News from Baghdad

A small spot to describe to a certain extent what it is like for the soldiers here in Iraq. I must remain anonymous as there may be some who would view this as an "official" posting, however, it is not. Just some personal views on the politics and public views in this war that has been to oftentimes tainted by the sensationalism of the media.

Location: Home, United States

I enjoy my job to the fullest, regardless of the political climate at any particular time. My family and my soldiers are the central focal point of my existence as well as my religious viewpoints.

Monday, October 25, 2004

25 October 2004

As I lie awake this evening, my heart and my mind are elsewhere. I am enjoying my time home with my family, however, I cannot and will not be completely at ease until all of us are home with our families. I have received numerous e-mails from friends and family alike showing support for all of us whether they believe the actions taken in Iraq are right or not. It matters not to most of them as far as the soldiers are concerned. They understand that we are doing what we have been asked to do and I pray every day that we are doing it well enough.

There is the offhand pundit who disgraces him/herself with their demonstration of idiocy and illiterate attempts to goad me. I generally ignore these, with the exceptions of a few. I will take this particular moment to say, once again, that what is posted here are MY views and no one else's. I speak for no one outside of myself and have in no wise been coerced or promised anything for the content of these postings. There have been a couple who have accused me of being a "soldier voice" for the "war effort". It has been my desire and my goal to forward my views, incite curiosity among the readers and allow them to research particular items which may be of interest to them and draw their own conclusions. As with any opinion or belief in life, I disagree with attempting to force any particular way of thinking upon anyone. Make your own decisions and conclusions. Take not my words as gospel. They are just thoughts from a soldier who believes strongly in what I do and believe that continued freedoms on our own shores shall forever be possible and protected by those oftimes unwanted and forgotten men and women who have chosen a path in their lives to take up arms and defend what they love.

Below is a piece that I recieved from one of my readers and it really speaks volumes. Thank you for sending it to me and I hope that those who read it will be as enlightened by it as I.

The Sheepdogs

Most humans truly are like sheep
Wanting nothing more than peace to keep
To graze, grow fat and raise their young,
Sweet taste of clover on the tongue.
Their lives serene upon Life’s farm,
They sense no threat nor fear no harm.
On verdant meadows, they forage free
With naught to fear, with naught to flee.
They pay their sheepdogs little heed
For there is no threat; there is no need.

To the flock, sheepdog’s are mysteries,
Roaming watchful round the peripheries.
These fang-toothed creatures bark, they roar
With the fetid reek of the carnivore,
Too like the wolf of legends told,
To be amongst our docile fold.
Who needs sheepdogs? What good are they?
They have no use, not in this day.
Lock them away, out of our sight
We have no need of their fierce might.

But sudden in their midst a beast
Has come to kill, has come to feast
The wolves attack; they give no warning
Upon that calm September morning
They slash and kill with frenzied glee
Their passive helpless enemy
Who had no clue the wolves were there
Far roaming from their Eastern lair.
Then from the carnage, from the rout,
Comes the cry, “Turn the sheepdogs out!”

Thus is our nature but too our plight
To keep our dogs on leashes tight
And live a life of illusive bliss
Hearing not the beast, his growl, his hiss.
Until he has us by the throat,
We pay no heed; we take no note.
Not until he strikes us at our core
Will we unleash the Dogs of War
Only having felt the wolf pack’s wrath
Do we loose the sheepdogs on its path.

And the wolves will learn what we’ve shown before;
We love our sheep, we Dogs of War.

Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66

To all of the "sheep" out there...we do love all of you. Thank you all for your support and kindness to each and every one of us. God bless.

Friday, October 22, 2004

22 October 2004 (Post 2)

This particular posting is in reply to a comment I received within minutes after posting today's blog. An anonymous reader had posted a comment calling me narrow minded. I must sincerely apologise to this reader for his seemingly accusational view towards my "ranting". As I have stated before this site is my views on my day to day life in Baghdad and what me and my soldiers do every day. I try to shed at least some light on what the media has to offer. He stated that in North Carolina there is not enough of the liberal news media (L N M as he termed it). His question was where was the L N M when he needs it? Hey there fella, turn on your television set. He stated that Bush's military service should have surfaced even before the 2000 elections. Well, in my views, military service seems to play a very little role in the decision making process of the American people when choosing a President, id est, our former President William Clinton, whose "stellar" manipulation of our country has been a thorn in many people's sides for many years. He seems disgusted with the perfomance of our current political leaders, and while I must agree that there are faults in today's current government, overall, I have seen nothing but good, in my views, on many issues that plague our country. Is the war in Iraq just? It is not for me to say. Does the war in Iraq need to cease tomorrow? NO! We cannot leave. We cannot go into a country, regardless of whether it was right or wrong, and then just leave when the going gets tough. He stated that for the media to gain my good graces it should change its tune and agree that all is well in Iraq. When have I ever said that? When have I ever stated that all is good and peaceful in Baghdad? Never. In any case, it is mostly the opposite. I try to shed some light on the things that ARE good. Not just the deaths, killings, maimings, kidnappings and general crime that is so rampant in that part of the world. He stated that the L N M shows very little of Iraq and what is going on. Don't know where you are looking but I seem to read it and watch it every single day, somewhere, whether it be the television, internet or newspapers. These postings have been, as I stated before, MY views and MY experiences. Nothing more, nothing less. Thank you for your insights, however, as any comment is welcome.

22 October 2004

Good morning everyone. As my blog grows and more and more people read the small words that I have to write, I receive encouraging words of support for what I and my soldiers do, however I do receive the offhanded derrogatory remark, which is to be expected. I do not mind when someone disagrees with me. In fact, I feel that disagreement, if kept polite and informed is actually a healthy means to encourage not only myself, but also any reader who may read that comment to research the issues and find the truth and form their own informed opinions.

I received a comment from one reader who disagreed with me on the point of the unit refusing to execute a mission. She told me to "break out my stones and take aim". I am not throwing rocks at anyone. The things that I wrote in that particular posting were directed at the finer points that I as a soldier KNOW should NOT have been a contrubuting factor in the refusal of that mission. Regardless of how those soldiers "felt" at the time, it was their DUTY to execute that mission to the best of their ability. There are only three factors that allow a soldier to refuse to execute an order and that is if the order is illegal, immoral, or unethical. Doesn't say anything about if the soldiers "felt safe enough". She wrote that there are men and women over there who say that they feel their vehicles aren't safe enough. How safe is safe enough? A 500 pound bomb going off underneath a truck (or a Bradley Armored Personnel Carrier) will do some pretty heavy damage. In reading the headlines yesterday, one of the soldiers stated that the mission was not refused out of fear. Well, sounds like fear to me, if you refuse a mission because you "feel" that your vehicle is not "safe" enough. One of the soldiers was a water purification specialist, and his reason was because the fuel they were to transport was tainted. I have one question for this young troop. How, as a WATER purification specialist, do you KNOW that FUEL is tainted? I know for a fact that that United States Army will never risk a multi million dollar aircraft because of fuel. They take care of their helicopters better than they take care of any other vehicle. Do I mind this? No. It is good sense. Not as easy to survive a breakdown in the air, than it is on the ground.

I was advised by one of my readers not to watch the news while I am home. Well, this I cannot do. Although I take what the liberal news media says with a grain of salt, it is still, unfortunately one of the only ways that I can stay current with world affairs. I am in contact with my soldiers back on the front, so I am able to take both pieces, put them together, weed out the stupidity, and come up with a relatively informed opinion to what is going on.

My wife recorded a couple of programs for me while I was gone, for me to peruse over and in one of them I really got a little upset about. It was the 60 Minutes program dated 6 October. For those of you who have seen it, you will probably already know what I am talking about. The program was based upon a couple of people who live and work in Baghdad. While I agree with some of their complaints, I do not agree with them all. No, I do not live and work constantly in that city, however, I do know enough people, and am friends with enough of the local nationals there, that I have been able to rebuff a lot of what these seemingly educated and, by Iraqi standards, rich people have to say. One of them is the gas lines. Well, during Saddam's time, since the Gulf War, people were not allowed to buy new cars, so therefore, the gas lines were not long. Since the fall of that regime, trade has been opened up again, and cars are swamping that country. It is NOT the fault of the United States that the gas lines are long. It is called "growing pains". As this country grows, things like this are going to happen, for the simple fact that their infrastructure cannot handle the new freedoms that they have. It will take some time. Iraqis think that the country should mirror the American way of life overnight. That is just not going to happen. One Iraqi lady on that program, an American citizen who frequently flies back to Baghdad, stated that families refuse to go out into the streets. This I know is utter nonsense. I have stated in past postings about children who swamp our vehicles, we know about the car situation at the gas lines, and I know families who sleep in their front yards at night for it is cooler. So that is utterly absurd that she would even state something like that. There was an accusation that the United States is fueling the conflict there on purpose for oil or for the protection of Israel. Here the Islamic hatred for foreigners comes through. If you have even a second grade education you can see that Israel is a crutch for these people to fuel a great ammount of their hatred. Al Jazeera uses this tactic on a regular basis as can be seen in That is the english version of the volatile and violent Arabic news paper based out of Qatar.

Another program that really bothered me was the Prime Time program dated 14 October, regarding the treatment of soldiers upon their release from hospitals after they had been injured. This program did bother me and I am looking into it further. I would not doubt its truth, however, my goal in researching this piece is to find out if these four incidents are isolated, or just the tip of the iceberg. The Army was attempting to make one young Specialist pay his enlistment bonus back because he did not fulfil his full obligation to the Army. Well, he could not, for he had been wounded. He was living in his car, however he did have a mother. My only question to that particular case, was, why can his family not care for him until all of this is sorted out? There are Veteran's agencies too that can help. One young troop had been run around trying to find out what his disability payments would be. One family was looking at losing their house for he could not work. I do sincerely feel for these families, however, one of them stated that if he knew he would be treated this way, he still would have served his country. Take pride in the fact, America, that even though this soldier has been treated wrongly, his sense of duty, selfless service and sacrifice shines though in that simple statement. Many soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines think the same way. For most, it is not about the money, the educational benefits or whatever. It is about serving and protecting the country they love. Patriotism is a strong thing. Something that is becoming more and more scarce these days. God bless all of them. At the end of that program, one of the Generals that Prime Time contacted confirmed the problem and is addressing it at this time. My only prayer is that it applies to ALL soldiers who have been wronged, not just the ones that Prime Time interviewed.

I have been told that the day after I left for home, my platoon was attacked (no casualties thank the Lord), as the RPG bounced off the top of the truck without exploding. Still does not put my mind at ease knowing that I am here in relative peace while my men are still sacrificing. I will not be able to completely enjoy home until all of this is over and I come home permanently. Well, at least for a little while, with all my men back to their families, until we go again. God bless and keep all of my men and my friends, and all the service men and women still in theater until they come home. Forget not the fallen and support the ones who fight on for their fellow men.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

21 October 2004

Home sweet home. I am overjoyed to be home with my family, enjoying the finer things in life and realizing what I have missed and enjoyed over the past six months.

It was quite a journey and I absolutely hate travelling. I enjoy flying, as I love looking out the window at the world below, however, after long hours on a plane, it really starts to wear on me.

I left a couple of days ago for BIAP (Baghdad International Airport) from my camp. We stayed there overnight until the next morning where we were briefed and waited around all day to catch a flight into Kuwait. I had forgotten just how long it has been since I have flown on a C-130 Air Force transport. As I said while I enjoy flying, being in a C-130 is like being strapped into a roller coaster with a lawn chair as your seat. Not the most comfortable ride in the world, but fun all the same.

We arrived in Kuwait, where again, we endured long hours of briefings and received our itineraries for our flight back. We flew late in the evening and arrived yesterday morning in Maine. I can tell you that the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) who have taken it upon themselves to meet and greet every plane that comes in, really warmed my heart. These men and women have sacrificed their time to ensure that the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who either come home or leave through Maine, are appreciated by at least someone. They had phones available for our use to call our families, at no charge to us, provided by Unicel. Sam's Club provided cookies and coffee and the VFW of course was there to ensure that we were warmly welcomed back into our homeland. You can visit their site at I recommend you visiting this site for yourself, as words just do not do it justice.

I arrived into Dallas-Fort Worth, later on yesterday morning, once again, to a warm welcoming crowd, among them being my family. The seemingly longest part of my journey was the drive back home. My wife had a small glitch in the car rental that she had attempted, so she drove our truck up there to pick me up. Well, a normally 2-2 1/2 hour drive took nearly 7. I have to change the fuel filter in my truck. Was a little annoying, but, I was safe and was able to see things that I normally wouldn't see by travelling at 70 mph.

This brings me to my next topic. We in America have a tendency to forget or not realize just how good we have it here. In just the beauty of our country, we can take solace in the knowledge that we indeed do live in the greatest country on earth. It is a little funny as the first thing that I saw when I landed in BIA (Bangor International Airport) was the Ramada and Days Inn. It struck me as kind of funny that this would be the first thing that I saw, but when I did, I knew I was going home. As we flew over the United States, the breath taking views of the patchwork quilt that make up the farmland of our Heartland, the Appalacian Mountains and the urban sprawls of our great cities confirmed the fact that our country truly is great. Your home, my home, our home. THIS is what we defend. It brought back to my mind the song "America the Beautiful" and I caught myself humming that tune several times as I looked out the window. Take not for granted what we have. Every morning you wake up and go outside, thank the Lord above for what you have. My wife can attest to the fact that as I stepped out of the airport for the first time into the warm Dallas sun, I stopped and took a long breath. Clean, warm air. Absent were the smells of sewage, smells of burning garbage in the streets. Gone were the sounds of gunfire and explosions. Peace.

It tore me up however, once, that although through the absence of all this, there are those who tainted this experience. Angry drivers, uncaring and unfeeling human beings. Throughout the entire trip back home, when the truck started messing up, we had a grand total of two people stop and ask us if we needed assistance. Although I expected not everyone to stop and offer aid, I was struck by the fact that while we would pull off of the road to avoid impeding traffic, there were more obscene gestures, swear words and curses thrown at us than anything. Many of these obscenities were thrown by people with the yellow ribbon magnets on their vehicles which say "Support Our Troops". Words say one thing, while actions speak another. While I appreciate those who do support us, wholeheartedly, support your fellow man as well. Remember the Golden Rule. Remember those who may be more needy than you. Help those who need help. America is great, but it could be so much better.

I will post again soon, as I must reply to and rebuff some of the comments that I have received to some of my posts. Thank you again, each and every one of you, who have been reading this and passing it on. I have been asked several times by people who have posted this site on other web sites if I minded. In no means do I mind, for my intent in starting this thing was to get it out to as many people as I could. The more people I can reach with this, with my simple messages, the outlook of just one old Sergeant, the happier I am. In just three weeks, I have had over 10000 hits on the site. That is about 9999 more than I could ever hope for. Thank you to all of those who have forwarded this on.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

16 October 2004 (Post 3)

A quick touch on the headlines for today. As I sit and write this, explosions rock the area and we are unsure if it is outgoing or incoming. We have gotten used to it and we usually don't think twice about it.

I had a reader inform me of something I already knew about. Ramadan. I know that this month is supposed to be a month of charity, fasting and cleanliness, however, I see no charity in all of this. Five churches bombed this morning, one of them near us. Where is the charity in this? Car bomb kills troops in Iraq. Nope, not there either. Explosions rock central Baghdad. Still searching. Bombing, killing and violence seem to be the order of the day.

Also I wished to touch on the item regarding the soldiers who refused their mission because of their equipment. This is an extremely isolated incident, however black the mark on the military it may leave. The United States military is some of the best equipped and supplied forces in the world and there is absolutely no excuse for cowardace or using this excuse because of fear. Our platoon consists of at least 18 well equipped soldiers, 2 heavily armored HMMWVs, (I hate mine because I cannot see or hear) and 2 lighter armored HMMWVs. I prefer to ride in the lighter ones for they are faster, more mobile and I can see and hear anything that may be coming. The excuse given by at least one of the soldiers that refused the mission, is that some of their vehicles were deadlined (not mission capable). Well, genius, whose fault is that?? The operator, that is who. No, we do not take a deadlined vehicle out, unless it is a deadline that will not risk the lives of our soldiers, unless absolutely necessary and then it has to be signed off by the commander. If one of my vehicles is deadlined, we do not rest until it is fully mission capable, and there are always parts on hand to fix any problem. If that vehicle was deadlined, well, then the operators were at fault for not informing their commanders. Also, a deadline, by regulation, has to be identified in the technical manual, not the operator. In other words, if the operator doesn't "feel" his vehicle is safe, but the technical manual does not state in black and white that the vehicle is deadlined...then it is NOT deadlined. I see where there is no culpable argument by this unit to refuse a mission. No discipline, cowardice and mutiny were to blame here. Yesterday the article stated that this unit had no "armed escort". Well excuse me SOLDIER! Do YOU have a rifle? Do YOU have a machine gun mounted on your trucks? Well that is all any one else has so therefore YOU are your OWN armed escort.

I am severely disenchanted with this incident as I said before it is an isolated incident, however, it will tarnish the names of those soldiers who go out every day and walk a highway in helmet and body armor to visually identify IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), so that these "supply convoys" can come through unharmed. The soldiers that risk IEDs, RPGs, gunfire, and car bombs EVERY SINGLE DAY, do not complain because the "mission is too dangerous". Some of my soldiers have complained to me that they hate the Kevlar body armor because they cannot move properly and could not throw a grenade if they had to. We have proven this fact with attempting to throw rocks. However difficult, it is possible, so I told them to be quiet about it. I have complained about my truck and not being able to see above me (roofs being the most dangerous contact points) however, I have no choice in the type of vehicle I ride in, so if I want to see or hear something I GET OUT AND WALK. My soldiers have put more miles on their boots than we have on the trucks and we have proven, statistically, that we are safer, dismounted than mounted as a dismounted element can act more swiftly than a mounted one and the insurgents know this and don't even attempt to mess with them. IEDs on the highway have dropped extensively, almost to none at all, during our tenure here because we walk. Is it dangerous? Of course it is. However, all of us have accepted the fact that we are SOLDIERS and in the performance of our duties, being a soldier is the most dangerous occupation in the world. We accept that fact because we signed the papers. We know what we do and we know what could happen.

Forgive me for my tirade, but cowardice in the face of the enemy, mutiny and discord kind of touch a nerve with me. God forbid that all soldiers decide that "this mission is too dangerous so therefore I refuse to go out". Humph. Prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Leavenworth needs more rock breakers.

16 October 2004 (Post 2)

Once again, I greet you all with a happy heart. I received two letters yesterday, of which I had translated today. The letters came from my two little friends via our translator who primarily works with our platoon. He has been an excellent medium for communication with the family as you all know my fears of too much face to face contact with our friends for fear of violence against them unduly. I had given them a few small gifts a few weeks ago that my wife had sent and also some school supplies, pens, pencils, paper, colored pencils etc. I gave them these items because the schools do not have nearly enough to supply all of the children with what they need. Well, needless to say, they think that our interpreter, myself and my soldiers are the greatest things since peanut butter. I really miss seeing them. Our translator told them that I was going on leave and they started to cry. They thought that I wouldn't be back. He put their fears to rest for I told him when he informed them of this that I would go see them as soon as I come back. They are like little sisters to me. I will share their letters with you, verbatim, as the letters are to the American public, US Soldiers and their families as well as to me and my soldiers.

Letter #1

In the name of God, my best wishes and greetings to Staff Sergeant ? and to all the soldiers who helped me and my country to become free and who support us.
I received your nice gifts. It made me so happy and I wish God makes you happy too and take you away from all the trouble in Iraq.

I wish I could meet your family and become as one family with them. I miss you and your soldiers, the heroes. I wish I could see you every day for I am not afraid. I wish all of you to go to your families safe and happy. Thank you and your family for the pretty bear you sent. Every day I look at it and kiss it before I go to sleep. I take it everywhere I go. Thank you for the nice letters you sent. I read them all the time.

Again, I wish you to be safe in this country and to go back to your country with victory and peace. I wish you a happy life and my greetings for ?' father and mother for they raised this man very good, for he is the man he is today. I wish we had a picture of them.

Thank you.

Letter #2

In the name of God.

Sent for the hero ?' family. I send my best wishes and greetings from my family to you and for all American people.

Thank you. I thank your hero sons who helped us in the process of freedom for Iraq and who are saving us from the terrorists. Thank you for President Bush. I wish for him to win the election. I am really happy and glad to know good friends and heroes in time and always asking God to protect and guard him. It is my wish for him to make it back safe and peaceful.

For you and all soldiers in Iraq I offer my condolences to those who lost their sons and I will be glad to be one family with you. I wish I could make it and meet you. I really miss you. I wish to remain in touch with you.

Your daughter in new Iraq,

(Name ommited for safety)

I wish my readers not to take into account the whole "hero" thing. I am no hero. I am just a soldier doing a job to the best of my ability. I enjoy working with these people and I love making new friends. This family is very dear to me. I have already tried to help one family leave this place, and if I can assist another, I will. I have been called a "hero" before by some of my readers, and while I appreciate the accolade, the name in itself does not apply to me. The real heroes are those men and women who have given their all in the performance of their duties in this conflict and in every conflict previously. My soldiers are the heroes for they do their jobs and fight without complaint, following and going wherever I may tell them to go, without hesitation. Sure, there is the offhanded complaint from time to time, as is to be expected, but when the metal meets the meat, these men are the most stellar warriors that anyone could ever hope to serve with. THEY are the heroes. Not me.

I will post again soon. Take care and God bless you all.

16 October 2004

To all the readers of this site I wish to express my deepest thanks for all your comments, questions and support that I have received from you either through e-mails or through comments.

First off, I wish to lay to rest one simple issue. I in no wise have ever used any profanity or name calling to express my opinions about anything. In regards to my posting about Senator Kerry's Labor Day debacle, I put that there for YOU to research and to ascertain your own views. I respect everyone's view in whatever matter, however strongly I may disagree with them. I never resort to blatant name calling and vulgar language in a childish and uneducated attempt to belittle or demean someone for what they believe. This website is not meant to be a medium for political, social or whatever else we may disagree about (which I am sure there is a plethera of issues that most people would never see eye to eye with me about). As I stated, I respect EVERYONE's view, and whether Senator Kerry or President Bush are elected this term is NOT what I wish to discuss on a day to day basis. Regardless of who is President of this country, I will follow their orders (as long as they remain legal, moral and ethical) as it is my sworn duty as a soldier to perform. Make no mistake, if ANY man tampers with the Constitution of the United States, this is one soldier who will forbid that to happen regardless of where that takes me. So, in essence, the posting that I made the other day, true or not, proves one small point that I have been trying to make. Many many people choose to use the most argumentative ways in an attempt to make their point. Make your point, then leave evidence to decide what another person decides.

The past 4 days have been daunting and somewhat harrowing. Ramadan, Ramadan oh bloody Ramadan. It kicked off today with a spectacularly vilolent beginning. If any of you have read or listened to the news in regards to a car bombing that killed several people near a police station, well, I got stuck out there for nearly six hours. Nothing was left of the car except for a few remnants. The actual target, the Iraqi police, suffered only minor to moderately severe injuries, while several innocent people were killed or injured. Sad that the insurgency winds up killing the very people they desire the following of.

This evening had us all puckered up. As soon as we got into sector we were attacked with RPGs and small arms fire. We are all ok and no damage was done, and my soldiers reacted swiftly thereby avoiding any casualties. Ramadan. Wow. Wonder if we could celebrate the Easter or Christmas by blowing ourselves up, taking innocent lives, and attacking other people, to gain a "higher station in paradise"?

I will be going on leave here in the next couple of days, which I am a little apprehensive about. With all of this going on now, and it lasting an entire month, well, needless to say, I will worry the whole time I am gone. I will e-mail my soldiers as often as I can to get the latest news from them and I will try to relax as much as possible, however, I cannot lie and say that their safety will not be in my mind.

I will close for now and get some rest. Have to start packing tomorrow. Till I write again...God bless you all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

13 October 2004 (Post 3)

Last post of the day, and I will let you get on your way. I met with my friend a little while ago. He is leaving with his family soon to hopefully get them away from here. I will sorely miss them though. I will miss the little girl's smile and watching her face light up whenever we see them. I will miss the conversations that we had and the little visits. The little girl was worried that I would forget her. I told her that she is not in my mind, but in my heart and the heart never forgets. God bless them all and speed them away from this place of destitution and destruction. Keep them safe so that they may live and grow up in a place of freedom, peace and safety. They will be missed, but I look forward to the day when I can see them all again.

13 October 2004 (Post 2)

I found this in my e-mail this morning after I finished my last blog and thought it may be interesting to you. Fact or fiction? You decide. Personally, I will err on the side of caution and take this from a source that I know is reliable. Thank you and take care.

(Name of author has been omitted to prevent unwanted repercussions on the parties involved).

Hi! Received this from a very good friend in PA. she wants everyone toknow what she saw.Good Tuesday morning! John Kerry brought his "front porch meeting" to our Canonsburg, PA neighborhood on Labor Day morning. Since you will never hear the truth from the TV or print media I thought that you should know from someone who was `almost' there.The residents who live on the street where the event took place were not allowed to attend.Kerry shipped in approximately 90 invitation only VIPs. In addition, there was a hard luck case who was about to lose her job at USAIR and another was an elderly woman who was having health care problems. Neither one was fromthis neighborhood. The street was closed to all traffic the night before and all residents on the street were REQUIRED to remove their Bush/Cheney signs.The sympathetic police officers on duty told us that Kerry used imminent domain to claim the street for his purposes. Residents who have homes within the perimeter (approximately 1 full block) were kept behind a line away from the partisan crowd. The rest of us were not allowed within the 1 block cordon. A neighbor from across the street came to the line where we were being kept and asked us to come onto his property. The police told us that we could stand on this mans FORMERLY private property! This was set up so that Kerry's views could be heard - but not the neighbors.

About 30 people (mostly neighbors) shouts echoed down the street "Let the neighbors in".
We could barely hear Kerry speaking with his microphone because press buses were used to block us off from view!

This mornings papers are reporting hecklers tried to interrupt Kerry as he spoke to the neighborhood gathering, but he turned our chants to his favor by calling us rude.Even though most of the media was there to record our stories of not being included in the neighborhood forum, not one of them printed or aired the truth. This is what America will look like if Kerry becomes president.Get registered and get all of your friends registered to vote if they have not already. Kerry thinks that he is better than the rest of us and he has the media on his side to make him out to be what he is not!

Finally, last night as I drove down the street where the rally was, I was shocked to see Bush/Cheney signs in almost every yard on the street!Please send this e-mail on to as many people as you can.


On a final note regarding this piece, where were the residents Constitutional rights ever regarded in this entire escapade? My personal apologies go out to the people of this community who were in no wise remotely respected by this "upstanding" American. If this is will be the face of our country for the next four years, I may move. Possibly to Iraq. No different here.

13 October 2004

Good morning to everyone. Well, good morning from my end of the world anyhow. I have been keeping up with every comment and trying to keep up with the e-mails that readers send to me, as long as my computer cooperates with me. Between the often times unreliable internet connection, and the rather ancient computer I have, it takes me a while to either log on, or get web pages and my e-mail accounts to open or send. So, bear with me if it takes me a while to respond. Sometimes I am able to update my blog, but not check my e-mail and sometimes it is the other way around. Technology can be a wonderful thing sometimes, but as I have found, can be extremely frustrating when it doesn't want to work right.

I need to clarify a couple of things that readers have asked or stated and expound on others, one of these issues being the story of the goat's milk. I have never had goat or sheeps milk before, however, one reader has and informed me that they didn't think it tasted too bad. I guess in my haste and my mild exhaustion while posting that particular piece, I did forget to mention the general lack of refrigeration in this country. Yes, most do have refrigerators, however, with the unreliable power found throughout the city, they are almost completely useless. They seem to act more as food "storage lockers" (for yes we have found locks on refrigerators and I don't think that it is for dieting purposes), rather than for keeping food cool and fresh. So hopefully this clarifies the intensely revolting and nauseating experience of the other day.

I had one reader comment on their wish to see a silver lining in all of this mess. There are many, and for me, one of which happened this morning. The recollection of whether I related the actual story of what has led to the heartwarming event of today to you all escapes me, however, I have mentioned that we have friends here. I will give you a little background into what has happened up to this point. A couple of months ago, we had the opportunity to save lives instead of taking them or seeing them taken. There was an incident where a house had been shot up and we found the perpetrators of that crime. We arrested them and in the end justice was served to the satisfaction of all parties concerned. Well, the family that we helped avoid a rather violent end has become our fast friends in throughout this entire matter. They have a small daughter of six years of age and a nearly infant grand daughter. Well, the little six year old girl has become extremely attached to all of us and gets upset if we go too long without seeing her. We avoid going to such homes and places too often for we do not wish to attract "unwanted" attention from the insurgents who may see them as "cooperating" with us. Yes, there has been information passed, however, for the most part, it is just a plain old run of the mill friendship. Well, the father has expressed his extreme wish to join his family currently residing in Michigan. I have done every thing in my power to assist them, be it recommendation letters or what not, and he is leaving with his family to an American embassy in a neighboring area soon. He stopped by today to inform me of this, but to also let me know that his family refuses to leave until they tell us good bye. Well, we have set up a time for them to come by and visit us. He was adamant in his wish that if he is successful in leaving this country, he and his family will visit us upon our return to the US. He has pledged his life (as most Arabians are very wrapped up in honor) to us and I told him that his life and the life of his family is not mine to have. I told him that there is one thing that he can do and everything will be clear. All debts paid and nothing owed. Friendship. That is all I ask for. The man is in his early to middle forties and as he began to cry, I did feel a little uncomfortable, however in my heart I was happy for I know that at least one life has been impacted by the actions of my soldiers. If there is one thing I can take away from this mess, is that I will know that I have done at least one good deed for somebody and perhaps changed their life for the better. I hope and pray that this man is able to leave this country of conflagration, violence and corruption, and raise his children in a better world with hope and happiness that most Americans take for granted every single day. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers although I know they are nameless to you. I pray for a successful and safe journey for each of them and their speedy exodus from this place.

On a more disheartening note, I really hate being right sometimes. What I mean by this is I have expressed my suspicion that things will get worse before they get better. I was on QRF (Quick Reaction Force) yesterday and the activity of last night was rather astounding for this particular area. Bombs, shooting, etc. There were some casualties, although none life threatening, thankfully, however, things could have been so much different. My thanks goes to the men and women of the medevac unit and to those soldiers who were with me (with the exception of a few hot heads, but that is another story in itself), who reacted quickly, safely and professionally to assist those soldiers who were down. Be proud of your soldiers. I know I am. I could not be happier serving with any other group of men, than the men who have been assigned to me and who I have been charged to lead.

I will close this for now, as I am sure I have bored you enough and I need to get some sleep. Yes, it was a long night, and I need to catch up, for I am sure today will be long, and the night may be longer. God bless you all. Till next time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

12 October 2004

Hello again everyone. Once again I wish to thank you all for your support and appreciate you reading what little I do have to put out. It warms my heart to read the comments that I have received on most of my posts. In a way, all the "thank you" comments and other encouraging words that I receive are a little taste of what I have to look forward to when I come home. I look forward to seeing my family and friends again and to return to the States to my fellow citizens. Many of the citizens back home, I feel don't really understand what we go through every day, so, hopefully my "life" here will shed some light on things.

Today was a rather interesting day. We had to do a routine (if anything around here can actually be termed as "routine") prisoner transport to Abu Ghraib. For the third time since we have been here, I was able to drive the 5 ton truck up there. I usually get chosen to drive that thing because of my prior experience in transportation, and I don't mind at all. I try to make the worst situations interesting and boy today was interesting. I can tell you there is no bigger rush than doing about 60 mph down a blown up highway towards Fallujah in a 5 ton truck. Typical "Thunder Run" I suppose. It was rather sad though to see the children walking along the highway to school among those sights. It really tears me up sometimes to see the things that I have seen here among the kids, because they had nothing to do with this whole mess. If I could take each and every one of them away from here, I would, without a doubt and without hesitation. In all of this, I can honestly say that I will miss the children here.

Tonight was rather uneventful for us, which is a good thing I suppose, however, the closer we get to the elections the worse things I am sure will become.

It is late again for me, so I shall go to bed. Will post again soon.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

9 October 2004

It has never ceased to amaze me that during the most trying, tiring and just down right exhausting times here, I never fail to find something to laugh about. I have always held to the precept that humor makes any bad situation better and we have plenty of those. My soldiers, though, seem to always do something every day that just trips me out.

Today we had a major operation, of course location and other intelligence I cannot divulge, however, suffice it to say that my day started at 2:30 this morning, and it is now nearly 7:00 at the time that I am writing this. We did find quite a few weapons and were able to get many of them off the streets. My feet have not been this sore in a long long time. Well, while we were out there going house to house, one of our medics was approached by one of our Battle Captains. The Captain asked this young Specialist where our First Sergeant was. The Specialist replied "I don't know, sir". The Captain then asked him where our Company Commander was. Again the Specialist replied, "I don't know, sir". The Captain began to berate the Specialist with, "That's not very good situational awareness now is it troop?". The Specialist calmly replied to the Captain, "Well, sir, you don't know where they are either". Needless to say, that will be the talk of the Platoon for quite some time.

Also, as my Squad was finishing up our last house, we discovered that the family was very friendly. They offered us dinner, which we declined of course, based upon the hygiene and general health issues involved with eating local fare (of which I am guilty of consuming from time to time, being the guest of honor at a couple of our schools), and they offered us other things, water (again not a good idea), drinks, etc. I went upstairs to search the dwelling and as I came down after I had finished, the old man handed me a glass of milk. Well, knowing the aforementioned hazards, I was really not of the intestinal composition to try any type of dairy product. Well, I noticed one of my team leaders, one of my Sergeants, drinking a glass himself. When I began to refuse the offer, he told me that if HE had to drink it, so did I so as not to offend them. Well, I swallowed my apprehension and took a sip. Well, as I took the sip, the Sergeant told me it was goat's milk, which he had failed to mention beforehand, and it was the most rancid thing I have ever drank in my entire life. Tequilla would not have been strong enough to wash the taste out of my mouth. Well, again, I did not wish to offend the family, so I finished what I could (approximately half a glass), and told them that I really needed to go. When we left the house, I told this Sergeant that I was going to kill him. He informed me that he was not aware of it being goat's milk, and asked him straightaway "How many cows have you seen in this country?". Well, I will get him back for that, but it will be all in good fun. If any of you have ANY ideas, please feel free to inform me. Keep them clean and the risk to his health to a minimum (as decided on a case by case basis).

All in all, it was a tiring day, however, we got quite a bit accomplished, least of all, a few more weapons will be pointed in our direction. Take care and God bless. I will write more soon.

Friday, October 08, 2004

8 October 2004

Once again, to all readers, I thank you for your time in reading these posts and in the comments that each and every one of you send. I have had comments regarding my last post, about soldiers. If you read the post correctly, it states infantryman, cavalryman and artilleryman, and support soldiers. I mentioned everyone, however I may have been remiss in my percieved bias against women by mentioning the combat arms soldiers. The blatant truth of the matter at hand is that although women have made sacrifices, i.e. leaving families, leaving jobs, leaving husbands and children, the MAJORITY of the fighting done on the streets every day is by the combat troops. Yes, convoys are quite dangerous missions, I will grant you, however, most, albeit not all, have either tank or Bradley escorts manned mostly by tankers or infantrymen. We have female soldiers that come with us out on our raids, however their sole purpose is to search females, not to raid. They have a male escort with them as well whose primary mission is to watch her so we don't get tied up doing so and can concentrate on making sure that every soldier in our platoon is taken care of. We call them when we need them, other than that, they stay away. Many of the females that I have served with have acted exemplary, and in no wise am I belittling any of them. We are all soldiers fighting for the same cause, however, the truth is that America has a hard enough time with her sons filling caskets. America would rip itself apart at the seams if it were to have to bury its daughters as well, however tragic each and every case, both man and woman is. I in no wise have created this posting to become a medium centered around "politically correct" rhetoric. If I have offended anyone, I sincerely apoligise. However, each and every one of you, as well as myself, is entitled to his or her opinion. This is what freedom means. Freedom to make your own choices and your own opinions, and to make you beliefs known.

On to my next point in tonight's discussion. First off, if I seem a little jumbled or out of whack this evening (rather this morning), forgive me as it is nearly 3 in the morning here and I had an extremely rough day. We have seen a severe case of racism sprout up here in the country as of late. Before it was primarily centered around religous views, such as Sunni Muslim vs Shia Muslim vs Christian. However, it has come to my attention that one of our interpreters, whose mother is British by birth, has a brother who was denied being allowed into school based upon that fact and that fact alone. His mother has lived in this country for 35 years, and now it becomes an issue. Why? That is the question of the day. Our interpreter is pretty torn up about it because he feels that he is no longer welcome in the land of his birth, however, he feels that he would be welcome no where else based upon the fact that he is a Muslim. I have told him, that no matter where he goes, no matter what country he resides in, unfortunately there will always be racism and differing religious views to contend with. However, I also told him that no matter what or who he encounters, to not fall into the same trap. American, Iraqi, Geman, French, Israeli, Japanese, Chinese, Polynesian, etc., we all bleed red. It matters not what one's skin color, sex, religion or beliefs are. We all bleed red. In the words of our Constitution...All men are created equal.

We visited a few of our schools today and we were informed that the headmasters and the headmistresses have been threatened. This makes relatively no sense, for if tehse insurgents wish to win the popular support of the people, how is targeting a school going to help in their quest for power? Once again, just another conundrum in this whole crazy, mixed up mess.
It did do our hearts good, however, when we were able to visit with one of the schools in our sector and talked to each of the classrooms. It is a small school in relation to the size of the building, however there are over 900 children that go to school there. The classrooms are pretty much filled to capacity, and then some. It was good, however, to visit with the children for a while, in grades 1-6 and be able to show them that we are human too, not some monster that Saddam dreamed up and spoon fed his people. We were able to talk to them about staying in school, doing well and growing up to help their country by being doctors, nurses, policemen, firefighters, soldiers, etc. Every child had a smile on their faces and of course, the whole picture taking session had to take place. Every child in this country loves to have thier picture taken. I enjoy being around the children and talking to them. I feel for them, in the same manner, for having to grow up in this environment when they had nothing to do with the situation here.

I will post again tomorrow as it is getting late and I need to get some sleep. Till next time.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

6 October 2004 (Post 2)

Since I have had so many people respond to my postings here in the past few days, I feel that it is time for you to learn a little bit about me, without, of course, giving too much away about myself. Those of you who read this and do know me personally will glean little from this, I trust, if you truly do know me.

I am a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army, a veteran of nearly 10 years. I grew up primarily in Iowa and Missouri, spending a few years with my family in Ireland. My father is a missionary, and we left for Ireland in 1992. I wholeheartedly enjoyed my time there. I have only been back once, however, much to my own chagrin. I made a couple of friends there, who share my surname, and they are friends for life. I miss everyone there, and I really miss the country. Any of you who may be contemplating ever visting the country, I wholeheartedly recommend you going.

I am the oldest of five children, three of my siblings currently remaining in Ireland and one, my youngest brother currently attending college in Florida.

I was married in 1997 to a wonderful woman, who, through thick and thin (mostly thick cause sometimes I can be rather dense), has stood beside me throughout my career and her daughters have children of their own, of which at least one, the oldest, has me wrapped around her little finger. One of her sons is currently in Korea after he joined the Army last year. Her youngest, which still lives at home, is currently in the ROTC program in high school and presently seems to be doing rather well. Seems my wife will have many many grey hairs over the next few years with the current political climate as her son in law, myself, her oldest son, and seemingly her youngest, will all be in the military at the same time. Yes, her youngest already has designs on joining the Army upon his graduation from high school.

I joined the Army in 1995 and my first tour of duty was at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. My primary job was transportation at that time, which, in itself was not bad, but my heart was always with the combat arms portion of the military, whether it be infantry, armor (tanks), artillery or engineers. When I re-enlisted after my first 3 years, I became an armor crewman on the M1 series of tanks. I have never regretted this decision, however rough the days may have been at certain times. I have spent my time as a tanker in Germany and currently at Fort Hood, Texas.

Currently I plan on leaving Fort Hood upon my redeployment back to civilization and hopefully train the next generation of young soldiers as a Drill Sergeant at Fort Knox, Kentucky. I enjoy being around soldiers, passing on what I know, and molding the next leaders of this great institution. Upon my completion of my tenure there, I hope to have my own platoon, back in a line unit, wherever that may be.

Now, onto my views of today...yes there are more from earlier. The news media is pointing out that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. I do not disagree with this assessment, however, neither did Afghanistan. We invaded Afghanistan because they attacked our country over three years ago. Currenlty, many of the fighters we are encountering here in theater, either did or currently have ties with Al Qaida or other terrorist organizations, many of them being former members of the Ba'ath Party, Saddam's political "group". If there is one thing that I have learned in my life, is to study history. Learn from other's mistakes. Hence, the 6 Day War, waged by Israel. If they had not had the foresight to execute preemptive strikes against their enemies, I think that Israel would not be an autonomous nation today. My personal feelings on Iraq are thus: if in some small way I can prevent what happened on September 11th, 2001 from ever happening again, then I will do what it takes, walk any distance, fight any foe and make any friend to do so. Do I feel that the United States should go to war with every country that harbors terrorists? No, for then we would NEVER complete this task. However, if an example is made of a few, perchance other countries will follow suit and voice thier detestation of terror and terror tactics and countries that harbor these criminals will cease their sanctuary. It pains me every day to see the casualty reports that have become a part of the headlines, for those are my brethren in arms and could just as well be one of my soldiers. It would tear me apart to know or see one of the soldiers in my unit not come home with us. We have sustained casualties, however, none that took a life, thank God. However, every day that we leave this camp, there is a chance that one of us may not come back here. Remember us in your prayers and NEVER forget those who have fallen. They fell for YOU. Each and every American owes these young men a deep debt of gratitude that THEY are not here doing this job. The freedoms that every American enjoys whether it be freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom to keep and bear arms, all of them are thanks to a soldier, whether it be Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, Ulysses S. Grant, John J. Pershing, Sergeant York, General Eisenhower, Sergeant Audie Murphy, General Norman Schwartzkoph, or the current leaders and soldiers, every one of the men who fought, sacrificed and died since 1775, be it infantryman, cavalryman, artilleryman, or support soldier, each one who spilled his blood, lost a home or a family fought for YOU, the American citizen. It is not about expansionism or "enlarging the empire". It is about securing the very basic precepts upon which our country was founded.

In the next few days, I hope to compile a few photographs of the country here, my unit and my men. In some small way, these pictures may supplement my sometimes inadequate writing capabilities and in others speak a story in themselves as you all know the old addage, "a picture speaks a thousand words".

Again, I thank you for your time in reading these posts. It means a great deal to me to know that my message is reaching someone. I wish to sincerely thank those of Operation Gratitude, all the Morale, Welfare and Support organizations, Jim Compton, my family, and you the American citizen for supporting us soldiers, and bringing a smile to each and every one of us when we recieve a package, letter from a schoolchild or just a general note to say "thank you" and that you are behind us. Thank you. God bless.

6 October 2004

I just cannot understand it anymore and it is really quite irritating. Why in the name of all that is sacred, would you attempt to seal a peace agreement with a man who has repeatedly disregarded not only the US military, but also the Iraqi security forces. He has not only harmed and killed soldiers, but has also been responsible for the maiming, death and destruction of his own countrymen as well. Muqtada Al Sadr is a criminal and no one should be going around making back alley treaties with this man. Will they do the same with Zarqawi? When will they realize that the Mehdi Army (Al Sadr's thugs), will not willingly "lay down their arms" and that we cannot allow them to continue in the manner that they have without some sort of restitution or punishment? Instead of trying to "pacify" this criminal who is doing his level best to undermine the democratic progress of the Iraqi government, why don't we go and catch this "criminal" and "terrorist" who resorts to the lowest levels of violence and depravity to achieve his "goals"? If we "pacify" Muqtada Al Sadr, who will it be next? Al Sadr, Zarqawi, Bin Laden, who? As much as I detest having to be away from my family, it is my personal opinion that we gave the country over to its own rule way too early. The infrastructure is not here and what I mean by that is that the IPs (Iraqi Police) are corrupt, for they will not even investigate a crime without payment from the one initiating the complaint; the Iraq Army is not totally stood up and trained (some of them are so scared they don't even come in or have quit altogether; the educational system is pretty much defunct as the schools have very few, if any books, or any types of supplies; the country cannot even keep reliable power, garbage and sewers running and the health department...what health department? The paramedics that they have barely even know basic lifesaving fundamentals. There are many things that should have happened before June 30th (well June 28th if you look at the ACTUAL date that we handed the country over). One thing that I am sure of is cannot allow people like Al Sadr or Zarqawi to run around, do their thing and then promise them sanctuary if they "quit and start being good little boys". Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, violence MUST be met with punishment.

I was visited by one of my friends today who we helped a few months back with an issue of his son in law trying to kill him. He came to me today with a death threat. Someone is threatening to kill him if he doesn't quit working with the coalition forces. I have my suspicions of who is communicating the threat, however, we cannot jump the gun on this one. Hopefully in the next couple of days we will have a definitive answer and hopefully a permanent solution to the problem at hand. We shall see.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

5 October 2004

First of all, I wish to thank everyone who has read my posts. It means a lot to me that you would listen to an old soldier. In the five days that I have been posting to the site, I have already had nearly 500 hits. So, at least someone is getting the message. Thank you.

In the news today, Mr. Paul Bremer, the former head of the US occupation of Iraq has said that he feels that we did not have enough troops in Iraq when we first ousted Saddam, leading to widespread looting and crime. I agree with him. However, I disagree with his follow on statment that we now have enough people in country. We may have enough troops on the ground IN THEATER, meaning, Iraq, Quatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, however, there are NOT enough combat troops to effectively erradicate the insurgency to its fullest extent here on the battlegrounds of Iraq. I say battlegrounds very carefully, for every day, there is violence somewhere in this impoverished country. I have voiced my opinions in an earlier posting about the lack of intelligence being gathered from the local poplulace, however, if there were a greater presence here, we would effectively be home sooner. I further disagree with the final statement he made in his closing remarks about planning. He stated that there was planning for a contingency which did not arise. He didn't know if it could have been done better for he didn't spend alot of time looking back. Well, I understand that forward thinking is an excellent viewpoint in the birth of democracy, however, how can we learn from our mistakes if we do not look back and figure out what was done right or what was done wrong and how we can fix things? This seems to be the prevailing attitude, especially among the political arena, who continually harangue each other about the key issues surrounding Iraq. It is all well and good to talk about things, however, where there is not action, stagnation is sure to follow. They speak of what COULD have been done, what SHOULD be done, but not what WILL be done.

Today was kind of a break for myself and my soldiers. We had a rare opportunity to go up to the Baghdad International Airport, where we get to sample a little taste of home. Meaning, Burger King. It is always a great morale booster among my soldiers to have a BK Whopper, fries and a coke after eating the same dang thing in the mess hall constantly. Believe me, veal cutlets, braised beef get a little old after a while.

Thank you again for all of your support. I will post again soon.

Monday, October 04, 2004

4 October 2004 (Post 2)

I am putting a letter here that I hope you all find as special as I did. While some of it is hard to understand from a Western viewpoint (Arabs speak oftimes proverbially and metaphorically), the main part of the letter is basically a grateful thank you from a child to our President, and not only to our President but to all the American people. I hope you glean some kind of goodwill from this as I did. This girl is my friend, as is her family. Not all Iraqis are bad people, contrary to what some of the media/politicians would have the general populace believe. Take the time, read it, and thank you from me, as from her for your support of all of the soldiers here doing their jobs and trying to instill democracy into a country who is still in the death throes of totalitarianism and dictatorship.

From Shahd, the Iraqi child to the American President

In the name of God,

To our great friend, President Mr. Bush, from an Iraqi child. I saw the light for the first time in my life on the night of April 9th 2003. At first I send my regards to our great friends the U.S. people. By God’s justice, he chose a man who believed in his God to stand with the poor weak people all over the world to help them survive the evil hands who are devils and rescue them from the suffering that they lived all these long years. God chose your brave President George Bush because he has strong conviction and to accomplish this impossible mission and your President accepted this job and persisted to on go to do this difficult mission to help the Iraqi people survive the evil souls. There were a lot who stood against his help for the Iraqis but he didn’t care about the bad people who refused his human work. It’s a present from God, he gave to us by this man, so that is why we have a new name for your brave President, we call him Abu Kerar, which means he stood against the evil and destroyed it. God bless him and bless you all because you stood and were so patient to do this job that God gave or ordered you to do. Help us survive and we appreciate all that you have done for us. We beg your pardon if we tell you that we are watching the elections and we are very interested in them now because we feel that the results of the elections are our case as well as the United States people, and be sure that twenty million Iraqis are pledging for President Bush for the election’s sake. All that he has done for us and the heroic job and God bless his job, for history will speak of what he has done in the golden pages of this country. For all the United States people we are the Iraqi children who are praying to God to keep you in peace and keep you from evil and wish for you long and happy life.
By God’s will that we have to chance to visit our second country, America, I am going to bring a big sign saying our thanks and appreciation to all of your people. Our respected President George Bush, the children of Iraq and all Iraqis are calling for freedom and we are so thirsty for it, and we are counting the minutes and days to meet and talk to you. Mr. President, it is our pleasure for you to be between Iraq and visit us every day so we open for you our hearts and doors so you see the sad stories that lived inside since a long time ago, which none of the human beings will accept and we don’t want anyone to see what is inside of us, just you. That’s why we are so worried about the results of the elections. We ask God to help you in your job because it is good for the human race. Mr. President, most of the Iraqis have a big respect and appreciate your noble help by helping us survive the evil and the black cloud which had no mercy at all. He (Saddam) is a criminal of the first class. He was a monster, and worse than a monster. He was so cruel to us. Mr. President, what you did for us is not something normal because it is the kind of good help that we never saw or heard about for a long time. Because of you, the darkness is gone and the sun raised again. Everything was so clear, especially the size of the suffering that happened to us from a few people, their only job to kill us. We are in touch with your brave soldiers, but with care. We found out that they have very nice white souls and there is a lot of things in their souls, for they feel responsibility and their hearts are full of love, but the bad men and unappreciative people don’t like it that we live free and they messed with everything with a very ugly and shameful way. Just like with the old dead regime. They did a lot of things that God said not to do and we were without any personality and without any feelings of belonging to our country until it became that they started to kill us one by one. Every criminal job that these men did was killing the Iraqi people every minute, and they will never change our trust in you, Mr. President. Because of you we crossed to the other side of the river where there is civilization and contact with the outside world and cooperation with other people in a positive way and leave the violence with all of its pictures and colors.

Mr. President, all the killing that happened and is happening now in Iraq in this evil way and this size which went to far is a picture of the hate that is inside the hearts of bad men, to all of the human race they are fighting God first because he created all the people that they are killing. Mr. President, all the Iraqis are asking your help, and God’s help and screaming to the world for help from the wild killers. I was day dreaming and I felt that the Euphrates blaming the Tigris and telling him that he didn’t breathe the smell of the Iraqi mskoof (kind of Iraqi fish delicacy) since a long time so the Tigris said to the Euphrates, "Protect me from the terrorists and I will make the smell of the mskoof come to you and to the whole world which like our mskoof and I felt, Mr. President that the mountain and the valley that met together and hugged with all love and hot tears because of the happiness of the meeting again and the mountain told the valley that he is so worried; the valley told the mountain not to be worried sad or scared because our survival is very clear that our relationship will stay united forever and live in peace under the truth of democracy and freedom. At last, Mr. President, I will be the first Iraqi child who meets you again with my sister when you come to visit us in Iraq and I will try my best to do it and if we have the chance to visit your country which is now our country also I will ask from our Ambassador in the States to take me to you to thank you and tell you that all the Iraqi children love you so much. Also all my mothers, fathers and brothers and I am sure they have all the same feelings as me.

Live to help the human race survive and thank you, your friend the Iraqi child.

This letter was forwarded to the President, as well as to some Congressmen and news agencies, in the hopes that the American people will see that there is at least one person who is appreciative of the job being done here.

4 October 2004

Well, thus ends another 24 hour period with absolutely nothing of consequence to report. Tomorrow will begin another sort of boring day as we have force protection details to do all day. I still cannot understand that why, with a camp full of Military Police who do absolutely nothing, do we soldiers who patrol every single day, or NEED to patrol every single day rather, have to conduct these tower guards and other details regarding camp security. Military Police. Is that not what their primary duties are? Guards? Oh, I forgot, they may not want them to do that for fear of another "Abu Ghraib" incident. Only kidding. For the most part though, in all seriousness, they get on every one of our nerves, for they do absolutely nothing but draw a paycheck and give us a hard time. Reservists at that too.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

3 October 2004

Nothing much today. Just a little bit of news for you to represent the attitude of some of the Iraqi people. We were told by one of the locals that if we were to catch Zarqawi, the one responsible for all of the beheadings, that we should bring him to him so that he could see him, for he feels that Zarqawi is a figment of the American imagination or that he is not in Iraq. Al Jazeera strikes again.

With Mount Saint Helens preparing to blow its top again, it is almost an ominous sign of what is going on here. Things are getting ready to explode here, the closer and closer we get to the elections. We can only hope that things get better, but I expect that they will not.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

2 October 2004

Well, as I embark upon this quest to shed a little light upon events here in Iraq, from a soldier's point of view, I must inform everybody that I must remain anonymous as there are those who would target me while I am here.

In regards to the September 30th bombing of the treatment plant in which so many were killed, it is an extreme tragedy, however, I do not understand why they constantly blame the US soldiers. We are only trying to do a job here, to the best of our abilities. I find it EXTREMEMLY hard to believe that soldiers coerced children with "loudspeakers" as the media puts it, to hand out candy to the children. Every time I go out on patrol, there is no end in sight to the children crowding around us. If I have things to give out to them, as I enjoy doing, I will do so, however, if I do not, I inform them of this. They cannot seem to take "No" for an answer when we tell them this. They continue to beg for everything from candy, water, pens, whatever.

As a soldier, the mission here is extremely diverse. On any given day I could have to be a diplomat, fighter, ambassador, investigator or a police man. It would be so much easier if I could just go out and "find the bad guys", but that is not the case. The majority of the populace here cannot seem to get it through their heads that this crap will continue to happen as long as they remain silent about the whereabouts and the activities of the insurgents involved in this stuff. They are scared, and they have a right to be. However, they do not understand that I can do absolutely nothing about it as long as they remain silent about it.

In the coming days, during the remainder of my time here, I will attempt to do my best to keep things up to date as much as possible in order to allow you, the reader to make your own conclusions between what I and the media have to say. Form your own opinions, just do me this one favor; regardless of whatever opinion you hold, support your soldiers. While not all soldiers have the greatest intentions, the majority of us are just trying to survive to come home to our families. I respect the opinions of everyone. I have no hatred for anyone regardless of race, creed, sex or religion, for that is what true freedom is.

Friday, October 01, 2004

1 October 2004

As I begin this quest to shed a little light on the "other" side of this war, one that very few people who do not actually experience it first hand, I wish to thank those that support us soldiers and to let those that do not know that I am deeply ashamed of your lack of support for your troops regardless of your political views into this whole mess. Whether I agree with what is going on here politically or not is irrelevant, as I am a soldier first and have been for nearly ten years. Do I blindly follow the directions and orders of those over me? No, I do not. Do I do my duty as I am asked to do? Always. Let it be known that soldiers here do not want to be here any more than the next soldier, however, we must and while we are here, we must protect the lives of our charges, in essence, our soldiers, our buddies, our friends, and the civilians of which we are in contact every single day.

I would have to say that the most frustrating thing to deal with here is the absolute refusal by the civilian populace to inform us where the bad guys are. I understand that they are frightened. I understand that these people have been through more in the past year and a half than anyone would ever dream of having to deal with. It will only get better, though, if they tell us where the bad guys live. When the general populace gets absolutely sick and tired of being shot at, blown up and targeted by their OWN countrymen, then things will begin to improve. Yes there are those that do inform us and we take care of their information swiftly and with extreme prejudice. We do not sit on information for days at a time so it gets "cold" and we wind up missing the one(s) we originally were meant to apprehend.

Yesterday was a time of grief for many people, civilians and soldiers alike. Not too far from where I am stationed, a series of explosions occured, injuring and killing many people. You watch and read the news, however, and they immediately try to place blame upon the soldiers on the scene as quoted by one small child who was injured, that the soldiers called them over to hand out candy. Well, I can tell you from first hand experience that the children here are NEVER invited. They come of thier own accord. I cannot get out of my vehicle and walk three paces until I am usually swamped by children asking for candy. If I have any, I give it out. If not, I inform them so. I talk to the children and for the most part I love the children of Iraq and it breaks my heart to know that so many were hurt and killed yesterday. They are the true innocents in this whole shitty mess. I have seen firsthand on more than one occasion where a small child has been broken, battered, wounded, and just generally messed up for the rest of his/her life, and for the most part it has been by those responsible for the insurgency here. Yes, there have been times that children have been hurt or killed by American forces, but I can absolutely assure you, that as far as my unit goes, that would be totally unintentional. I pray for peace constantly in this affair, as I feel great sadness for the children. Most of the adult populace I really don't care either which way, for they refuse to cooperate, and most of them collaborate against us anyway. Don't get me wrong, I have many Iraqi friends here of all ages, and not just ones that work for us either. There are those that I talk to on a regular basis and I call them friend. There are many special people here. Not all Iraqis are bad. I do not hate Iraq or its people. I hate the attitudes and the indecision amongst its populace to harbor, aid and assist the insurgency and then blame us for it.

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