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THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD


Nothing says 'welcome' quite like flowers in expended tank rounds.
Livening up the place, as only a Baghdadi could.
photo by Buck Sargent


Those who do not do battle for their country do not know with what ease
they accept their citizenship in America.
-Dean Brelis, The Face of South Vietnam


Nobody likes you,
Everyone left you,
They’re all out without you,
Having fun.
-Billie Joe Armstrong, Homecoming

THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD
A Buck Sargent Epilogue

As the dense fog of war clouded uncommon senses
Amidst a drumbeat of electoral media spin,
Did the war Propheteers begin to swing for the fences
Knowing only on YouTube could a victory they win.

With the battles for dual capitals garnering nightly news play
Only then were homebound Strykers thus rerouted to stay,
The Shinseki Shintoists, they still clamored for more troops
Forcing us to jump through ever more and tighter hoops,
An unchecked inferno we were expected to douse
Futilely spitting on a flashpoint too late to salvage the House.

Though contentional wisdom had long since absentee voted
A conflict "drifting sideways" having duly been noted,
All over but the gloating and the measuring of curtains
The Biennial Defense Review of the electorate most certain.

Rumsfeldian intransigence ran ultimately afoul
Of a reluctance to neither escalate nor throw in the towel,
Staying the course in force discarded as fundamentally flawed
By an atonal majority who’d rather make war on the DOD
The enemy of our enemy are our friends it’s been called,
Uncharted waters demand further study-grouped fodder
More or less boots to suppress those thugs of al-Sadr?

Profiles in discouragement whose concept of leadership
Is only to grumble and grouch,
If have their say our forces we’d return right away
In toto straight back to Ft. Couch.

Though if perchance they deliver a sliver of some long-AWOL oversight
Of a conflict our own McClellans have so driven to distraction,
Have we simply bought another round of the usual 20/20 hindsight?
Bitter acrimony and pompous Capitol Hill intraction?
It remains to be seen if the new Washingtone will be serious
As class war traditionally the preferred combat experience,
A broad mandate did resonate across a far-reaching strata
An election year cheered by Al Gore and Al Qaeda.

Having passed off the reins to the new head of their state
Great pains have they taken to show our puppets they ain’t,
Al-Maliki to Arbusto: I’m not "your man" in Iraq
Just ask the Sadrmasochists pulling the strings in his back.
The rare enemy indeed have we had lined in our sights
Despite their daily exploding handiwork in this lopsided of fights,
The sound of one hand being tied down -- a familiar refrain?
Setting ourselves up for failure,
Remember won’t get fooled again?

Forced to tiptoe ‘round Ramadan to dodge lingering offenses
Still no rest for the wicked as they harden their defenses,
When the dozens of bodies that surface anew mainly
Serve no higher aim than above the fold of our dailies.

Not the best of Times nor the first of times
Their torturous logic as a stab in the dark,
A Tale of Two Papers in a turbulent era
Faulting our rejoinders for inspiring the terror.
A full-court press levied upon public opinion
Hysterical headlines that often read like the Onion,
"Nothing to fear but fear itself," their instruction
Ignoring the wrathful clearly seeking our destruction.

Comparisons newly made between Tet and today
Left untold & unmentioned: what it meant to that fray,
For it was not in the trenches where Charlie prevailed
But in American parlors once support jumped the rails.

Those foolhardy boys again would have us turn tail in disgrace
One public negativity scene they’d wholeheartedly embrace:
Repeating scenes of retreating choppers from another embassy roof
Of the human costs of gratification they remain shockingly aloof,
Hurry up and quit: the meme that dictates what is news
Their best Stratego move to end the war,
Still being for us to lose.

Al Jazeera "West" rates jihadi snuff films newsworthy
To them, propaganda: just what slanders the enemy,
Those cable newsful idiots feigning surprise at the controversy
Over aiding, abetting, and providing comfort to our anomie,
Kept far afield from returning flag-covered caskets
They’ve stooped to lower passion plays of cause and effect,
Surely a ratings bonanza in the heartland this must be
Film at eleven: soldiers shot through the neck.

Will we again see a conflict our fourth estate chronicles fairly?
One of triumphs and/or heroism
Not just base acts of terrorism?
Combining cons of the present with stilted prose of the past
To get us the hell out of Dodge and beat the horse to do it fast.

Watch them wait til ‘08 to abruptly notice we’ve not lost
A heritable albatross quickly shed at a veritable modicum of cost,
Saved up turgid praise for the inaugural gaze of a former First Lady
A "Fiasco" soon downgraded from virtual certainty to a maybe.

* * *

As for the ones truly caught between Iraq and a hard place
Her people so tired of pandemic death and corruption,
Of promised results from our sweep operations
Frustrations vented freely during foot-patrolled visits
Betrayed when rogue militias remain strictly off-limits.

Mahd squads of death roam free for Shia "protection"
Their presence pinned on our failure to crush the Baath insurrection,
Though neither side will back down until the other blinks first
A coin flip could settle whose deadly tactics are worse.
Festering wounds over Mohammad’s rightful successors
Have lay dormant under a veneer formerly masked by oppressors,
This sectarian bloodsport violently bubbling to the surface
Of a Mesopotamian smelting pot precariously balanced on a furnace
Where familial tribe feuds and millennial hatreds
Do continue to vex the Joint Chiefs of the service.

Iraqi foot soldiers, statesmen, and constabularies,
Have indeed grown in number as assure grinning four-star generals,
Though when quantity over quality remain the goals a priori
The only measurable progress: a steady uptick in funerals,
And as the go-to Five-O in this disturbing domestic dispute
We’re still balming all-too-common haji death blossoms to boot.

Every angle of this tangle been slyly stoked by noisome neighbors
Iran, Turkey, Syria -- please, don’t do us any more favors,
Each desperate to further a sense of martial lawless disorder
Lest the promise of self-government spilleth over their borders.

* * *

Three years and counting will tend to make realists
Out of even the loftiest and most committed of idealists,
The constant drippity, pity-drip of antiwarrior defeatism
Dovetailing in accordance with UNaccountable elitism,
All their tired Ugly American’t neocon trashing
Betrays the true State of Denial: our Rubiconian crossing.

We’re we soon to flee the field, World Opinion would it laud us
The EUnuchs, the Mullahs, the Turtle Bay City Rollers…
Once again would sing our praises and exultantly applaud us.
But can we afford once more to project such vacillation as a nation
Adding to Beirut and Somalia another "paper tiger" reputation?
Perhaps herein lies a shortcut for upholding one’s grit,
Reckon, What Would Jacques Do?
Then select the path most opposite.

Clowns to the Left of us
Jokers to the Right
Here we are,
Stuck in the Middle with you.

As public support troopwires the next political third rail
See: Freudian slips at our expense along the campaign trail,
The condescenti assume smugly our mental fatuity
Their tolerance of our kind a bare naked gratuity,
Though if ever they be willing to match IQ’s face to face
A heady challenge readily accepted any time, any place.

Would it that war is the Lord’s way of teaching Americans geography
And that only the mental homely could become "stuk n Irak,"
This institutional second class citizen soldiery
Was it not what volunteerism was meant in deed to redact?

Moxie warfare as proxy welfare?
We thought our service was sacrifice,
"Halp us," Jean Luc Kerry
Ketchup to the best and the brightest,
Until all can jet to Paris with our heiress meal tickets
The proud rabble that man the pickets:
¿Non, America’s finest?

Whereas some broods take leave to meander the Continent
A handful delay futures to shoulder million dollar equipment,
Not necessarily a matter of job insecurities
Young adults often detour on the spiral path to maturity,
As the sublime while away time between pubs, clubs, and hostels
Our rank and file are preoccupied with bloody hostile insurgencies.
But within our life vested nation,
The young and the listless,
The failures to launch,
This day cared generation,
So vulnerable to the worst of the print media distortions
That support less our cause than most late term abortions.

* * *

With our extension expiring and new return date drawing near
The photo finish of Secretariat: to enact his Santa clause this year,
We Sloppy 172nds -- of late Uncle Sam’s Choice --
To generically clown sandbagging units of renown:
"Ivy" league fobnobbing name brands of brothers
For whom 101 damnations could easily be voiced.

While it’s "Stryker this," and "Stryker that," and "Strykers go around,"
But it’s "Please to stay behind, sirs," when there’s trouble on the ground.

Nearly gone twice as long as time served in the womb
Billeted like cattle while Hang Man Walking still
Provided his very own room,
Were this a divine trial by fire of the limits of compliance
Testing our patience, our commitment, if not our defiance,
All the good, bad, and ugly entailed with a surrogate male family
Then friends, Groundhog Year doesn’t even begin to describe it:

Stale eleven bravado,
Fair-weathering wives,
DearJohns@AOL,
Frequent incommunicado,
We Suck the Least: our clandestine motto,
Latest of the BOHICAns: the story of our lives.

"Bend Over fellas, ‘cause Here It Comes Again…"
"That‘s a big ‘nay’"
"FTA"
"Laa laa shukran,"
Popped smoke, cut sling load, done shucked our last mag
Tagged out with the Cavalry left holding the Bagh.

* * *

In a headlong rush to cross more off the doctrinal list of to-do
Forced to swallow whole a vast commitment and toll
The size of which we’d be hard-pressed to chew,
A firsthand recommendation: drawdown all great expectations
Our aim trained no higher than it should,
And cease and desist from insisting the perfect
Remain forever the enemy of the good.

The loss of good men can make one question the why
Spurring a search for the answers for what did they die?
On behalf of ungrateful nations have our kin repeatedly bled
Over countless generations spanning acreage of war dead,
But for those who have fought for it has freedom truly been tasted,
On account of what otherwise would most assuredly amount to
Mere killing time well wasted.

The past is authored ultimately by the victors it’s said
In lieu of pseudo-scholar gossip so often first to be read,
We trust posterity will depict this vital period in our favor
As we’ll suffer not public scorn nor prattle scars of Vietneighbors.

Spurious blame and dubious claims dispatched Swift-ly
With spot-correcting truth serum verbatim,
Of our travails the annals shall be most kind indeed
For intend fully do we to write them.


This is the concluding Buck Sargent dispatch from the combat zone. (No really, he means it this time.) Final Tales from the Front is currently in development and will be posted within a few weeks upon arrival on American soil, after which Buck will be taking a well-deserved blogging hiatus to reconnect with his wife, family, and friends.

Regular progress reports will be forthcoming on the nascent documentary film project Give War a Chance. Continue to monitor American Citizen Soldier for updates. As always, Buck Sargent can be reached at americancitizensoldier@hotmail.com

He is thankful for each and every one of you and your unwavering support on this glorious Thanksgiving Day. Next stop: Home.

Buck...You are one heck of a soldier and writter. No doubt you could handle yourself, one on one or against a whole gaggle of political geese, with one hand tied behind your back. This writing should be posted for all to read and hopefully will reach many more than the lucky handful reading your blog. Best wishes for a good...make that an exceptional... homecoming and a sincere thank you for all that you have done. We will be watching for your next gig. :)
With great respect,
Annie & Neatie
Arizona

Make that heck of a writer Buck....Some of us out here aren't as talented as you are.

Buck we'll be waiting for those birds. Can't wait for all our guys to be home. Thank you from this stryker family, for all you have done.

We are Americans, we use our voice to vote! Vote for the best mil blog here:

http://wizbangblog.com/2003/12/01/2003-weblog-awards-nominations

Come home safe, Buck. Live the resot of your life with love and vigor.
Blessings

Come home safe and tell us all of what you have seen. It needs be heard throughout all this land that you have defended so well.

It is humbling to know that such good People defend this Nation, and I am made smaller, yet prouder, in that knowledge.

Never have so few,
Done so much,
For so many,
For so much criticism.

On a borrowed computer, so will read this more thoroughly when I'm back at home.

It's Thanksgiving here at home. I'm so thankful for you folks who are "taking care of business". Will be watching this site for news that you've made it home. Best, Katy

Absolutely brilliant Buck. Have a safe journey home. We will be patiently waiting while you catch up with family and friends. Thanks so much for everything. Godspeed.

FANS OF BUCK SARGENT PLEASE NOTE: THE 2006 WEBLOG NOMINATIONS CLOSE NEXT WEEK: VOTE AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS; http://2006.weblogawards.org/2006/11/nominations_best_military_blog.php

The addy posted by mamaworecombat boots if or 2003. No offence MWCB

Good stuff - will be back to re-read later at leisure. Thanks to you and your troops for everything -- I am blessed to live in this country, and have the protection of American troops. God Bless!

Beautiful, poignant and honest prose...Buck you are amazing. My favorite part? The last 3 words of the entire post...Next stop: home.

Hope you'll let us know when you are back on US Soil before you take your MORE than deserved hiatus.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Soldiers, and family. And to all our Military around the globe, my thanks. Godspeed.

God speed home, Soldier. Thank you for all you do for our country. And thanks big time to your family also.

Wish I could personally welcome you home, but my best wishes will have to do. Many of us back home are most grateful for you and your fellow soldiers.

Could it really be true? My Darling is finally returning to my side?! I am completely overwhelmed -crying, laughing but most of all filled to overflowing with so much love to pour out on the most precious man in the universe. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your support, your kind words, your thoughts and ideas which have challenged, supported and entertainment one of our greatest Americans -my husband. Darling, Welcome Home.
Love,
Mrs. Buck Sargent

These are wonderful poems. Thank you for sharing them.

So glad to hear you are FINALLY on your way home... thank you for allowing us to take this ride with you through your insightful posts.

Thank you for your service. We will always be grateful and we will never forget.

Have a safe journey home, Buck Sergeant. Your grateful country awaits you.

Buck,

Thanks and welcome home. Sounds like you may be a fellow 172d Snowhawk. You did good. Thanks to you and your family.

The Opinionator

Love the documentary title. Best of luck with it.

I cannot begin to tell you and all the other troops how very greatful and proud "I" am of all you accomplished. Sadly you fought against insurmountable odds, not on the field of battle, but the homefront. What is so very puzzling to me is why the nation as a whole are knuckling under to these "red" tinged destroyers of freedom and Democracy!!

Rest well weary soldier[s]. May you and yours forgive us one day. God Bless you all and keep you safe.

Incredible words to read ~
You and all the Strykers have done this country proud.

God speed on your way home, Sir!

As a Stryker Mom - who now has sand in the snow :) I wish you and your wife a well earned time together but will keep my eyes out for more from you - You helped me a lot through this rough time - THANK YOU!!!
A Happy Stryker Mom - they really are coming home!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm finally home, people. Tanks for the memories. It's been quite a year (and a half).

But as Ahnold said in T2: "Ah'll be back."

As well as: "I need a vacation..."

Welcome home, buck!!! Enjoy your stay with your family and friends, and much needed rest. Thank you so much for your service to our nation; for "being there". God bless!

Glad you are home and enjoying it, Buck....You're not reading these comments today....are you Buck. Thanks anyway.
a&n

YAYYAYAY! Welcome home Buck, welcome home to all of you.

Welcome Home Buck!

Hope you made it in time for Thanksgiving.

Thank you for your service and thank you for keeping this blog!

Fantastic, Buck!!!!! Welcome home to the ol' U S of A!!!!!

A tremendous THANK YOU to you, your wife and your family!!!

Christian

Hey Buck,

Welcome home, patriot!!!! Thanks for letting us know that you actually did make it back to U.S. soil safe and sound. Looking forward to hearing back from you after your well-deserved hiatus.

Wishing you lots of great memories made as you spend this time with the Mrs. and the rest of the family.

A hearfelt expression of gratitude to you and the rest of the Strykers for all your dedication and service to our country. You all have done this nation proud, damn it.

Happy trails...

It has been a pleasure reading your blog this last year; not only has it given incredible insight to the goings-ons in Iraq, but it has both heightened and challenged my writing skills.

May you have fair winds and following seas for your trip home Buck.

I am so happy for you, your fellow soldiers and your families. You all have made us all so very proud. Thank you for a job well done. Thank you for your tremendous sacrifices and your fsmilies. God Bless you all.

It'a been an honor, Buck!

Welcome Home!!! Oh! Welcome Home!!! Thank you all and your families!
Enjoy your well-earned homecoming ~

It warmed my heart to read that you are finally home. A huge welcome home to you and your buddies. I hope you have a very nice, well earned holiday season.

Although it's been said a bunch here, I need to add my "Welcome Home" to you, Buck, and all you fine warrior patriots. Hope you know just how much you're appreciated. Enjoy!

The return of the 172nd appears in a Newsweek article. Again: WELCOME HOME!!!

Christian

I've waited to hear this news for a long time. Welcome home, buddy.
-Fonz

Mrs. Buck Sergeant, I watched the video tribute to you on You Tube, and all I can say is you two are an AWESOME couple. May you have many beautiful years together.

To all coalition troops serving or who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan:

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Watch your six.

Merry Christmas Buck and Mrs. Buck Sargent.

Merry Christmas to you Buck and your family. Special thoughts and holiday wishes to our Military members near and far, and their families.

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