Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dude!

I must say, this past week has been quite exciting. On the morning of August 25, half my company convoyed in filthy and battered Strykers from Baqubah to Taji, our final mission of the deployment. Taji was our second home in Iraq and our springboard into Baghdad during the winter months. Now it acts as a staging area to get equipment, vehicles and men home next month.

Every trivial action was exhilarating when you realize it’s the last time you’ll ever do it. Loading a magazine, chambering a round, catching a warm desert breeze in your face going down the road for the final time. The air of finality is intoxicating, and you can feel it in your bones and see it in the face of everyone around you. A great burden was lifted as soon as we pulled into the wire and safety of Taji. We flew from Kuwait to Mosul on July 21, 2006, 72 hours after my twenty-first birthday. We ended operations on August 25, 2007. For exactly 400 days we held onto our humanity the best we could, sometimes forgetting we had it. The day we got to Baqubah and a Stryker had already been destroyed by an IED, I was on a rooftop with a bird’s eye view of everything around. Rockets and tracers were going overhead and buildings were catching fire. I looked at the carnage happening below, with my heart in my throat, and repeated in my head, how are we going to get out of this? How are we going to get out of this? I didn’t even know my friend was dead yet.

But everything that has a beginning has an end. After 400 days, we’re done. Over with! For my French readers, Le Fin. In a few short weeks we’ll return home with happy, yet heavy, hearts. Thanks to the recent L.A. Times article that quoted me and likely brought you here, my readership has grown exponentially. And with it, come the doubters and naysayers who question the accuracy and integrity of my writing (a soldier who doesn’t spew administration talking points? Has the whole world gone bonkers?!). All this attention is new and strange to me, so I googled myself to see what is out there. I came across a message board thread on a military website titled: Army of Dude: Is Alex Horton a real person? Why, yes. Yes I am. I am not a figment of someone’s imagination and I’m not a fiction writer. I wish I was that creative. In light of Beauchamp’s recent adventures, some have sneered that I should write for The New Republic (a shot at my supposedly doubtful credibility). I’m not sure my word means anything on the internet, but if you’re really adamant about busting me, blogosphere, give it a try!

I’m glad to have a bigger forum than a week ago, regardless of the critical fallout. The intention of this blog from day one was to chronicle my experiences in a way for people to understand and interpret what was going on beyond what was being filtered, distilled and spat out of the mainstream media. When the deputy prime minister came to Baqubah for the first time a few weeks ago, an envoy of officers followed. Captains, lieutenant colonels and generals all took part in the tour of the local shops and visits with the residents. We were ordered to stay out of any pictures taken. Why? To falsely show that the Iraqi Army was in charge and we were on the sidelines.

In the last month of the deployment, on one of our few days off, we risked our lives so the Army, at some level, could throw a rose colored lens onto a news camera for the benefit of...I don’t know who.

Later on that day, a two star general got on our truck to be escorted back to the base. The captains and colonels around him talked about how Diyala was really shaping up and that Baqubah would be a shining example of the surge in no time, thanks in part by the 1920s! This was great for me to see and hear, because I finally got it. It took me fifteen months, but my epiphany was complete. Generals see Iraq in a unique way for two reasons. One, they take the word of anyone under them, which will almost always be positive no matter what. I doubt many have the guts to tell a general that things aren’t going exactly as planned. And two, they view Iraq in quick spurts with over-the-top security measures. I took a picture of the mob next to the deputy prime minister’s SUV, and there was an entourage of no less than fifteen American and Iraqi soldiers in a span of ten feet. Needless to say, the two star was well protected. We’ve walked the most dangerous streets on planet earth with less people. Surprise, some of us have a different perspective on the way this country is going.

I’m not a radical or an extremist, as you might think. My biggest fans are in my platoon. The most common thing I hear from them is, this is what I’ve been thinking the whole time. So my thoughts and ruminations aren’t entirely unique. I just simply have the attention of people to tell it to in the country we left behind fifteen months ago.

President Eisenhower warned of the growing military industrial complex in his farewell address. Since Dick Cheney can now afford solid gold oil derricks, it’s safe to say we failed Ike miserably. After losing two friends and over a dozen comrades, I have this to say:

Do not wage war unless it is absolutely, positively the last ditch effort for survival.

I was a struggling senior in high school when the invasion took place, and I supported it. I was mesmerized by the way we raced across the desert and took Baghdad in less than a month. War was a sleek, glossy commercial on TV, and we always won at the end. It’s easy to be for a war when you have absolutely no connection with it. Patriotism lead me to believe what we were doing was right and noble. What a difference a deployment can make.

The public can do something about this. It doesn’t have to be a hopeless cause forever. Write your Congressmen, go to a rally, read as much as you can about Iraq to see it for what it is: a place men go to lose their minds and their lives. And most importantly, love your children. Teach them that war is not honorable, it’s no plaything cast with an indifferent hand. It’s the most terrible thing man ever brought to the world. My generation didn’t learn from Vietnam, but the next one can learn from us. The memories and spirit of Chevy and Jesse compel you, America. Do not forget your fallen sons.

AH

130 comments:

Anonymous said...

Alex~ This is my first public comment on your blog, and most likely my last. I am truely proud of everything you've said on here! With the tour ending i hope you never forget what we've done here, and i vow to never forget what an inspiration you've been to the entire platoon. So, on behalf of them, THANK YOU FOR SHARING OUR STORY

You're favorite roomie,
Josh

Anonymous said...

Thank god there are people like you.

Anonymous said...

awesome job on staying alive dude, now get your ass on tv

Ron said...

Great post Alex. Keep them coming,Americans need them.

DudsOne

Anonymous said...

Alex, Thanks for your insight over the past several months. Having two sons in the military one readying for his second deployment and one currently downrange, the close minded of our nation can rest assured that you are in fact real. Your stories are amazingly similar to those I hear first hand. Have a safe trip home and God Bless You.

Jeff said...

"Army of Dude: Is Alex Horton a real person?" By God, he sure is, and as his father, not only can I attest to the fact of his existence since I was there watching when he came into the world 22 years ago, I proclaim to all readers (and especially to occasional wise-guy naysayer) how proud I am of my son. Not just for his service, something he has in common with hundreds of thousands of brave men and women, but also for the voice he has given to many of those multitudes, to the many who feel what Alex feels but can't articulate or make known their own stories.

Every dad wants their son to grow up to be special. Alex has found what makes him special. He has the ability to use words to arouse a variety of strong emotions in a lot of people's hearts. That's a rare and wonderful gift indeed. He's taken just the first few tottering steps on the path of his new life and I'm looking forward to following his work for the rest of my days.

I love you, Alex! See you very soon!

Dad

Carol G said...

God Bless you, Alex. May your voice speak long and clear. Your integrity is sorely needed by this world.

Cindy said...

Alex, I am one of those who has just recently discovered your blog. I immediately forwarded the link to all of the young people in my family. I want them to know what is really going on there (as best as can be expected from their very safe quarters here) and to know what "support our troops" should really mean.
I hope that you and all of your fellows get home soon safely. Keep it up. You are doing important work here.

Anonymous said...

Good luck.

What do you think your odds are of being stop-lossed and re-deployed in a year?

I would imagine they are pretty high, particularly if/when Cheney starts bombing Iran (presumably in the near future).

Patrick said...

Inspiring. I think you will join the ranks of former soldiers like Erich Maria Remarque, who cut through the crap and tell the real story of what war is.

There is a movement back here to end this war and all needless wars, and you can help lead it.

Get home safe.

Anonymous said...

You're a damn traitor and a coward.

Were it not for liberal bleeding-hearts like you, we actually could have won this war years ago, but your posturing and worrying over the "feelings" of terrorists is what keeps them fighting us. These are remorseless godless murderers who want nothing better than to kill us all. Have you forgotten 9/11 and 7/7?

These people want to kill us, and all you want to do is run away from your responsibility. Go and run, coward. The army is no place for a loser like you, who has enough time to badmouth his superior officers but not enough to actually make a difference in this war.

Some of us know what it means to give of ourselves and to sacrifice our comfort for the good of our country and countrymen. It's obvious that you can't.

Daniel said...

Another fan from the other side of the world (Australia) checking in. For a dude who's just spent 400 days in the shittiest clusterfuck of the 21st century you've somehow managed to produce a thrilling, tragic take on this absurd abortion of an occupation, written with courage, clarity and humour. Thank you got an absorbing read, best wishes and a safe return.

dl

Jeff said...

To anonymous posting at 8:50 am:

I'd like to meet you in person someday so you can tell me to my face that my son is a traitor and a coward. I'd sure straighten your dumb ass out.

Alex is the latest in an unbroken string of fathers and sons who have served in the military going all the way back to an ancestor who was killed at Gettysburg. We have served in the War Between the States, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Grenada and now the Middle East. Where have YOU served, so that we all my judge YOU?

Alex's Dad And Damned Proud Of It!

Carla said...

Alex:

You have served your country honorably, kept your humanity intact (albeit a challenging effort), and are courageously and honestly sharing your experiences for those of us at home, those serving or about to serve.

As for 8:50am poster--Can we assume you are a combat veteran or currently serving in Iraq or Afghanistan? Yes, there are those who want to kill us. Alex was fired at by them and fired back. Have you read his entire blog? It's hardly a cushy life he has led for the past 400 days.

You seem to imply that all the inhabitants of the Middle East are terrorists. If that indeed is your conclusion after direct experience in that part of the world I fear for your soul, and am sad for you, your friends and family.

Alex has given of himself for his country and will continue to do so for the rest of his life. We welcome him back as a true patriot.

Wess Daniels said...

I only wish I would have found out about your blog a long time ago, I hope you keep writing.

Sean Peters said...

From the 0850 post: "You're a damn traitor and a coward....

[Signed] Anonymous

Irony is truly dead. You libel a guy who's been getting his ass shot at for the past year+ as a "coward", and don't even have the guts to sign your name. Typical.

Zach said...

I just wanted to leave another note pretty much saying you kick ass.

My brother's on his 4th round "over there" (meaning Quatar/UAE, Iraq, A'stan); he recommended your weblog to me. It's big reading in his unit.
It's funny how infuriating some of this contracter shit would be to people IF THEY ONLY KNEW ABOUT IT.

Anonymous said...

Great, I cannot fathom how wretched a human being could be who could slander a veteran, one who has lost friends no less. That is disgusting, I have an immense amount of respect for you, and for the troops, while I do not support this war, I do support the troops.

You fight, you do your job, and to be slandered by a neocon coward, is inappropriate. What the Administration and the leaders of the Pentagon have managed to do is fail (somehow) to learn anything from previous conflicts. Too many have died from the ignorance, hubris, and stupidity of the senior leadership. It's a damn shame.

Thanks,
Andrew

Christos said...

Alex - I am happy to read that you are returning back to your home. Once again thank you for sharing with us your experience. And that experience has made you a better person, one that will benefit your country and your family in the coming years.

As for the "anonymous" idiot that wrote that garbage, I can only say that you my friend is the coward hiding behind the fake anonymity that the internet gives you. Sure I would love to know where YOU have served to call others that just came from hell cowards.

Christos

BillD said...

Thank you for your service.

Don't worry about Anonymous. When we returned from RVN many years ago we heard similar nonsense from the other end of the political continuum. It didn't mean anything then. And it sure as H*ll doesn't mean anything now.

No one who was ever "there" would ever say such things. Only a cowardly nonhacker would. He knkows what he is.

Watch your six.

--Blue Girl said...

Jeff, hell of a job on the childrearing. You raised a fine son and a good man.

Alex, I'm relieved that you are at the end of the ops cycle and look forward to postings from stateside.

As to the deranged "anonymous" poster who besmirches your patriotism, he's a craven coward himself and a jackass deluxe. They grow ever more desperate as they lose their tenuous grip on ill-gotten power. Mock him, laugh at him, ridicule him and heap upon him the abuse he so richly deserves. He is a shell of a man without a shred of honor; reliant on the feats of others to derive some false sense of meaning for his wasted, pathetic life.

Anonymous said...

It's a fucking SHAME that the person (anonymous) has the balls to call you a coward and a traitor, and then sign his fucking NAME as "anonymous". Dude, it feels like I'm the clairvoyant on your blog; I couldn't agree more with EVERYTHING you've written about! My name's Garry, and I retired from the Army at Fort Lewis in '04 after OIF-1, and then supported your brigade as a contractor in Tal Afar and Mosul.

Iraq blows, and it was a completely bad decision to go there in the first place, though I supported it in the first place until I found out I'd been lied to. My oldest son is now at Ft. Knox, going through 19D OSUT. I pray he doesn't have to go to that catastrophe known as Iraq, but if he does, he'll have my full support as ALL soldiers do. It's not the soldiers who have screwd this pooch, it's our elected officials who have.

disillusioned247@hotmail.com

Marine Mom Out There said...

Alex, I've followed your blog for quite some time now and agree with the consensus here that you are an excellent writer.
I am having as much fun reading your dad's comments as I do your posts. Thanks for sharing your experience with the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Jeff:

Don't let the nuts get to you here. They post just to get a reaction and are not worth one second of your time. There was not one "thank you for your service" or "come home safe, Alex" in that nutter's post.

I have forwarded the link for this blog to people I know in the the Congress. I hope they read this blog, read it in light of the political reports on the war that will come out and know what the US government is asking our troops to do. I did not forward this as a political statement. It's not a political statement. It's a blog with one soldier's experience in it.

Politicians set the policies, they vote for the armor, they approve the money for the contractors and so forth. People like your son bear the real world consequences of those votes. Congress needs to know the things your son writes about, and they need to think about the things Alex has witnessed.

I cannot imagine what it's like for you and your family to read these entries. It must be heart-breaking and nerve wracking. God bless you and your family and know that you are in the prayers of many. I thank you and your family for all you have had to endure. You deserve better sir, as does your talented son.

Geoff said...

Dude. I read your whole blog in one sitting. Riveting stuff. Thank you for giving us an idea of what it's like. We're not paying enough attention here in the States, and that's strange and unworthy. Even the TV news gives the war about 30 seconds. So you're connecting us. Thank you. And hey, take it easy on the biracial lesbians. They/we are feeling you too...

-Geoff

Anonymous said...

Caught wind of your blog about a week ago; spent the interim, off and on, reading all the posts. I’m gladder for having done so. Not because they related anything new about the realities of Iraq – they didn’t; simply because they represent a sharing of that truth. And in these days of a supremely “managed” American populace that’s a rare thing. Actually, I’m surprised you’ve lasted this long unmolested; seemingly there’s a star somewhere watching over you ‘cause as you well know by now, life is not fair.

Of all you’ve shared, and there are many fine passages like the ‘Dream Flight home to Washington,’ I note with gladness your successful second passage through kindergarten, where we learn all the big things:

“... And most importantly, love your children. Teach them that war is not honorable, it’s no plaything cast with an indifferent hand. It’s the most terrible thing man ever brought to the world....”

It’s a gift to be sure, that you’ve been given. Learning for the second time the value of life (and some might argue the first time, really) is a thing we call clarity. Funny and not, strange and not, the seemingly extreme environs necessary; what takes so many fifty years or more (if ever, even) you’ve blazed through in one and some change. Take some advice... take a breath; don’t springboard these insights into an untimely burnout; be gracious with our ignorance, because here is where the slow-death of the slow-war is waged.

There is no critical mass at home for change, because there is no war (fear) at home.

Thanks for sharing.


maxx

Katie said...

Just sayin', I saw at least one blog that said you should be blogging for New Republic because you *aren't* a fraud. And with this eloquence, even if you were some news organization should snap you up as soon as you're back home. Thanks for the blog, and thank you for serving and for letting us hear you.

Watson said...

Alex,
Just wanted to let you know that my wife found your blog and I enjoyed it so much that I sent it to the congressman from Colorado who has taken a special interest in some of the bull we went through. Your words were both humerous and honest and has touched the hearts of so many.
It always hits me in the gut when you talk about Jesse and Chevy, and I get all messed up about it still. I realize that even though what we did there may never be in a history book, or awarded appropriately, it will never leave my memory. Good or horrifying.
I served not once but twice over there with some of the greatest fighting men anyone has ever gone to war with. I am proud to have fought beside you and probably wouldnt be here today if it werent for your platoon. You and the boys will always have a cold beer and an open place at my table. God bless you brother and welcome home.
Rich and Tonya Watson

sonnycollie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sonnycollie said...

Someone gets on here and calls Mr. Horton a traitor and a coward? Who is this, with the patriotism and bravery to call a US military man a traitor and a coward at the end of his extended 15 month Iraq deployment?

Why, it's "anonymous."

What are the military service credentials that entitle this person to spit on a returning serviceman?

Why, the credentials of "anonymous."

Who is saying that "these people", i.e., any Iraqi, apparently, if we go by who is dying, are "remorseless godless murderers who want nothing better than to kill us all"?

"Anonymous."

Who has the audacity to imply AH or any American has forgotten 9/11?

Why, it's "anonymous."

Too much, man. Too much...

Blue man said...

Damn you are Awesome Alex! Hit up the Engine House # 9 when you get back to Tacoma! Perhaps I'll have to head out there and get you a drink!

Keep up your amazing work!

Hal

Anonymous said...

I discovered this blog a while back(never commented), as I was never "fooled" about the clusterf**k that the invasion of an Arab country would become-I lived in the region in the early 80s, and studied the history of various invasions. I am glad that so many more are finding it.
Your writings have been lucid, honest, well thought-out, humanistic, and non-partisan. We have to understand that our foreign policy cannot be based on sending our young men/women to invade other countries!
And there is no need to reply to incoherent commenters here, especially when they come across as angry and ignorant.
I look forward to you returning home to educate the people as to what is happening "over there".
Abiodun.

sparafucilli said...

Wow. One of the most powerful pieces I've read yet. I hope your blog continues once you are back and that you're views and experiences are given the respect and credibility they deserve. Thanks.

sparafucilli said...

PS to Dad:

"He has the ability to use words to arouse a variety of strong emotions in a lot of people's hearts".

You're not too bad yourself. Sounds like the proverbial chip. Good work raising such a brave, courageous lad.

Benjamin said...

Alex:
I am one of the people you mentioned who came to your blog after reading about it in the LA Times. I am a 22 year old college grad living in LA, wishing I could understand in the most minor way the things that our soldiers go through. After I read that article last week, I spent nearly two hours going through your many posts, crying and trying to put myself, a guy your age, into your shoes...I feel like I know you at least a little bit. I am not proud of my country, not all the time, but I am proud that it produced a son such as you. You are an inspiration. I hope that you go on to great things, and raise a beautiful family who can be proud of their father if they are not proud of the war he fought. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Ben Grimes

Bruin00 said...

Alex, what can I say. Your writing is profound, and has given me an insight into this bizarre war, like no other story has done. I wish you the best, and hope you can make it safely back home; I'm confident a great future awaits you if you do.

Jan said...

Alex,
Great Blog! We need more like it too. I'm a Vietnam era vet and was proud to serve my country. Bush has misused our finest military and now insists that it stay there until it breaks! This Bush Admin wants to totally control the message and whitewash all of the upcoming reports. Thank goodness someone leaked a draft report to WaPo before the spin. Thank goodness for the internet and the blogs. After reading your blog I did write to all my congressmen-no more complacency here!! Great job Alex: keep those colors flying!!!

Andrew said...

Alex: I recently retired with 20 years of both active & National Guard service. I spent most of 2005 in Iraq (FOB Summerall), and have been dealing with the fallout ever since. Your eloquence, insight, and analyses are inspiring, even to an old guy like me. Keep writing! We need men and women like you to repair the damage done to this country.

BTW: if you catch any flak from the brass (as I and many others have), let me know; there are several organizations that can help.

Peace, brother.

Nikki said...

God bless you and everyone serving this country. God bless America with the wisdom to match our military might. Thank you for telling your story.
-Nikki

Doogman said...

Godspeed young man.

You are an inspiration.

May the 'wings of eagles' bear you home safely.

Susan Wardezak said...

Alex, it is ironic that I received 4 military trunks yesterday, then I (re-checked as I often do, your blog) It is kinda like watching for the evening news for me. The following post is from myspace. I thought you would like to read it. When you get home, please find the book, Down Range: To Iraq and back. by Bridget C., Ph.D. Cantrell,Chuck Dean. If you haven't already heard of it, I think it would be a good read for your family & for you.



As for me, I know fully I am one of the lucky ones. I'm getting Jordan back, albeit not in one piece, but back none-the less. Sometimes I think it is the wounds on the inside, the ones you can't see, or touch that might be the REAL casualty of this mess. thank you for your words, God Speed Alex!

http://www.myspace.com/suzisharpshooter

August 30, 2007 - Thursday

RE: 4 TRUNKS TODAY


2:26pm Coming home from work this afternoon, as I neared the driveway, I saw them...large, filling the whole front porch, 4 military trunks..I knew they were coming, yet when I saw them, I lost my breath and my heart began to pound fast within my chest. My first response was a large smile on my face, a gladness of relief, spent from months of worry. My soldier IS really coming home. I should get to hug him any day now..... He is out of harms way, they WONT make him fight anymore, his injuries are his ticket out of this god forsaking mess. And yet as I lugged them in out of the impending rain, I stopped on the last one, to sit just for a moment reading his messages on them, funny messages, "SCREW THIS, I'm coming home!" " " I'm out of here Dudes!!!" As I run my fingers over his writing.....I'm tired, It has been a long year. I sigh as I open the mail, I feel as only a mother can, a deep undending pain. How many? I wondered....How many mothers are not as lucky as me to know that their soldier is coming home. How many get the trunks, but not the boys or girls behind them?..... My tears are hot now, spilling onto the mail, onto this keyboard. I'm angry,I'm sad, I'm overwhelmed with this WHOLE !$%&! MESS! I'm grateful to be the lucky one today.....to get IS coming home..but what about the other mothers? How long does this nonsense have to go on? How long until we bring them ALL home? I want to understand to believe that we are accomplishing something worthy..and yet my thoughts swirl around inside of me like a tempest. I feel panges of guilt for getting this break, when so many haven't...I'm a mother damit, they are mothers, we need our children home!!!! ...some would call it empathy, I call it madness. And I know that there are Iraqi mothers ripping their hair out too....

Namaste

Susan

Anonymous said...

Alex- Words cannot express what I feel everytime I read your blog.
You are inspiration to me and every other American.
I thank you for everything you and thousands of other brave men and women do for our freedom.
I will never forget.

God Bless you!
Yvette
~Austin, Tx

Anonymous said...

You might also be interested in reading US Marine Major General Smedley Butler's book "War is a Racket"

Link to Butler's book, War is a Racket
http://lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm

Sometimes the soldiers catch on and sometimes they don't.

I know you have!

Pepijn said...

Hi!

I got in an asshuge discussion with some friends about Alex and his blog. I was impressed with the contents (and spread around the link a bit)

When my friends read a bit they quickly came to the conclusion that Alex Horton is, in their opinion, a traitor and an oathbreaker

Now i dont agree with this (still dont) but i was intrigued because my friends are sensible people. So i dug until i found some suitable arguments, and apparently a case can be made.

A quote from "the seven army values":

"Selfless Service
Put the welfare of the nation, the Army, and your subordinates before your own.
Selfless service leads to organizational teamwork and encompasses discipline, self-control and faith in the system.
"

Obviously Alex doesnt have faith in the system. Thats basically the gist of almost all his posts :p

So technically he is violating one army value, and one could make a case that he is in fact a traitor on those grounds..

What do you guys think?

Anonymous said...

Hurry up and get home Alex! Bring them boys with you--especially my hubby! :) I have been reading your blog since you've been gone and I have to say it brings new insight to everything ya'll are going through. See you when ya'll get back to WA!

Tabitha Winton

Anonymous said...

Are your "sensible" friends in that same system, or are they outside looking in? My money is that they're spoiled young civilians who display a remarkable inability to comprehend what Alex and his fellow soldiers have experienced. To put it bluntly, they're just not very bright.

Anonymous said...

FOR THOSE WHO FOUGHT FOR IT FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW

Pepijn said...

To err, anonymous:

two of them are ex-US-army, one of them is in the US army (but not stationed abroad) and one of them is a young spoiled civilian :p

Their attitude towards what Alex & co have been through can be summed up (i hope) as "well, that's what he signed up for, he should quit his moaning."

One of their complaints is that in one of the older blogposts Alex complains about crappy bodyarmor; they are of opinion that overall its fine bodyarmor save for the occasional bad load. So apart from committing treason by not having faith in the Army, he's also factually inaccurate

Itd be easier if they came in here to discuss it themselves but i dont think they care too much :p

Anonymous said...

So Alex has "committed treason for not having faith in the Army system." Your friend is an idiot. He'd better be ready to lock up several hundred thousand soldiers if that's all it takes to be treasonous.

How many combat tours as infantrymen have your pals completed? I'd like to know each one's MOS.

Anonymous said...

Pepejin, you used the wrong source for your baseless claim that the SPC has violated one of the Army's values. Here's the correct one that overrides yours that came from a civilian source. Per the Army's website:

Selfless Service
Put the welfare of the Nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own. Selfless service is larger than just one person. In serving your country, you are doing your duty loyally without thought of recognition or gain. The basic building block of selfless service is the commitment of each team member to go a little further, endure a little longer, and look a little closer to see how he or she can add to the effort.

In addition, I am fully confident that the SPC has lived up to the Soldier's Creed:

I am an American Soldier.
I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.


Your sadly misinformed "friends" are certainly entitled to their opinion, but they are not entitled to make up their own set of "facts." They owe the SPC an apology for their slander.

U.S. Army Retiree
Fort Campbell, Ky

Pepijn said...

Hey, this is the internet :p there's no reason for me to hide behind the 'friends' excuse.

They are actually friends, and the most vocal one is a woman, mother, and former soldier. She (still) believes Alex is a traitor; however she stresses that he's only a traitor "mentally" and that this assessment is her opinion, not some objective fact.

Im continuing the discussion here (and not with them) because I don't have all the data needed to get it going to any meaningful level. That, and Ive gotten some personal attacks defending Alex (such as "get a life") so i'm not particularly keen on remaining in the line of rhetorical fire.

Anyway, thanks for your response. You make a solid point :D

- pep

Anonymous said...

BINGO! I knew whoever made that stupid "traitor" comment wasn't a combat soldier. Her opinion is about as valid as a man saying that childbirth doesn't hurt that much. After reading all the other comments on this post and others, it appears that about 99 percent of the world is out of step with her.

carolyn said...

Alex, I am so proud to know your are getting the truth out. I bookmarked your blogsite so that I can return again and again. Thank you for what your are doing and many blessings. Something I just finished reading woke me up a little more and as I think you probably have many readers "over there" this information may help them also. Here is the link to a short history of Iraq. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17979.htm

carolyn said...

Alex, I am so proud to know your are getting the truth out. I bookmarked your blogsite so that I can return again and again. Thank you for what your are doing and many blessings. Something I just finished reading woke me up a little more and as I think you probably have many readers "over there" this information may help them also. Here is the link to a short history of Iraq. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17979.htm

Joe in PA said...

Alex - as a relative newcomer to your blog, I want to say God Bless You and keep you safe to return to the loving arms of your family. Thank you for your sacrifices and I pray for this ugly war to end soon.

Anonymous said...

Alex,
Thanks for writing so honestly. You give those of us with loved ones in harms way a window in to what they are really doing/experiencing. My son is one of those newbies taking over for you guys as you leave. Please train them/tell them the best you can so they can make it through the best they can. Loving you and all your brothers in arms.
Proud 2nd Cav Stryker Mom

Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful conclusion (but hopefully not ending!) to a blog that I have been reading for quite some time now. Sometimes your writing echoes that of Erich Maria Remarque (that is if he had the internet and a greater sense of humor). Anyways, write a book! I would buy it. I will be forever grateful for your insight into this disastrous war.

Alex said...

Damn dude, I'm a lot of things but I think traitor is a bit strong. Doesn't that mean I defected and joined the other side? I guess my definition is out of touch.

I'm sorry I missed your roundtable discussion with you and your friends, pepijn. I've been enjoying the desert heat outside of Baghdad, where all the cowards hang out.

I've done the very most my country can ask of a citizen: kill for the flag, and I did it for more than what was asked of me (fifteen months as opposed to the original twelve) while you were killing bad guys on Halo. I don't talk down on civilians who haven't been here because I know this isn't for everyone (especially me). But for someone to call me a traitor because of my experiences is outright un-American. I'm sure you're one of those super patriots who would kiss my ass in an airport without knowing me or my story.

You said that since I violated one of the Army values (which I agree), I'm a traitor. Well here's the news: when I held my right hand up more than three years ago, I didn't swear to uphold the Army values, I swore to uphold the Consitution and defend the country against all enemies. In that regard, I succeeded.

AH

Ronn said...

Good job, Alex. Looking back on my saved emails, I was in Iraq 11 days in 2004 before I realized what we were doing is wrong.

I've since left the Infantry, but it's people like you and the next guy who have to keep the American people informed of what is going on in their name.

Our government doing things like this is the reason why most Americans are too afraid to leave the country. What do the most hardcore Republicans know that the rest of the planet doesn't?

Keep it up and you should think about joining Iraq Veterans Against the War. Just sayin' is all... ;)

ronn cantu

rie said...

So, not only do I want to buy you a drink, but I'd like to shake your dad's hand as well. YOU'RE ALMOST HOME!!!!!!

I'm so excited for you! (And Lauren and your dad, and, uh, me and everyone else up here waiting for one of y'all to get back!)

Binh said...

Everyone who calls Alex a traitor needs to shut the ---- up, sign enlistment papers (not that 2-year BS the Army is doing, do 4 years), and join the fight before they say a word against someone who IS FIGHTING and HAS AN OPINION.

I get tired of all the e-thugging and internet tough guy bullshit. If only the Iraqi resistance could be defeated by the chatter of gung-ho armchair cowards and Neocons...

Blue man said...

Hey Alex, I hope you have the IPO addresses of the cowards lurking on your blog! It would be nice to send them a "gift" or pay them a visit in the future!

They always attack those at the forefront of change Alex, keep up your great work and stay safe, I owe you a beer at the Engine House # 9 or some grub down on the waterfront!

Hal

Anonymous said...

AH,

Your CiC either forgot or, more likely, never understood what Tom Englehardt remembers and understands all to well: http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174832

Don't you let anyone else forget. Make them understand.


-LenC,
Tacoma, Wash.

Teena said...

Hello Alex,
I have been enjoying your post and peoples comments since spring. Enjoying is not the correct term but not having your gift of words it is the best I can come up with. You have grown as a writer and a man since the beginning of your blog and I have laughed and cried along with everyone who reads your accounts of stupidity, friendship, courage, loss and human endurance. I have wanted to Share this story with you since I read the “detailed” account of Chevy’s death.
My son J.D. would have been with you that day, but he was home at long last on leave. I was in Washington helping him get things in order as the divorce his wife asked for just weeks after he deployed this time was well underway and we needed to clean the apartment put things in storage etc… I had to leave a few days before him. When I got home I started catching up on e-mails etc. JD called from his Dallas layover on his way back to the sand box. As we chatted he asked if I had any news from the FRG or otherwise. I preceded to read him an article about the loss of an arrowhead solider…… As I read the article, I pronounced the name with a “French” pronunciation. (2 of JD’s siblings are taking French is my only excuse) I read on for a few more words… then JD in a hushed voice said you mean “Chevalier”? I answered oh… yeah… that could be it… and I kept reading for several seconds before what he had just asked me sank in… The silence on the other end of the line told me his world had just been shaken to it’s core. I’m not sure how long we sat there holding our respective phones in silence. What felt like hours was probably just seconds compressed into slow motion by horror and shock. Finally I managed the words “you knew him.” ….. a hushed reply “yeah Mom… I knew him” another pause… “ he was one of the good ones… one of mine” After another silence (While I’m sure he was trying to prevent himself from having a meltdown in the middle of DFW) He asked me to finish reading the article. I did so into an absolutely silent phone. At times I couldn’t tell if we were still connected. When I finished of course I did the MOM thing and asked if he was going to be ok (like anyone would be) I asked if he was alone or if others were there with him he could talk to. He assured me there were (He was probably lying so I wouldn’t worry) We said our Miss You’s, Be Safe’s and I Love You’s and Goodbye. I don’t think I ever worried about him or cried so much for him as I did over the next several days. Knowing the burden of grief I had laid at his feet moments before he was to board a plane taking him back to that hell hole was almost more than I as a Mom could bare. The horror I felt over him finding out that way still haunts me as I know Chevys death haunts him even now. The guilt over not being with all of you, will torment him for years if not a lifetime. I Pray for all of you to find peace of mind and heart and healing everyday and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
On a lighter note I am SO EXCITED that this is almost OVER and that our Arrowhead boys will be home soon. I can’t make it to homecoming (as I came in March) but JD’s Dad will be there with my orders to find you and shake your hand …. Make that a HUG from me. Over the months I have “felt” every word you have written. Continue to write from your heart and with the blunt honesty that has served this blog so well. I am looking forward to following what is sure to be your OUTSTANDING career in journalism and can’t wait to be able to say “I read him when” when you get your Pulitzer!

Godspeed
T. Nunn

And to those who call you anyone with an opinion contrary to their beliefs a traitor.....
Soldiers may not share your views, but they will defend with their lives the very right for YOU to have them and to shout them from the proverbial mountain top.

Linda said...

In response to Pepjin who posted at 7:12 am to ask us what we though:

I think you should get new friends.

sonnycollie said...

Readers of this blog might be interested to hear that the blogger "Riverbend", writer of Baghdad Burning, has gotten out of Baghdad and fled with her family to Syria where she has posted her first piece since April 2007. I had just about decided trouble had caught up with her and we'd heard the last from her. But no, she is alive and now a refugee. Her account of the escape from her homeland is as moving as her many previous posts:

http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2007_09_01_riverbendblog_archive.html#828763212765794127#828763212765794127

or the tinyurl:

http://tinyurl.com/32d5rs

Gyokeres said...

Alex,

Thanks for having the strength to open up and share your fears, your anger and your voice. The military you so aptly describe is made stronger by such truths.

You have no idea the doors you have just opened in your life, but your world will never be the same. i assure you.

No matter what happens and what some may offer you in the near future, never forget that your strength lies in your honesty and fearlessness about those things you view as wrong. Never lose this inner voice and you will sleep well in a sea of troubles.

You will likely have at least as much to write about the adjustment back to a "normal" world. you will rightly view it as totally fucked and shallow.

I hope to meet you some day and buy you a beer.

Rock on, Dude. Rock on.

Parker

23-Years of Service said...

Alex - Thanks for telling it like it is. It's very revealing of who the war supporters really are when they call a guy who has spent 400 days in-country fighting it a "traitor and a coward" because he doesn't prop up their fantasy world. How f%@ked up is that?

Apparently they only "support the troops" who are selected by the PAO.

If you ever need any help just throw the word out on the net.

Anonymous said...

Alex,

Yeah, I’m part of your new exponentially enlarged readership from the L.A. Times story. Have read some of your posts; later might go farther back. Good writing. You crack me up. Haven’t left a comment until now.

To the anonymous at 8:50 AM, what can I say that isn’t readily apparent from your comment? You’re brain dead talking parrot. The coward you’re seeing is in your mirror. Do something about it.

To the concern troll, pepijn, you need to return to school to improve your schtick.

To Jeff, the dad, obviously I don’t need to tell you to be proud.

Former O-4 18A

Jeff said...

You got that shit straight! Alex's mom, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends and I couldn't be prouder!

Alex's Dad

Janus said...

Thanks.
Keep staying alive. We need you. Do get on TV; then start in politics.
Suppose every veteran of this disaster ran for public office?

rob said...

I found your blog through StumbleUpon a few weeks ago, read the whole thing & passed it to everyone I know. I too am very glad you have seen your last action, and hope you don't get screwed by the brass one more time (beyond the day-to-day screwing by those above you that you can expect, I mean). Good luck.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Alex, thank you and your buddies for serving. Thank you for your bravery in doing your duty. Thank you for your words here.

You have a marvelous gift for writing, and I hope you will continue to use it. Your dad, Jeff, and your family have much to be proud of having a son like you.

Thank God for those of you who make it back home, and God help the families of those who don't. God help those wounded in body mind and spirit. I won't stop my efforts to end this war.

Thank you, again.

Anna said...

There is so much I should say to you and your brave friends, but I'll just say thank you.

Anonymous said...

Alex

Dude, you kick ass. You've been the only guys to properly tell our story as it really happened. And everyone knows you can tell it a lot better than we can. So keep up what you're doing, and know that I've got your back.

Your Friend and Fellow Dude,
Steve

Pepijn said...

dudes,

I hear you. I agree with you (except in the posts where you feel I am to blame somehow)

I won't get new friends because I know that the friends who hold these opinions are not politically active, they aren't news junkies or party line 'toers'. They have no strong opinions on the subjects of free speech, morality and so on.

On the contrary I am sort of political and rather leftist at that. I admire the likes of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. I put great value on human life, and that includes yours. I do not blame or accuse you at all for anything, you're in a hopeless situation doing what you can to survive. I hope fragging won't be the next step though :p I've read your blog with great interest and admiration.

I'm also Dutch, and I loathe the concept of patriotism with a passion. That doesn't mean I detest patriots, I just think the notion is retarded. Blind loyalty creeps me out, and blind loyalty towards a gargantuan faceless system (like a government) scares me shitless.

...oh, and I was killing folks on Wake Island, Battlefield 2 :p

P.S. here's some more rationale one of my friends provides for her negative opinion of you:

Stormish: that softens my opinion of him...You said that since I violated one of the Army values (which I agree), ...
Stormish: and he's right about that last part as wel
Stormish: well
Stormish: he has kept to his sworn oath
Stormish: but all that bitching...that's the heart oath that he's breaking
Stormish: and he admits that
Stormish: so i'm cool
(...)
Stormish: and i wouldn't kiss his ass at the airport btw
Stormish: he did his job and came home
Stormish: a pat on the back would be enough
Stormish: i'm not a super patriot, i do support my miltary...but i do it how i was raised, which is not like all those ijits at the airport...or most of his fan base
Stormish: But for someone to call me a traitor because of my experiences is outright un-American. <-- it wasn't cuz of his experiences, it was cuz of him running his whiney emo mouth...military is shitty stuff dude it really is...phil was telling me about how dudes had to paint rocks and shit...just cuz it was busy work, etc etc
Stormish: and that's army side...
Stormish: he said there's a lot of pissant job and shitty things that get done, and someone has to do them, their superiors did it when they were lower ranked
Stormish: and now it's the job of the new lower rank, and that's how it cycles
Stormish: so there's no point in bitching about the dirty work you have to do, cuz in time you will be telling someone else to do it, it's how the military works
Peppie: mind if i copy/paste?
Stormish: sure

Stormish said...

the rest of that log that pep didn't post...

Stormish: in the air force, i watch my dad do a lot of shitty things too, maintenance shit outside of his job, landscaping, 'base beautification'....and there's other stuff i'm sure he did when he was at Desert Storm...he gave it his all, and came home in a diabetic coma
Stormish: and never once did he complain about even that
Stormish: even though the case of him going into a 2 month long coma was due to mal-nutrition
Stormish: cause*

i'll stop 'hiding' behind my mate, Pep...i thought we were done with this topic cuz of the issues the debate rose up with my military mates...but we'll continue for a lil' bit more...the point is if my dad ever complained, it wasn't where a lot of ppl would know about it...and he was one of the coolest military dudes i know...and i have a lot of friends serving over in iraq atm...I've got a future-brother-in-law, i've got my best friends little brother over there (both army) they have never complained about the job they have to do, are they happy to be there? no, but they're not complaining either...and that's what earns my respect for a military person...so i'll retract my 'traitor' brand i used earlier, but you can still do your job as you swore to, and be a traitor in your heart and when you run your mouth...it's just a good thing actions speak louder than mere words...good luck and do come home safe...

(btw, i'm the wife of an LT in the Air Force (who was enlisted before he was commissioned), military is my life, it's what i was born into, it's what i was raised on, it's what i married back into when my own health kept me from going in...and believe me, i tried every way i could...I'm not perfect, i'm sorry for stepping on toes, but if you're allowed to speak out like this, so am I. Kind of funny because it's something that the military is to protect, but a right they're seldom allowed to use.)

Anonymous said...

Ah, the United States Air Force, protecting our country's skies from 9 to 5, weekdays.

Just (half) kidding, Stormish. I maintain my postion that your stance that Alex should not complain about what's he's experienced in combat, coming from you (who never has and never will get even a whiff of it) has as much validity as a man who says that mothers giving birth shouldn't make any noise because he's heard third-hand that childbirth doesn't hurt that much.

rie said...

AHA!

I have now shaken your dads hand. It was a pleasure to meet your parents this evening and I can't wait to meet you as well! :)

Alex said...

Stormish and pejn:

Oh, the experiences you people have vicariously enjoyed. My dad was an officer in the military and it prepared me in to way for my own experiences. So how can second and third hand testiomonials give you such an insight? Do you know why I write about the things I do? It's because there are people over me who don't care about us getting killed over and over the same ways because we can't change what we do and we can't leave, and in the end it gains us nothing. Imagine the sacrifices on our bodies and minds. It's in vain already. How would you feel to be in such a situation?

I never felt like this until I came here. I was for the war at one point, when I was in your position: an ignorant civilian. You said you didn't judge me from my experiences, but you're wrong. My opinions and train of thought have been formed from what I've seen and done here. But my uncle was in Vietnam and my grandpa in Korea! I must have known the horrors of war from their stories and a few episodes of Band of Brothers right?

My point is, you're jaded and lucky to be. The military dominating your life is a way to cope, Stormy, with something you'll never know. If painting rocks is the worst example of military idocy your husband can bring up, here's mine:

There are certain roads that have so many buried bombs that we are ordered to stay off of them, no exceptions. One night, a platoon was sent down that road anyway to check out bomb emplacers seen by a helicopter. They knew it was not to be driven on. They were just following orders. The outcome? Six Americans dead in what is to my knowledge the most deadly attack on a Stryker ever.

Would that strike you as wrong or criminal? Would you be downright pissed or say "oh whoopsy, that's war." No, it isn't. It's murder by neglect.

You have the luxury of ignorance about such things, and no one can tell you exactly what happens here. I do my best but I can't get to everything, my 'emo mouth' isn't that talented.

AH

Anonymous said...

That is impresive Stormish, the wife of a
subaltern.

Since you mention his rank ,do you insist on
compliments by the gate
guards,wear his rank
do you ?
After all you are the wife of a officer are you not.

Alex, well written Mate.
Oh, and good drills.
Cheers.

Phil said...

Alex,

I'm glad you can write eloquently and honestly on a topic that leaves most people tongue tied with partisan rhetoric. Good luck with wherever that takes you!

Unsolicited advice: Ignore the petty attacks. Don't get distracted trying to answer the irrelevant bullshit your critics will throw at you. It only bogs you down and lends them an importance they do not deserve. Present the truth you've lived and most of the nation, even the world, will be grateful for your courage.

sonnycollie said...

On the question of free speech by active duty military personnel you are never going to have a final answer. But some things are true. There has never been a restriction on troops "moving the propaganda" of the civilian leadership that controls them. In fact it is promoted and broadcast far and wide. But pick your war, condemnation has been heaped on military dissenters and whistleblowers.

Is this a healthy system? I don't think so.

To me, free speech by military people should serve in the same way a functioning free press should function in war -- to bear unbiased witness, to relate facts unavailable to anyone who is not there in the war, simply to tell the truth, so that the people at home whose hard-earned income pays for the war can decide if that's what they want done with their sons and daughters and with their money, at a rate of $4,000 per second, 24/7 in the case of Iraq.

In any war there is a world of things to bitch about. Go back as far as you want, there has never been a war without cruel, wasteful, pointless policies and mindlessly brutal situations. War is hell, not a trip to Disneyworld.

But is it unacceptable for troops to sound the alarm about what's happening in the combat theater? Hell, I don't think so. Especially when they are the ones living in difficult conditions, killing and being killed at the behest of civilians in silk suits -- politicians whose ultimate interest is often financial and not existential, whose motivations and competence must be subject to criticism and control in a free republic. This isn't Rome.

The troop should be free to say his piece without censorship or repression. He has earned the right. And the public has the right to hear it all, because in the end no C in C and no political group is the decider. We the people are the ultimate decider. It's our children involved here, our damned money, our reputation and legacy as a nation. Cue America the Beautiful.

Erin said...

Alex,
Your blog is amazing. Your thoughts and opinions are so honest and true. Thank you so much for sharing with all of us who have no real idea what it is like over there. I hope you continue writing with such passion in the future. Congrats on finally coming home! I look forward to meeting you face to face.

~Erin (Thompson)

Murrie said...

To Stormish; What an incredibly boorish life you must have. I can only imagine the lack of personality you must display in person. Tell me: what IS it like to have no true identity of your own and live vicariously through the rank and successes of your husband? Apparently, it makes you feel pretty good about yourself. Good enough to step up on your "Military Wife" pedestal and start name calling and labeling those below you "traitors".
The next time you get in your over-sized SUV, packed full of your bratty military-dependent off spring and head off to the next FRG meeting or enlisted wives meeting, try to remember a time when you felt like a real person. Think of the last time you WEREN'T "Mrs. Lt So-and-so's wife". I doubt you can.
You are probably one of those women who thinks you can do no wrong because being married to a deployed soldier is "ultimate sacrifice" so you slap your "Support the Troops" bumper sticker on, cash your husband's paycheck and judge those who DARE to think that military life is not as glorified as some make it out to be.

Shame on you.

I'm sure you have such better things to "complain" about. I'd like to see your spoiled, finger pointing, co-dependent, name calling ass get off that pedestal and head to Iraq. Doubtful that will ever happen. Instead; go find yourself a REAL identity and try being someone other than the daftly opinionated wife of an Air Force Lieutenant for a change.

Pepijn said...

Murrie; having met her twice i can tell you you are dead wrong. I disagree heavily with her opinion on this but you must understand it is far more an emotional issue than a rational one. She is also not living this opinion; it's one that surfaced by accident, and is based on nothing (she has barely read this blog and actually believes alex is mostly complaining about mundane military labour)

At any rate, your partisan stigmatization isn't helping anyone.

At any rate, I want to add to this whole "iraq on the ground" discourse by linking this amazing lecture by Robert Fisk (introduced by Noam Chomsky).

There seems to be a lot of overlap between what Fisk says and what Alex says, which is why it's understandable that you don't hear either points of view in the mainstream media. Although the introduction may lead you to believe it is about the Armenian genocide which happened a century ago, it is mostly about the Iraq war and the reality on the ground. Baqubah is mentioned, as well as the fact that some of the insurgent leaders are ex-military folks from the Iranian-Iraq war from the 80s. If you guys are (like me) fascinated by Alex due to his honest and plausible reports on what's really happening in Iraq, you'll very much like this speech. It takes a while, but not long enough - 1h 41m.

Bob Patrick said...

Alex, thank you for your words. You write powerfully and well. I am a 47 year old teacher, father of 3, and I've been telling my students annd my own children what you say we should be telling them for years. Thank you for the reminder. I grew up in front of Viet Nam on the t.v. every night over my dinner. It convinced my of your newly found convictions. I am sorry that our government had to plunge your generation into another horrible war for you to learn this. Thank you for your courage in writing this blog.

cuthbert1776 said...

Alex:

Your service as a soldier is apprecated.

Even more commendable is your service as a citizen, and the risk you have taken to share your story and opinions.

Being that you are from Texas, and use the cover of "Atlas Shrugged" for your profile, you may already know of the man I believe can set things straight. If not, be sure to check out www.RonPaul2008.com.

I believe him to be the last hope to restore the republic, and the Constitution you swore to uphold and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic.

It seems you take that oath seriously. I pray you will take a moment to review Dr. Paul's site, and, if you agree, will share his name and his message with your friends and acquaintances, as I have chosen to do on a daily basis.

With admiration and respect,

cuthbert1776

Elmo said...

Drive on my friend!

Binh said...

The hostile comments above only prove that the only thing worse than lifers (officers) is the women they're married to.

Anonymous said...

AH,

a distant relative perhaps: http://harpers.org/subjects/ScottHorton

His piece in Harpers recounts the experience of the young policeman in Moulmein, in Lower Burma, in the last days of the British Raj, in the years before the Second World War. Officer Eric Blair aka George Orwell:

http://harpers.org/archive/2007/09/hbc-90001175

Corinne said...

Alex (probably my one and only comment), I just want to tell you how proud I am of you. I couldn't be happier to know that my sister has found someone as brave, intelligent, outspoken and dedicated as you. I can't wait to know that you are home safely, only hours left. Peace, Alex, and thank you. Thank you for informing the masses about the tragedy and reality of war, the reality that most of us will never fully understand. I am so lucky to know you.

Anonymous said...

Alex,

I love how people think you're supposed to have faith in the system, no matter how stupid it is.

I guess stormish was never questioned about jumping off a bridge as a child.

Michael

Al Swearengen said...

Great writing - - - Continue this habit for the rest of your life Dude! I started writing in the Army, and haven't stopped since.

You're really good, and will only get better with time. If you're ever thinking about putting a book together, I'll help out however I can. When you get back home, start a regimine, and even if you don't post everything, by practicing every day, you'll see the difference when looking back.

Your buddies are proud of you, as am I. What you're providing them with these words is definitely something they're going to cherish for a long long time. Stay safe!

Peace - Al (from deadissue.com)

Al Swearengen said...

Jeff said...
You got that shit straight! Alex's mom, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends and I couldn't be prouder!
Alex's Dad


I'm really loving this! Alex has been writing here for a while now, and it was such a treasure for some veteran bloggers in common circles to have his words on the war. I was nervous that too much commenting or traffic would get the higher-ups on his case, but the McCarthy period that took over earlier this year seems to have been blown away at this point. How can you bust someone who has lived in hell for 15 straight months? Who has done it for the sake of freedom, only to be told that he doesn't have any...the main stream media wouldn't cover this travesty, and it pissed me off.

The journalists (and one in particular) who have stuck with this story, are outside the beltway and care deeply about your son and everyone else with the courage to do what he's done here, and by the looks of it...the public was eager to discover Alex's words.

Jeff - I'm really happy reading your comments here, and hope that once Alex returns, that his talent for writing is something the family celebrates for years to come. Practice, practice, practice --- Take care,

Al

Jeff said...

Alex is now home safe and sound.

To all those readers who have expressed such solid support for Alex, you have my deepest thanks.

Alex's Dad

rob said...

Very glad to hear it. Plz to keep writing Alex.

Candice said...

Alex, I'm so excited to see that your insight has begun to reach so many readers. I feel blessed to have come into contact with you... how long ago, now? It has been quite some time. Previously I knew nothing of the war in Iraq. I feared it. I still do. As a reaction to that fear I simply stopped reading the news, watching television and listening to the radio because I felt there was no point in consuming information from a source I couldn't trust. It's just like you said... I'm so far removed from these issues that I could easily shut off the television and it all disappeared. However, YOU are a source I can trust. You have made it real. I thank you for that, and I want you to know that I really value what you have taught me. It is refreshing to know that there is such a thing as an honest account of war.

On another note, I'd like to say that I agree with many of the comments being made regarding the quality of your writing. I'm supposed to be an English major and I certainly couldn't create an inspiring, captivating body of work like you are able to. People want to read this, and you have a rare way of articulating it. I think you could reach a lot of people. I hope you do!

Anyway, I'm so glad that you're finally going home. I expect that your trip will be safe and speedy!

Anonymous said...

"Generals see Iraq in a unique way for two reasons. One, they take the word of anyone under them, which will almost always be positive no matter what. I doubt many have the guts to tell a general that things aren’t going exactly as planned. And two, they view Iraq in quick spurts with over-the-top security measures."

Privates see Iraq in a unique way for two reasons. One they take the word of the buddies and it will almost always be negitive. Soldiers are always bitching about something. And two, they view Iraq immersed in their own world, unable to see the larger picture.

Dude, you have taken your experince and become a political tool. Step back for a bit and take a larger bit. Also, could you add a section to your blog with a list of all our fallen: CPL Mellen, CPL Farris, Chevy, SGT Williams, SSG Romeo, Alexander, Harkins, Lewis, crap im outa time on the MWR computer. SGT Higgens, CPT Jensen. List all of em.

Carla said...

We all have different perspectives, whether active military, family of same, veterans, or civilians with no current link to the military.

Let's try to communicate with respect and consider each other's point of view. With this comment, which may be #100 for Alex's blog, I must add I am grateful to technology and to the freedom of speech in our country (despite the challenges each present) that we can exchange ideas with each other.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, SPC, you don’t see the big picture. Not with the kind of clarity like this…

Sen. Warner: General, will winning in Iraq make America safer?

GEN Petraeus: Um, well, ahhh…I dunno, I haven’t really sorted that out.

kolstad90 said...

"Yeah, SPC, you don’t see the big picture. Not with the kind of clarity like this…"

Clarity, no. Like anyone he is limited to his own perspective. So if you think he presents an accurate picture of the war, you are mistaken. He is merely filtering things through his political lens to paint an image that some of you are hungry to hear.

"Stupid Shit of The Deployment Awards!" reveal how those two things schew everything he writes. He gives the award to two companys clearing Baqubah. Actually that not true. Before AH ripper started there were six. TF 5-20 had, HHC(and dont tell CPL Mellen, CPL Farris, SPC Miller or CPT JensenHHC isnt a real company) , A and B CO. Also attached was B 1-14. OPCON to us were A and B of 1-12. Of course this really wasnt enough. But your blogger also bitches about the surge. Well the surge was what allowed the army to more the double the ammount of combat power in Baqubah right around the middle of June. And what did the surge bring to Baqubah, that your blogger fails to mention because it doesnt fit his political axe to grind, or perhaps he didnt notice it from his perspective down in the weeds. It brought real security. No one died in the Task force between 20 June and 7 September. Follow the link to a picture of the memorial our CSM had created to honor our fallen. If thats not proof that the surge improve things at our level then i dont know what is:

http://img165.imageshack.us/img165/2429/heroslu9.jpg

Also, hey Alex how about not putting down people that love the army and choose to reenlist for that reason. Not everyone reenlisted outa fear of going to 5/2 or because they need a steady job. You sound just like John Kerry: …”Kerry then told the students that if they were able to navigate the education system, they could get comfortable jobs - “If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq,” So just like him, you paint those that stay in the army as losers with no choice in the matter. How insulting.

Kel said...

Alex,

The naysayers go with the territory and attack anything and anybody who doesn't support the Great Leader or the great Adventure in Mesopotamia.

Of course, these guys courageously offer their support for war from behind a typewriter and then attempt to denigrate a guy like you who has actually fought in one.

They are beneath contempt, which should always be remembered when dealing with them.

kolstad90 said...

"Of course, these guys courageously offer their support for war from behind a typewriter and then attempt to denigrate a guy like you who has actually fought in one.

They are beneath contempt, which should always be remembered when dealing with them."

The guys that are benneth contempt are the treasonous guys like this blogger that aid the enemies propaganda effort. To the extent that this blogger is successful convincing people that this war is a waste of time, he emboldens the enemy to fight long enough to outlast this countries political will to fight.

Congratulations alex you have become an enemy tool that is contributing to the deaths of US servicemembers. Perhaps UCMJ is in your future for advocating to your fellow soldiers that we surrender the fight. sleep well dude.

Alex said...

Kolstad:

I might have to go back and heavily edit what I've said for clarity. I've said time and time again, it was just two line companies out there to clear. HHC isn't a line company. Bronco 1/14 is not a line company. Apache and Bonecrusher 1/12, not line companies. The only two were Attack and Battle. I am aware the scouts and battalion mortars from HHC were part of clearing operations, but I don't know where and when. Imagine that. I don't discuss the intricacies of your company or any others because as you remember, we were isolated from each other for a long time. If you were expecting a broad analysis of battalion movements, sorry. This is what I saw, and my main gripe is how inadequate the size of our force was to conduct clearing operations that the higher officers knew was coming but still had no foresight into the logistical headache such a force would go through. It's that lack of foresight that got good men killed, and I believe that still. General Mixon was the only one I recalled that publically stated we need help there before Arrowhead Ripper. Everyone else was a bobblehead when it came to the subject of Baqubaqh and Diyala at large.

About the reenlistment brouhaha, you've got the wrong idea. I've never made the point that people who stay in the Army are losers. It's a job like any other and it's either for you, or it's not. It's not for me. Given that, I saw time and time again how we were being browbeaten into reenlisting (throwing around terms like lifecycles to confuse soldiers who aren't experts on the process). I know a few guys who downright hate the Army but they reenlisted because they faced stop loss for the next deployment and figured they might as well get a bonus for their efforts. But hey, stay in the Army. I'm all for it if that's your thing and I wish you luck in your career and any future deployments.

To the jeering dudes commenting about my limited perspective, whoa! What a radical idea that a lower enlisted guy can't see the big picture. I don't hang around the TOC or underground map rooms a la Dr. Strangelove. I just saw a very close up view of the ground, house to house and street to street. If you want to know the political goings-on of Iraq, go ask a general who is privy to the back patting you people desire. This is not the place for that.

On a final note, I would like to add all the names of the fallen from our battalion but I have to gather the names first as to not misspell anything. I'm trying to think of a way to write something to honor them, but it's very difficult to approach a subject we're all very emotional about.

AH

kolstad90 said...

"On a final note, I would like to add all the names of the fallen from our battalion but I have to gather the names first as to not misspell anything. I'm trying to think of a way to write something to honor them, but it's very difficult to approach a subject we're all very emotional about."

Cool, in my bitching i posted a link to a picture of our BN plaque that we hung on the TOC. If you need a pic use that one. It doesnt inlcude CPT Jensen, since he died of wounds after it was made.

"This is what I saw, and my main gripe is how inadequate the size of our force was to conduct clearing operations that the higher officers knew was coming but still had no foresight into the logistical headache such a force would go through."

Yes they saw it. Despite what you may think higher ups arent idiots. And until the surge was fully in, they didnt have anyone to send to help us. If the anti war crowd had had its way and the surge never happened, AH Ripper might not ever have happened. Can you imagine June 19th to the end of august with out all the extra help. That would have sucked bad.

"HHC isn't a line company. Bronco 1/14 is not a line company. Apache and Bonecrusher 1/12, not line companies." They might not fit your definition of "line companies" but they bleed just like your company. You put down their contribution to the fight when you claim only two companies cleared baqubah.

If i came across as leering about your perspective, wow, you just really pissed me off. No excuse, sorry.

Alex said...

Wow dude, I was trying to be civil but apparently that is lost on you. You have a fantastic view of me it seems, someone who wants to surrender in the face of enemies. I fought out there for the life of my friends and we got out of some hairy situations. When did I advocate any kind of surrender? I'm not a raging anti-war super hippie. I agree with the war in Afghanistan but not this one, because it had nothing to do with terrorism at large. The enemies you speak of, they're just country bumpkins attacking us because of the simple fact we're here. Did you ever talk to someone in the 1920s? They are convinced we're there to make Iraq a colony and were deathly afraid of it. They realized that we didn't want to be there as much as they didn't but it was pretty much against our will. Read the reports. Al Qaeda makes up a very tiny portio of insurgent attacks in Iraq. The insurgency is overwhelmingly being fought by locals of Iraq and neighboring countries because they see us as a threat to their land. I can't say that I blame them, but that doesn't mean I gave them any compassion when we made contact. We killed them with as much ferocity as they had and I'm proud to say how efficiently we conducted ourselves against such a unconventional enemy.

To say my blog emboldens the enemy is a joke. The enemy emboldens the enemy. These people have no qualms with driving a car loaded with bombs into a CF checkpoint or vehicle. Their will to fight, therefore, is much stronger than anyone I know. They're out there for years just for the opportunity to kill an American or Iraqi collaborator. If you had the same will, you would have signed up to continue your deployment with 2CR. For such a fervent supporter, I'm surprised you didn't.

AH

Alex said...

Fuck, I know they bleed. I cried when I heard about Sgt. Higgins. I mentioned him before but not by name. He was a good dude. So was Captain Jensen, and I felt wrecked when he was paralyzed and even more so when he died just recently. But I do not go into detail about them and the rest for two reasons: I wasn't there when it happened, and I don't want to dishonor their memory by giving the false impression I knew them well. I didn't. I just knew Chevy and Jesse Williams and miss them very much. I miss the other guys to an extent that they were with day in and day out and aren't anymore. But I don't want to pretend it was anything more than that.

AH

kolstad90 said...

Winning wars and battles has alot to do with breaking the enemies will to fight. Your will to fight has been broken, your blog undermines the will of the US and its soldiers to fight. You think your experince provides you will the knowledge to declare our effort as a failure. I wonder how you would have spun your blog if you can spent the whole tour at FOB Marez.

Just because our unit experinced what it did in Baqubah, we dont have special insight into the larger picture for the rest of Iraq. And i hope rational people understand how limited of a picture those of us at the Battalion level can provide them.

And i also hope people recognize that the pictures you paint come from someone that hopes to boloster his politcal cause. With statesments like "perpetually delirious officials like General Petreaus" and "Since Dick Cheney can now afford solid gold oil derricks, it’s safe to say we failed Ike miserably. " It should be clear.

kolstad90 said...

Fuck, I know they bleed. I cried when I heard about Sgt. Higgins. I mentioned him before but not by name. He was a good dude. So was Captain Jensen, and I felt wrecked when he was paralyzed and even more so when he died just recently. But I do not go into detail about them and the rest for two reasons: I wasn't there when it happened, and I don't want to dishonor their memory by giving the false impression I knew them well. I didn't. I just knew Chevy and Jesse Williams and miss them very much. I miss the other guys to an extent that they were with day in and day out and aren't anymore. But I don't want to pretend it was anything more than that."

Fair enough. Their is no doubt that what you experinced is as hard as it gets. And although I am trashing your intentions for commenting on the poltical aspects of our unit experince in Baqubah. i do not doubt that you fought your ass off and give the fight your all. You certainly have the right to push whatever view you want.

Anonymous said...

I am very torn after reading a bit of this blog. First, I absolutely salute the sacrifice of this soldier and for wearing the uniform and answering the call.

What I do not like is twofold: The first is a seemingly smug outlook that you actually know better how to do things than those who have spent a lifetime in the military and two, that most of the poeple posting comments buy right into one.

You admittedly have a very narrow looking glass operations-wise at the way the war has been conducted but make some pretty sweeping judgments of the conduct of the war and military leadership. What you've seen fits your particular political outlook but please don't assume that one piece of the puzzle makes up the entire picture.

I do have a piece of advice for you as you transition into civilian life and move forward into the work world. The private sector is full of bottom rung workers who are absolutely convinced that they're actually smarter than their bosses and that the only reason they are the boss is because they are butt-kissers or lucky. I think you'll mostly find your bosses are there because they are smarter and more experience than you and you need to learn to live with it and earn your way. Perhaps your outlook as a soldier does not reflect your civilian outlook on life, but I doubt it.

I noticed that you make a very fine Monday morning quarterback. It's easy to attack one bad mistake by someone in charge because you weren't in a position to make those decisions where one bad day gets soldiers killed. That's the beauty of being a critic, the people you don't like only have to be wrong once for you to feel validated.

Anyway, your service is honorable and you obviously have a very proud family and friends. I don't agree with many of the big picture conclusions you've reached from individual experience, but that's your right as a citizen and a soldier.

I applaud your service and hope you return safely.

Avedon said...

Man, I was hoping to see a post from you by now about coming home, so I could be sure you made it. Let us know how you are, hey?

tws said...

good stuff dude...

somehow reminds me of my departure from phu bai then cam ranh bay in 1972.

geeeeez what a relief.

now you know war/politics same same.

drive on

tws

an army of dudes

tws said...

"What I do not like is twofold: The first is a seemingly smug outlook that you actually know better how to do things than those who have spent a lifetime in the military and two, that most of the poeple posting comments buy right into one."



you presume to much.

you obviously prefer authority, so why haven't you joined the military?

or are you a military toady?

where are you in the private sector?

got money?

are you ready to HARVEST yet?

get ready.

Elmo said...

Welcome back Alex! Thought you might enjoy this...

Y'all Chickenhawks to Me - by Elmo (MP3)

(If you have trouble with the link right click and "save target as")

t4toby said...

Alex- My hat is off to you. Thank you for not keeping your 'emo mouth' shut.

I am so tired of hearing 'Support the Troops' from the same people who are extending rotations, denying equipment, and treating the soldiers who have returned like they are disposable.

I can only hope that you continue blogging and bringing the experience of a soldier to those of us who are not. Thank you.

t4toby said...

And an unsolicited piece of advice: Don't Feed the Trolls. In English, this means don't engage those who are here for a pissing match. As you continue to blog, especially about such emotional subjects, you are going to be called out for fights, repeatedly. Pick those skirmishes wisely. Some people use the intert00bz just to get their argue on...

Anonymous said...

"you presume to much.

you obviously prefer authority, so why haven't you joined the military?

or are you a military toady?

where are you in the private sector?

got money?"

I was in the USMC, although a few years back. In the private sector and yes, I have money.

Any other questions?

Al Swearengen said...

I am very torn after reading a bit of this blog. First, I absolutely salute the sacrifice of this soldier and for wearing the uniform and answering the call.

What I do not like is twofold: The first is a seemingly smug outlook that you actually know better how to do things than those who have spent a lifetime in the military and two, that most of the poeple posting comments buy right into one.


You're comparing him with who? A General? Command Sergeant Major?

How is it so easy to judge the opinions of a war veteran? To categorize such a considerable chunk of work here on the site in the way that you have, is the opposite of a salute...which would be the middle finger I suppose.

You don't think he's got a brain between his ears, and you think his readers don't either.

We're all brainwashed by a blog. Who knew it was that simple? Indeed, let's cue up what the Generals have been saying about Iraq since 2003...they're telling the truth. Afterall, they've been in the military for so long...perhaps they've just hit a string of bad luck, right? You figure they're due by now? About to be right about something?

I'll take the opinion of a low-ranked enlisted over a general any day of the week. So will anybody else that has a clue of how to figure out what's what in a war.

Because 20+ years in uniform provides a man a lot of things, but mostly it gets them prepared to carry out bullshit policies with a smile on their face. When the suits ask you about how the policy is playing on the ground - 20 years in uniform will make you a good liar. A nice blast shield. A pincushion. Carrying out one clusterfuck after the next...hey, maybe after 3 more years of S&M slavery to these suits, if he lies extra good, they'll make him Army Secretary...fancy desk, smart people left and right...

Anyways...fuck you pal. Go judge someone who hasn't just finished a 15 month hitch in hell. How about you go and judge some of the EXPERIENCED military folk who predicted the opposite of what happened this whole time. Or shine their shoes, whatever...

Just understand that you're a douchebag - not for your beliefs, ideas, opinions - but for the fact that you had to attack this guy. You couldn't help yourself. Oh...of course, you threw in the obligatory/bullshit "I absolutely salute the sacrifice of this soldier and for wearing the uniform and answering the call."

Right.

kolstad90 said...

"I'll take the opinion of a low-ranked enlisted over a general any day of the week. So will anybody else that has a clue of how to figure out what's what in a war. "

On what experinces exactly do you give Alex credit for that allow him to judge the success of the entire war effort? Can Alex talk informatively about, how to prep a breach charge, yep, how to fire a 203, yup, how to take orders from his team leader, yup, how to be a team leader, yup. However, dont expect him to know shit about, how to do his PLs job, how to do his CO's job. Does he keep track of whats going on in down at FOB Uniion, nope. Does he have a clue what forces are avail to shift from MND-B to help out in MND-N, nope not a clue.

I really dont think you want to ask the janitor at the hospital to start an IV, nor do you want him to do the open heart surgery on your gran dad, let alone you certainly dont want him to run the whole hospital.

Alex relating our battalions experince is Iraq is great. Him playing monday morning quarter back like the other reader suggested, is a bit of a strech. Alex trying to sabotage the war effort, even worse.

Lauren said...

"Alex trying to sabotage the war effort, even worse."

There are so many things wrong and ignorant with this statement I don't even know where to begin. Your feeble attempt at recounting not only Alex’s opinion, but on the war in general, is embarrassing.

Alex said...

Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh.

Monday morning quarterbacking my fanny. Since that term exists, should everyone be free of critcism, all the time?

Give everyone a blank check, kolstad90 is here to tell it like it is! Apparently he's the only one on planet earth to be able to.

Go ahead, frontiersmen! Kill those Sioux! I'm in no position to say you're wrong for it!

Get your ass in that internment camp, Japanese Americans! Our government is always right, and to say otherwise is treasonous.

Stalin, you go boy! Since I don't sit at the head of a Russian dynasty, I can't really have the opinion that executing millions of your people is wrong.

Here's my point, crayola style. I never pointed out our faults after the fact, it was always in the heat of the moment. Working with 1920s, that's dumb. I said it was when it happened, and it'll bite us in the ass shortly. The surge just pushed fighers around Iraq. They went places that were better suited for them, like Diyala. Uh oh! Us getting hit almost every day for months was a result of that. No monday morning quarterbacking there, either. And here's the flipside to your point: You're in Charlie Co and stayed in Baghdad as we went north to Baqubah where we faced some harsh realities. Sure, you may think the war is going well as you sip chai in a Christian house while a chick in tight jeans winks at you. But while you were doing that, I was watching a teacher trying to put the brains of a kid back into his skull. We were begging to go back to Baghdad. And while I don't blame you for not coming up (it wasn't your decision or mine), you sure are quick to judge my outlook despite having no insight as to how I gained it. We heard you guys had a staggering reenlistment rate, something like 80%. Am I right? Ours is about 50%. My platoon alone is .5 guys away from being 50% itself. Hmm, a mystery. Can you honestly say we have that many fucked up, treasonus, hippie, left wing nutjob leaders, or we got a slap to the face in Baqubah?

Do I know more about counterinsurgency and massive troops movements and such and such than those appointed over me? No. And I never claimed to. But I expect there to be accountability for people whose job it is to figure out such things.

Have you ever said Bush or Clinton or Senator Whosit was dumb for something they said/did/din't do? Same. Damn. Principle.

AH

kolstad90 said...

Dammit you have alot of good points about what i said. You are right, it is certainly our duty to speak up when we see stuff that is messed up. I suppose I think its our job as soldiers to present a united front so that we can we seem like an unstopable monolith to the enemy. But I know i run my mouth about shit I shouldnt as well. And I sure as hell like to debate politics and the conduct of the war.

And I really do wish this blog had more exposure then its already large following, cause despite me not liking the poltical aspects of your blog or the effect I think it has on soldier moral, not enough americans pay attention to the sacrifices of the guys on the line like you.

A question, is the globe purposefully removed from the Atlas Shrugged art work in your thumbnail?

Alex said...

I appreciate that, given our disagreement over some matters. And yes, the globe was meant to be left out as part of a weird collection of Objectivist artwork for Atlas Shrugged and Rand's other novels. If it was bigger you could see see Atlas with his arms over his head, wondering what happened to the world.

Alex said...

And oh yes, I'm working on a new entry, not so politically charged, about being home and how it feels. And it'll include the names of everyone who passed away in TF 5/20.

AH

kolstad90 said...

Damn, i could have answered my own question. Just looked at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Shrugged and its got the cover art. I remember the story very well, but for some reason I thought the cover art u used had the globe, as shown on the amazon site.
http://www.amazon.com/Atlas-Shrugged-Ayn-Rand/dp/0451191145

Al Swearengen said...


"I'll take the opinion of a low-ranked enlisted over a general any day of the week. So will anybody else that has a clue of how to figure out what's what in a war. "


kolstad90 said...On what experinces exactly do you give Alex credit for that allow him to judge the success of the entire war effort? Can Alex talk informatively about, how to prep a breach charge, yep, how to fire a 203, yup, how to take orders from his team leader, yup, how to be a team leader, yup. However, dont expect him to know shit about, how to do his PLs job, how to do his CO's job. Does he keep track of whats going on in down at FOB Uniion, nope. Does he have a clue what forces are avail to shift from MND-B to help out in MND-N, nope not a clue.

I really dont think you want to ask the janitor at the hospital to start an IV, nor do you want him to do the open heart surgery on your gran dad, let alone you certainly dont want him to run the whole hospital.

Alex relating our battalions experince is Iraq is great. Him playing monday morning quarter back like the other reader suggested, is a bit of a strech. Alex trying to sabotage the war effort, even worse.


----------------------------

That's the best analogy you could come up with? A hospital janitor asked to hook up an IV?

I see that you are still holding on to hope for our success in Iraq. Like the people expecting the rapture to happen any day now, when it doesn't happen, it's time for finger pointing. All the sinners everywhere, God was too angry to come back now.

And so this form of dimentia, when it really gets wedged in there good, talk radio pounding it in deeper all the time like a hammer...well, you end up criticizing a war veteran for speaking his mind, then the mental illness spikes up and before long, you're pointing the finger at the guy who fought in the war, blaming HIM for its failure...no doubt, along with the liberal media.

How honorable is that?

Al Swearengen said...

kolstad90 said...
Dammit you have alot of good points about what i said. You are right, it is certainly our duty to speak up when we see stuff that is messed up. I suppose I think its our job as soldiers to present a united front so that we can we seem like an unstopable monolith to the enemy. But I know i run my mouth about shit I shouldnt as well. And I sure as hell like to debate politics and the conduct of the war.

And I really do wish this blog had more exposure then its already large following, cause despite me not liking the poltical aspects of your blog or the effect I think it has on soldier moral, not enough americans pay attention to the sacrifices of the guys on the line like you.


----------------------------

The Army is an employer. A professional soldier can have plenty going on upstairs, political or otherwise, but the job is still the same. Go where you're told to go, do what you were sent there to do.

I always had a chip on my shoulder about certain NCOs who would preach politics to us, basically calling me a pussy for my beliefs (which I didn't wear on my sleave, but it was like how rednecks would toss around "nigger" in mixed company up until...well, still to this day), this stupid hatred of Clinton over nothing but bullshit. Maybe it was the 'don't ask don't tell', but I really don't think it was that as much as this shit-for-brains mentality that somehow it was anti-American to be a liberal.

If the mission is bullshit, then telling the truth about how you feel isn't somehow disgracing yourself, your unit or the mission itself. What jeopardizes such things, such life-chunking endeavors, has absolutely nothing to do with you, Alex or any other single soldier doing their job over there.

And if anyone has EARNED the rights we're taking for granted most days, it's those who enlisted.

The patriotic mind-control is usefull for the suits who need the ants marching in a straight line somewhere, but it too must be earned. Cheney and Bush aren't royalty. They aren't good at their jobs, so Mesopotamia comes full circle on their account, from Hamurabi to this. A humanitarian crisis, only not a band of rape & pillage motherfuckers taking to villages with machine guns, torches and machettes...

Instead it's the most powerfull nation on earth, having botched the heist, now flailing, pushing buttons like crazy, pointing fingers, calling out other countries we can't steal from and get away with it either...going mega-coward and picking bombing targets of a country (Iran) we just need to leave alone.

It's a job. That hurts most once it sinks in, because after a couple months of people, tv, friends...it becomes clear that the war can't hold a candle to OJ Simpson or Britney Spears...I know I'm being harsh, but it's the truth. For those who leave more behind than they come home with, the lack of empathy can be devastating. Even years after its over with, it never is for them, and for the most part this country doesn't give a shit.

A rant - - - - ok, I'm going to get back to my normal PCP/Ayn Rand Wednesday night.

Anonymous said...

"That's the best analogy you could come up with? A hospital janitor asked to hook up an IV?

I see that you are still holding on to hope for our success in Iraq. Like the people expecting the rapture to happen any day now, when it doesn't happen, it's time for finger pointing."

Yes, it was the best i could do. Your response on the other hand was rather funny.

Don Wilson said...

Alex so many points to cover but in the name of keeping it short. First and foremost thank you for your service. I too served during the cold war and it was always preached to us from our commanding officers on down that war is an evil thing and should be avoided and used as a last resort.

There is a situation afoot that is being ignored by the public at large and is unknown to you as well but suffice it to say that your sacrifice and that of your brothers is not as in vain as you might think.

Iraq is the corner stone to a group of nations (not of Middle East origin) that have a larger goal in mind, it is essential that what you did over there have been done to stop their plans for the future. Your sacrifice can in the end save tens of thousands of American lives and you may never even know what it is you have done.

Adjustment to the real world will be hard, hang on tight to the love of family it will see you through.

GOOD LUCK!

Don