Monday, November 29, 2004

America's Best vs. Middle East's Worst

This weekend was great, going back home and seeing my family again. You think it will be easy to leave, and then when the moment finally comes where you have to leave and go back to the base it is really hard emotionally. Same thing when I got to go on R&R leave from Iraq. I came back and was really depressed for about a week in Iraq until I re-adjusted. I was really upset when I got stuck in Chicago's O' Hare International Airport because of bad weather. Having to sleep on the ground, though I kinda laughed that I am complaining about sleeping on a floor for a night when for 16 days all we could do was sleep on the ground. I finally was able to get on a flight in the morning with extra seats. It really tested my patience. My grandmother that night called the airport and threatened if they don't get me home she write the Chicago tribune about how I am an OIF combat veteran and haven't been home at the last Thanksgiving or Christmas. I thought she was being alittle overzealous, alot of other people at the airport probably haven't even seen their family in years.

One though that went through my head was pretty intriguing. It was the contrast of ideas between Americans soldiers and these terrorists and so called insurgents. The big difference I found was that American soldiers in this type of situation fight for one simple reason, TO SURVIVE. I can't think of a single guy I could go up to and will say "I want to go to Iraq to kill Iraqis." I would love to be able to go to Iraq and not get shot at or nothing and not have to fire my gun at all. I can't help but think how different we are from these people. All they can say is how bad they want to kill Americans. Hell, we've even captured insurgents that proudly proclaimed they killed Americans, let's just say, we made sure they didn't sleep well that night. For Americans, killing is self defense, for these Iraqis and Foreign fighters, killing is like a passage to manhood.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Quick Response

It has become very clear to me that I was in error to quickly judge the Marine in Fallujah. It was probably anger that motivated me to do it, because even if the Marines were defending themselves it would be received negatively by many Arabs as murder. Knowing what I now know about in the video the Marines were discussing how the guy was faking dead. Then the Marine came up and shot him. Maybe, I am a victim of the media here, but when I first saw the story I don't remember any Marines saying he was faking he was dead. So, with this new information in mind, I would say that I would have done the same thing that Marine did. His quick reaction probably saved the lives of his fellow Marines, and now he will be investigated because his actions. I think the military will see he was within his rights to defend himself and his Unit should be there at his side to back him up.

We've been doing alot of training and psychological prep for combat when we go back to Iraq. Such as because of the current situation with fake surrendering and suicide bombers. In fact we've lost a guy in a different company in our battalion currently deployed to Iraq because of a suicide bomber in Baghdad and several guys got hurt.

If you would like to show support for the Marine that is accused by some of killing a wounded unarmed man then go here and sign the petition to Congress to show your support for our fighting men.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Old Friend

I finally got contact with my buddy that I graduated through basic training with today. He is currently serving with the 1st Cavalry division in Baghdad, Iraq. The last time I talked to him, the day before he was on a patrol where they came under attack and he got lightly injured by a hand grenade that was tossed at him. He told me it hurt like hell. After that, we hadn't talked in months. Now I finally got to talk to him again. I asked him how it was going in Baghdad, and he explained to me about them having to go out all the time and fight. They also work with the ING too. He didn't seem to have much respect for them in their fighting skills. I talked to him about IEDs and such and how they've learned to deal with them. I wont post anything like that on here for information security reasons. He told me about a story how a few feet from him a sniper shot one of his buddies through the head and it took them like 2 weeks to find the fucker that did it. I guess it has gotten to the point where they only do patrols on Bradley's. It was enlightening to get to talk to him again. I should be in Iraq before he leaves and goes home, so maybe I will get to see him. It's funny how guys you only know for a year can become closer to you than your own relatives you've known your whole life.

Friday, November 19, 2004

21 Mile Ruck March

Today we conducted a 21 mile road march. It was a definite mental challenge. Our company had only 1 guy who fell out of the road march and had to take a ride back in a truck. I wasn't all that tired, just my feet hurt and my legs muscles hurt from earlier playing touch football a few days ago. I made sure this time I brought some snickers with me to help give extra energy during the march. Luckily it didn't rain, because it would have made the ruck sacks that much heavier. Our new cherry we just got last week, this was his first road march since basic training. Most guys get at least to do some 6 mile road marches to build their body up before. This guy had to go right into the big 21 road march. He is my new roommate, since my other one moved out and went to HHC (headquarters company) since he was a broke soldier who wasn't going to Iraq. I would try to encourage him that we are the best trained and hardest Infantry in the world because we do stupid and what sometimes seems unreasonable road marches to test intestinal fortitude and so when we go to combat it will seem like a piece of cake. I can tell you, my tour in Iraq was the easiest time for me in the Army. Besides not getting a whole lot of sleeping, the real thing was much more easy than how we hard we trained. He made it though, and got alot of respect for it, since he looks like he weighs about 100 pounds and is like 5'5" feet tall.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Wounded Iraqi Shot In Cold Blood

I'd like to personally as an American and as an American soldier to apologize to the Iraqi people for such an unprofessional and disturbing act committed by the US Marines in Fallujah. When acts like this are committed it hurts us all.

In previous wars this happens alot. I remember watching tv of Vietnam veterans in a camp full of wounded Americans, the Vietcong overran it, and killed all the wounded men, some of them begging for their lives. Also, like in Saving Private Ryan where German soldiers try to talk to American soldiers and they just shoot them dead. The thing that upsets me alot about this is it gets caught on camera and it's like a new thing "evil" Americans have invented. I dont expect ANY better treatment then to be shot in cold blood by the enemy in Iraq. That is just the way it is, and I've even told my parents if I was in the situation where I could be captured, I would fight to the death or fight till I could escape or evade. The last bullet would be mine if it came to that. Before it was the Sniper that had to be feared of being tortured without mercy and then probably killed, but with this enemy you can even be a FUCKING civilian and expect to slowly getting your head chopped off. In the grand scheme of things, I understand the marines are pissed off and the guy probably just lost it. Seeing your buddies beside you getting killed. Some being takin out by IEDs and other stuff. I would be enraged too, to where I would be one of the first to volunteer to take on Fallujah's Mujahideen. It's like I've said before, the glamour of winning hearts and minds and making Iraq into a democracy is gone in my eyes. When I go back to Iraq, it's about pure survival to come back home to my family. That means, I will be doing anything that is nessesery to survive, and my buddies will do the same for me.

I couldn't believe the Marines shot this guy in front of a news camera. That is just craziness, did they really think that it would get unnoticed? My honost oppinion is the guy probably just went crazy from all the fighting and just lost his mind and shot the guy. I honestly wanna say I feel sorry for the poor bastard in the Mosque, but I can't help but think of all the beheadings I see and the fellow soldiers I've known who have been killed. It sickens me to watch the middle east get so upset over this and then call something like chopping a civilians head off as a legitimate resistance. If that is legitimate resistance, then I guess shooting a guy while he is wounded could be considered legitimate self defense.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Where Are The Brave Mujahadeen?

I watch TV about the assault in Fallujah. Little resistance, the city is mostly deserted. Disgusting and sickening hostage slaughter houses have been discovered in northern Fallujah. That news really gets to me. I get very angry when I think about it. It makes me want to put a bullet through the head of every single terrorist and give them as much remorse and they showed for their victims trying to help stabilize and rebuild the country. I guess that is what happens when you give a city a 2 week notice that you're coming, and the terrorists flee the city. What a heroic stand, I guess they've learned they are no match for the American soldier's intestinal fortitude and superior arms and superior training. That they have for the most part fled the city where they committed some of the most greusome murders, and now much of the fighters are giving up. This is how you take a city. You don't bullshit around like what happened in April. You go in with the object to WIN. One thing that has got on my nerves about how Operation Iraqi Freedom being conducted is, we should pull out of the city, and then go back in and retake it. Hitler made the mistake of not a step back. One of his Generals fighting on the Russian front disobey Hitler's orders pulled his SS division out of the city they were fighting for, and did an assault and crushed the Soviets when they re-took the city. When I was in Iraq we always joked about how the fighters would brag about wanting to kill Americans, and would quickly setup a mortar and launch a few rounds down range at us. However, when it came to us confronting them, they would sometimes LITERALLY pee or shit their pants in fear. I don't have any respect for these fighters because they will either flee because they are no match for us, and then when they kill one of us with our backs turn away they brag and pretend they are brave.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Heavy Weapons & The First Casualty

One thing you notice in Iraq patrolling the streets is alot of other units that are patrolling as well use light or medium machine guns mounted on their vehicles. M249 SAW and the M240 Bravo, which are good weapons, but is it something you really want to patrol around in say a place like Baghdad? I'm a firm believer in bigger guns means less of us good guys getting killed. We patrolled around with a M2 .50 caliber machine gun. Which can engage targets at an effective range twice that of our m240 bravo medium machine gun. Much of the buildings in the cities are made of stone which even the m240 bravo would probably not be able to penetrate. However, the Ma-duece (M2 .50 Cal MG) as it is called, can easily go through the those and still keep going strong. There is nothing better than the feeling of whoever was shooting at us from behind those walls isn't going to get us. It's like music to the ears to hear that monster going off. Gives that false sense of security, which I would rather have then being paranoid.

It's true what they say that the first casualty of war is innocence. You watch war movies about the heroes that fought in previous wars and wish you could have been fighting with those brave men. Until you live it for real. I've found the hard way, that war is not glamorous. You quickly lose the idea of being a man fighting for his country when you have to carry your comrade who has been wounded in a gun fight. That nobility is lost quickly. When I go back to Iraq or even when I was there, it quickly went from freeing a people and fighting for my country, to just plain trying to stay alive. It's strange to think that you can really think to yourself, maybe I wont make it home, and for some strange reason it doesn't even really bother you that much. You can't live in fear in a war zone. Cherries who have never been in combat, before doing their first combat mission are very nervous, while us veteran relax and put it far from our minds until it is go time. I know alot of people that read my blog for the most part believe the United States needs to be there. I agree with this, since I think it is morally wrong to come in, bomb the country and do alot of damage to it, and just leave is irresponsible and just doesn't seem like the right thing to do. However, I lost the idea of going to Iraq to set people free from a dictator or to make it safe for democracy. When I go back to Iraq, my mind set is on making it home back alive. It's not about fighting for the flag, it's about fighting for my life and fighting for my buddies life. These men I am lucky enough to serve with, I have become so attached to it's like they are my brothers. War is not glorious or something that one should want, but it is also sometimes necessary.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

President Bush has been re-elected to be our President for the next 4 years. Luckily, without all the problems of what happened in 2000. Now, hopefully we can agree that Bush had the popular vote and is the actual President. There are many things I don't agree with that Bush believes in, but I take it personal when people have the audacity to say the American public is stupid for re-electing him. I for one, have become optimistic in the way it turned out. Hopefully, democrats and republicans can stop fighting and start working together.

Arafat looks like he wont be around much longer. Stricken with some apparent illness. We have been all joking around here that the Israeli's probably gave him something that has made him critically ill. Like poison his food or something. My buddy joked around saying that's why the news papers in Israel said he died, because the shit they gave him they know will kill him. I understand there are alot of Palestinians that don't support Arafat, so the only ones that may really miss him is Hamas and other terrorist organizations. I don't necessary agree with Israel in the way it sometimes conducts business in the West Bank, but one thing I do know, is Arafat did nothing to try and stop the senseless suicide bombings happen in Israel.

It is nice to finally get a break from all the non-stop training we have been doing, and having 2 weeks to rest and not really do much. We just did a 15 mile road march last week, and a 20 mile road march coming up. After doing so many road marches, the 15 mile road march seemed like a piece of cake. So, I'm not too worried about this 20 mile road march coming up. The problem isn't being too tired to walk, the problem is keeping your feet from blistering to where you're in agony when you're walking. It is a good way we train ourselves to become mentally tough.

Recently, we had a few guys from our Brigade died over in Iraq. IED of course, which seems to be really the most dangerous thing for US Soldiers. I am not afraid to get into a fire fight with the enemy. Anyone that tries to get into a confrontation with us will be destroyed, but one thing I am afraid of us getting hit by an IED. I've actually had some bad dreams about that. Not much you can really do about that.