Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Bush's Speech

Well, I was finishing training for the day, while President Bush gave his address to the nation about Iraq. I saw bits and pieces on the news though. They highlighted some good things he said though. It seemed like he was speaking from the heart. One thing I admire about Bush is his resolve. Even if the decision he makes brings a flood of criticism, he still does what HE thinks is right. Which is what a leader does. A leader does not make a decision and then changes it after getting many people upset. A leader follows his instincts and stands by his decisions 100% because he believes it is the right thing. Will I vote for Bush? Do I think he is a good President? That is something I will not discuss. For one, it's highly unprofessional of a soldier to criticize someone in his chain of command, and yes, the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES is in my chain of command. What Kerry did was a disgrace in my opinion, to be anti-war while he was in the military. I'm not pro war, I think war is bad, but just because citizens may get caught in the crossfire, doesn't mean it is not unjust. I also get really offended when people have the nerve to call the US occupation of Iraq as brutal, especially since I was there for a year and didn't notice any of this brutality, and I'm am Infantryman, having done dozens of raids I haven't seen anything remotely close to Americans shooting innocent people on purpose or treating the Iraqi people like crap. We all want to come home. We also understand, we have a job to do. We don't enjoy being in a foreign country away from our families. However, we have a job to do. I would rather be taking the to fight the enemy terrorists in their own land, than fighting it back home. People say there are no terrorists in Iraq, well they obviously are assuming things. I've been there, I've apprehended people with Al-Qaeda connections and actually been around when we questioned a few captured people from Eygpt and other places saying they came to Iraq to kill Americans. I tell ya, I would have LOVED to beat the living day lights out of that guy, but that never happened. There have probably been some big mistakes in Iraq, that isn't for me to decide, but all hope is not lost. I think over time, Iraqis will stabilize their country and be a free republic. I don't have much hope for it's future though. I believe the government will eventually will be overthrown by some kind of Syrian backed or Iranian backed party that may take over power. It is too big for all those surrounding nations to resist.

Israel is digging itself deep in a hole. They destroyed several homes and killed dozens of people, withdrew and claimed a victory over the "terrorists." This kind of made me laugh. What makes me laugh even more is the Arabs trying to say they aren't Anti-Semitic, but I wont get into that. Israel needs to back off and try diplomatic solutions for change. I think people dieing over religious territory is really non-sense. I think the Jerusalem should become an international city. Maybe that may stop all this arguing about who gets what. I don't like Sharon in all honesty, but I agree that Israel has every right to defend herself from attackers. Israel has become really extremely efficient at stopping suicide bombers from entering thier country lately. However, I don't really agree with this bulldozing houses to punish everyone. I mean, it gives incentive for people to rat out anyone they think is a militant so Israel doesn't come and bulldoze their houses. There has got to be a better solution to this though.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Najaf and Karbala, plus Wedding attack

Isn't this funny, Arabs saying a wedding was hit by an american bomb, when there is pretty much incontravertable evidence that it was in fact a high level meeting of foriegn fighters. I've been at the Syrian border for a few days, doing check points, and believe me, that place is FAR FAR FAR from civilization. So, them saying it was a wedding really makes me want to laugh. I remember when we have caught Arabs RED-HANDED attacking our positions and they will even deny they had anything to do with it. So, they aren't the most honost people, at least in my oppinion. I remember alot of the times, people saying they love America, and the next thing you know, later that night they are firing RPGs at us. I guess after the recent disgrace shown by fellow American soldiers in uniform, they'll believe anything negative.

Large demonstrations calling for US troops to pull out of Karbala and Najaf. These people really love to voice their opinions as it seems. If there wasn't a murderous cleric at large using religion as a weapon and using it to gain control of Iraq, then they wouldn't have this problem. We are fighting forces that seek to destroy Iraq. If they really wanted to get rid of the occupier, maybe they should lay down their weapons and pick up shovels so they can help rebuild. That would make us leave sooner. Attacking American troops will only strengthen their resolve to fight back and further kick their ass. If you fire on troops, then expect to be fired on in return. It is self defense, if you get punched in the face, are you not allowed to hit back? Like-wise, they can keep shooting at us, it just makes our job alot easier. Believe me, we're a hell of alot better trained then they are, and they will lose any engagment or they will pay a very heavy price. If someone shoots at me from a building, you can bet, i'll be the first one to put a Javelin missile system together and fire it and destory that building. I would not send in American forces to try and clear a building that I know is full of insurgence.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Rudy Giuliani

Mayor Rudy Giuliani testified to the 9-11 Investigation panel today. Me and my buddy got to watch it for about 15 minutes. Giuliani described everything down to the finest details. What really struck me was when he talked about the details about witnessing people jumping out of the building, and how shocking it was and how many survivors came up to him and said how encouraged they became as they were racing down stares while the fire fighters were racing up the stares. People in the audience I could see some of them having to wipe their eyes with a tissue. All those feelings I had when the attacks first happened, started to re-surface in me. I really wanted to cry. Then in the opening before he started, he stated, I think a brutally true statement, "Our enemy is not each other but the terrorists who attacked us, murdered our loved ones and continue to offer a threat to our security, safety and survival."

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Tragedy in the GC and Second Thoughts of War

The highest ranking member of the GC in Iraq was killed a suicide bomber. It was a big shock for me and really upset me. The group that claims to be responsible called him a traitor. Who really is the traitor here? The real amazing thing is, this happen in the green zone. Supposedly one of the most secure areas in the world. This had to be the work of an inside job. The animals that committed this act had to have good intelligence to risk sending a suicide bomber through all those check points in order to kill this one guy. With all our military might, with our extremely effective bombers, artillery, tanks, infantrymen, it seems we are still losing this war. Not in a military sense, but in a political sense. Me and other grunts I talk to think we should leave. We are upset that we worry so much about other nations when the USA needs to worry about herself. Why spend a trillion dollars in Iraq, when we can use that money to make better schools and hospitals and send more kids to college. We believe that money would be better used for us. To hell with the Iraqis and the rest of the world. However, as a super power, we are damned if we do and damned if we don't. Me and a few other grunts are talking about probably voting for Kerry. I think it would be better though if we just stopped trying to help everyone else, and if other countries don't like that, then that's their problem. I think when soviernty is turned over, it maybe be possible they may ask us to leave Iraq. I think we should cut our loses then and leave. Let them sort things out. Since 9-11, we have become rather efficient at protecting ourselves from terrorist attack, I no longer think we need to go to war to protect ourselves from terrorism. We already got a good system set up in protecting from terrorist attacks. People may not like my opinion, but it is my opinion, and I am giving my thoughts as an American soldier and the thoughts of other American soldiers. I will go back to Iraq, and serve my time honorably, I am proud to be an American soldier. But, if we are asked to leave by the new government, then we must leave. There is no question in my mind that if we are told to leave, all Iraqis will precieve us as trying to take control, and there will no longer be a silent majority, there will be a very loud and very aggressive majority. Even if things are still bleak, we must leave, because we may win the battle, we may kill them all in a fight and not take alot of casualties on our own side, but we will have to kill every last one of them and there will be no one left to "liberate." That is why I think we should leave, not because I am against the war, but because I know if we don't leave when we are asked to, we will be forced to defend ourselves from all Iraqis, and that means killing us politically, because we will have to kill millions of them before they stop fighting.

Powell is starting to be alot more honest now that his time is coming to an end. It's like a sense of nothing to lose, so he seems to pretty much say on the news that going to war was probably a bad decision. I really admire his honesty. That was the really good feature about Powell, he seemed like a very honest man. I wish he would have ran for President.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Warriors and Saints

The USA is in a tough position. They are battling Al-Sadr militia forces is Najaf, Karabala and a few other places. They are finding themselves being engaged by enemy forces hiding in important Shiite mosques or monuments. Washington of course is trying desperately to avoid collateral damage, while giving the US forces authority to defend themselves. The commanders on the battlefield have a tough decision to make. Do you want to fire on a building insurgence are firing from and take out the threat, and risk alienating many Shiites in the process, or risk losing soldiers by trying to avoid using Artillery, Airstrikes, and any other kinds of indirect fire. A big problem is, most Iraqis are staying on the side lines, waiting to see which side is winning. Which way the wind is blowing. They wont support a loser, especially if they're worried about maybe the USA leaving and they're killed by militia and other nut cases as being collaborators. The USA needs to toughen up and crush this now, or it should just leave. There is no center ground. Sadly, I think most Iraqis are starting to believe the USA will get sick of it's casualties and will leave. I myself, believe this too.

The daily struggle for a US soldier is pretty tough mentally. They are stuck in the process of fighting anti-coalition forces, and have to be at the same time a compassionate force trying to help Iraqis. I think why there was no resistance to the US occupation in Germany and Japan was just the whole place was so completely obliterated by the end of the war, that everyone was sick of it and finally decided it was time to rebuild and start all over again. Americans in Iraq have a problem with people giving them thumbs up and saying they love America, and then later on, they catch the same guy firing an RPG at us. We get frustrated with the ideology that we are evil occupiers, when it is clear we are trying to get out as soon as possible, but these insurgence are only making it take longer for us to leave Iraq. The point is to leave Iraq when things have settled down and people don't have to fear being killed by militia. If they would just put their arms down and help, we would actually leave Iraq that way sooner than we'd leave if it plunged into chaos. I've made a handful of Iraqi friends, even a few that I gave my mailing address to. Even one of them had my buddies cell phone number and actually recently called him a few weeks ago and told him he wanted to come to America and see us again. It's really unique that as soldiers in a foreign country you are both fighting these insurgence and at the same time you are fighting for hearts and minds.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Crazy World

An American civilian gets beheaded in Iraq. I'm not as shocked as many people here in the States and all over the world. I knew this was going to happen. I knew they would retaliate in some sort of way that had to do with some gruesome death that would be filmed and released. I don't know why people were so shocked, maybe it's just because I've seen these people put woman in children in their path while in an engagement with American troops. I always thought to myself, if I was in a situation to get captured, I would save the last bullet for myself or keep fighting till they had to kill me. If it's true or not, it doesn't matter, most soldiers have the mentality that if they are captured by islamic extremists, they will be tortured and killed without any mercy. This is the idea in the Infantry anyway, I know I would never allow them to take me alive if I was capable of it. Alot of soldiers will tell you that it's morally wrong what they did, but alot of them are upset at why the world is so upset when in some cases we slap or humiliate a prisoner, that seems to be more of a crime than burning and dragging American CIVILIANS through the streets and hanging them on a bridge as trophies. Sometimes I just shake my head in disgust. If we kill them in self defense, we are called murderers, if they kill us, they are heroes and freedom fighters. It all just makes me sick.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Back to the 'Raq

I and many others have been busting our asses for 6 days straight, working about 13 hours a day running training lanes. These lanes have different weapons systems and tasks soldiers must complete. Such as, the AT-4, or Hand Grenades, demolitions, M249 SAW, m240 Bravo, .50 Cal Machine gun, Mark-19 automatic grenade launcher, call for indirect fire, and a bunch others. Each station has it's own specialty. The lane I run is for the Javelin missile system, there I give classes to groups of people who stop by to learn how to use this very effective tank buster. I teach them all about how to fire it, and that it can pretty much shoot anything you can think of. It's a smart bomb that will follow it's target and it can kill any tank on the face of the Earth. During the classes we even joke around with the soldiers saying you can even shoot Mosques with it. There is about 30 or so classes all that every single soldier must go to and master before leaving for Iraq. The commander of the group going wants even the pencil pushers to go through all of these lanes, because maybe they might have to use these skills in order to survive or save their buddies. Again, I cannot say the size of the group going to Iraq, but it is a pretty big group. For a whole month straight, I and the other lane cadre will be working from 9am to 8pm to train the task force going into Iraq. All of the cadre are the groups of us who just returned from Iraq. The commander wanted guys with experience training these classes, and plus the rest of the force will be training for a WHOLE month straight, not a single day off. They will be doing a TON of live fires, close-quarter combat training, and just going to ranges to improve on marksmen ship. Once they ghetto Iraq and our group has been here long enough with our families, we will be sent back to Iraq to meet up with the task force. This task force is not military police, or any non-combatant forces. It is a force of probably 85% Infantryman. Our mission and purpose the commander said, is to kill the enemy. So, we all know we are going to be doing ALOT of raids and ALOT of combat patrols.

I have had an interesting e-mail from a woman asking me why I sound so okay with going back to Iraq. She wanted to know if I had some kind of death wish. She made clear this was not an insult to me. I know others must be thinking the same questions, so I will just answer it here. I know when I go to Iraq, I will be coming home alive. I know this because of the men and woman to my left and my right. I know they will not let me down, and I will not let them down. I am extremely confident in our training. So, no, when I think of Iraq, I am not worried about returning. I survived the war, and for a whole year of raids and combat patrols, I got out without a scratch. I will go back to Iraq and I will later return to my family again when my tour is up.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

This Just In

Well, all our suspicions about another possible deployment to Iraq has been confirmed within the last few days. Of course I can not discuss what division and unit, all I will say is a large group of us are going to Iraq within the next 7-9 weeks. The rumor is Fallujah. We are mostly all grunts, so that is probably why they want us there. The main body will be leaving first, and those of us that just got back from Iraq, will follow within a few months after. So, I will be going to Iraq sooner than the usually mandatory 6 months stay back home from a major deployment. Since the large group is leaving real soon, we who have just recently got back from Iraq are trainers for the guys leaving for Iraq. Everyone will be working 7 days a week training for awhile until they leave. So, everyone thinking we were going to go back home and relax for awhile has been completely derailed. I don't really care about going to Iraq, I know what to expect, and i'm confident in my training, and the training we are giving to our bothers-in-arms who will shortly be there. However, alot of them would sympathize that we just got back from a year tour in Iraq, and are within a few months after returning home, about to go out again for another year. I really feel sorry for the guys who have families and are leaving. This has got to be the toughest thing for these husbands and wives to be without their loved one. It is a old saying in the Army that the hardest job in the Army is the wife. Some people don't think about soldiers having families and alot of people back home who care for them and worry about them. All of this training, live fires, weapons qualification, ect ect is going to have everyone exhausted by the time the month or so of STRAIGHT training for 7 days, but they all know it's for the better. We want to go Iraq with everyone and come back from Iraq with everyone.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Marines Withdraw

US Marines withdraw outside the city of Al Fallujah. General Jasim Muhammad Salih of the former Republican guard and a brigade of Iraqi troops moved into Fallujah and greeted with hundreds of happy and cheering Iraqis.

Now, before I say this, I am not comparing Iraq to World War 2 in anyway, but this really stinks of Bastogne. When the Germans held all the cards and had the Americans surrounded, and eventually it was the Germans that caved in. I can't help but see some sort of similarity between this and what happened in Fallujah. This is really good that they were able to find a peaceful way to end the seige. It looked like there was no alternative then to bulldoze the town. On the other hand, I am deeply embarrassed when I hear the resistance is claiming a defeat over the US Marines. The resistance were outmatched in every way. Despite my humiliation at this, I am glad to see a good solution was found. I think this General Jasim Muhammad Salih will serve Iraq well. However, I know there is going to be a problem with this guy with many Shiah, since he was a Ba'athist after all.

I've seen alot of responses about the abuses of Iraqi prisoners. Such as that the Iraqis have done worse and it wasn't all that bad and it's what they deserved. Well, I'll agree that there has been some really bad stuff they would do to our people if they captured them. For instance, the 4 contractors that were mutilated. I think it is sad when people call all Iraqis savages after that, and then when their own troops get caught doing something bad, they say Arabs should not generalize, when they are just as guilty of it. I definitely don't feel sorry for any terrorists who kill civilians and put women and children in front of them during a fire fight, but we are the world superpower. We are supposed to be the leader of the free world. We cannot lower ourselves to this sort of behavior. As a super power we must hold ourselves to higher standard. What those soldiers did is a disgrace to the service and the country they served.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Ugly Images and Possable Deployment?

Images were recently released of US Army Military Police abusing Iraqi prisoners. They were very disturbing to say the least. Now these soldiers have put the lives of their fellow soldiers at risk by making more Iraqis cross from moderate to angry toward the USA, and like other dumb criminals, they took pictures that incriminated themselves. I think the USA is going to have a long and hard time getting those who trusted the USA to trust us again. This I know, couldn't have come at a worst time for President Bush. These soldiers do not deserve to wear the uniform of the US Army. Their actions were dispicable and unAmerican.

Things are happening, training deployments have been cancelled. There are rumors of us going back to Iraq soon. Our Commanding Officer told us not to worry about the rumors, but he is going to get more information for us, since he did say something was happening and he knew more than he was supposed to. I am not believing the rumors, in the military, you get so many false rumors you get to where you don't believe any rumor you hear. However, this is very interesting and at least it helps time go by faster cause it seems less boring I guess.