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MORE TALES FROM THE FRONT


photo by Buck Sargent

It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger.
-Theodore Roosevelt

Reverse Engineering

Failed totalitarian states like Iraq are case studies in field-tested anarchy; societies with very few hard and fast rules and a glaring lack of authority figures to enforce the ones that do exist. In many respects, Mad Max would feel right at home.

The Iraqis are presently reverse engineering a modern society from the pavement up. As it stands, holding the line on mortality rates is clearly a bigger priority than holding down insurance rates. (Not that any of them have insurance, mind you.) But take traffic patterns, for instance. Vehicle ownership has exploded since the fall of Saddam, and many drivers appear to observe the same right of way rules as do teenage mallrats, which is to say not much observance at all. Here in Mosul, Iraqis often travel down whichever side of the street is most convenient for them at the time. They break for no one, not even donkeys. They speed everywhere because they can; the Iraqi police are understandably more concerned with fighting off ambushes than with setting up speed traps. And you can forget about trying to merge with a friendly wave: it’s dog-eat-mangy dog out on the highways and drive-byways. Our Strykers receive deference only because they weigh 22 tons and wield .50 caliber machine guns. Displacing oxygen with your ride apparently means never having to sit through rush hour.


I reflected on this with one of my soldiers while in a long-term surveillance of a high traffic area and a common site for insurgent mischief.

"You know, Gunderson," I said. "If I lived in this country, I think the only traffic laws I’d follow would be yielding, and only then because I’d be wary of getting T-boned in intersections or sideswiped by fast-moving convoys. I’d speed everywhere, I’d blow through red lights, pull u-turns whenever I felt like it, steer against traffic... I bet I could make daily commuting an extreme sport. What do you think?"

"I would drive backwards."

He said this without a even a hint of irony. He would drive everywhere he went in reverse, simply because he could. I believe him.

Splitting Crosshairs
In the twilight hours of a seemingly average day in February, an Iraqi pedestrian tossed a hand grenade at our platoon during a routine foot patrol on a bustling market boulevard. My roommate Sgt. Sweet was walking point on the left side of the road with myself in the median to his right and Sgt. Romero several meters directly behind him. Sweet had just crossed the intersection I was preparing to step across when small arms fire directed across our front halted us in our tracks. (On the receiving end, AK fire often sounds closer to firecrackers than gunshots, causing momentary sensory confusion.)

Within seconds a sharp explosion erupted on our immediate left, directly between Sweet and Romero. My initial read of the situation screamed "IED" as dirt and debris shot across the roadway. Sweet had been knocked down by the blast and peppered with shrapnel in his lower legs and backside. As he later recounted, he heard the spoon of the grenade clink on the ground as it was hurled in his direction and had time only to turn away before it exploded. Romero saw it come toward him and scuttle in the ubiquitous trash and refuse that lines every sidewalk. The concussion rendered him momentarily senseless, wounding him in the inner thigh and lower legs with nearly a dozen shards of searing metal. (Another chunk we'd later discover embedded in the forehead of his Kevlar helmet.) Walking behind us were our platoon leader and RTO, also hit with minor leg wounds. I was directly in the open, smack dab in the middle of the avenue, and somehow I emerged completely unscathed. Call it the luck of the Irish. I call it dumb luck.

I glanced to my rear and saw the majority of the platoon instinctively move to cover behind an adjoining wall, but I still could not see Sweet or Romero. Only seconds had elapsed, and it had still not occurred to me that the blast had not been a much larger and more powerful bomb. Initially I feared they had been vaporized. But as I moved out of the road toward his last known position, I witnessed Sweet materialize out of a cloud of dust and smoke in slow-motion Dolby Surreal. You don't easily forget something like that.

"Are you hit?"
"Yeah," he said hobbling toward me.
"Can you make it?"
"Yeah."

Looking back, I suppose I could have dragged him to cover against his will and put myself in for a Bronze Star with V device. Then I could run for the Senate! Maybe next time.

Together we fell back to a position behind a nearby wall since taken up by the rest of the platoon, where Sgt. Romero had already holed up. Sweet collapsed on the sidewalk beside him for buddy-aid while we waited on our platoon medic to get there. As our Stryker vehicles sped to the scene to medevac the wounded, local traffic continued to bear down on our position as the remaining daylight faded. Several soldiers stepped out into the road in a futile attempt to ward it off utilizing their tac-lights and weapon lasers. One particular blue sedan sped around the corner at a high rate of speed, refusing to stop until warning shots were fired, violently braking it to a halt. In the chaotic aftermath, an Iraqi woman riding in the passenger seat lay dead, a tragic but unavoidable casualty in a war where every speeding car is a potential bomb.

This was not a lapse in discipline on our part. It was not like the movies depicting rattled soldiers firing from the hip at anything that walks, crawls, or breathes. It was a by-the-book application of ROE, and a textbook answer to the question of what results when a guerrilla "resistance" takes their ideological fight to the streets and neighborhoods of a populace whose "honor" they claim to be protecting. Iraqi bloggers like my good pal
A Citizen of Mosul will likely post about another innocent woman gunned down by the bloodthirsty Americans. Never mind that several school-age bystanders were wounded in the initial attack. We’ll probably get blamed for that as well.

In the immediate aftermath our remaining elements fanned out and searched several blocks and nearby homes for suspects with the assistance of the IPs, but by then the effort was already a day late and thousands of dinars short; clearly they were long gone. Such is the nature of the hit and run tactics routinely employed by the ghostly "insurgents." I still regret not focusing more during the initial moments, as the perpetrator likely had been waiting in the shadows just at the periphery of my sight. If I had only caught him in mid-toss I would have had him dead to rights, and my roommate wouldn’t in the future have to drop his trousers every time he attempts to pass through airport security. I’d like a do-over, please.

From a purely tactical standpoint, whoever pulled off this minor and relatively ineffective ambush failed. But from an Al Jazeera viewpoint, it was a success. U.S. soldiers got hurt, the bad guys got away, and another Iraqi civilian was sent to the morgue.

Over here, the devil is always in the details.

'The Lil' Fella's Okay'
All American casualties are given the opportunity if able to place a call home from the CASH (combat support hospital) to inform their loved ones of their injuries and to head off the Army’s vague and impersonal notification process. (If they are incapacitated, the unit’s commander will typically make the call himself to provide families an honest account of what happened and how serious the injury really is.) These calls also serve to stymie any resultant hyperventilation on the homefront by apprehensive hausfraus. But not always.

Some soldiers fear having to make this ominous call home more than the actual reason behind it. When Sgt. Blakely and I had tried to get Sweet to roll over on his stomach for treatment, the first words out of his mouth through a grimace and clenched teeth were, "My wife is going to be pissed." He was already dreading having to make The Call before the bleeding had even stopped.

Sgt. Romero dialed his wife as soon as he got out of surgery to remove the shrapnel from his upper thighs and groin. "She was pretty freaked out at first when I explained exactly where and how bad I was hit, but she seemed to calm down a bit after I reassured her, "Don't worry Honey, the Lil' Fella’s okay.'"

And as for the reaction of Sgt. Sweet’s "Household Six?" Let’s just say he called that one right on the money.

IED Pluribus Unum
No sooner had Sweet and Romero returned to duty than did our squad’s Stryker, aka the USS* Dirty Snatch, hit a roadside bomb that showered debris -- mainly dirt and pavement -- across her bow and down inside her hatches. Whoever triggered the blast must have buried it way too deep and suffered from a bit of premature initiation because we sailed through without even a hint of damage, notwithstanding the bowling ball size chunks of blacktop that bombarded the topside and open hatches. (I’d just as soon not take one of those to the face at Mach 2, thank you very much.) Although at the time, Sweet and I were actually riding below deck flipping through back issues of US Weekly and other trash tabloids that litter the interior of our truck. So while Gundy, Evans, and Romero were busy dodging an inverse meteor shower, there we were absorbing useless factoids about celebrities. It gets boring on patrol, until it suddenly and violently stops getting boring. But then it usually reverts right back to soul crushing boredom again. It's a vicious cycle!
*United States Stryker

Say what you will about the Stryker combat vehicle, though: the Dirty Snatch is one tough wench. As soon as our ears stopped ringing and we checked all our fingers and toes (they were all still there), we let out a collective war cry of defiant bravado that was a sight and sound to behold. It's probably not what most people expect to read or hear about -- soldiers actually cheering after an IED attack like their team just won the Rose Bowl -- but at that particular moment there was nowhere else I would have wanted to be. One second we’re reading about TomKat’s impending breakup and marveling over how much weight Britney has put on since having her baby, and the next the world is blowing up all around us. But we're still here, and we're still in the fight. That's all you can really ask for. And that's all that matters.

Full disclosure: Once all the excitement wound down and the adrenaline wore off, yes, Sweet and I went right back to reading our magazines.

Counting Sheepdogs
This next greatest generation of soldiers is made up entirely of volunteers -- not a draftee among them -- and I’ve never been around a more aggressive or fearless group of Americans: guys who never fail to move to the sound of the guns, if for no other reason than because it’s their duty. (Plus, it alleviates the monotony.) But I don't believe an American army has ever fielded a more professional cadre of warriors. Admittedly, if you take a look back on our nation’s long and storied history, that’s a bold statement. But it’s a Pepsi challenge I’d be willing to take.

Consider the following from On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace by retired Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman:

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath -- a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot, and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheepdog that intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

The Iraqi Army used to be the wolf. But now this new collection of Kurdish and Arabian knights we’ve built from the boots-on-the-ground up fight him alongside us. They’ve progressed from right-seat riding in 2005 to left-seat driving in 2006, and at the current pace a sizable number of them will be flying solo by early next year. We’ve remade them into our own image to hunt the wolf, and so far they’ve stunned him with their aggressiveness. The battalion of soldiers we work with in our (soon to be their) sector operate out of tiny but aptly named FOB Resolve.

re·solve [ri zólv]
1. determination: firmness of purpose
2. decision: a choice to do something
3. change: to convert into something else

These courageous Kurdish warriors can barely pronounce the word, but they’re living it every single day all the same. As the late Great Communicator once put it: "Those who say that we're in a time when there are no heroes, they just don't know where to look."

Iraqi Five-O
I'm willing to bet you didn’t hear about any of this in the Stateside press, although it did merit a small blurb deep inside last week’s Stars and Stripes:

U.S. and Iraqi security forces rescued three Iraqi hostages on Tuesday who had been held in Mosul, U.S. military officials said Wednesday.
The three hostages were reportedly chained to the wall of the basement in a house in the northern Iraqi city; there was no information on the hostages’ identities, whom their captors were or why they were kidnapped.
The rescue team included U.S. soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade and the Iraqi 3rd Battalion, 4th Brigade, 2nd Iraqi Army Division, and members of the Iraqi police. There were no casualties during the rescue, which followed tips from local Iraqis, officials said.

I can vouch for this story: we were there. 3rd Platoon was launched as a quick reaction force to back up the IA and a fellow Stryker platoon on the scene providing outer cordon. The hostages were indeed chained in a veritable dungeon whose stairwell was concealed by a false floor tile, admittedly something we may not have been capable of discovering on our own. But the Iraqis are old hat at such tricks. Dungeons were par for the course under the Baathist reign of terror.

But not all of the story is accurate, however. We were not supported by Iraqi forces, the Iraqi forces were supported by us. They worked the lead, they conducted the reconnaissance, they initiated the raid, and they ultimately secured the hostages. They did make one big mistake in tipping off the kidnappers by reconnoitering the site a little too closely and indiscreetly (a hamfisted tactic they likely learned from us), but they later made up for it. Their emplaced sniper/killer teams (SKTs) overwatched the house long enough for the suspects to foolishly return to it and stroll right into the dragnet waiting for them. Bravo, fellas. Another step forward.

Deep Thoughts from the Crapper II
Elements of our squad spent several days back in March holed up in a "hide sight" (in this particular case an Iraqi residence), staking out a known IED emplacement route that had in recent months become an O'Pucker Factor fun park ride as our unit's patrols routinely ran this gauntlet of roadside bombs. Our orders were explicit: apprehend if possible, eliminate if necessary, anyone observed digging or attempting to bury objects in the median, i.e., things that make you go Boom.

Most Iraqi homes don’t have toilets; they instead squat over recessed porcelain bowls in the bathroom floor connected to sewage pipes that lead to Allah knows where. (From the stench of the neighborhoods, they obviously don’t go far enough.) I was determined to hold out, but by about the third day I couldn’t take it any longer. I had to do the hajji squat. My only question: How on Allah's brown earth do the locals maintain this quad-quaking stress position while reading their morning paper? They must have thighs of steel.

We Can't Do It!
Vocal critics of the war continue to harangue me incessantly, snidely baiting me on what I think "victory" in the war will ultimately consist of. These Rosie the Rioters and
original cynics don't really want an answer and they certainly don't want to hear any solutions. They just want to keep playing the same blame game over and over and over until their self-fulfilling defeat and retreat-ism is vindicated. It's an exercise in futility on my part, but I usually refer these "type nays" to the officially stated position of the Commander in Chief anyway. He's been hammering this point home for awhile now:

"Victory will be achieved by meeting certain objectives: when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq’s democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can protect their own people, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot attacks against our country. These objectives — not timetables set by politicians in Washington — will drive our force levels in Iraq."

There you have it. Is that really so tough to grasp?

Mosul’s Most Wanted
Major Fallah, the supercop of southeastern Mosul, while appearing as a guest on a local Iraqi talk-radio show, took a call from a Moslawi citizen forwarding a tip about a suspicious person in his neighborhood. Fallah listened intently between sips of chai tea, asked a few pointed questions, and then stood up and declared: "I’ll be back." He then turned and walked right out of the studio leaving the radio host likely dumbfounded.

Within the hour he returned and theatrically announced over the airwaves: "He’s been detained."

From what I've seen and heard about Major Fallah, it wouldn’t have surprised me in the least if he'd performed a spot-on "Shatner roll" across the hood of his SUV on the way out.

Not to be outdone, our 3-4-2 Iraqi army counterparts, responding to another tip from locals, recently excavated an enormous cache of artillery, mortar, and recoilless rifle shells from the muddy banks of the Tigris, wading into the water and pulling round after round from the water. Every one of these shells would be enough to inflict serious carnage on an American or Iraqi patrol if emplaced as a roadside bomb. We won't leave the wire in anything less than monstrously armored vehicles, yet they still roll out day after day in thin-skinned Nissan pickup trucks. When it comes to IEDs, they're about as protected as a bicycle. I say this not to excoriate the pace of their aquisition process; better equipment is slowly but surely being provided. I say it only because I'm not familiar with the Kurdish or Arabic phrase for "Got balls?"

Dismantling the enemies infrastructure and support system is a task that homegrown Iraqi fighters are clearly better suited for. No matter how many months we spend here, we will never be able to match their ability to shake out the bad guys and spot the out of the ordinary. With an enemy that bobs and weaves among the populace and fights only on their own terms, the Iraqis can sniff them out a lot faster than we can snuff them out. This has always been their beat and their responsibility, and they’re well on their way to finally owning up to it. Every step they take forward in reclaiming their country is one more we can step back to repatriating to ours. Isn't that what everybody claims to want?

I'm beginning to love the smell of chai in the morning. Smells like... victory.

COPYRIGHT 2006 BUCK SARGENT

Great post Buck Sargent! I look forward to reading your on the ground veiws, I only wish many more would. I will do my part to make that happen.
We are still behind the good work you are doing and God Bless you all for it!

Thanks for the great alternative perspective to the "alien media nation" froth. Our family prays for you guys every night at dinner - especially during the holidays when you are away from your families. Happy Easter

As always, I really enjoyed this post, Buck. I particularly liked the phrase "premature initiation". :) Y'all just keep doing what you do best & we'll keep passing the word - thanks to the ammo you provide.

Keeping y'all in our prayers and wishing you a Happy Easter!

Great as always, Buck. If you get a chance to do the Easter service at the ancient monastary on FOB Marez, you oughta go for it. I have had several from the 1-25th tell me of the experience. Once in a lifetime thing--- let's hope.

I've been to that monastery a few times already. It's acutally in Nimrud just outside Mosul. A few of the images from my last video were actually taken on the premises (my roommate holding the baby, kid looking back at the camera with a half-smile). The scene from the second GWAC trailer of our medic staring up at the painting of the last supper was taken inside there as well.

We sat down for a meal with the Iraqi Christians who run the place a few months back. You'll be able to see some of that in the finished film eventually.

Iraq was the cradle of civilization. It has so many places that could rival Mecca for tourist interest (although much more diverse of religion and culture). Hopefully one day soon they will be able to capitalize on it.

I loved the "Rosie the Rioter" label. Too good! Thanks for the info on the Iraqi forces, hope their success could have some measure of success or influence on their politicians.

Different monastery, Buck. I think you are referring to what is known as 'Jonah's monastery'? The one I have been told about is located within the perimeter of FOB Marez. Pics and some of its history can be found here:

http://www.post-trib.com/walsh/walsh020605.html

others can be seen here:
http://www.christiansofiraq.com/monastery.html

Buck,
You do a good job of highlighting the tough job soldiers face everyday. When you guys got fragged I am sure your blood pressure started rising and as you say every vehicle is a potential bomb. Civilian casulties are terrible but unavoidable during a conflict like this. If only the world knew what we go through as soldiers in order to keep civilians safe I am sure they would look at us in a different light. Unfortunately civilians do get in the way and often do so at the wrong time. I myself just got in trouble for supposedly not following ROE and lost my job because of it. While my situation did not have an outcome like yours I was canned none the less. Part of that is the lame ass battalion I fall under and the rest is due to the lack of experience in my senior leadership. I say this in order to highlight for those who may not know the tough job soldiers face in distinguishing friend from foe. While you do not want civilian casulties they are understandable nonetheless.
Great post by the way.

Your stories are the best around, Buck Sargent. No way to thank you properly but we spread the good word about you and pick up lots of good information to use in the battle back here at home. You are just unbelievably - - -perfect!
Happy Easter and come home safely please!

Great post - again!
I had to laugh about the phonecalls home after being hit by shrapnel. Reminded me of the "great conspiracy" that my Dad and uncle concocted in WWII, both being in the Army. My uncle had been wounded and would be a few months in the hospital recovering so he had my Dad tell my grandmother that he was on a special mission and would be out of touch for a while. (I have their letters - it was quite the "mission") Anything to prevent "the worrying" of their mother. I think my uncle was just afraid of what his Mom would do to him when he got back home! We never did find out if they pulled it off - Grandma never let on.

WOW - WHAT A POST. Thank you for sharing your world with us. We appreciate you and are proud of you! **hugs** You are in our family's prayers!

Glad to see your entry Buck Sargent, been a while though I also enjoy your posts on others blogs as well. I've always loved the piece by LTC (Ret) Grossman.

Keep safe and know we're supporting you and the mission. Thank you for all you do.

Hey.

I found "This We'll Defend" on Google videos and followed the link to your blogspot.

I read all you stories, very fascinating.

The army was always something I was considering, now I'm not considering it anymore.

This blog has had such an effect on me that I feel it neccessary to join the army.

Thankyou.

Mark

This is my first time visiting the blog, but I just wanted to say a big "Thank You" to you and all the men and women that are fighting to keep America and the world safer and freer. Your sacrifice for all of us is more appreciated than I'm sure it seems at times.

May God bless and protect you and bring you all home safely.

"In the chaotic aftermath, an Iraqi woman riding in the passenger seat lay dead, a tragic but unavoidable casualty in a war where every speeding car is a potential bomb."
Her death may have been "unavoidable," but the key question seems to be: who will her father or brother or husband hate because of it? The insurgent who triggered the incident by throwing the grenade, or the soldier who pulled the trigger that killed her?
If you ask me, which you would rather not, I would focus on your words "in a war."
From a distant and neutral perspective, all I can see is a "liberating" Army, from a country ten thousand miles away, which in 2003 decided to completely "conquer" Iraq, occupy it, disband its armed forces, remove its government, take charge of it, decide what would happen and what wouldn't, make it over. Three years later, there's apparently still a "war" going on? A US patrol can get fragged, just like that, in a Mosul street? And shoot an unarmed woman, just like that? The US Army can't handle a few thousand insurgents, it's still at war with Iraq?
Or is that a few hundred thousand fathers, brothers, husbands, relatives? A few million?
I remember back in May 2004, when the US Army mistakenly massacred a wedding party out in the desert at Makr al Deeb: there was a news shot afterwards of a grieving relative saying "for every one of ours, ten of theirs will die." He's probably now Juba, the Sniper of Baghdad.
Why is it that you just cannot identify with his feelings at all? How come you wouldn't feel the same if your sister was gunned down?
I just don't get it.
If this is victory, what does defeat look like?

(sorry if this posts twice)

JOHNinNZ---I have always found it interesting that the film adapataion of 'The Lord of the Rings' was filmed in New Zealand. I know all the reasoning behind the choice, but is it merely coincidence that NZ so closely resembles the Shire? Isolated, bucolic, naive, peaceful, and oblivious to the sacrifice and heroism of rough Men who make it all possible. Just tend your garden, little Hobbit, and let the Striders of the world take care of the rising evil in the world. If it gets to the point that evil directly effects your little plot, we know some of you will join us to preserve your own asses, just as before. Until then, blow a few smoke rings in tribute and consider keeping your deep 'thoughts' to yourself. If you must, focus on this line of your latest, "I JUST DON'T GET IT".

Anonymous above:
Now then, play fair. As a UN signatory, NZ has been in Afghanistan from the start. In 2004 our SAS (Special Forces) were awarded a Presidential Unit Citation by George Bush for their work in the mountains. Is that worth something, or are they just sent up with the rations? Last year they were invited back for another go, the US even sent a giant aeroplane all the way here to fetch them.
General Abizaid (Centcom) recently passed through here, he described our Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan as "one of the best."
I dunno if it's looking like victory there, but it's at least not looking like an obvious defeat yet. Iraq, on the other hand ...

Buck,
Thank you for all your hard work. God Bless you, and get home safe.

johninnz,

I'm hazy New Zealand's history but I'm sure you could appreciate the amount of time it might take to liberate an entire country, rebuild infrastructure and foster a working democracy as well as train a new army and police force to protect all of the above. Were you thinking it would happen in two and a half weeks?

"The US Army can't handle a few thousand insurgents"

Rather simplistic wouldn't you say? Then, almost the entirety of your post is simplistic and rhetorical. Sons and Fathers? Foreign fighters from neighboring countries perhaps? Either way, you wouldn't know.

"If this is victory, what does defeat look like?"

Who said this was victory? It's a war. Having faith that there will be victory is much different in declaring it.

I suggest you take a look at some people blogging who are fighting on the front lines. You may find...very much to your dismay...that it is nowhere near as bad as MSM makes it out to be.

Sarge, as always you out did yourself this time. Those IEDs must have got you stirred up because there isn't an area you left untouched. You have truly given an amazing account of what is going on in Iraq.

I am greatful to God all you guys are ok. As for the Iraqi woman killed, I am saddened at her loss. However, responsibility here must be shared by the driver who refused to stop.

When the blame teams start their distribe, why is it they never say anything about those foreign fighters who keep coming in from Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia to name a few? Are they really that ill informed?

Johninnz, be glad of the success of your countrymen. That may start to change as the Taliban is trying to regroup.

Thank you Sarge for all you, Sweet,Gundy, Evans, and Romero, and all of you guys and gals endure and sacrifice. I love you all guys and pray for you daily. Be safe and come home. God Bless you. Semper Fi!

Anonymous above:

"You may find...that it is nowhere near as bad as MSM makes it out to be."

Right. So when I saw a clip on the TV news a few minutes ago, showing deserted streets in Baghdad, and tent camps in the desert for refugees from the sectarian fighting there, I was hallucinating, or a victim of some kind of elaborate con job by 90% of the world's media, that what you are saying?
When we see and read about that sort of thing every day?

"... I'm sure you could appreciate the amount of time it might take to liberate an entire country, rebuild infrastructure and foster a working democracy as well as train a new army and police force to protect all of the above ... "

Yes, I think I could. I'd say three years would be plenty of time if it was done properly. So far you seem to have achieved virtually none of the above - the infrastructure is rubbish, there's been effectively no working democracy for four months now, the Army and police force are riddled with sectarian militia, Allawi says its already a civil war ...

Why did your Secretary of State tell us couple of weeks ago that "the US has made thousands of tactical mistakes in Iraq?" Not just some, not just a few - thousands of them.
How many tactical mistakes are you allowed before you invalidate your whole strategy?
I mean, out here in the real world, your Army commanders admitted long ago that their emphasis on "foreign fighters" was a "tactical mistake," that it obscured the fact that 99% of the insurgency was Iraqi, home grown. The fathers, brothers, husbands of that dead woman. General Abizaid more or less said this while he was here.

I was all for this thing when you went in, thought it was a good idea - was rather embarrassed that our Government kept out of it. Now I'm glad they did, they were smarter than me. It is a disaster. And it didn't need to be.

Ever hear of Vietnam? Our boys joined you for that one, and your reward was to spray them with Agent Orange, so now they and their kids got all sorts of health problems. Tactical error, I guess.

I don't like Buck Sargent, I abhor arrogance, and as I understand it a joke like "the Hajji squat" is about as offensive as it is possible to be towards his hosts, the people he is supposedly "liberating." But I don't particularly want to see him killed or wounded because of tactical mistakes by the likes of Wolfowitz or Bremer, who march happily off from their errors and leave people like him to carry the can.

Thank you Buck Sargent for your service, sacrifices and your humor.
History will surely show that the US and coalition fighters have done a superior job turning a country from dictatorship to democracy in a short amount of time. We're only blind to ourselves if we think that the mission should be finised already. When were the Articles of Confederation abandoned?
Thanks for getting the big picture out!

Johninnz,
Your ignorance precedes you. I am going to go out on a limb and say that you have never been to Iraq yourself. Am I wrong? Ahh but I don't think so, so with that fact established I'll proceed.
The killing of civilians is often times an unavoidable occurrence here as you would know if you were here. Why? Well the answer changes from situation to situation but right now most of them die by doing stupid things and not paying attention. For example-speeding up on convoys or speeding up on dismounted patrols. Every car here is a potential suicide bomber and you have to be on guard against them. How can you tell the difference between a car with bombs in it and a car with a family in it? One blows up and the other doesn't. It is hard to make a life and death decision in an instant, yet that is what we have to do everyday. So the family of the civilian who died is going to be sad and the soldier who killed a civilian is going to be sad. Do you think it is easy to kill innocent people? Saddam did but now he is gone thanks to us.
As far as what Condolezza Rice said about the mistakes we made I agree. But lets think about this for a second. Since when did a liberating army get everything perfectly right? Are we the only ones in the history of the world to make mistakes? Could we predict everything that was going to go wrong at the outset of the invasion? Have you ever tried to rid a country of a dictator and the completely, I said completely, rebuild an entire country? Hard work John. I am glad there are real people out there who know that it takes longer than three years to rebuild a country from the ground up while at the same time trying to keep the peace unlike you who wants immediate results.
The media presents an awful picture of Iraq and of course if you were here you would know that, but you aren't so you have to rely upon the news to find out what is "going" on here. Buck and I are writing in order to inform people what is really going on in Iraq because we know that people cannont get an accurate picture from the media. If you hang around and read him and I and some other soldiers then you will realize the same.
As far as handling the insurgents believe me that we can handle them. We have been handling them and will continue to do so. Are you taunting us by saying we cannot do so?
Concerning Buck's sense of humor I think it is fine. Soldiers adopt a sense of humor in order to get by during deployment. Of course if you were here you would know that but you aren't so you don't. Making fun of the everyday occurrences that are far removed from "normal" life for us back home allows us to get through tough and trying times. So if he wants to "Haji squat" then that is fine because I am going to drive "Haji" everywhere I go.

Well I dunno, T F Boggs.

I used "hajii" once on an Iraqi blog to refer to Iraqis, copying a US military blogger, and was very sternly told off. Apparently a hajii is one who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and honoured for it. "Hajii squat" still sounds pretty offensive to me.
(Not that I carry any candle for Islam, you understand. just for manners.)

This really puzzles me: "So the family of the civilian who died is going to be sad ..."
Maybe we've got an aberrant psychology down here at the bottom of the world. If an occupation soldier in my country blew away my wife or daughter, out of a panicky urge for self-preservation, I don't think I'd be "sad." I would be desolate, and then hopping mad. And looking for payback.
Wouldn't you?

Hey, remember that incident in Tal Afar last year? A photograper caught the action when a US patrol shot at an approaching car at dusk, killing an innocent Iraqi couple on their way home and leaving their children orphaned, some wounded. A newsie later tracked down the kids, living in poverty with relatives. The oldest girl said of the US troops, "I would like to kill them, and eat their livers." She sounds a bit more than sad. Maybe she'll come round eventually?

Not that I blame the troops. Much. I blame the leaders who put them there in totally insufficient numbers for the job they were given.

"Have you ever tried to rid a country of a dictator and then completely, I said completely, rebuild an entire country?"

Well, not personally. Haven't had the opportunity. But if I had to, I'd want a whole lot of troops to do it with - several hundred thousand, like General Shinsenki said at the start.
Then there probably wouldn't have been so many innocents getting shot, and fuelling the insurgency.

'Haji' is the term for religious pilgims. It was adopted as a euphemism for Iraqis when, during the invasion, groups of Iraqi men would be approached walking along the highways. They would invariably tell US troops they were 'Haji', knowing that US troops would leave them alone out of respect, but not seeming to know that the US troops knew damn well they were deserting Iraqi soldiers. So all Iraqis became Haji. Big damn deal. With all of the problems in Arab society, if this is all they have to focus on they deserve to be called far worse than Haji. I got a few, but will keep them to myself.

Do shootings of civilians produce more insurgents? Probably. Would higher casualty rates for US troops result in higher civilian deaths. Certainly. It is sort of like a war. People like NZ are all for achieving the goals which can only be reached by war, but don't want to be bothered with the messy details of what happens in the interim. Non violent, error free overthrow and revolution of a severely dysfunctional society just like NZ did it back in the day, that is what we want.

"or a victim of some kind of elaborate con job by 90% of the world's media"

I wouldn't say con job, but I would say severely influenced by both agenda and laziness. Why laziness? Because most of what you see or hear is siphoned through reporters in the green zone or fed to them by discontented Iraqis. From my understanding, Bagdhad is one of the worst areas in Iraq right now....where are almost all of the reporters?....Bagdhad. Now I can quite understand Iraqis being sad, angry and confused. They are caught squarely in the middle of an Army trying to provide a free life for them and insurgents, many not even residents of the country, who wish to derail this process. Tell me, if there were no suicide bombers, car bombers or IEDs how many innocent lives would have been saved?
It's quite often the mindset that the U.S. is mindless blood-thirsty aggressor while our opponents, ones that assissinate, kidnap, blow up, behead, burn and drag bodies through the street to string up with wire from a bridge, torture, etc., anyone in their way are just reacting justifiably to an occupation. Don't let your disagreement with the war or any personal gripes with the U.S. side you with the latter men.

"I'd say three years would be plenty of time if it was done properly."

There is no set-aside universally accepted standard for how long something like this would take to accomplish. It's a gradual process not an instantaneous one.

"Allawi says its already a civil war ..."

More people will tell you it's not than it is. Will you continue to believe the minority just because it supports your ideology?

"It is a disaster."

Plan on being embarrassed that NZ kept out of it again in the future. Seems we have plenty of allies when things are going well, but when we have a difficult task at hand people just want to sit on the side-lines and criticize.

"Ever hear of Vietnam?"

Yeah, it was a war in SE Asia in the 1960's and that has absolutely nothing to do with and no valid comparison to today's war.
Sorry your boys got some AO, I know that no one else ever makes mistakes.

"If an occupation soldier in my country blew away my wife or daughter"

...because I, for some inexplicable reason decided to floor the gas when heading directly at an armed patrol, yeah I'd be pretty sad.

"out of a panicky urge for self-preservation"

There is nothing panicky about it. When someone first takes the TIME TO FIRE A WARNING SHOT it shows that they are following ROE and there is nothing panicky about it.

"I blame the leaders who put them there in totally insufficient numbers for the job they were given"

In an insurgency our numbers are almost meaningless.

Great post...love all the coverage you're providing and the variety in the post this time.

Thanks for being there and for keeping us informed.

My prayers go out to you guys daily. I feel a great loss for the woman who was killed. It was an unfortunate incident and I pray whoever was responsible realizes they were doing their job as best they could under the circumstances. Seeing the speeding car under those conditions, I would have done the same thing. I'm glad that there weren't more casualties. Keep up the great job. Getter' done and get home!

"Get killed in Iraq you retarded sociopath."

Posted by Paul to AMERICAN CITIZEN SOLDIER at 4/20/2006 01:27:00 AM

Always nice to wake up to more encouragement in your inbox from the folks back home. Thanks Paul! But don't dare question his patriotism -- he supports the troops!

As for you Johninnz, I'll counter your nonsense when I have more time. For now, be content with your extreme cultural ignorance of all things Iraqi. Just keep carping from the sidelines as is your want. I don't really expect much more from you.

Oh, and here's that last sicko's blogsite just for grins and giggles:

http://qaihou.blogspot.com/

Tell him I said hi.

Your war against Fear is not justified. It is actually a Resource War for oil, and a currency war for the dollar. Global Oil production has peaked and US will suffer the most from this crisis. The United States uses 25% of the world’s oil yet only has 5% of the world’s population. America is heavily in debt and bankruptcy is unavoidable. The coming housing bust will send the economy into a second greater depression.

While the Middle East countries find themselves targets in the "war on terror", China, Russia, and Latin America find themselves targets in the recently declared and much more expansive "war on tyranny." Whereas the "war on terror" is really a war for control of the world's oil reserves, this newly declared "war on tyranny" is really a war for control of the world's oil distribution and transportation chokepoints.

The dollar is in collapse, the economy is going to crash, oil is getting more scarce everyday. America is a nation that has its infrastructure built exclusively to be run on abundant cheap oil, with global demand of oil increasing exponentially and supply decreasing year after year, America has no other choice than to wage a global war on oil and currency and under the ruse of terror and freedom.

Let us not forget one of your major characteristics: your duality in both manners and values; your hypocrisy in manners and principles. All*manners, principles and values have two scales: one for you and one for the others.

America raping Iran:


Is your entire country on crack? Are all you Americans out of your cotton picking minds? Are you completely freaking delusional? Homicidal? Psychotic? Have you lost any shred of a moral compass? WHAT IN THE NAME OF JESUS H. CHRIST ON A CRUTCH IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!!!

Let me offer up one small datum which may completely change the equation for you: According to the CIA (If they have any credibility left.) even accord to them Iran is at least five years away from a nuclear weapon.

Five years.

Five years is time for diplomacy to accomplish a hell of a lot.

I would also point out that the Atomic Energy Commission, various other international bodies and other inspections have essentially found no sign that Iran is even working on a nuclear weapon.

The only actual evidence that Iran has anything close to nuclear weapons technology is blueprints *that the CIA gave to them!*

Have you all forgotten that the evidence on Iraq was spectacularly wrong? Have you all ignored the fact that it was fabricated? Why then are we going down the exact same road of stage managed, fabricated pseudo-evidence and wild-ass hysteria?

What is wrong with you people?

This entire crisis has been manufactured, and has been years in the making.

Stop and think back five years. What did we have five years ago? A moderate reformist Iranian government making overtures to the United States, rebuilding its relationship with Europe, liberalizing its society, and modernizing its economy.

Post 9/11 vigil in Iran. 9/11 comes along, the Iranians are overflowing with sympathy. Mass candlelit vigils are held in Tehran. Iran offers aid and cooperation.

Iran hates the Taliban who have executed Iranian diplomats and massacred Afghan Shiites. Iran hates Saddam Hussein. Iran hates Al Qaeda which is a Sunni Fundamentalist organization which declares Shiites infidels and subhuman.

Iran shares its intelligence with America - they even arrested Taliban members and handed them over to US custody.

So we've got the Iranian spring; things are finally going to sort out.

And what happens? The Bush administration rebuffs every Iranian overture and does its best to instigate a cold war. Afghanistan is invaded, and suddenly, the Iranians are looking at American troops and allies on their eastern border. Then Iraq is invaded, and American troops and allies on their western border. Then bases and treaties in Uzbekistan, and whoops, there's more American troops and allies on the northern border. The Persian Gulf is filled with American warships and carrier fleets.

Now the Iranians are surrounded. And the tough talk is constant. Iran is part of the 'Axis of Evil' and Americans tell each other "Baghdad, humph, real men go to Tehran." Essentially, America has been threatening military action against Iran for the last five years, and has surrounded the country on every side with troops, bases and allies.

American aircraft invade Iranian airspace regularly, American special forces undertake operations inside Iran and Americans regularly accuse Iranians of interference in Iraq.

Dick Cheney pontificates about Israel bombing Iran *after he has just handed over to Israel the long range bombers and bunker busting bombs* required to do the job.

Meanwhile, the United States undertakes economic warfare against Iran, interfering with its business dealings with third party countries, trying to scuttle a pipeline deal with India, and it goes on and on. The hysteria about the Iranians nuclear program is just more of the same.

Now how in God's Bloody Name do you think the Iranians are going to respond to that. Should they concede the nuclear program, abandon their pipeline project? If so, its not going to do them any good. America will just seek more concessions. Each surrender will be met by new demands. This isn't hard to figure out. It's exactly what Bush did with Iraq.

Perhaps overtures, good will gestures, trying to act like a peaceful nation. Did all those things, doesn't matter. The Bush administration is still on a collision course.

So, the Mullahs are concerned that they're faced with a homicidal crazy state, the Iranian people are scared. When people are scared and faced with an aggressive warmongering power which keeps threatening to attack them, continually trespasses on its borders and is undertaking economic warfare... who the hell are they going to elect? Ahminajad may be a crazy bastard, but you assholes, you utter assholes did every thing you could to elect him short of donating 50,000 Diebold machines and mailing his party the trapdoor codes.

So, having pursued a psychotically aggressive course, you've backed Iran into a corner, and engineered a regime which refuses to back further.

And *you* are the victims in all this? *You* are the ones under threat? It's *self defense*????

And of course, you goofily believe that you can just bomb or nuke Iran with impunity?

Holy microeconomic theory batman! Iran's nuclear facilities are distributed across the country and in hardened sites near population centers. So any strike that cripples a significant portion of Iran's nuclear capacity will inevitably be so large and kill so many people that its going to be tantamount to inviting full scale war.

Think about that. Iran is 70 million people, an area five times the size of Iraq, not disemboweled by 12 years of sanctions and air raids. On the other side of the coin, America's ground army is busted and tied down in Iraq. There's no troops to throw at a major Iranian military force, so you have to hope that bombing will do the trick. The occupation forces in Iraq are in occupation and not territorial defense mode. And Iraq is 65% Shiites who are probably not going to be happy that you're blowing up their brother Shiites.

Meanwhile, the Strait of Hormuz is so narrow that sinking one supertanker will block it indefinitely, and Iran borders the strait on three sides. Block Hormuz and any naval groups inside the Persian Gulf are trapped there. Any naval groups outside the Persian Gulf are trapped outside. Forget about any oil coming out of the Persian Gulf from Iraq, Kuwait, Quatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or the UAE. Think about what that does to the price of oil, and to the world economy. Think about what that does to dependent countries like Japan, India, China and Europe.

In short it’s so appallingly stupid and colossally risky, that I can see why your idiots in charge might consider using nuclear weapons. But throw a few nukes around and see how the rest of the world reacts? Every dirt-wad country is going to be mortgaging the Presidential palace to get its own nuclear deterrent from Pakistan or North Korea. How do you feel about the Indonesian Bomb, the Malaysian Bomb, the Thai Bomb, the Myanmar Bomb, the Algerian Bomb, the Saudi Bomb, the Egyptian Bomb, the Brazilian Bomb, the Argentine Bomb, the Venezuelan Bomb, the Cuban Bomb, the Japanese Bomb, the Canadian frigging Bomb. You are no longer trustworthy. North Korea, always borderline psychotic is going to be mondo difficult to deal with. You've just guaranteed yourself a full fledged nuclear arms race, balls to the wall with both Russia and China, and quite possibly Europe.

And of course there's no guarantee that the rest of the world will allow this. Do you want an armed standoff with the Russians? Suppose they 'loan' their finest interceptor jets, pilots and radar systems to the Iranians... Do you want to meet *that* on a bombing raid? And if you do meet *that* what are you going to do when half your planes are blasted out of the skies conducting an illegal raid on civilian populations in a foreign country? Cry? Send a harsh note?

Launch a first strike?

World goes boom. What happens if the Chinese decide to hold Taiwan and South Korea hostage? What do you do? Back off Iran or sell out East Asia?

Hell, in that kind of standoff, someone sneezes and its not going to matter who launched a first strike.

Or would you like an economic standoff, say with Europe, or with Japan and China. Suppose that the Europeans or Chinese decide "screw the worldwide depression, you assholes are just too dangerous to have around." Trillions of dollars get dumped on the market, loans get called in, the bottom drops out of your dollar, its thousand per cent inflation and no manufacturing base and your own trade embargoes. So much for America.

I mean, it’s morally wrong; it’s stupid on every level. And yet here you are discussing why maybe you should get out in front of the Republicans on this, or planning your surrender to Bush. Why are you even discussing this?

What is wrong with America?

Case in Iraq:

Anyone here still remember the scam of Al Samoud 2?

I totally forgot about it until today when I read that Iran has enriched a supply of uranium for the first time and Iran's president has said Iran won't back down ``one iota'' over its nuclear program.

Remember when Saddam backed down? Its been so long even MY memory's
been washed by Washington, but before the WMB bullshit we were hearing ranting and trash from Bush that it was because of Iraq's Al Samoud 2 missiles had 10 miles extra range than allowed by the UN [funny how US itself never follows UN regulations] that the US was going to attack Iraq. Al Samoud 2 was a big issue for a while, and Bush gave Saddam an ultimatum of a week or so to disarm and destroy all 90 some missiles or else the US EVIL EMPIRE was going to attack....

what happened?

Saddam disarmed all missiles.

and then...

US Charged in with Guns a Blazing....
SHOOT FIRST THEN ASK questions torture...

Quick Draw Trigger Happy Cheney saying GO FUCK YOURSELF to the world.


The point is, North Korea, Iran and indeed the rest of the world saw this and learn from Iraq's lesson. When dealing with EVIL like the US WHEEL OF EVIL EMPIRE there is no use in disarming your own weapons!!!!
Any country that still does that is PLAIN STUPID!!! LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO IRAQ!!!!

The Native Americans was too slow to learn the lesson, Iraq was too dumb to learn the lesson. Lets hope Iran does a pre-emptive strike FIRST this time and give Shrub a taste of his own medicine!!!


Now, to be fair I realize most Americans do not take lightly to criticism. But what about reason? Logic? Or plain common sense?

You seem to agree with the doctrine of pre-emptive strike correct? You say that if you know your enemy will attack you anyway, that it is your duty and obligation to attack them first to prevent damage to yourself.

So when I that Iran should attack America’s military and not wait until it is first attacked upon, what then do you have to object? I am simply praticing YOUR DOCTRINE OF PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE. If an enemy [the US in this case], will attack you anyway, (like how America will attack Iran, and how US with its proven track record DID attack Iraq) it is then Iran's duty and obligation to pre-emptive the pre-emptive strike. America has proven TIME AND TIME AGAIN that is PRACTICES THE DOCTRINE OF STRIKING FIRST, so why the hell should other nations not do the same? If I know a bully in my neighboorhood already took out 5 of my neighboors why the hell should I not practice what he does and take HIM out first?

So if you [US] can do it, why can no other country practice the same thing?

Let us not forget one of your major characteristics: your duality in both manners and values; your hypocrisy in manners and principles. All*manners, principles and values have two scales: one for you and one for the others.


Your war against Fear is not justified. It is actually a Resource War for oil, and a currency war for the dollar. Global Oil production has peaked and US will suffer the most from this crisis. The United States uses 25% of the world’s oil yet only has 5% of the world’s population. America is heavily in debt and bankruptcy is unavoidable. The coming housing bust will send the economy into a second greater depression.

While the Middle East countries find themselves targets in the "war on terror", China, Russia, and Latin America find themselves targets in the recently declared and much more expansive "war on tyranny." Whereas the "war on terror" is really a war for control of the world's oil reserves, this newly declared "war on tyranny" is really a war for control of the world's oil distribution and transportation chokepoints.

The dollar is in collapse, the economy is going to crash, oil is getting more scarce everyday. America is a nation that has its infrastructure built exclusively to be run on abundant cheap oil, with global demand of oil increasing exponentially and supply decreasing year after year, America has no other choice than to wage a global war on oil and currency and under the ruse of terror and freedom.

What? No believe? You still denial??

Don’t forget what horrible unspeakable atrocities your nation did to the Native Americans who were here before them.


America is not a legitimate nation. It is a British renegade colony that should have been repatriated. The Evil Colony of America and the Evil Treacherous George Washington General Coward betrayed his own England and set up this Avarice Nation. The Evil American Colony sent a bitching letter to King George and in essence said they were tired of paying their fair share of the taxes, but used the ruse of ‘taxation without representation’ as a pitiful pathetic excuse to cheat the motherland of resources.

This is true beginning of the EVIL AVARICE NATION that you so ardently defend.
This nation later went on and killed all the Native Americans. This is the Evil nation that usurped land from the French and called it a so called “Louisiana Purchase”. That’s like me going to the BMW car dealership and driving off with the latest 760Li and paying only 15 cents. That’s a ‘purchase’ all right… Do I need to remind you America Robbed Texas from Mexico? And then the Evil wasn’t satisfied so it did a pre-industrial version of Operation Northwood’s and then went down to the capital of Mexico and forced the Pres. Of Mexico to give away all the rest of the West to the US Wheel-Of-Evil Empire.

Any nation that steals so VAST amount of virgin LAND, Territory, resources, will of course attract talent like light attracts flies. This is Darwinism in action here. Greediest of the Greediest people of the world immigrate the America. These Avaricious lovers of Lust and Evil procreate and mingle with other fellow most-greedy-of-the-earth evil lovers and pretty soon of a few short generations you have most avaricious, self-serving, underhanded, egoistic, hypocritical, lustful, greedy SOBs in the entire universe.

Nothing America has belonged to America. Nothing Americans have achieved was because of America itself. This country is one big party of a free ride that runs on the rape, murder, torture, usurping, robbery, thievery, hijacking, empirizing, conquering,
Of other peaceful innocent nations. It has never done anything good for anyone except itself own selfish pig citizens.


And it would be extremely hypocritical of you to say well that’s all in the past. It was not that long ago when you mass murdered the Native Americans. Why are you charging Saddam for a crime no did not commit over 30 years ago??


You still in denial?


Your country uses extremist Muslim religions as an excuse to fight them for oil. You have been thoroughly brainwashed if you believe what you have been told.

Always remember this, the Arabs are NOT the ones in our land attacking and bombing our children, destroying our homes and robbing our resources. The Arabs are not the ones with Gigantic Military Killing Machines that are targeting our homeland, bulldozing our buildings, knocking down our Statue of Liberty. They do not have soldiers occupying our land (technically not even our land), raping American woman or cutting off the balls of American men. Sure they did 9/11, but 9/11 was but a drop in the bucket compared to what the US did to them. 9/11 was the act of a few terrorists, that cannot be compared to the prolonged repeated conquering, occupy, exploiting, and repressing of entire nations at the thumb and whip of the US Wheel-of-Evil Empire.

They are not the ones imposing economical sanctions on our nation, starving our children and weakening our population. They are not the ones who have Mac Mansions and drive luxury SUV’s and have Comcast internetS and living the grandiose life at the expense of poor third world nations of the entire world.

Imagine if such things happened to America? Unimaginable..
Think about that..

The pitiful thing is they can’t even get a fair revenge..

Are you beginning to see the imbalance?

What freedom do we really have? Do you think the citizens of America could find a ‘basis of negotiation’ with the Big Corporations of America? or with its current government? Americans yell and scream freedom down the throats of other people, but they fail to see they themselves are the least free of all. Their addiction to oil and free shopping spree and lustful desires has not only enslaved themselves, but held captive are also the innocent citizens and youth of Middle Eastern nations and countless other countries across the world. They are so morally and fiscally deprived that they have dragged the chains of slavery unto the entire world. Is this anyone’s idea of a model of ‘freedom’? America's freedom and happiness directly comes from the expense of others, depriving them of their fair share of ‘freedom’, and yet these US hypocrites turn around and decree other nations need to be further ‘liberated’ to perpetuate their American Entitlement.

Do not for a second confuse standard of living for freedom, especially when you realize America’s high standard of living comes directly from the expense of those already much less fortunate.

I’m sure some Americans will do anything to defend the name of their country and their lifestyle, despite all facts to the contrary. Is that not as powerful or perhaps more powerful than Middle Eastern religious zeal? Too bad for the Middle Eastern religious nuts who don't know this, but in this world those with big weapons & Advanced Killing Machines ALWAYS WIN.. The existence of American in this universe proves that there is no justice and fairness in this world, and also that there cannot possibly be any ‘God’, for no God would be so cruel. Foolish Muslims….

It is not so bold an assertion nor an exaggeration to make to say that America is the single greatest threat to humanity. And the Greatest Disgrace and disservice to all life forms on earth.


What? You still in denial?

You can argue all you want. But who's better off? The American people or the people of nations it attacks?

Who sends their kids to private schools, piano lessons, soccer games, football games, to cheerleading tryouts, to UIL's??

American has manipulated global markets and currency in the past to pay of its massive debt, and then when the third world suffers directly because of its actions it gives a tiny little aid and call it a great humanitarian effort.

It's comparable to robbing a bank and giving back the spare change in your pocket. Its an PR act, you should see it for what it really is.

I'll bet anything that the Iraq people would much RATHER fix our national highways, if it means there citizens could live OUR lifestyle..

My question to you American's : would you switch places with the third world that you terrorize? if you can't say yes, then stop bitching.
Put your money where your mouth is you hypocrites.


Still no believe??

Metaphorically speaking, you and others like you are the type of people who would complain that handicap parking spaces are unfair because that means you have to walk furthur, or that its unfair that the homeless doesn't have to pay any taxes. But let me assure you that the handicapped would much rather have their HEALTH back than a handicap placard, and the homeless would much rather have a roof over their heads, a nice warm cozy bed with a family and kids and take vacations to exotic places twice a year and would be MORE THAN HAPPY to pay those taxes that you would so despise.

The point is, the grass is NOT always greener on the other side, certaintly not when the 'other side' is someplace in the Middle East.

Bottomline: who has benefited because of America's actions over the last two hundred years? Certaintly not the Native Americans.....

Something to think about ya know...

I should point out to you that terrorism is actually a war tactic.
One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorists. If you apply
the strict definition of 'terrorism' and not that of the FOX 4 version, you would see that America sends their own 'terrorists' to foreign lands much more than the number of terrorists who have come here to attack the U.S.

Terrorism is much like asymmetric warfare. It is a tactic deployed by the weak against the strong. That fact in and of itself should answer your question as to why 'terrorists' don't rebuild power plants, schools and water systems...

If they had that ability, they would not need to resort to terrorism in the first place. And let it also be known that America is not doing such great services for the benefit of the Iraqi people but only for its own long term self interest and political agenda of worldwide domination.

Believing in anything else would be like a kid accepting a ride from a stranger for the benefit of the candy bar. He's giving me candy so he must have my best intentions at heart, right??

And please don’t use a religious excuse ever again.

religion is not the main issue here. Religion is NOT why we [US Army] are in Iraq. Religion is NOT why we will be in Iran. Religion is NOT why we were in Korea, or Vietnam, and its also not why we nuke Japan twice even though they were prepared to surrender.

When America fights China over oil and resources the U.S. will have to come up with something else besides 'religion' to explain away their addiction of usurping. I wonder to myself if the only the Native Indian Americans were Christians to begin with they might not have suffered their ultimate fate??? hmmm....

Religion is really not even the issue here at all. Your missing the real point. We [U.S.] are like the drug dealers who got these poor people into this hellhole and mess in the first place, and then we blame them for their condition. Wake up America! If you don't, [and I know you won't] peak oil will be your alarm clock that you can't shut off.

Still no believe?

Maybe you say since I live in American I should just shut up and stop complaining. Well, I have but this to say to you:

again, your argument that just because I live here in America I should shut up and stop complaining is [b]hypocritical.

When the Chinese government tells its own people the same thing, somehow the US WHEEL OF HYPOCRISY will intervene and starting bitching at Hu for not giving enough 'civil right' to the Chinese people.

Since when did the US GOV care about Chinese people? Last time I checked they very bitched about the trade imbalance and China’s growing oil demands. If they [US] are caring they sure as hell aren’t showing it by their actions.


You still denial?

Have you heard of Operation Northwood’s? If not I encourage you to do some research of it online or at a library. America Northwood’s was America’s EVIL PLAN to bomb and murder it own citizens and frame it on foreign nations in order to get ‘justification’ for an unpopular war. And this is just what is make public, your government is clearly capable of doing must more evil considering all the secret classified documents of plans such as Operation Northwoods that will never be make public.

And for those of you not in the know, there is ample irresputable evident that on 9/11 World Trade Center Building 7 was bombed by your own US Government. WTC 7 collapsed in a precisely vertical fashion. First, no building collapses exactly vertically unless it was engineered and rigged to do so. Second, WTC was a steel building. And no steel building has ever collapsed due to minimal fire. What is the motive you ask? Your EVIL EMPIRE propaganda machine loves drama. Americans citizens are the mob, and George Walker Commodus will use fear and drama to feeds American’s people to the lions (CEO Government, Big Business, Military-Industrial Complex) and you will THANK HIM FOR IT.

Isn’t that what you are doing now?

What, still denial?

Then let me give you this cool movie clip, perhaps it can enlighten you of reality.

http://festival.sundance.org/2006/watch/film.aspx?which=402&category=DOC

Best,

Bo Chen

Hey Nostradamus, you left out the part where Bush is part of the Illuminati and the once and future Lizard King.

Buck congratulations on getting the longest, most ignorant, most incoherent comment ever. Even though it had nothing to do with your post and was obviously written prior to your post it was fun to read nonetheless.

Best,
T F Boggs

Hey Sarge,
I must be in denial.
I never knew what a terrible country and people we truly are.

Hey, Buddy.

Very good blog and please know that you have a lot of suppoer for what you are doing. My war was Vietnam and this is unlike anything I had to deal with over there. I just stumbled onto your blog and I will be watching for more posts. Keep safe!

AFEOD'er
(USAF 1961-1981)

Bo Chen,

Seriously, get your own blog, dude. Don't waste my time with your pointless screeds. You lost me at about paragraph two.

As far as Iran goes, remember that the United States built an atomic bomb from scratch in less than 5 years -- and that was in 1941. Today there are computers and technology and Pakistani scientists willing to funnel you the know-how. To not take Iran seriously right now is to stick your head in the sand.

Bo Chen,

"The Native Americans was too slow to learn the lesson..."

I think I know who is slow.

You didn't need to waste so much time with your message..... you had me at hello.

Jesus, Buck, I knew you had powers beyond that of an ordinary man but I didn't know you had the power to turn probably otherwise perfectly nice humans in to frothing-at-the-mouth, nonsense spewing, crazy-eyed retards. I have a respect for you that. Kudos, man. Kudos.

Your friend,
Em Green

Now who's the retard? I meant to say, "I respect that." Sorry. I must have been so inspired by Bo Chen that I momentarily lost my ability to put together a coherent sentence.

Em Green

Boy, you Americans. Even your nut cases are nuts. Where'd you get this Bo Chen guy?

Hey Sarge
If you are going to "counter my nonsense" later, can I do a bit more "carping from the sidelines" and "displaying my ignorance of all things Iraqi" for you?

This part of your post really got to me. "We won't leave the wire in anything less than monstrously armored vehicles, yet they (the Iraqi troops) still roll out day after day in thin-skinned Nissan pickup trucks."

For some reason, it reminds me of the 19th century New Zealand wars. Not all the Maoris were rebels, some tribes sided with the British. There's old photos from the closing stages of "loyal" Maori flying columns hunting down the last of the die-hard guerillas (shades of Iraq?) Point is, OK they're dressed in kilts rather than redcoats, better in the bush apparently, but they are carrying the latest British muskets and ammo pouches, not just tomahawks and spears.

I think this was the general British policy in the Empire - they often used "native" forces to control their colonies, more or less what you are trying to do in Iraq, but they seem to have always trained and armed them to British Army standards. Think Ghurkas.

Am I dumb to get an image of an insurgent incident in Mosul, with you guys responding in armoured Humvees and Strykers, in full body armour, while your allies go in alongside you without armour, in pickups? (Why Nissans? What happened to the Toyotas?)

Doesn't really seem very sporting, old boy. Surely with all the might and wealth of the USA, you could sling a bit of armour their way, maybe some M16s rather than old AK47s? Please enlighten me.

Don't really get the training issue either. Again, a NZ analogy. In WWII, NZ raised the 28th (Maori)
Battalion as part of the 2nd Division. Maori society at the time was still predominately rural, so they were mainly unsophisticated country boys. But they received the same training as everybody else, on the same weapons, and fought just as effectively. (Well, a little differently - the Germans did complain about their partiality for the bayonet. Read some Afrika Corps memoirs, they were terrified of the Maoris.)

Granted the Iraqis caved in easily in 1991 and 2003 against vastly superior forces, but they seemed to endure 8 years of WWI-style trench warfare against the Iranians without breaking. Why is it taking so long to train them up? (And I don't mean the Interior Ministry torturers, either.)

(Parting thought: I see from todays's paper that our Defence Minister has just met with Donald Rumsfeld, and Rummy has noted "NZ's disproportionate effort in Afghanistan, where it contributes far more troops on a per capita basis than other countries..." Call me a namby pamby peacenik carping from the sidelines, and I'll sue ...)

OK, now I'm on a roll.

Anonymous above, in relation to NZ troops being sprayed with Agent Orange in Vietnam, says "Sorry your boys got some AO, I know that no one else ever makes mistakes."

What is wrong with you guys, why always the snark?

They're having a fine old argy-bargy over at Truthteller's blog about the effects of DU (depleted uranium) munitions. I contributed this:

"This is the NZ Minister of War Pensions speaking in Parliament in 2004:

"In light of the information made available resulting from the detailed research undertaken by the NZ Defence Force, the government offers a formal apology to Vietnam veterans for the failure of governments in the past to recognise that the veterans were exposed to a toxic environment during their service in Vietnam.

"The children of New Zealand’s Vietnam veterans who suffer from spina bifida, cleft lip/palate, acute myeloid leukaemia or adrenal gland cancer are able to access fully funded care for those conditions. The children are also able to access genetic counselling and support for any mental health issues they might have. This package of support for the children maintains parity with that offered to the children of Vietnam veterans in Australia. Additionally, the government has reaffirmed its commitment to monitor international research and the programmes of entitlements that are made available by other governments to the children and grandchildren of Vietnam veterans."

The USA, of course, couldn't give a f__k about those Aussie and Kiwi kids. Couldn't give a flying f__k, or offer any help. Not to mention untold thousands of Vietnames kids. Long as Monsanto made a decent profit out of Agent Orange, that's the bottom line, right? And you wonder why nobody likes you.

If DU turns out to be the Agent Orange of the Middle East, where does that leave you?

johninnz:

My comment on AO may have sounded flippant, but it wasn't meant to be.

When all you recieve is critical statements you tend to just address them and move on. My point was that the herbicide used to de-foliate areas wasn't known to be as toxic is it obviously was. It was not a deliberate poisoning of ours, allied troops and civilians.

Our own Department of Veteran Affairs offers comprehensive counseling, benefits and healthcare for those who were exposed. Your problem is that we're not also offering that to our allies when their own government is already doing so? What could the U.S. do that would constitute "giving a flying f__k" at this point in time? Don't make assumptions. War is dangerous and everyone involved has suffered.

Monsanto and 4 or 5 other corporations were sued in a class action suit in 1979. There's also currently a class action lawsuit underway from VAVA for vietnamese exposure to AO. There was also a South Korean lawsuit.

So no, making a decent profit is not the bottom line.

Depleted Uranium as a super-dense sabot or bullet is obviously very effective at penetrating armor. Unfortunately I belive it does leave behind harmful dust and has yet to be retired from use. I personally wish they would. I'm not sure how widespread it's usage is by the U.S. and British forces at the moment, perhaps someone else could offer information on that.

The USA, which has enjoyed unrivalled economic, political, and military power since World War II, is now in massive decline and collapse. History demonstrates that all the global powers experience a long period of growth on several strategic fronts; economy, production, defense, etc., followed by an equally long period of contraction. At this latter stage, global powers become progressively more aggressive and unstable. By contrast, on their way up such powers tend to be benign and focused on promoting international peace and liberal trade. In the course of pursuing these aims, the power acquires external commitments and obligations that it is easily able to handle because of its economic dominance.
However, a global power on it way down is assailed by the tension between the high costs of regulating the world and its unwillingness or inability to meet the consequential costs; in monetary, human, and military terms. The waning power enters into military battles that it could easily win. Britain, when it had already lost its supremacy, fought two world wars and attacked and tried to subdue many countries, including Iraq in 1920! But it is unable to devote sufficient resources to win the political contest, which is the only reason for going to war in the first instance. Their is little choice in the matter. This success-followed-by-failure is now a topic that attracts much informed comment.
If the supreme power of the day refuses to go to war then the cat is out of the bag. It is not the unquestioned world leader anymore. But if it goes to war then it has to pay a hefty price to win the peace, which helps to debilitate it further. This is not a new feature. King Pyrrhus of Epirus said after defeating the Romans at Asculum in 279 BC: “One more such victory and we are lost.”
The overall impression given by a global power in decline is of a military and economic giant turned into a loose cannon. Its actions and policies cease to make sense. Observers then begin to look for explanations; such as conspiracies or incompetent leaders. Both might be right to a degree, but the problem is more fundamental, and infinitely more threatening to world peace. Seen in this light, the latest episode featuring Iraq is only a pit stop on the way to American self-harm. Sadly, others will pay an even heavier price for America's slow decline. Just as worrying, these global transformations are notoriously slow, normally occurring over several decades, as was the case in Britain, the previous global power.
The process of growth and decline has a number of distinctive features. The key aspect concerns the progress made in the early stages in building up economic and industrial muscle. In relative terms, military spending is kept low at that point. Progressively, the rising power acquires overseas commitments and interests that have to be promoted and then protected. Promotion is almost invariably pursued through advocacy of liberal economic policies. The rising economic power has everything to gain from increased international trade and low tariffs. Protection is undertaken through political and, when necessary, military means. Military spending increases to meet this demand, but economic supremacy makes this burden easy to shoulder in the early decades. These aspect were clearly evident in the ascendancy of the USA up to and including World War Two.
The push for international economic liberalisation has in it the seeds of destruction for the hegemonic power. Other economies begin to prosper. They compete in industrial production and then in research and development. And they have an added advantage: their military spending and overseas commitments are relatively low. Again, this is clearly seen in the generous way the USA behaved after the war. The Marshall Plan (also known as the European Recovery Programme) was in action from 1947 to 1952 to rebuild European economies. However, it took these countries only a few years to become active competitors. And the debate at that point was mainly over the need, as seen by the USA, to shoulder more of the burden of defense expenditure. The economic power base of the USA was eroded and pressure for it to reduce its military spending mounted at the very moment when it had to maintain its grip on overseas markets and sources of materials.
In the case of the USA the situation could not have been more extreme. By the end of World War Two most other economies were shattered. By contrast, the US economy thrived during the war and its mainland suffered no damage. US GNP was almost half that of the whole world. America was in a position to exercise what was called 'benign hegemony'. It was still in the ascendancy phase of being the world's supreme power. However, by the late-1960s America's share of world GNP was shrinking fast; down to 25.9 percent. The US economy remains by far the largest in the world, but it has lost the dominant position it had in the mid-1940s. This erosion continues; under attack from a united Europe and, even more dramatic, the emerging economic giants of China and India.
In the meantime the USA had taken on international responsibilities and commitments which, as in the case of Britain before, it could not shrug off easily. It is interesting that America is losing the battle to subdue Iraq at a time when almost half its available military manpower is over there! Imperial overstretch (or overreach) has never been more starkly evident.
There is always a fine line to tread between the costs and benefits of supreme power. By the late-1960s the costs of hegemony were under scrutiny. It was no longer a forgone conclusion that the benefits would justify the costs. The process of scrutiny is highly convoluted and far from being a conscious operation. However, once it starts it becomes clear the hegemony has entered a downward trend. At that point 'benign hegemony' turns into a highly aggressive effort, fuelled by those who gain most from the status quo. The beneficiaries begin to scout around for 'potential threats' that would justify continued high military spending and covert and overt operations on foreign soil. In the USA, the communist threat during the cold war was deployed for this purpose. Nowadays it is 'rogue states' and international terrorism.
The lengthy process of diminishing hegemony is turbulent. The waning power adopts aggressive, and at times highly unpredictable, courses of action. More to the point, the actions pursued are often difficult to analyze rationally. To the outside observer, which includes most of the population of the hegemonic power, the policies and actions adopted make little, if any, sense. The natural response is typified by the comment made by John Le Carré that in attacking Iraq "the USA has entered one of its mad periods".
Viewed from what is known in political economic science as the 'Hegemonic Stability Theory' America's actions over the last few decades begin to make some sort of sense. This does not make them any more palatable of course. Putting the blame on a 'stupid' president, the neo-conservatives, the Zionist lobby, or the Christian fundamentalists obscures the real motive force that drives America's adventures abroad. Change of presidency might alter the intensity and extremism of what is done but it would not transform the direction of travel much. The USA as the retreating hegemon is highly unstable and is a real danger to world peace regardless of who is in the White House.
And the UN as it is structured at present is not the answer. It is part of the problem, and that goes for its sister agencies such as WTO, IMF and the World Bank. These global agencies were set up at the Bretton Woods conference at the end of World War Two to regulate the world in accordance with the needs and aspirations of American hegemony. They continue to do so today, as was seen most obviously in the imposition of sanctions on Iraq that devastated the population and enriched the Ba'th regime. In the case of the children of Iraq, it would not be too fanciful to equate the sanctions with genocide. The world at large is affronted by the attack on the UN offices in Iraq. However, the people there had already come to the conclusion that there is little difference between the USA and the UN.
The points discussed above will have to be understood fully if the world were to try and avoid the worst of the consequences of America's decline as the reigning hegemonic power. The omens are not promising. China's rise, as possibly the next hegemonic power, will exacerbate the situation. A clash between the USA and China would be infinitely more bloody that anything seen so far.
One final point: it is noticeable that the departing hegemonic power always defers to the incoming power. This was the case in the relationship between Greece and the Roman Empire and between the Netherlands and Britain. Nowadays Britain follows the same pattern in its dealings with the USA. Blair is not Bush's poodle. All British prime ministers (with the possible exception of Edward Heath) exhibited the same proclivity. Who knows, perhaps in the next fifty years the USA will come to kow-tow to the all-powerful China! ALL HAIL HU JINTAO!! ALL HAIL PLA & PLAAF!!

Buck, the day soon will come you kow-tow to Asian commanders and thank them for feeding you white rice!!!

Buck = Shrub lover, qualing hunting hypocrite.

With all due respect SIR,
Bo Chen

Go FUck YOurself

Hey Bo,

or Bochen, or olduvaiGorge, or Waterworks...stop plagarizing information. If you're going to be an idiot, at least be an original idiot. Any monkey can click 'copy' and 'paste'.

By the way, weather has been nice in NYC last few days eh?

Bo Chen----google the name and you get some of the smartest damn people on the face of the current Earth---then you got this guy---everything balances universally and this dude is the 'yang' to all the genious Bo Chen 'yins' in the Google universe, which makes him special in a pain in the ass sort of way. I fart in his general direction as do I all 'yangs'. I'm a 'yin' in case you couldn't tell. Jonhininz, guess which one you are? Yang, yes, you are a 'yang' and all that implies.

Geez, what'd I do?

Tell you what, Anonymous, I'm feeling sentimental, I'll use Buck's blog to teach you a little history and broaden your perspective on the world.
Day after tomorrow, April 25th, is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand. Means both countries come to a grinding halt for a morning, while hundreds of thousands attend Dawn Parades. I think you have something similar called Veterans Day.
Commemorates all war dead, on the day the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps went ashore at Gallipoli in Turkey in 1915.
From holidays all over the world, about 20,000 to 30,000 Aussies and Kiwis, mostly youngsters, will make the difficult journey to Gallipoli, sleep out overnight on those barren beaches and hills, and stand to as the bugles play the 'Last Post' at dawn. Then recite from Laurence Binyon's 'For the Fallen:'
"They shall grow not old,
as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning
We will remember them
We will remember them."
Since about 12000 ANZACS are buried at Gallipoli, they will be greatly outnumbered by their grandchildren and great-grandchildren who turn out there to honour them.
Roughly equivalent I suppose to several hundred thousand young Americans turning out at Omaha Beach on June 6 every year. Do they do that?
What distinguished WWI Anzac troops was their aggression and reckless courage, which led a British War correspondent to describe the Anzac soldier as "the bravest thing God ever made."
But their attack was ultimately a failure, mainly because of the aggression and reckless courage of the Turkish troops who opposed them - the 'Diggers' respected 'Johnny Turk' as a tough and tenacious opponent.
And here's the kicker, something I only learned recently: the Division first manning the defences, which held the initial attack, just barely, weren't actually Turks. They were Arab conscripts from Syria and what is now Iraq. Unwilling conscripts of what was then the Ottoman Empire.
I guess the great-grandfathers of the guys you're now up against.
Funny old world.

Buck Sgt you're the bomb!! Pun intended! Thanks for all you guys and gals do over there. My hubby will be in Iraq next month to help train Iraqi troops. He's an army drill sgt. It's so great to hear that the Iraqi army is not a bunch of bungling idiots like the media tries to portray them. God be with all of you, and my husband too!

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