22 October 2004
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 http://english.aljazeera.net/HomePage. 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.