28 August 2005

The Wheels Fall Off The Recovery Vehicle

To be completely honest, I thought anyone that came to my blog knew I was a contractor. It's not something I hide or try to deflect attention from. I take great pride in my job, it's a job that allows me to give back to my country which took me in, gave me a skill that few people possess, and made a man out of me.

Unfortunately some people seem to have a problem with my career field. Most of the time I ignore them, but in the case of Kirk over at the recovery vehicle I am unable to ignore his post. First of all I will be correcting a few errors that kirk assumed about me, and secondly I relish the chance to share a few words with him.

Kirk, obviously we are on opposite ends of the political spectrum and that makes us not very likely to see things eye to eye. I noticed several inaccuracies when you were talking about me and my post. First of all Kirk, Caelestis is Latin for heavenly or celestial, I was unaware of the greyhound story and I don't play RPG games. I picked the name as an homage to God, without him nothing in this universe is possible. But that's neither here nor there. My first problem with your post was this quote:

His post sounds like it is a really gritty, on the front lines post from a guy in the military serving in Iraq. Like he is going to give me the grunt's eye view of what is going on. And then it suddenly veers north to the cool country of Bosnia and little children and stuff. Pretty soon it is sounding like it was written by Carl Rove and I'm thinking, "can this guy really think this way."

I am in the habit of giving a first person perspective of the men and women I am fortunate enough to serve with. And I do serve with them, I have twice before and will continue to do so now and in the future. My views are exactly that, my views, but my posts are rarely about me, instead I try and put the focus where it belongs; On the troops. I guess the "cool country of Bosnia" is your euphemism for my description of the heroes I am blessed to be able to know and help. Their work is the stuff of legend, name me an example in human history when a nation selflessly sent its young men and women to other lands to aid the dispossessed. We are not here to conquer or to steal their oil (which I'll address shortly), or even to impose our values upon these people. Are you aware Kirk, that George W. Bush is the greatest liberator of Muslims in human history? A Conservative Christian has freed more worshippers of Allah than any other figure in history. Finally YES I can really think this way, I and tens of thousands of soldiers here on the ground "think this way", hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens back home feel the same way. I can understand you not understanding this way of thinking, you acknowledge yourself that you never served in the military, and therefore it is no fault of your own that you cannot fathom what we feel or think about our sacred duty. And since we are on the subject of military service, this quote of your's was also troubling to me.

But - he isn't in the military. He is a mercenary. Oops, I mean a contractor. So he's making, what? 20 or 30 times as much as a GI? Oh, and he can leave whenever he wants.

I tell you what, when he donates his contractor pay back to an aid group in Iraq to the point that he is taking home the same pay as a sergeant, say, then he can wrap himself up in the flag and all his purple prose about the lofty, philosophical goals America is in Iraq to accomplish.

Oops Kirk, I was in the miltary, five proud years. I have served in combat units Kirk, I have served in tactical and strategic units Kirk, so does that make me any more worthy to you? As for pay, 20 to 30 times more than a soldier? What are you smoking and can I have some. My service here isn't about money, it never has been, but since you brought it up, let's talk about it. I'll be honest, I make more than a private or sergeant, but less than a Sergeant Major or a General. Are they also worthy of your scorn? I am here as a volunteer, but I can hardly leave when I want, I'm not sure where you are getting your facts on contracting, but you are wrong on every count so far. I do not make a fortune here, nor would I serve here if I did. I am here to give back to my country and to my Army. That Army took a nineteen year old kid and changed him from a piece of crap that only cared about himself and made him a man that understood the concept of duty, honor, and sacrifice. I was taught a skill that few possess and when my wife and I both left the service I immediately took this job. This job allows me to continue to give back to the organization that made me what I am today. Instead of sitting my ass at a desk in Seattle or Austin, I took a military job in the dust and heat and danger with the men and women I have come to love. Finally why would I donate my pay to an Aid group, do you work for free Kirk? Do the soldiers work for free Kirk? I am paid to share the same sacrifices that most soldiers here in Iraq shoulder. Most soldiers live with the heat and bad food, so do I, most soliders are away from their families for a lengthy period of time, so am I (Not nearly as long as the soldiers, who truly bear a burden I do not). Most soldiers are subject to IDF attacks, as am I. And many soldiers leave the safety of the FOB to do their jobs, as do I. I don't talk about what I do for OPSEC sake, but let's just say that what I do is vital to the war effort in way's you couldn't imagine. Not that I am important, for I am a peon and a nobody compared to the heroes I work with everyday. But the work I do alongside them is important in its own right.

Sorry had to get that off my chest, nothing chaps my ass more than someone thinking I do this for the money or as a mercenary, I do this job because it allows me to continue serving even when I am not able to be in the active force anymore.

Another of your points that bothered me Kirk was this one:

America is in Iraq because of the oil and for revenge following a plan based on faulty intelligence, myopic analysis and planning by yes-men who have never been to war. Think about that - none of those guys has actually been to war. Except for Colin Powell. The man who had been to war, the person on the Bush team who actually wore a uniform in the field, was marginalized and ignored while spin doctors and autocrats assured us of what would and wouldn't happen

I have explained why we are here ad nauseam, but for you I'll do it again. If we were here just for the oil, I ask this. Why did we not make an accomodation with Saddam instead of overthrowing him? If Bush is about oil and money, why risk destroying, crippling or even endangering so much oil and the wealth that comes with it? Saddam would have been more than happy to sell it to us, and in our past we have made such accomodating deals with other despots. Why would we risk so much for something we could have so easily? Secondly why fight here? Iraq's oil is notoriously of a low quality full of sulfides which makes it more expensive to refine? Why didn't we go after Iran or Saudi Arabia, both of which have much more pristine petroleum fields? Thirdly, revenge? For what, Saddam not getting his ass kicked hard enough in the First Gulf War? What exactly was the faulty intelligence? The fact that every major foreign intel agency also believed Saddam had these weapons? Also Kirk, why does it matter if the weapons were here or not, the people of Iraq are free, free for the first time in their histroy, free to forge their own path, to be an Islamic state or a Jeffersonian Democracy, or something in between, the point is they are free to decide for themselves. That is something only the Muslims of Afghanistan can also say, no one else under the flag of Dar Al Islam can say the same, so why are you fixated on weapons and why are you missing the bigger story about free Arabs? I bet it has to do with the fact you get your news from the media, who couldn't report the truth in Iraq if was swimming in the pool of their fortress hotels. And finally what do you mean Colin Powell was the only one to see war? Ever hear of Tommy Franks, and Gen.William Wallace, for starters? The list of senior military men that advised the President that have seen combat is very extensive. I guess you forgot about those guys didn't you?

Next you said something we both agree on and for that I salute you.

At 50 I'm old enough to remember Viet Nam - at least from a civilian's perspective. There were a number of things to feel shameful about in that war and one of the worst, in my opinion, was the way we treated our soldiers.

Yes we did treat them poorly in Vietnam, my father was one of those men that was spit on in the San Francisco airport and called a baby killer. But things have improved and only the pure leftists such as Code Pink and United for Peace and Justice seem to be against the soldiers.

Next you go back into strange territory with this rant:

Opposing the war, and holding the Bush administration responsible for it, does not mean that I agree with simply leaving either. George Bush needs to leave. His administration needs to leave. Because they have failed miserably. They have failed the Nation and they were unacceptably slow to support the troops when they needed it. Their insensitivity continues. Were Bush capable of actual leadership a meeting between him and Cindy Sheehan early on at Crawford could, could have been a moment for actual healing and unifying much of the divide in the country. A time for all of us to come together and grieve our losses. Grieving doesn't mean we all have to agree about everything.

Exactly how has George Bush failed? Is Saddam in power? Has Al Qaeda struck us again? By any measureable metrics are we losing the war in Iraq? The answer to all three questions is no. I'm at a loss how Bush has failed to support the troops when they needed it? Have you been to Iraq, Kirk? The troops here are well taken care of, of course they want to go home, we all do, and of course there were some mistakes made and no life isn't perfect and we all want a Starbucks and a Taco Bell on every FOB. But your assertion that Bush has failed to support the troops rings hollow to those of us who have lived here with the troops. The enemy we fight is a dynamic one and I can tell you from experience when I was here in 2003 for the invasion, IED's were a term that had not yet been invented and extra armor was something not envisioned as being needed. Hell, none of us had body armor then, not me or the soldiers I rode into war with. (And yes Kirk I have seen war up close, being in a ground convoy in a manuever element during the invasion means you saw some action.) The enemy adapted and went after a weakness we had, we countered as quickly as possible, the enemy adapted again, we countered again. This will go on for as long as we are here in Iraq. That's what happens in a war Kirk, the enemy tries to get better at killing you, and you try to get better at responding to his adaptations. And finally we come to the Cindy Sheehan moment, this is where we disagree the most Kirk. President Bush already met this woman once, now she wants a chance to embarass him in front of the world to feed her own ego, sorry charlie it doesn't work like that. Now we are hearing she has blamed Israel for her son's death, and we have heard her call Iraqi insurgents freedom fighters, the people that killed her own child are not freedom fighters, they are monsters that rape women, and set their bombs off next to children playing. She has also stated that America is not a country worth dying for, and that George Bush and the U.S. military are the largest terrorist groups in the world. And for the grand finale she has hinted that she believes Osama Bin Laden is not behind 9/11. (It does make me wonder what Casey Sheehan would think of all this) If you want links for these quotes Kirk just do a search for them, she said all of them and she said more. Let's see if you are intellectually lazy, or blindingly partisan.

Oh what the hell, I'll do the work for you.

Cindy Speaks

Cindy Speaks some more

Finally you ended with this gem

We are still in Iraq and we will be in Iraq for a long time to come and it is going to be far more expensive in terms of blood and money than we are willing to admit. Just like all the other Crusades before.

Supporting the men and women in the military is not the same thing as agreeing with the President. Pointing out the fallacies of his positions is not siding with the enemy. Saying the Emperor has no clothes is not un-Patriotic. It is part of a search for a rational course acknowledging the reality of the world around us.

Do you really think this is a Crusade or were you just playing fast and loose with the facts? And no criticizing the president is not unpatriotic, it is freedom of speech, something I and millions of others like me have fought for since our nation was created. What is wrong is saying you support the troops and not the war. The troops here are reenlisting in numbers never before seen in wartime. They want to be here, they want to engage and kill the enemy. They want to see the children of Iraq stop being used as targets for the terrorists. The reality of the world around us is a little muddled when I view it through your eyes. I criticize the President for things that I think he has screwed up on, but the war ain't one of them. It's obvious the soldiers feel this way when they recommit themselves to the fight instead of voting with their feet by leaving the service. It's obvious we aren't going to see eye to eye Kirk, so let's just agree to disagree, ok?

P.S. Hat tip to Dadmanly and Greyhawk and Mrs. G for defending me and shining some light on little old me. I appreciate it sincerely.

26 August 2005

Happy Birthday beautfiul

Dear Jan,

Another birthday has come and yet again I am off on some adventure in search of fulfilling my idealistic beliefs. I just wanted to write a few words to tell you how my life has changed since we met.

That first time I saw you at that meeting on Fort Hood where you asked General Scwartz that question about the hot water in your barracks, I knew I loved you. Love at first sight is such a cliche in our society today, but that's what it was. I approached you after the meeting and asked you some dumb random question that I don't even remember now. I just wanted to be near you, to hear your voice sweet and light tinkling like bells. I asked some people in your unit about you and they told me you had a boyfriend and I remember being crushed. Then fate threw me a curveball and assigned us to work the same shift in the same location during a Communications Exercise. I remember walking by your office that first night and seeing you in there, I remember trying to talk myself into actually going up the steps and just starting a casual conversation with you. What I never told you is I walked by that open door 10 or 15 times before I actually mustered the courage to come and say hi. I was as nervous as my first date in high school, I had sweaty palms and felt flush in the face. All of that and I was just sitting there watching your CNN feed while you typed that email. Of course I couldn't resist reading over your shoulder and I saw you talking about the Tongdaemun Market in Seoul, South Korea. AHA!!! I had my opening, having spent a year in Korea myself I now had something to talk about with you. I remember we were on shift from 1900 to 0700 and we must have talked from Midnight til about 0600. We learned so much about each other in six hours, I found out yes you had a boyfriend, but he was in California and you weren't happy with your relationship. I remember trying to not get too excited at that news, I remember promising myself that I wouldn't try and "steal" you. I remember we had so much in common we decided that maybe we should hang out as neither one of us had a lot of friends. I remember sneaking out to your car ( you described it perfectly BTW) and leaving you a note with my phone number and telling you I thought we were going to be great friends. Of course Karma was already working on us, as you had done the same and left a note on my car.

I remember our first hang out "date", but "not really date". You were moving from your old barracks into the new ones and I volunteered to help you move. You scratched and dented the hood of my car and you were so horrified, I remember laughing my ass off. Anyway we moved your stuff and went to Appleby's the finest cuisine in Killeen, Texas. A few days later I went on a trip to Arizona for a few weeks and we talked by phone everyday. What I never told you was that I was eating fast food to pay for the phone bill, but it was worth every Mcnugget. While I was gone you and your boyfriend broke up and we decided to go out and see if we clicked. I came home, we went out and now we fast forward 8 years.

We have been married 7 of those 8 years now baby, and you are without a doubt the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. You are my sunrise and my sunset, my muse and my inspiration, when we are apart I hear your voice on the wind and keep thoughts of you in my heart. I am truly blessed to have such an incredibly beautiful, smart, sexy, funny, amazing woman like you in my life. You are the other half of me and when we are apart, the lonesome part is all that's left of me. As I said in a previous post, you are my wife, my life, and my love. Soon this Iraq trip will be over and we'll be back together, and I don't think I'm leaving you again for a while. It's not the heat, or the bugs, or even the bad guys that make these deployments so hard, it's not getting to seeing your face in the morning, it's not being able to kiss your lips goodnight, and it's not being able to hold you when you nap on the big couch. Those are the things I miss most and desperately want back.

It's your birthday beautiful, know this: Someone in Northern Iraq loves you with all his heart and misses you terribly. 51 days until I board that bird for Kuwait and in 60 I'll be home. Happy Birthday my hummingbird,

Love you with my mind, body,and soul


In the company of heroes

I dream of rain, I dream of gardens in the desert sand-----Sting (Desert Rose)

That song is so much more poignant now that I have spent another summer here in Mesopotamia. The climate here is like nothing most Americans have ever seen, let alone imagined. The sun rises at 0600 or so and the first thing you notice in the light is the amount of dust in the air. You can tell whether it will be hell to breathe or if the heat is your only elemental enemy of the day. The sun rises into the sky like an orange disk, then yellow, then white hot as 0900 approaches. The tempature in the summer rarely dips below 80 degrees at night, and as the sun climbs, the mercury in the thermometer chases after as if the the sun and the tempature are in some macabre race. By 1030 the tempature is already hitting 105 degrees, by noon 115 is in sight and by 1400, we have hit our usual summit of 120-125 degrees. It remains that tempature until about 1900 when night blessedly falls over the FOB and the scorching sun is no longer there to torment us. There hasn't been a cloud in the sky in 3 months and we are still another month or two from an actual raindrop or two. Just another 45 days or so of the merciless yellow orb and the blast furnance it creates day after day.

People often ask what it feels like, of course I am happy to tell them what it's like. Imagine standing in front of your stove, turn it up to 130 degrees, now get inside of it, take your hair dryer and put it on full blast in your face. Don't forget to take a 500 watt light bulb and have it reflect off of sand colored surfaces into your eyes, no matter which diection you turn. For variety throw some talcum powder quality dust in your face. To complete the effect put on a 25 pound torso encompassing ceramic and syntehtic vest, add an 8 pound ceramic helmet, a T-shirt, long sleeve tunic, full length pants, wool socks and boots. Now imagine doing that everyday for 7 months, which is about the equivalent of the Iraqi summer. 130,000 men and women do it every single day, they don't do it for money, they don't do it for fame, they do it because they believe in something. They believe in an idea, an idea that America has a responsibility to do what we can to fight hatred, oppression and evil. We are a blessed nation to have so many give so much for so little in return. I am inspired everyday I am with them.

They come from everywhere and nowhere, little towns, our largest cities, and countries near and far. They joined for many reasons, money, adventure, education, and patriotism. But ponder this; On September 11th, 2005 it will have been four years since 9/11, most military enlistments are 4 years in length for the initial term. That means that the men and women in uniform today (a majority of them) are here because they want to be. They are here to fight and to win, the bear this out, while the Army is having a small problem with initial recruits, it is having no problems whatsoever in retaining its combat veterans. Ponder fact number 2: The U.S. military now has the largest pool of combat veterans in the world today. Since 9/11 we have cycled nearly one million total soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines through Iraq, Afghanistan, and the other fronts in the War on Terrorism. These combat veterans by and large are electing to stay and continue the fight. That speaks of the American character and the uniqueness of the American experience.

Throughout our history we have been a nation of rejects and castoffs. We as a people are the ones the rest of the world tried to persecute, or the ones that wanted more than the rigid social castes of much of the globe, or we were daydreamers and adventurers. We found all that we wanted and more in America, we found a land where birth did not equal status, where a poor man could become rich if he worked hard and was a little lucky, and we were a land where one's belief's didn't matter. The heart of a man or woman was judged by the actions of that person. You find that spirit in the Army today(the branch I am most familiar with), I have seen Russian boys and Nigerian girls transform from castoffs of the Old world into models of American character. I met a young man from Lebanon that joined the U.S. Army after 9/11 because he could not understand the level of evil it took to attack the beacon that is America. In my travels I have met men and women that believed so greatly in our country they were willing to risk their lives just to be one of us. I have never been prouder to be an American as when I am in their company, yet at the same time, I feel a small amount of despair. The despair is in the fact that so few of our own young people are willing to put their life on the line for liberty and freedom. We still have enough that are willing to do their duty for our nation, but it still troubles me.

I have spent nearly a year in Iraq in my three tours here, and my spirits are always buoyed by watching my countrymen and potential countrymen at work and at play. They go out everyday and face mortal peril, they go out and have to confront the evil of our time, they go out and see friends killed or maimed for life. They do that and still they smile much more than they scowl, they show love and compassion to the Iraqi people instead of fear and hatred. They still believe in the mission even after nearly 1900 of them have been cut down in the sands of Mesopotamia. Being here with them reinforces my beliefs in humanity and my idealism, with brave and selfless men and women such as these, anything is possible. The fires of human passions are often at their hottest in war, the fires of evil seek to scorch and destroy all that is good, in our men and women I see the fires of righteousness in action. Good done for the sake of good, selflessness for the sake of your brothers and sisters in arms, sacrifice in the name of love, and honor in a battle against those without honor. I truly have been blessed these last 2 and 1/2 years, I have lived in the company of heroes. Heroes of America, heroes to the downtrodden and dispossessed, heroes to the persecuted and brutalized, heroes descended from the peoples of every nation under heaven.


15 August 2005

In response to Steve

I don't often respond to people that leave comments, but this is a special case, so I decided to take some time and address this properly. Apparently Steve and I disagree about Cindy Sheehan's nutbaggery that she is demonstrating in Crawford in her quest to smear our President. Steve and I talked about what would happen if America and Iraq's roles were reversed, would I support the foreign army in our country. Steve had the following to say.

First, let me repeat the scenario on which I ended earlier and the question which you did not answer: if America was under the thumb of someone as evil as Saddam, and a foreign nation showed up and sent him scurrying into a spider hole--as you, I, too, would welcome that intervention--if that same foreign power began building permanent military bases in our country, wouldn't you wonder what they had in mind?

Not at all, I would understand the foreign power in question understood that for my country to be safe and a free member of the international community, an occupation would be necessary. Germany and Japan still house U.S. troops as well as Italy; we built permanent bases in those countries to ensure that our sacrifices would not need to be repeated. Permanent bases are a way for our country to permanently keep an eye on the country we fought. It ensures us a base for future operations in the theater, as well as giving us the power to ensure that the vanquished nation doesn't give itself an ideology harmful to our own country.

Steve then broke out the oil argument.

But if they didn't pack up and go, but instead appeared to want to hang around and influence what happens next, wouldn't you grow suspicious of their intentions in our land--especially if their own culture is known around the world for its insatiable thirst for oil and beneath our soil a veritable ocean of oil (and a mountain of money!)is just waiting to be got? What would you do to see that those foreigners got the heck out of our country?

I personally would do nothing to see those foreigners get out of my country. If they came in a noble and true form as we came to Iraq, I would do everything in my power to help them achieve their ends. What does oil have to do with anything? I stated earlier, if we truly wanted Iraq's oil at its highest production level, ewe would not have invaded. Had all we been after was the oil, we would have reached a deal with Saddam as all countries that are pragmatic do. Instead we chose to overthrow a dictator that could have destroyed most of the oil producing infrastructure had he chosen to do so. Why would we fight a war that had the potential to destroy that which you claim we were after? Saddam has shown in the past he was willing to destroy the oil, why would an oil man such as Bush risk losing that? Finally if it was about oil, we sure are doing a shitty job protecting that resource. Third string Iraqi troops are guarding all the infrastructure, refineries, and pipelines. If we were after the oil, why aren't U.S. patrols and Base camps setup along the oil pipelines and among the refineries. I am on my third tour of Iraq and I can tell you that we almost never go anywhere near the oil facilities as we have more important missions to conduct. Oil is not and never has been the major reason we are here.

At this point Steve moved back onto the Cindy Sheehan story.

Now as to Sheehan making a mockery of her son's death, it seems to me that the "sacrifice" of one's life or loved one is reduced to "senseless loss" if the cause for which that life is given is even a smidge less than absolutely necessary. In that urgency of mission, it seems to me, we find nobility and the highest definition of what "sacrifice" is all about.

Who is defining the cause as less than absolutely necessary? Casey Sheehan reenlisted while in theater, he told his sister before his death that he was "exactly where he wanted to be." To my mind that is the highest nobility, someone who wanted to be here, who volunteered a second and third time (volunteered to reenlist and volunteered for the mission that killed him). Ms. Sheehan can speak her mind, this isn't about that. But if her son was proud to be here, why would the mother tarnish that memory of him. Casey Sheehan was not drafted, he wanted to be here and his mother apparently has decided to not honor his memory in line with how he lived his life as a soldier.

Next we hear the old canard about Saddam and 9-11 not being connected.

This brings up the reasons Bush gave us for pre-emptorily invading a country that had nothing to do with 9-11. Honestly, were you afraid of Iraq before the administration began selling us the story about the smoking gun mushroom clouds, a story, by the way, they apparently knew was false!

Steve, I know Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, I have never claimed that. And was I afraid of Iraq before? You better believe it! I rarely talk about myself and my previous career, but I was an intel analyst that specialized on the Middle East when I was in the Army. I was terrified of what Saddam was up to as the sanctions continued to fall. I was terrified that Saddam was increasing his aid to terror organizations. He avoided Al Qaeda, but all terror organizations are evil, worthy of the death of all of their members. I was worried about what kind of terror groups were training in Iraq, I was worried if those WMD's were not being given to those same terrorists. As for those WMD's they are somewhere, there is unaccounted for material, maybe they were destroyed, but I doubt it. I am more convinced they are hidden in the Western Desert somewhere where people have either forgotten about them or don't care to retrieve them. When I was here last year, we found an entire artillery battalion, (18 Self propelled Howitzers) hidden in the sands of western Iraq,they had been there for 5 years, and those pictures have since been on the Internet. If one man can hide something the size of an artillery battalion, how hard would it be to hide 55 Gallon drums of Chemical agents?

Again Steve goes back to Ms. Sheehan's beliefs.

This is where Sheehan is coming from, I think. The sacrifice of her son's life appears to her to be no more than a senseless waste of his life for a cause far less than noble. The people across the road from her were described as being "Pro War" yesterday in the paper. I don't know how anyone could be "Pro War," especially when that war was a war of choice, as this one was.

First of all I am Pro war, not pro-war as in I love war, but as in I believe it necessary to engage and destroy any who dare to oppose or threaten America. By engage I mean to kill them ruthlessly, without mercy, and with no regard for their feelings, living conditions, or social beliefs. They threaten my country and my family and my way of life, ergo they must die. People that volunteer for the military since the Iraq invasion understand this, many volunteered after 9/11 for this same reason. Cindy Sheehan can believe what she wants, she has that right that has been given to her and protected for her by people like her son. He apparently thought the cause was worth it, his mother apparently thinks differently. The bottom line is that President Bush did not kill her son, Moqtada Al Sadr holds that honor. Yet Ms. Sheehan has not once mentioned that man. Furthermore, Cindy is becoming a self parody, with her rant yesterday about not paying taxes, demanding Israel leave Palestine and that Bush be impeached, she just lost what credibility she had built in the previous week out at Camp Casey. She has firmly entrenched herself with that leftist fringe element that thinks Israel is akin to Satan and that Bush is Hitler. I went from wishing to console this woman to actually loathing her. She has become nothing more than a pawn of the left wing moon bats. I hope in the afterlife if her son has questions for her actions that she has good answers for trying to sabotage our war effort, a war that he, I and tens of thousands of other soldiers believe in.

Steve concludes with a his opinion about the oil situation in Iraq.

Finally, there was no way Saddam could have destroyed the oil beneath Iraq sand. He could have taken out the wells, as he did in Kuwait, but that oil was still going to be there and you know it. But why buy it when we can own it ourselves? Doesn't it strike you as telling that while all the looting was going on, the one building we did look after was the oil ministry there in Baghdad?

When I say he could have destroyed the oil, I mean the process to pump it and ship it. Saddam taking out the wells, the pipelines and the refineries would have made that oil unobtainable for a number of years. (BTW he also destroyed a lot of the wells in southern Iraq in 1991) Secondly, we don't own the current Iraqi oil wells, the Iraqis do. As for the ministry of oil being guarded, it's exactly what I would have done, that ministry contained much of the information regarding the running of Iraq's oil industry. That oil industry is the one thing that could make Iraq a prosperous free nation. The only other thing I would have guarded besides the oil ministry would have been the museum of antiquities.

Anyway Steve, we see Iraq through wildly different eyes. I have spent a lot of time here and have seen why it is worth it. I have seen the beauty in the Iraqi people and how grateful they are that we are here. I have seen our own news media try to snatch defeat from our victory. And I have seen Cindy Sheehan make a mockery of our president and our military with some of her rants. I have seen the mother of a dead soldier ally herself with people that say that the people that killed her son and other insurgents like them are heroes. IF you have been to Iraq I apologize, but if you haven't been here, I would say other than your opinion you don't really know what's going on over here. That being said, I appreciate the feedback and the comments, I'm not looking to make enemies with anyone, I just get tired of trying to get people to see the truth in Iraq, not the media edited version of the truth.

11 August 2005

What will it be?

Recently the U.S. military here in Iraq has taken some hard hits, the Marines in Al Anbar province, the 48th National Guard Brigade from Georgia, and the 42nd Infantry Division in Samarra all took larger than normal casualties. And like some grotesque clockwork nightmare, the anti war crowd stepped up their rhetoric to bring "the troops" home now. I am sick and tired of hearing that siren call to bring us all home. Apparently the people that believe this have no idea what will happen if we do what they want. The effect will be two fold if we cut and run right now.

1. If we leave Iraq, militant Islam will understand that 2000 American military deaths are all we can sustain before we cry uncle. They will understand the key to defeating us is to kill a few thousand of us and we will wring our hands and say it isn't worth the price we are paying. It shows how far we have fallen as a country when whole segments of our society are not willing to pay the price or victory. Our cowardice if we leave now will be the most important victory militant Islam has ever experienced. Our humiliation will be complete as the few muslim moderates that exist will realize that we do not stand for anything if it will cost us lives. Our defeat will be complete and total. Never again will we have the chance to destroy the plague that is militant Islam. In fact their numbers will swell as many realize the one beacon of freedom in the world will flee if you bloody its nose.

2. The second effect will be felt by the Iraqi people. If we leave, the militants aren't just going to go home, their nihilistic behavior will carry over to attacks on the Iraqi people. Those deemed not religious enough, or not Arab enough will be the first to suffer. The rape rooms of Srebenica will pale in comparison to the degradation of women that will take place here. The killings in the Yugoslav civil wars will be but a pittance as the secular Kurds are left to fight the Sunni militants as well as the Iranian backed terror groups. What few liberals exist in Iraq will flee or die, women will be enslaved, girl children sold off as brides at age 9 and ten, and the black abaya will be everywhere. Men that don't grow their beards in accordance with Islamic law will be shot in the streets, boys will be taught hatred from birth. They will also be taught that women are property, not worthy of respect or love. Iraq, once a potential beacon of democracy will become a California sized country where 26 million people will live in the darkness of a tyranny worse than the one we freed them from. Iraq will cease to be a nation and its people will know only misery and despair.

That's what your cowardice will give the people of Iraq, those of you who don't understand the stakes we are playing for need to know this. Defeat in Iraq will bring the terror of 9/11 to our shores again. It will bring it to us, because terrorists will know once and for all we are cowards who do not understand that they the terrorists will never quit once they have caused us to flee Iraq.

Our only other option is to continue the struggle, 130,000 Americans are fighting the good fight today. Our men and women in uniform are our best line of defense. Victory in Iraq will be a death blow to militant Islam. Everywhere they will be facing increasing hatred of their twisted beliefs, deprived of victory in Iraq, these so-called "holy warriors" will be cornered and can be destroyed once and for all. So far over 1800 of our best and brightest have fallen in Iraq, their sacrifices should not be forgotten because some in our country are cowards unwilling to do the hard work necessary to defeat the evil of our time. Make no mistake about it, we are the force for good, we are fighting evil. Perhaps the greatest evil we have seen since Adolf Hitler himself, our enemies are willing to kill children at play to meet their aims, they are willing to rape and kill women that dare to help organize elections, they are willing to use a rusty knife to saw the head off of those who only wish o aid and comfort the Iraqi people. There is no negotiating with these people, there is no compromise with such fanatics. One can only dispatch them to their twisted visions of paradise.

What will it be America, will we have the strength of our forefathers and fight this evil to the ends of the earth, or shall we surrender and watch the horror unfold before us because we lacked the courage to do what was right?

Dear Cindy Sheehan,

I have had the chance to read what you have to say about our president and about the death of your beloved son Casey. I think you are in error ma'am about some important facts regarding this issue.

First of all I cannot imagine the pain you live with everyday knowing your son is dead. True I have lost close and dear friends to this same war, but my loss is nothing compared to yours. That being said I think in your grief you have allowed your mind to trick you into what the facts are.

The first fact is that your son was a volunteer in the Army. He was not drafted, he was not forced to fight or even to be there. He was there because he wanted to be, obviously he thought this land was worth fighting for. In fact your daughter was quoted as saying here that:

That’s all he wanted to do was serve God and his country his whole life,” “He was a boy scout from age 6 or 7 and an Eagle Scout. It was kind of a natural progression to go into the military from that. He said he was enjoying the military because it was just like the boy scouts but they got guns."

So apparently Casey was where he wanted to be, the same article mentioned he volunteered for the mission that killed him. Again Ms. Sheehan this letter is not to mock your loss, or belittle it, but to draw attention to the facts, facts that you seem to have forgotten in your anger and grief due to your loss.

A second point I have seen you claim is that President Bush killed your son. Well last time I checked President Bush was not living in Baghdad plotting our soldiers deaths everyday. If anyone is to blame for Casey's death, it is Moqtada Al-Sadr, the fat arrogant shia religious leader who ordered his forces to rebel in Sadr city. How can the leader of our country be responsible for the murderous orders of a religious thug that relishes attacking American soldiers? I'm sure if you and I were talking about this you would say something about this being the "wrong war, at the wrong time, or that we were lied into it" or some other rubbish like that. Well Ms. Sheehan I have been to Iraq three times now myself and I see nothing like what is described by our media. To be sure, death and sorrow do exist here, buthope and progress live here as well. I have seen Iraq in 2003 be a bombed out wreck where people on the streets begged for food and water, in 2004 there were less people begging and more people working to improve their country, and now in 2005 a country that only knew dictators for the last 30 years now knows democracy and they love what they know. Of course there are many challenges ahead and of course failure is almost as likely as success, but the point is this Ms. Sheehan, this war that cost you so much is going to improve the lives of so many. Iraq will make the world safer if it is a success, other people's sons and daughters will be spared if we do this right. I will not call you selfish, because the price of a dead child is incalculable, but Ms. Sheehan surely you know that President Bush did not plot the death of your child and he even tried to comfort you, while the real killer Moqtada Al-Sadr still plots the deaths of other sons and daughters of American parents.

Finally Ms. Sheehan I want to ask about some of the groups you are hanging out with. A few groups have expressed their solidarity with the insurgents in Iraq, these are the same insurgents that killed your son. The New York Sun took this poll last year and this is what they found.

Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out all have representatives on the steering committee of United for Peace and Justice, an anti-war umbrella group. They share that distinction with the Communist Party USA. UPJ organized the march during the 2004 Republican Convention in New York, at which a New York Sun poll of 253 of the protesters found that fully 67% of those surveyed said they agreed with the statement "Iraqi attacks on American troops occupying Iraq are legitimate resistance."

So Ms. Sheehan, your friends on the left (well at least 2/3 of them) think attacks like the one that killed your son are legitimate. Why would you side with people that support the murderers of your son over the people that truly cared about him? In conclusion Ms. Sheehan, I just want you to think about the following three questions.

1. If your son volunteered and seemed to love the military, why would you denigrate that same military?
2. How is President Bush guilty of killing your son for defending our country, but you have not lashed out at Moqtada Al-Sadr who actually ordered the uprisings?
3. Why would you ally yourself with people that think the murder of American soldiers is not only legitimate, but cheer on those murders?

Please know that you will be in my prayers.

Caelestis in Kirkuk

LATE EDITION According to the Drudge Report Cindy Sheehan's family is asking her to please stop her behavior.

It's been a while

Well the magic carpet ride I call Iraq has kept me from the blog for some time. I've been riding helicopters around the AO, popping in on FOB's and doing my job. Finally I ahve things where I want them and can finally settle down and write again. So let's head down that same old road again, there is so much to talk about, one hopes I have the time to say all I want to say