Thursday, February 08, 2007

On my soap box....

I got this as a forward today from a friend. Sorry it's long and then I am also posting a responseat the bottom after this.

Hope Rides Alone

New Media JournalUSA Sgt. Eddie Jeffers, USA (Iraq)February 1, 2007
I stare out into the darkness from my post, and I watch the city burn to the ground. I smell the familiar smells, I walk through the familiar rubble, and I look at the frightened faces that watch me pass down the streets of their neighborhoods. My nerves hardly rest; my hands are steady on a device that has been given to me from my government for the purpose of taking the lives of others.

I sweat, and I am tired. My back aches from the loads I carry. Young American boys look to me to direct them in a manner that will someday allow them to see their families again...and yet, I too, am just a boy....my age not but a few years more than that of the ones I lead. I am stressed, I am scared, and I am paranoid...because death is everywhere. It waits for me, it calls to me from around street corners and windows, and it is always there.

There are the demons that follow me, and tempt me into thoughts and actions that are not my own...but that are necessary for survival. I've made compromises with my humanity. And I am not alone in this. Miles from me are my brethren in this world, who walk in the same streets...who feel the same things, whether they admit to it or not.

And to think, I volunteered for this...

And I am ignorant to the rest of the world...or so I thought.

But even thousands of miles away, in Ramadi, Iraq, the cries and screams and complaints of the ungrateful reach me. In a year, I will be thrust back into society from a life and mentality that doesn't fit your average man. And then, I will be alone. And then, I will walk down the streets of America, and see the yellow ribbon stickers on the cars of the same people who compare our President to Hitler.

I will watch the television and watch the Cindy Sheehans, and the Al Frankens, and the rest of the ignorant sheep of America spout off their mouths about a subject they know nothing about. It is their right, however, and it is a right that is defended by hundreds of thousands of boys and girls scattered across the world, far from home. I use the word boys and girls, because that's what they are. In the Army, the average age of the infantryman is nineteen years old. The average rank of soldiers killed in action is Private First Class.

People like Cindy Sheehan are ignorant. Not just to this war, but to the results of their idiotic ramblings, or at least I hope they are. They don't realize its effects on this war. In this war, there are no Geneva Conventions, no cease fires. Medics and Chaplains are not spared from the enemy's brutality because it's against the rules. I can only imagine the horrors a military Chaplain would experience at the hands of the enemy. The enemy slinks in the shadows and fights a coward’s war against us. It is effective though, as many men and women have died since the start of this war. And the memory of their service to America is tainted by the inconsiderate remarks on our nation's news outlets. And every day, the enemy changes...only now, the enemy is becoming something new. The enemy is transitioning from the Muslim extremists to Americans. The enemy is becoming the very people whom we defend with our lives. And they do not realize it. But in denouncing our actions, denouncing our leaders, denouncing the war we live and fight, they are isolating the military from society...and they are becoming our enemy.

Democrats and peace activists like to toss the word "quagmire" around and compare this war to Vietnam. In a way they are right, this war is becoming like Vietnam. Not the actual war, but in the isolation of country and military. America is not a nation at war; they are a nation with its military at war. Like it or not, we are here, some of us for our second, or third times; some even for their fourth and so on. Americans are so concerned now with politics, that it is interfering with our war.

Terrorists cut the heads off of American citizens on the internet...and there is no outrage, but an American soldier kills an Iraqi in the midst of battle, and there are investigations, and sometimes soldiers are even jailed...for doing their job.

It is absolutely sickening to me to think our country has come to this. Why are we so obsessed with the bad news? Why will people stop at nothing to be against this war, no matter how much evidence of the good we've done is thrown in their face? When is the last time CNN or MSNBC or CBS reported the opening of schools and hospitals in Iraq? Or the leaders of terror cells being detained or killed? It's all happening, but people will not let up their hatred of President Bush. They will ignore the good news, because it just might show people that Bush was right.

America has lost its will to fight. It has lost its will to defend what is right and just in the world. The crazy thing of it all is that the American people have not even been asked to sacrifice a single thing. It’s not like World War II, where people rationed food and turned in cars to be made into metal for tanks. The American people have not been asked to sacrifice anything. Unless you are in the military or the family member of a service member, its life as usual...the war doesn't affect you.

But it affects us. And when it is over and the troops come home and they try to piece together what's left of them after their service...where will the detractors be then? Where will the Cindy Sheehans be to comfort and talk to soldiers and help them sort out the last couple years of their lives, most of which have been spent dodging death and wading through the deaths of their friends? They will be where they always are, somewhere far away, where the horrors of the world can't touch them. Somewhere where they can complain about things they will never experience in their lifetime; things that the young men and women of America have willingly taken upon their shoulders.

We are the hope of the Iraqi people. They want what everyone else wants in life: safety, security, somewhere to call home. They want a country that is safe to raise their children in. Not a place where their children will be abducted, raped and murdered if they do not comply with the terrorists demands. They want to live on, rebuild and prosper. And America has given them the opportunity, but only if we stay true to the cause and see it to its end. But the country must unite in this endeavor...we cannot place the burden on our military alone. We must all stand up and fight, whether in uniform or not. And supporting us is more than sticking yellow ribbon stickers on your cars. It's supporting our President, our troops and our cause.

Right now, the burden is all on the American soldiers. Right now, hope rides alone. But it can change, it must change. Because there is only failure and darkness ahead for us as a country, as a people, if it doesn't.

Let's stop all the political nonsense, let's stop all the bickering, let's stop all the bad news and let's stand and fight!

Isn't that what America is about anyway?

Sergeant Eddie Jeffers is a US Army Infantryman serving in Ramadi, Iraq.



MY RESPONSE:

You know, I'm a democrat and I'm not totally for the war in Iraq, I have mixed feelings about it. DH will be leaving again in less than a year to go to Afghanistan (this war I can get behind that's who attacked us on 9/11) for another year (he will have been home just a month or 2 over a year when he leaves again).

I agree with this guy that "America" is not at war. It's true. The American people have had to give up nothing in this war, not like they did in WWI and WWII. Life here just goes on as normal for most Americans.

I will say, that a lot of our soldiers are sick of the war too. That's not say that they aren't proud to serve because they are very proud serve this great country of ours but they are sick of watching their friends die, of missing out on their children's lives, leaving their families behind and not knowing who will protect them.

You know, this last deployment, one of our wives back here was raped in her home and can you believe that this soldier had to fight to be able to come home and stay with her? We had another wife with a lot of medical problems (surgeries and such with a child that required medical care as well) and they let her husband come home for a few days but not long enough to take care of her. I did it for him, he was lucky that I was here but there were others that I didn't know about who wouldn't ask for help that needed it and their husbands were sick with worry over there.

This war is totally unreal, it's heartbreaking both for us AND for the innocent Iraqis.

Also, I would hope that we would hold our military to a higher standard, that we would expect the best behavior out them at all times. We have the investigations because we want to show the world that we are better than our enemies and we won't allow our soldiers to mistreat people.

DH has seen some of what some of the soldiers the letter writer spoke of did to some of the Iraqis and he said what they did was terrible and disgusting.

If we truly are this Christian nation we want everyone to think we are, then we have to act like it even in war and yes, hold our soldiers, our citizens to a higher standard. We have to be better than our enemies or the war will never be won. If we don't punish soldiers who do wrong and show the Iraqis that we don't as a nation act this way then they will just continue to think that that is the way ALL Americans treat others and they will just continue killing. At least when soldiers show compassion it touches someone and that's the way it should be.

I don't think anyone is denouncing the military or their actions. Everyone knows that they are following orders and doing their job. I also don't think that questioning our President is wrong or bad. I think it is what we are supposed to do otherwise we would be a monarchy instead of the free country we are. I agree that name calling is stupid and doesn't help anything. I for one am sick of the negative stuff in politics, the mudslinging, the name calling, the lies. It's terrible. It's hateful and it doesn't help anything at all. It only makes matters worse.

I feel sad for this soldier. I really do. I'm sorry that he doesn't feel the support from our country as he should. We do support him. You can support the troops and not the war.

I will tell you as a military wife when I see these cars with 10 or more yellow ribbons on it or I see signs in business windows that say I support the troops, I always want to ask them "How do you support the troops? What exactly have you done to support the troops other than put up a sign or a ribbon?" The signs don't mean so much without action. "Actions speak louder than words."

I obviously have mixed feelings about all of this. But I do think we have to hold our soldiers to a higher standard, for that matter we should ALL be held to a higher standard. That's really what we are doing when we question and debate, we are holding each other to a higher standard. We won't any of us ever measure up all the time but we can do our best. That's all we can do, our best, and try to show our best.

Okay, I've rambled on enough. Sorry about that. Please, if you haven't yet, go support our troops. Send a care package or a Valentine, a note of encouragement. Go mow that military spouse's lawn or trim the hedges or trees, or take her car to get the oil changed, or pick a night and tell them you want to babysit for them. Don't just say, if you ever need anything because odds are they won't ask for help. You just DO IT! Support our troops AND their families!

Again, sorry to ramble and please excuse any errors, this was written with my children standing around me talking constantly doing their school work. I'm by no means perfect nor do I know everything or that matter much of anything. These are just my thoughts.

4 comments:

  1. Your post has some excellent points. Here's some additional data:

    The U.S. Department of Defense, headquartered in the Pentagon, is one of the most massive organizations on the planet, with net annual operating costs of $635 billion, assets worth $1.3 trillion, liabilities of $1.9 trillion and more that 2.9 million military and civilian personnel as of fiscal year 2005.

    I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

    It is difficult to convey the complexity of the way DOD works to someone who has not experienced it. This is a massive machine with so many departments and so much beaurocracy that no president, including Bush totally understands it.

    Presidents, Congressmen, Cabinet Members and Appointees project a knowledgeable demeanor but they are spouting what they are told by career people who never go away and who train their replacements carefully. These are military and civil servants with enormous collective power, armed with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Defense Industrial Security Manuals, compartmentalized classification structures and "Rice Bowls" which are never mixed.

    Our society has slowly given this power structure its momentum which is constant and extraordinarily tough to bend. The cost to the average American is exhorbitant in terms of real dollars and bad decisions. Every major power structure member in the Pentagon's many Washington Offices and Field locations in the US and Overseas has a counterpart in Defense Industry Corporate America. That collective body has undergone major consolidation in the last 10 years.

    What used to be a broad base of competitive firms is now a few huge monoliths, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Boeing.

    Government oversight committees are carefully stroked. Sam Nunn and others who were around for years in military and policy oversight roles have been cajoled, given into on occasion but kept in the dark about the real status of things until it is too late to do anything but what the establishment wants. This still continues - with increasing high technology and potential for abuse.

    Please examine the following link to testimony given by Franklin C. Spinney before Congress in 2002. It provides very specific information from a whistle blower who is still blowing his whistle (Look him up in your browser and you get lots of feedback) Frank spent the same amount of time as I did in the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) but in government quarters. His job in government was a similar role to mine in defense companies. Frank's emphasis in this testimony is on the money the machine costs us. It is compelling and it is noteworthy that he was still a staff analyst at the Pentagon when he gave this speech. I still can't figure out how he got his superior's permission to say such blunt things. He was extremely highly respected and is now retired.

    http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/spinney_testimony_060402.htm

    The brick wall I often refer to is the Pentagon's own arrogance. It will implode by it's own volition, go broke, or so drastically let down the American people that it will fall in shambles. Rest assured the day of the implosion is coming. The machine is out of control.

    If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting on this blog entitled, "Odyssey of Armaments"

    http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2006/11/odyssey-of-armaments.html

    On the same subject, you may also be interested in the following sites from the "Project On Government Oversight", observing it's 25th Anniversary and from "Defense In the National Interest", inspired by Franklin Spinney and contributed to by active/reserve, former, or retired military personnel. More facts on the Military Industrial Complex can be gleaned from "The Dissident" link, also posted below:

    http://pogo.org/

    http://www.d-n-i.net/top_level/about_us.htm

    http://dissidentnews.wordpress.com/2007/01/30/the-military-industrial-complex-and-the-business-of-war/

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