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ORIGINAL CYNICISM



Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.
-George S. Patton


Fanbushed: Best of the Hotmail Hate Mail of the Week

Unsolicited Letter to the Editor in Chief Waves a White Flag, Opens Fire:

You are a beautiful and powerful writer. [Still], I have to ask.
What makes you sure that the good night's sleep you rough men leave us to enjoy is what we want? Because it is not your beautiful wives and lovely children who order you off to war, begging you to protect us and our way of life. It is your boss.


I think you want a steady paycheck, and like anyone who wants to be paid, you will do what ever your boss tells you to do. You can justify if with stirring words of honor and self-sacrifice, and you can tweak your boss's personal agenda into a cause worth dying for, but the truth is that you want a paycheck.

Your writing is not truth, it's propaganda. Your boss must be very happy with you... he wants you in his pocket, spinning out his agenda, selling us on war. Any war. ALL wars. You, my dear, are a cog in the war machine. An articulate cog, but a cog, nonetheless.

I do believe that your writing is phenomenally good. It has a cadence and rhythm that is compelling, and it is peppered with terminology and images that give it a romantic, foreign appeal. Whether you do so through the military or some other avenue, I am sure that you have a very successful writing career ahead of you.

And honestly, I don't know that my opinions are right; I just feel that your opinions are somewhat fanatical and may not take women and children into consideration. I mean, what good is a way of life if our husbands, sons, and fathers are away much of the time or dying?

For most people, I think that having loved ones near is more important than war. Most women, I think, don't want their men away for months at a time. Would you want your wife, mother, or daughter off in the military? You might justify such an act after the fact, but your first instinct would probably be for them not to be away from you.

This is what the war machine does, I think; it forces you to suppress normal urges to be close to loved ones. Yes, I know you call that "sacrifice", but it really amounts to cognitive dissonance.

I suspect that many men join the military and volunteer for hazardous assignments as a way out of the rigors and/or boredom of marriage and family life. It is a way for them to be off on a grand adventure; [one] where every meal is provided, where all needs are met, and where, in most cases, major decisions or plans do not need to be made, because those are made by military minds up the chain of command.

So, except for the possibility of death by combat, your job is about as secure as they come, and I understand why you defend and glamorize it.

Then again, I could be wrong about everything.

Melinda V.

The Intrepid and “Somewhat Fanatical” Buck Sargent Takes Cover, Returns Fire:

Thank you for the backhanded compliments. As for the rest of it, I find your lack of faith disturbing. You come across like a hybrid of my uber-liberal college professors and Cindy "America is not worth dying for!" Sheehan.

Before you armchair-diagnose me further with “military industrial complex,“ I would like to highlight for you the petty arrogance of assuming that those of us who serve in the military do so only for self-serving reasons. Obviously we would not do it for free, yet all of us make the conscious choice to join the military fully aware of the long days and nights, hazardous duties, and meager compensation. I worked 91 hours last week alone, averaging less than minimum wage for it, and we obviously do not receive overtime in the military. Add in only a few hot meals that didn’t originate from a vacuum sealed pouch and barely enough downtime to rest more than a few hours between shifts, and you have a snapshot of our average workload.

By contrast, a civilian contractor living three tents away from us can pull down six figures in less than a year’s time, he can throw in the towel at any time, and his mission is purely a support role, not to close with and destroy the enemy. His job clearly involves risk, but ours is to deliberately seek it out. While I unquestionably admire the pluck of anyone willing to work and contribute to the rebuilding of any war torn nation, the difference between us and them is that we made a commitment to accomplish whatever tasks our country asks of us, no matter the personal inconvenience or disruption of our own lives. We came over here to honor that commitment, the politics of the matter be damned.

It’s that simple.

We choose to leave our wives, families, and loved ones as ordered rather than run away and hide, because for some of us the words "duty, honor, country" actually still mean something. My wife would prefer that I were home, but she also prefers to be married to someone with integrity and a belief system that includes things other than unbridled egotism and an over inflated sense of entitlement.

As far as my "Boss" goes, I could quit this life at any time, with shockingly few personal consequences; this isn't the North Korean Army we‘re talking about. The Defense Department tends to treat AWOL and desertion cases less seriously than the average New York public school truant officer.

Still, I would rather die over here than forever live in shame over there.

Why is it that those who think as you do demand all the rights, privileges, and freedoms that our country secures for it's citizens, yet you don't want anyone to protect them? Pacifism is only tolerable as a belief system because other people out there who aren't "conscientious objectors" are willing to lay it all on the line for you, whether they be cops, soldiers, or prison guards.

In Iraq’s case, this list tragically includes mayors, judges, legislators, humanitarian aid workers, and even potential voters. Would you like to “cognitively diss” them as well? They have more than “stolen elections” and “hanging chads” to be concerned with; they’re more worried about being shot, blown up or hung by roving death squads of Islamist insurgents from Chad; or as Michael Moore likes to call them, “the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow - and they will win.”

In the past three years alone my battle buddies and I have endured hardships, long separations, and physical suffering that would make the average person break down and cry for their mothers. If we were hardened terrorists, Amnesty International would deem us victims of brutal torture at the hands of the U.S. government. Military life is not a free ride, it is not a cakewalk, and while it certainly may have its moments, an overseas deployment is by no means a “grand adventure.”

But perhaps most of all, I resent the implication by those like yourself (as well as certain television dramas) that we are all a bunch of poor saps with no other prospects or financial options. We are not dead-enders; we are go-getters.

Personally, I knew full well what I was giving up when I signed. A comfortable existence, permanent roots, a normal life. But I felt I owed something back for the previous quarter century of opportunity and privilege that my country had afforded me.

Don‘t we all owe a little something back?

Sincerely,
Buck Sargent
Just Another Articulate Cog in the War Machine

P.S. We are, however, in agreement on one point: You certainly could be wrong about everything.

Rock on, Soldier! Keep that fighting spirit up and come home safe to us! And keep giving those stupid saps 'what for.'
You are amazing as always.
Your Biggest fan,
Donavan Covey

Brian....Awesome. Just awesome. Your voice really shines in these web logs. You speak for every fighting soldier out there. Excellent job.
Keep it up.
Your friend,
Paul

how do people as arrogant as Melinda function in day to day life?

How much unmitigated gall does it take to write the kind of nonsense Melinda shared with you?

simply amazing.

Pacifism is only tolerable as a belief system because other people ... are willing to lay it all on the line...

On target, Sergeant

I'm going to go way out on a limb here and say the Melinda is either a professor, professor wannabe, or a student kissing some professor's rear end in hope of becoming a purpetual student/professor.

Just remember, no matter how many times you say it, dissent isn't patriotic.

Thank God for you Sgt.

Again, another post by a psuedo-intellectual who thinks they know more about what we do than the folks who do it. Melinda, you ARE wrong. No if's about it.

Tank you for your eloquent reply. As I read the letter of your arrogant fan, I became madder and madder. I am going to be 57 in a few days. I am a woman. I served four years in the USMC during Vietnam Era. I would gladly have fought for my country but wasn't allowed too so then.

I really can't understand people who write these letters. Can they not see that if you didn't do what you do she wouldn't have the freedom to write her letter to you or anyone else?

I lost a loved one in this war. I don't want to lose my son or daughter if they go in. But I'd rather they be killed in action than sitting home on their fat, lazy, cowardly butts and be killed by a terrorists bomb here in America.

If 9/11 taught us anything, it taught us our days of isolationism are over. Wake up and smell the fertilizer Melinda!

This is my first visit to your blog. You're awesome man. Unfortunately there too many Melinda's out there and they are all just as insufferable and condescending as her.

What a dirty shame that the job didn't
get done at first opportunity!
Desert storm was The chance to get
Saddam and and even the liberals and
leftists like Me went: ooh, what a
pity the Coalition didn't overrun Iraq
and blamed bad brakes later!
Some token bleating from the Russians
and others in UN and USA and The Brits
in the doghouse a couple of months;
wouldn't it it have been worth it
seeing the mess as it is Now.
Decisive action then may have shown
the Moslems and others later opposed
that the Coalition were politiclly
strong enough; and, willing to finish
the Job in the right way.
Chickening out then got us Bin Ladin,
9/11 and terrorist trainbombers now.
What a pity.....
(from Sweden, a sigh)

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

What I meant to say was,

My wife has more combat deployments than most men in the Military, she has since ETS'd. I find people like this very annoying.

Trade places with me (or anyone in the service) for a week and see how we are "only in it for the paycheck." I, like the buck sarge, make less than minimum wage.

Some people will never understand.

"As I read the letter of your arrogant fan, I became madder and madder. I am going to be 57 in a few days. I am a woman. I served four years in the USMC during Vietnam Era. I would gladly have fought for my country but wasn't allowed too so then."

Exactly.

This is what bugged me the most too. It was that assumption that this is a "boy" thing. Off on a grand adventure to feel all important about yourself when the little lady and kidlets never asked you to go.

How dare she?

That woman is seriously deluded.

Beautiful response; if she doesn't 'get it' from your words, she probably never will. Well, here's hoping, anyway......

My boss' son (a Marine) just arrived in Iraq, and my workplace plans to "adopt" him and his platoon for Christmas. No matter how large our care package will be, no matter how many prayers for our troops' safety and strength we offer up, they're still inadequate as a thank you. Millions and millions of Americans thank God for your service every day.

--from a grateful civilian

As I read it, i was thinking of the psuedo-concern by Tokyo Rose and Hanoi Jane for the life of our soldiers. I remember listening to recordings of Tokyo Rose telling the boys that they should go home and be with their families, didn't they want that?

Mosul Melinda...

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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Well, I am not even a conservative or a republican -- I'm really not even a Bush fan...but I have a man in the service, and he is our boss.
However, you are a seemingly intelligent person with a gold streak. You hit the nail on the head and stand up for your idea of right. That is good to see.

If there were more people who could do this, and would...we would all be much better off. It's the persons who take another's point of veiw and can't back it who fuel the fires of ignorance.

War is an 'unavoidable' aspect of human nature. And if you are fighting for what you truly believe in...then it matters not what the Melindas of the world say.

But it's always refreshing to see a good retort!

R. Roberts
-Anchorage, AK

ps...Paul sent me.

Well, now that Melinda has enlightened me, I'm guessing I'll be needing to talk to my shop steward about getting the money piece of this contract re-negotiated...

She sure is articulate for a cog in the pacifist-machine.

MajMike

As the pregnant wife of a Guardsman soon to deploy to Iraq, I will miss my husband yes, and I am sad he will miss the birth of our first child, but I also know there are more important things that my husband must do at this point in our lives - his fellow soldiers and the people of Iraq need him more than I do right now. I do not "need" him here to carry or give birth to our child.

I especially appreciate Melinda's comment, "I just feel that your opinions are somewhat fanatical and may not take women and children into consideration."

It offends me that people like Melinda act like they feel sorry for me because the "big mean Administration" is sending my husband away. Well, sorry to disappoint, but I am NOT that helpless and not that angry. Encouragement and well-wishes are fine, but I don’t need sympathy, especially from those standing on the sidelines criticizing the job that my husband has chosen to do. Frustrated at times, yes, but I am proud and pleased to be married to a man with courage to stand up for this country's values and to do his part to help his fellow soldiers and the people of Iraq. My husband could be getting MUCH bigger paychecks doing something else, but he chose to join the military. Some things are just more important than "having him near." I thank the good Lord men like you and my husband realize this even if people like Melinda do not. Cheers to you for your eloquent response.

And to think....you fight to defend her right to speak her mind.

Good response though Brian.

~Cherie

Just came across your blog--outstanding work! My daughter was medic with the 1-25th SBCT (just got her CMB last week) and only returned last month from Mosul. I'm glad to have her back, but miss hearing firsthand accounts from her and some of her buds in the deuce-four that I had the honor of getting to know. I will enjoy keeping up with your blog--this entry was most inspiring and something that needs to be spread around. I'll try to do my part and direct folks your way. Thanks for doing what you do and for the reasons that you chose to do it.

Well said, Buck. Thanks. Just discovered your blog today. Our son's with the 2-1 INF in Rawah. We couldn't be more Proud of all of you over there. Some will never understand, and there's no use even trying to explain it to them. I flew slicks in Nam, and many in America didn't understand then. Some just don't get it that Freedom has a price. Fortunately, most Americans do understand that, and so we're still Free. Keep on, and I'm looking forward to the full movie next year.

Tim

Buck Sargent,
I am frightened that so many Americans do not understand that we are in a WAR with the Islamic extremists! The war was started in 1981 and Todays comments by the president of IRAN sure shows me that they have not forgotten. Keep spreading the war I am in for the duration and ready at mt house

Yay. You are my new hero.

Hey Buck, Thanks for writing back to me, I flipped your blog page up only to be ambushed by the typical fantical anti-gov peace be with you femme. It appauls me how many so called "Americans" we have in our Nation, that are so thankful for what they have, their families, their jobs, even their opinions that are protected by our constitution, but yet with the other hand smite the groves of us that choose to defend those very rights. I spent 16 yrs active Army/Spec-Ops, and chose to leave, thus running back and joining the Reserves. It wasnt for the Paycheck, it was for the Commradery and Pride I had as a Soldier. As a Reservist, 1SG at that, I only make $368.00 a Drill weekend. My normal job I can make that in two days. My point is this "Buck", your on point Sarge..Hold your head High and Proud, in 3 weeks I will be on my 4th....yeah I said it 4th Comabt tour in a total of 22 yrs service to this wonderful Country we call America. And I am blessed to have been a part of it. My wife, would gladly whip any persons (posterior) if they spoke of soldiers in front of her this way. We are the Protectors of our Nation. If people would like to experience life without a great government and military, tell em the gates are open in many other nations. Just pick one. God Bless You "Buck Sergeant"...GODSPEED- MSG John "JT" Taylor

What an ignorant asshole she is; She has no idea.
Beautiful response.

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"Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed." -- Abraham Lincoln