...this blog kills fascists...

Thursday, July 22, 2004


Came across this Philadelphia Inquirer story by way of Juan Cole. It paints a rather bleak picture of troop morale:

Scaling back the military and political goals in Iraq's Anbar province has hurt morale among U.S. soldiers stationed there, and some have begun to question openly not only their mission but also the leaders who sent them to Iraq in the first place.

It is not just buck privates. Several sergeants - the backbone of the enlisted military - said they felt the same way....

..."I'm tired of every time we go out the gate, someone tries to kill me," Staff Sgt. Sheldon Rivers said.

Asked whether most Americans had an idea of how bad the security situation was in Ramadi, Sgt. Maj. John Jones said recently that he was annoyed every time he heard analysis about Iraq from politicians and journalists on TV.

"When people come over here, where do they stay? In the Green Zone. I call it the Safe Zone," he said, referring to the secure area in Baghdad where the government is housed. "They miss the full picture."

What is the full picture?

"It's just like the West," Jones said, "when we were trying to settle it with the Indians."

He would not elaborate.

"It means that we have to kill all of them," said a captain standing nearby, half-joking.

Jones shrugged.

Sgt. First Class James Tilley was on patrol on the road outside Ramadi later that afternoon, sitting in his humvee for an hour or two in one spot - sweating profusely in the 105-degree heat - before moving a few hundred yards down the road to another place. The patrol is designed to prevent insurgents from putting bombs in the road.

"A lot of times, I look at this place and wonder what have we really done," Tilley said. "... What the hell am I here for?"

Staff Sgt. A.J. Dean was on the same stretch of road a few nights later, and his tone echoed Tilley's.

"I don't have any idea of what we're trying to do out here," he said, "... and I don't think our commanders do either. I feel deceived personally. I don't trust anything Rumsfeld says, and I think Wolfowitz is even dirtier."

I can't even imagine what these men must be going through. I feel decieved personally, and that's from the safety and comfort of the United States. I haven't been dropped down into a warzone to satisfy ideology and greed. God bless them and every single one of our brave men and women who find themselves in the line of fire over Bush's folly. God bless them all and keep them safe.

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