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.

Friday, October 22, 2004

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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Liberal News Media' - I used to go off on rants about same my own self, but now it's more like 'L N M sans cojones ' - here in North Carolina there's not enough of it - local paper prints only favorable items for Bush (none of his gaffs, no questions about policy over there or in the States). AM radio is all LImbaugh, or Limbaugh clones, 24/7 I kid you not. TV ? - Edward R Murrow would puke.

Where the heck is this L N M when we need it? To at least raise a question about Richard Perle, his pals and a possible agenda; or that just possibly there's a bit of a question re. Bush's mil service. All of which (and more) should've been aired before, well before, the 2000 elections.

I used to listen to G Gordon Liddy for crying out loud and agree(d) with most of what he said - but now after watching the performance of Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld et al - disgust is what comes to mind.

So the 'media' to gain your good graces should change its tune and basically agree that all is well in Iraq and our brave boys can do no wrong, and our smart bombs harm only terrorists including women and children.

Until the media changes, you say you're advised by loved ones to neither read nor watch - well great, that's what Bush does, and look where we are.

Yes it's liberal because it doesn't reflect your narrow world view. Take comfort that in any event the L N M is showing very very little of Iraq - motivating us to search out these mil blogs for the reality.

I read you and others because I want balance to the stuff (available almost solely via www) indicating that yes virginia we were lied to, sold a bill of goods and that things ain't so rosy in beautiful downtown Baghdad.

My gut feeling, informed by such as you, is that indeed for the average Iraqi life goes on, most want not jihad but rather a middle class Beaver Cleaver existence. We owe them - there can be no pull out. But for now and leading up to this, the lies, manipulation, fearless leader playing dress up in his flight suit - disgust with how our military has been used.

ANd Osama is still, far as we know, at large.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ANd Osama is still, far as we know, at large.Written by someone who obviously thinks that if only we could just get Bin Laden himself, the entire terrorist network and all the countries who support them, would come crumbling down.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Kevin F said...

Where I am from, we spell it Marines.

Semper Fi.

7:33 AM  
Blogger Toni said...

I haven't seen the particular 60 Minutes program referred but it always amazes me that media AlWAYS manage to find that person complaining in Iraq. They never seem to find any Iraqi grateful for their freedom and some of the MODERN niceties of today. I have seen this over and over and they give this news about 'gas' lines without any context or in a tunnel vision view. So now ALL Iraqis have access to cell phones, satellite dishes, cars etc. I was chatting with an Iraqi from Basra and he was a civil engineer. He had broadband/high speed access at home while I'm still using dial up. Hey it's all a choice. But he has the choice now. I know it's rough there but did anyone expect a complete renovation of country living 40 years in the past? Anyone who reads the Riverbend (?) blog it's pretty clear this girl is from a wealthy family under Sadaams rule. So, life is tough for her hoo. She sounds like a spoiled little brat to me. Thanks for much J. Like reading your posts. It's your blog - if anyone doesn't like what you write then DON'T read J's blog. It's very simple. People are amazingly stupid. BTW - watch out for anyone who uses 'feel' for questioning what you write. Feel is absence of logic.

10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay it seems, that the LNM as some refer to it, believe that if we all go home things will automatically balance itself in this war torn country. History has proven that there are no vacuums in society. The question is not should we have gone there but who will replace us when we leave. Will Iraq become a self governing country of the people by the people or ruled by a few who would be willing to sacrifice all for a twisted, reckless hate. The LNM would create another VietNam, not our President! Flyingjavelina2

2:16 AM  
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