Iraq draws to a close. I find out that my Girlfriend who is also in the Army stationed in the USA. Will soon be leaving for Iraq. This is actually kind of hard for me since I never really got to see her much before the war, and only just now starting to catch up before I go back for alittle bit before coming back. She should be going before I even get back. This is really hard on a relationship, but we are both strong and I think we will get through this. However, I worry about her, I really don't want her to goto Iraq after all that I've had happen around me. She is well trained, and so are her buddies but it still worries me alot that she is going.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Person of the Year

I just finally got around to reading Time's Person of the Year, the American Soldier. I thought it was a really good article. I felt really sad in alot of the parts and had a hard time reading what they wrote. Maybe because I can relate to alot of what was wrote about this one unit. I've been in many of those places that were talked about, so that also kind of felt weird to just read all that stuff. My buddy who staying in around that area. He told me about a time when they got hit really hard by mortars and automatic fire one night. He also added that a little convoy of 1st AD hmmwvs went around looking for the attackers and said one of their guys got hit with shrapnel in the left eye just under his helmet and died. He also said it was an lieutenant. I think maybe he was talking about the guy in the magazine they said who died. Not only that, he told me this a month and a half before the magazine even came out. You'd be surprised how small the military is. I've seen 3 guys I graduated in Basic with in Iraq and were in completely different divisions. I can remember going on a few raids with 1st AD Field Artillery helping us with setting up a defensive perimeter while we assaulted the objective.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Back Again

Hey, I am finally back again. In the States that is. I got to meet alot of guys from different units throughout Iraq on my way over. I even talked to some 4th ID Infantrymen they all seemed like really good dudes. Anyway, not a whole lot else has happened. Sorry for it taking me so long to write again.

Thursday, January 08, 2004


A few days ago, while on a patrol. We drove to 3 different abandoned houses to find any weapons that were being stashed there. In one of the homes, we found pictures that were drawn of weapons and one that I thought was alittle desturbing was a picture of a American jet with a set of cross hairs over it.

Someone mentioned that we lost the war in Vietnam. I just thought I should note that the United States never declared war in Vietnam. Also, after an intense bombing campaign the Vietcong came to the table to stop the fighting between the two. America withdrew from Vietnam, we NEVER surrendered to them. We also lost politically, we did NOT lose militarily. The facts are the over 600,000 Vietcong soldiers died and 50,000 American troops died. Plus, through the entire war, we NEVER once lost a major battle in Vietnam.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

EOD or Mortars?

This afternoon there were about 3 loud explosions that rattled the windows. For the most part, we're used to it being Air force EOD. Which are highly trained and are the ones that mostly deal with defusing IEDs and all that kinds of stuff. They also have really good equipment, like robots and all. Anyway, back to what I was saying. Usually we don't worry about loud explosions because 90% of the time it's EOD blowing up a weapons cache or something. However, this time was especially odd. One after another, these really loud explosions kept coming. Over the radio it was said that it was EOD. We had some snipers come in our tower and check the outer perimeter. Of course they saw nothing. Anyway, after they got up there. About 20 minutes later, another explosion happened. I was not at the top of the tower, so I could not see what was going on. Later, while they were still up at the top observing I went to the top to check it out. They said the last explosion happened 300 meters out from our tower outside the perimeter. Apparently, they said they saw the dust cloud that was created. However, they said over the radio that it was just EOD. The guys who watched swear it wasn't EOD, especially since there were patrols going on in that area. From what I understand, there is supposed to be no patrols in an area where EOD is about blow something. So, was it EOD or mortars? My guess it was mortars, but other guys think it was EOD.

I've received some good questions in an e-mail from a guy. I thought it would be important to answer. I will try to answer to the best of my ability. In comparison to the Vietnam war, the Vietcong were a well trained and well backed force. They had millions to fight for them. This "guerilla" operation in Iraq, they are not well trained and not really backed up by anyone. We ended up killing way more Vietcong then they were able to kill of us and that was when our military had alot of conscripts, now our military is all volunteer, highly trained and very professional. So, in the grand scheme of things, the insurgency should have no chance at all right? Well, that's not really true. In Vietnam, at any given moment, we had 500,000+ troops there. In Iraq, we have only 140,000. We really only have enough to guard what is really important, the military compounds and all the other high value areas. The Vietcong would actually engage and close with our forces in Vietnam. These people don't fight like that. Their idea of fighting is driving around in a pickup trucks, driving till they're in range of a target. Then, they jump out and setup a mortar and launch a few mortars real quickly. After that, they quickly put it back in the vehicle and take off. Each time they try to engage us in a balls out fire fight, they lose every time. So, instead of virtually committing suicide by trying that, they do hit and run operations.

One thing that really gets on my nerves is people still talk about the "war in Iraq". It's not a war anymore, that ended in May. I'm not saying these soldier's lives are worthless, but we maybe lose a Soldier every other day. More people die in America from shoots than soldiers do here. Not only that, an average of 20 or so soldiers died everyday in Vietnam. There is no comparison, and it's just as dumb to say that as it is to say that in Vietnam the loses were small at first and then got worse later on. Just because it got worse in Vietnam, doesn't mean it's going to get worse in Iraq. The insurgency isn't hitting American targets like it used to anyway. The Coalition is capturing many many many Fedayeen, Al-qaeda, Ansar Al Islam and any other terrorist groups seeking to ruin anything good happening in Iraq. Some might say the Fedayeen is a military organization, not a terrorist group. Then, obviously they don't know that the Fedayeen are trained in the art of terrorism. During the war, Iraqis told me the Fedayeen mostly instructed it's people to kill Iraqis surrendering to the Coalition rather than really fight the Coalition. A story an Iraqi told me once, was this guy he knew came from Jordan to fight the Americans. So, we met up with Fedayeen. However, he left them because they were telling him to hurt and kill Iraqis instead of really fight the Americans. I'm sure alot of you reading can remember that time paramilitary forces mortared them people in Basra trying to run to the British troops?

The Iraqi police have and are doing a great job at finding these terrorist cells. Alot of the time, we share information with IPs. We work with them alot also. Overall, I think it will be up to them to stop the insurgency. A good argument is they know the culture really well and because they've lived here all their lives. They should be able to spot people up to no good much easier the Coalition troops. It's really encouraging to see them driving around. I think IPs have it rougher than any of the Coalition. Constantly, they are being targeted by suicide bombers. Yet, most of them continue to do their noble work for Iraq. IPs are regarded to the Iraqis much like how we regarded our fire fighters after September 11. I think the Iraqis are very capable of achieving a very successful democracy. Do I think we should hand it over to them now? No. I believe in another year they should be able to fend for themselves for the most part. It would be a big injustice for the Iraqis for us to just abandon them now. I really really really wish we could leave. Now, we have an obligation to the Iraqis. It would also be an injustice to the many soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the Iraqi's freedom and then for us to just run when casualties start to mount.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Busy Busy Busy

Well, if you have not notice yet, I don't get a chance to blog very much anymore. I am really busy now, so I can only blog maybe once every few days. Not much has even been going on in the past few days. So, there is nothing I can really blog about. I am even thinking of closing the website down. I just don't have the time to really do this anymore. I really wish I did, and I know some people have been really dependant on this site for information. I will continue to blog, but I won't be able to do it often like I used to.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Happy New Year

I just want to say Happy New Years to everyone. Hopefully, this will be a much better year and alot less negative events taking place around the world. I should be going on R&R leave soon. I can't wait to go home. It's been alittle over 10 months. America seems so much like a Utopia to me after being here for such a long tour.

Lately the post we are attached to has been getting mortared everyday for the past 4 days. This is actually intense lately. Normally they would probably attack once a week. However, this is a sign of desperation, I believe.

Anyway, we had aircraft flying over doing scouting missions on the areas where they have been firing mortars from. At 2100, we got hit by mortars. So, we and QRF immediately deployed to check patrol around and try to find the enemy. Later on, a aircraft called in saying it spotted 4 suspicious vehicles traveling down the road where the mortars have been coming from recently. They stopped at a near by house. We were ordered to go raid the house and try and find out if they were the news doing it. I can't get too detailed, for operational security. But we only found an AK-47 and handgun. We even used a chemical test on all the suspect's hands for any residue that is left from handling mortars or any kind of explosive. That turned up negative. So, it ended up being a dry hole. It was an exciting night to say the least. We haven't gotten a chance to do any raids in awhile.