Tuesday, November 22, 2005

At It Again!!!

In a recent AP release Congressman John Murtha quotes, "The soldiers can't speak for themselves. We sent them to war and, by God, we're the ones that have to speak out." I’m not sure, but I think as you are reading this I (an American soldier) am speaking for myself…are you listening Congressman? The United States military is still part of the voting population last time I checked, and the elected officials that I voted for are speaking for me. Murtha also said that he had gotten e-mails from World War II veterans and parents of American soldiers in Iraq, but where are the e-mails from the soldiers who are on the ground in Iraq…could it be because we don’t share his same opinions?

Murtha also said at another press conference, "We cannot win this militarily. Our tactics themselves keep us from winning." Our tactics militarily are just fine. It’s the political war that is being lost right now by Rep. Murtha, as evidenced by the landslide 403-3 vote in the Senate this past Friday to pull troops out of Iraq. After the vote Murtha said, "The guys in Congress are scared to death to say anything because they might be vilified." Either the rest of Democratic Party doesn’t agree with his views on the war or they just don’t have a tour in Vietnam to hide behind.

On a more positive note, the president on his 8 day tour Asia spoke to soldiers at Osan Air Base in South Korea. "In Washington, there are some who say that the sacrifice is too great, and they urge us to set a date for withdrawal before we have completed our mission," Bush said Saturday. "Those who are in the fight know better." The president hit the nail on the head with this one. If we withdraw before we finish what we started everything that I have fought for will be in vain. I have sacrificed a year away from my wife, and many soldiers have paid the ultimate sacrifice. I don’t want to pull out of this war and let that all be for nothing. I can’t say for operations security reasons, but President Bush is right when he said, "As Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." I have been personal witness to this, and I can’t tell you how great is feels to be able to say that. Also in part of his speech to the troops Bush vowed to stay in the fight until we have achieved the victory our brave troops have fought for. Thank you for not giving up on the cause and the soldiers fighting for it Mr. Bush, we will not let you down.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Out Of Iraq?

That is the title that was on the bottom of the television as “Scoborough Country”, a show on MSNBC, was playing. Myself, as well as a few fellow soldiers, sat in disbelief as we listened to one of his guests call for the complete withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

It is so easy for analysts, reporters, and politicians to sit back and criticize the war in Iraq. All of these people are blind to what really goes on here, and they will never fully understand since they are not on the ground fighting this war. Congressman John Murtha, D-Pa., in a recent AP release said, “I like guys who’ve never been there that criticize us who’ve been there. I like that.” What war did you serve in again Mr. Murtha? Last time I checked you served in the Vietnam conflict, and the military is in a much different place now than we were then. I realize that Rep. Murtha is a decorated Vietnam veteran, and I thank him for his service….but the technology and tactics of this war era are night and day compared to the war that he served in.

I am just disgusted when I see and hear reports calling for the pullout of our military from Iraq. The American people do not see what really goes on here, all they see is what the media wants them to…and I think that we all know that the media likes to put a negative spin on it as well. I am here to tell you that everyday we are winning over the hearts of the people of Iraq. If you could see the smiling faces that I have seen you would know that we are making a difference in this country. I volunteered for the military, no one made me sign on that dotted line. Let me stay here and finish what we have started Mr. Murtha.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Friendly Fire....What's So Friendly???

While I was eating midnight chow tonight I had an interesting conversation with a fellow soldier from another unit. We were sitting there after dinner drinking a cup of coffee, and he brought up a funny play on words that I have never heard. I got the biggest kick out of it though. What is so friendly about friendly fire?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Friendly fire (or non-hostile fire) is a term originally adopted by the United States military in reference to an attack on friendly forces by other friendly forces, which may be deliberate (eg. incorrectly identifying the target as the enemy), or accidental (eg. missing the enemy and hitting "friendlies"). Friendly fire is contrasted with fire originating from enemy forces ("enemy fire"). In a friendly fire incident personnel may be killed, or material assets may be damaged or destroyed.

Him having said that got me to thinking if there is such thing as friendly fire, and the simple answer to that is NO!!! With all of the techonolgy that we have today there should never be a friendly fire incident ever, but accidents do happen...even though there is no excuse for it.

Just something that I thought I would share with everyone out there. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hits Home Hard!!!

Today as I was laying asleep in my tent someone came in yelling for me to get up. I sat straight up in bed to see two individuals walking towards my bed. I had seen these two guys around the base before, but never really spoken with them. After I wake up enough to talk to them they tell me that Kevin is at the gate wanting to see me, so I threw on some clothes really quick and head out the door.

A little background: Most every base has a market that is run by Iraqi's. Most of them sell just basic electronic goods, dvds, and whatever we might need that we can't get at the PX (post exchange). Early in the deployment a good friend introduced me to one of these shop owners named Kevin. Kevin, who had a watch stand, spoke very good english and was very popular among the soldiers. Over the course of the deployment we have become good friends. I found myself spending time everyday in the "haji market", as we called it talking him. We would talk about religion, our family, Iraqi culture, and most of all America. I learned so much from talking to him all of those days, and in doing so learned that he wasn't all that different from me.

One morning I awoke to the sound of a huge blast. I woke right up and ran to the bunker sitting right outside of my tent. Throughout this deployment we have received several attacks on the base, and I shrugged this one off as another one. Later on that day I learned that a tractor, which was used on the base by local nationals to haul trash, had been lined with explosives and driven right to the gate here at our base. At the gate, along with soldiers and Iraqis, was Kevin. A fellow soldier later on in the day who know of my relationship with Kevin informed me that he was involved in the blast. When something like that happens you always assume that the worst has happened. A fellow soldier a couple of days later found out that he had survived, but not without being banged up pretty bad. Since we cannot leave the base at all I had written off the chance of ever seeing him again. Which brings me back to the story....

After not seeing him or knowing how he was for over two months now I was more than anxious to see him. Before I was totally dressed, to military standard, I was out the door. I stopped at my friends tent, who introduced me to him, so he could see him as well. Upon arriving to the gate I felt a huge load come off of my shoulders, but at the same time a heavier load being put on my heart. Seeing him in the condition he was in was the first time during this whole deployment made me realize how lucky I have been. Kevins injuries consisted of a broken arm, two broken legs, a removed kidney, and a removed spleen. The month prior to the blast Kevin had been working for the military as an interpreter, and he was here to pick up his check. Upon seeing Kevin I was extremely happy, but it pained me to see him sitting there in such pain. Not being able to walk yet he was sitting in a folding chair that doubles as his wheelchair. Wherever he had to go two people had to pick the chair up and move him because he cannot afford a proper wheelchair. We asked him if he needed anything, and his reply was that our friendship was all that he needed. My friend and I, David Macdonell, went to the PX and fixed him up with soap, shampoo, and toothpaste...the normal stuff. We exchanged emails and then he was on his way. It was probably the last time that I will get to see my Iraqi friend.

I said all of that to basically say that I am very lucky. Over the year my company hasn't had one war related incident. When this happened with Kevin it really hit home for me, and then upon seeing him in his condition it hit even harder. With all the mortars flying into this base this past year myself as well as my fellow soldiers could have easily been injured. I am now easily spooked and will probably be for years to come, but if that is all that I come away with from Iraq I will consider myself blessed.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The First Time!!!

Well with all the recent bloggers out there I have decided to start one of my own. A friend of mine and fellow soldier has a blog on this site, so after reading his I have decided to start one of my own. His is MattLagrone if anyone wants to check it out. He gives insight to the everyday life of a soldier, which is probably alot of what I will be doing.

Well I just wanted to get the first one out of the way. Its four o'clock in the morning here in Iraq, so I am going to hit the hay. Stay tuned for more to come.