One Veteran's Voice

27 April 2006

America the Greedy

While channel surfing today, I was confronted with the statistic (who can ever tell how they are obtained or if they're valid) that 45% of Americans believe high gas prices to be the number one problem in America today. Iran was somewhere in the low thirties or high twenties, and Iraq was in the mid twentieth percentile.

The rising price of oil is the invisible economic hand beating us into a bloody, alternative-energy using pulp. Artificially lowering prices through rebates, subsidies, or price ceilings is only going to prolong the inevitable. That's the economic long run. In the short term, Exxon just made the fifth largest profit EVER by an American corporation, during a time of national crisis or emergency (yeah, we're in it people-- that's the clause they invoked to stop-loss me, so nobody can say that we're not in a national crisis or emergency-- I'm not sure which, but we're deep in shit, I'm sure of that). I've only studied economics a little bit, and I'm still studying for the final, but I can say with confidence that somebody's getting FUCKED here, and it's not Exxon.

I guess I should be thankful that a fifth of the country is either rich or selfless enough to care about Iraq more than the price they pay for the oil..err, democracy, we are fighting for there. Meanwhile, Rumsfeld and Condi fly in and land combat syle at Baghdad International for another top secret visit. It must make them feel good when they travel to Iraq, like their presence in the hot zone justifies all the tough talk and apologetic bullshit they spew on a daily basis ("We've probably made thousands of tactical errors"-- yeah that's right Condi, blame the military at the tactical level for the strategic blunders of your boss and colleagues). Never mind if they never make it out of the green zone. Never mind if Rummy was there back in the 80's, cheesin it up with Saddam as he sold him our old military hardware for use against Iran, which according to Americans today, is a bigger problem than Iraq. Good thinking America--stick that other fist in the tar baby. Bring on the apocalypse.

I keep coming back to the apocalypse in my thinking about American culture. Another statistic which may or may not be valid-- something like 40% of Americans believe that Jesus is coming back within the next fifty years. I'm all for tolerance and religious expression, but I just can't respect (intellectually) a man or woman who believes in fairytales, and I certainly don't want them making policy decisions. Until Americans take back the government from religious fundamentalists, we are going to continue to see the same kind of irrational policy that is being enacted. We are going to continue our Crusade for Democracy in Iraq. Global warming is still a theory, and the jury's out on evolution. Embryos from fertility procedures that would otherwise be thrown in the garbage somehow become an evil, anti-life force when used to conduct research which has the potential to save life. Abortion, even in cases of rape or incest, is EVIL. EVIL. EVIL. Homosexuals are threatening American families through their insidious desire to get married and adopt underprivileged children. Yeah, married gay people-- wow-- when they're not perusing the latest Pottery Barn catalog, they're going to be out in the streets fornicating and rioting-- don't give 'em an inch.

Meanwhile, GI Joe continues to sweat it out in Iraq. Shrapnel is not an opinion poll or an ideological concept. It will blow his face off whether he believes in it or not. Existence is day to day, death is real, and Americans don't seem to care. Not as much as they care about gas prices, anyway. Greedy bastards.

19 April 2006

Couple emails and a tirade

This first email was sent to me by a Vietnam Vet,

I came across your blog and have been reading the posts within with interest, shame and sadness.
I was an 11B from Vietnam, and so much of what is pointless, foolish and simply stupid I see in your
war I can remember from mine.

What I want to tell you, is that you and your fellow troops are my heroes. My dad was an Iwo Jima
Marine and he feels the same way. I want all the good young men and women there to come home
safe from harm.

I also want the sons of bitches who blew up NYC to get theirs. How that happens is a wholly different

Keep up the effort of getting the truth as you all see it out where it can be read. It's important work and
those who send others to fight and those who put the bumper stickers on their cars and speak of
support need to know more of what this or any war really is.

Thank you for your service to my country

L. Kirby

This one was sent to me by someone at a Carnegie Mellon University email address
Josh J.

Why did you join the military if you hate it, its leadership, and
apparently have nothing but negativity and vitriol for our country?
There is a reason people like you aren't allowed to be in charge.

Thank you for your service, but you can stop peddling your simplistic
views any time.

- Josh J.

Josh, maybe you should drop out of college and put your money where your mouth is. I did, and now I get to say whatever the fuck I want to about my experiences in Iraq. The only limitation I put on myself is to tell the truth. If you want to listen to simplistic views, turn on CNN and watch a Presidential press conference. My vitriol comes from the bitter experience of fighting someone else's war, from seeing civilians get shot to pieces in the name of democracy, from watching my own government lie about the war day after fucking day, and from the general apathy that seems to prevail in America, which I love, by the way-- too much to sit back and watch it degenerate without screaming bloody murder. So if I seem a little pissed, it's cause I am. All these college kids who support the war and talk tough while some stop-lossed 'whiner' pulls their tour in Iraq can blow me. You all are full of hot air and tough talk, and you've never had to back it up. Josh, if you've served, or are in ROTC, I apologize for insinuating that you are a coward, but if you haven't or aren't planning to-- well, keep up the hard work at Carnegie Mellon, and remember that your country needs you.

05 April 2006

Sail Away!

Last night I had a minor heart attack when I came across this post on Steve Gilliard's News Blog which he got from Daily Kos. I'll just copy and paste the actualy Army News Service story which was quietly put up on AKO. I'd link AKO, but if you don't know what it is, you don't have a login or password.

Army to transform IRR
April 4, 2006

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 4, 2006) – Individual Warriors will be the new label for Soldiers serving in the Individual Ready Reserve.

Simultaneously, the new name will lead to a cultural shift away from the unstructured group of inactive individuals into a cohesive group of Soldiers who are trained, aware and ready to augment Army missions when called upon.

Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey endorsed the move to reset and reinvigorate the IRR through several programmed initiatives to transform the Army’s leading prior-service talent bank.

“Senior Army leadership is committed to providing the necessary funding required to shape the IW initiative,” Harvey said. He added that Soldiers in the IRR will be a “viable pool” of individual warriors “trained and employable to meet the needs of the Army.”

Presently there are more than 100,000 Soldiers (enlisted and officer) in the IRR that represent more than 200 Military Occupational Skills ranging from combat arms and support to combat-service support specialties, but that could potentially be reduced to 60,000 ready and available Soldiers.

“While the mission of the IRR is to provide a pool of previously trained Soldiers who are �individually ready’ for call-up, our culture and past management of the IRR has made it difficult for many to accept that call-ups will become common practice,” said Maj. Nadine Kokolis, a mobilization officer in the Army’s G-1.

“In order to establish realistic readiness reporting, the Army is conducting a systematic screening of the IRR database to reconcile existing records and identify non-mobilization assets, and separate those Soldiers who no longer have further potential for useful military service,” added Kokolis.

The Army will institute an annual screening and training program for all assigned IWs who align with the Army Force Generation model – Reset/Train; Ready; Available. This program will be developed and carried out in order to maintain positive contact, administer refresher training as individual skills degrade and ensure the deployable readiness.

“Annual readiness screening is the heart of this initiative to ensure IRR members are deployable,” said Kokolis. “The Army will execute a pilot screening for approximately 5,000 Soldiers in fiscal year 2007; the goal is to institutionalize the entire screening and training program by fiscal year 2013.”

Recruiters and career counselors will brief all Soldiers entering the service and transitioning between components so they understand service obligations and training requirements in the Army Reserve.

Sara here again. Warriors??? Come on, that was the mascot for my HIGH SCHOOL. They started this Warrior propaghanda a few years ago, starting with the gag-me Warrior Ethos thing, "Never leave a fallen comrade" and blah blah blah. Read Orwell's Homage to Catalonia to understand what a joke war is, even when you're really there. Hell, read the chapter in Colby Buzzell's book about 'Movement to Contact' and understand how pathetic our "Warrior" tactics really are.

I really hate these people. Especially now that they're threatening to drag me back into it. My reaction was a bit more colorful last night, but I've calmed down a bit (thanks, Jesse) and remembered how slowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwly things move in army land.

This post can also be found at Noaccuser, my regular blog.

01 April 2006

'If you start looking at them as humans...'

As we get closer to New Orleans, the coastline becomes increasingly ravaged. Joe Hatcher, always sporting a keffiyeh and punk chains, reflects on his own time in the military and the hostility he has met from pro-war activists at home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a town with five army bases where he campaigns against the war at town hall forums. He says: "There's this old guy, George, an ex-colonel. He shows up and talks shit on everybody for being anti-war because 'it's ruining the morale of the soldier and encouraging the enemy'.

"I scraped dead bodies off the pavements with a shovel and threw them in trash bags and left them there on the side of the road. And I really don't think the anti-war movement is what is infuriating people."

When we reach Biloxi, Mississippi, the police say that there is no permit for the march and everyone will have to walk on the pavement. This is tricky because Katrina has left this coastal road looking like a bomb site.

Inigo Gilmore and Teresa Smith
Wednesday March 29, 2006


Once again, the police in Biloxi don't get it. Once again, the people are going to have to let THEM know.

I have been to exactly one anti-war rally, and no marches, so my perception of the anti-war movement might be a little off, but I was struck at the overwhelming preponderance of Vietnam era activists as opposed to young people. And this was in a college town. It's also not New York, Boston, Chicago, or San Francisco. But it is a college town. Hardly any college kids were there. I can only assume it's cause they don't really give a shit. They're not going to get drafted. No one they know has been killed. TV shows violent pictures all the time. Meanwhile some marine is pulling his third tour of Anbar. Can we share the burden of this war yet, or are we going to wait till our military collapses under the strain? Draft, anyone? A tall cold one, with no exemptions for cowards like Dick Cheney, who have other, more selfish priorites than military service. But they supported that good ole war in Vietnam, and they dreamed up this war to compensate for their cowardice in that one. They get to play dress up, fly around to air craft carriers, make solemn speeches about resolve, receive salutes, but they don't get to sweat, bleed, or kill. Their lives are too important to risk. They are old men with money.

The NY TIMES finally found some cajones and decided to report on the series of memos that basically proves (at least to me) that President Bush is a warmongering liar who planned to invade Iraq the whole time (at least after 9-11) and really didn't give a hoot if there were any WMDs or not, or whether the UN ever found them-- because Saddam was a bad bad man who tried to kill his daddy and hogged all the oil. Confronted with the blatant contradictions in his public and private statements during the run up to Iraq by Helen Thomas, Bush can only stammer, interrupt her, and utter truisms. At least it's better than continuing to read My Pet Goat while Americans were being incinerated. Was that when he silently "Vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people" ? Impeach this asshole, already.