Saturday, December 31, 2005

Whats Going On?

Not a whole lot if you are me. Life in the military, as anyone who is or has been in at one time can tell you, can be pretty boring at times. There are lots of days or even weeks when absolutely nothing special happens. This past week has been one of those for me. However, what I think makes that fact kind of special is that I am in Iraq right now and nothing too crazy has been happening where I am. Of course that is good news, although it doesn't exactly make for a good headline.

So what has been going on then? Well this past week we have been building up our living area and improving the quality of life for ourselves. We, however, cannot take the credit for the work though. The credit instead goes to a couple of Iraqi guys who have been working for us doing some carpentry work. They are great workers and are fun to be around. Along with building, they have been teaching a few of us how to speak some Arabic and also have been telling us about how Iraqis view Americans. One of the Iraqi guys in particular is quick to say that Iraqis love Americans and instead it is foreigners who come in to Iraq to fight us. Americans don't realize this point though and are quick to equate all Arabic peoples as being the same. He has said to us on a few occasions that we don't even need our weapons in his town because they all like us. He, along with all the soldiers here, wish the foreign fighters would stay home and quit terrorizing Americans and Iraqis alike.

It would be great to hear about how actual Iraqis feel about whats going on in their country from the MSM, but like I noted earlier, good news doesn't make for good headlines. I fault not only the MSM but also people's perpetual need to hear a sad/heroic story. I cannot begin to count how many people asked me if I killed someone or if someone in my unit died the first time I was deployed. Why do people want to know this stuff and what bearing will it have on their lives? As if soldiers even feel like discussing that stuff when they get home anyway. So if you know of a soldier coming home soon please spare them dumb questions including the ones just mentioned.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Life as usual

I don't know whether I specified before or not but I am an army reservist. Life as a reserve soldier has drastically changed since 9/11. Reservists used to hang out like the commercials say, "One weekend a month, two weeks every summer". I hear stories about the good ol’ days of working hard and playing hard. Stories from field training exercises that involved just as much beer as they did anything else. But to me these are only other people's stories. I joined the army in early 2002 so I am used to active duty more than life as a reservist. I was only out of basic training a few months before I was deployed to Iraq the first time, and home less then a year before I learned I was coming back for a second tour. This past Thanksgiving I woke up in the middle of the desert in my sleeping bag feeling completely normal as I rolled over and opened up a Cajun Rice and Beans MRE for breakfast. I started thinking about what I used to do on Thanksgiving but it seems that I have been over here for the past several years.

Today’s reserve army consists of a bunch of civilians being taxed to the extreme trying to maintain a civilian family life while at the same time dealing with the headache that is the military. Of course I am not looking for sympathy, nor am I complaining. Everyone in the military volunteered to join and therefore has no right to bitch about having to serve their country overseas. I especially have no reason to complain because I don’t have a wife and kids at home that I have to worry about while I am here. I have no idea how people deal with a family and the army at the same time, but I am glad some people know how to handle it.

Iraq is life as usual for me. I have been eating at a chow hall, taking field showers, wearing body armor, setting up tents, carrying a loaded weapon etc. for what seems like all of my recent memory. I feel naked without my M-16 when I go home, and it seems like I am living in paradise when I can leave the water on for the whole time I am in the shower. I remember getting upset the day I got home from my first deployment and on the way home I couldn’t point my weapon at people and make them get out of the way of my car.

Life in Iraq will continue to go on as usual for soldiers for years to come. I just hope a whole new slew of kids can experience it for me. So if you know someone who wants to join the military tell them the army reserves is where its at. That way I can get on with American life as usual. Don’t take me wrong though, I have had, and continue to have, a good time working in Iraq. I am glad I got the chance to serve my country during war time, and even happier for being afforded the chance to spread freedom and democracy in the Middle East. At the very core of human existence I believe everyone wants to be free, and that is what democracy allows, freedom. And for this very reason Communism and tyranny fail time and time again.

The picture above is the sunset that I see every night from the roof of my billets. With sunsets like these Iraq can't possibly be that bad.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to wish everyone a happy holiday. Merry Christmas and happy Chanukah, and whatever else anyone celebrates. We are having a little Christmas celebration here (see picture). A secret santa in the morning followed up by some work. This is my second Christmas in the desert and it feels about the same as the first, just another day I guess. I think it is harder on the kids who have never been away for the holidays.

The weather is about the same as a southern Christmas except more sand. Take care everyone and hopefully you had better things to do on Christmas besides reading my blog.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Think Bush lied? Check out these guys.

After reading this article by Norman Podhoretz can anyone seriously believe anything the anti-war senators say again? It is strikingly apparent that they only care about their future and are all caving into peer pressure. I wonder if I convinced one democratic senator to jump off a bridge if these guys would follow so they wouldn’t be left out.

Does anyone know if democratic senators actually know the truth when they hear it?

Monday, December 19, 2005


I have heard lots of talk about the morale of the troops in the news lately. The anti-war crowd often sites the troops as being unwilling and unable to fight and win the war in Iraq. Senators like Kerry, Kennedy, Murtha, and Biden think soldiers just can’t do the job they were tasked to do. They think soldiers just don’t have it in them to do what the president has asked them to do.
The funny thing about their thoughts is that no soldier cares what they say because they realize those senators don’t have a clue what they are talking about. If only those senators shut up for a minute and actually talked to the military leadership here in Iraq they would realize how wrong they actually are, assuming they are capable of listening to the truth.
As I see it the general morale of the troops is good. We are out here to do a job and have fun doing it. We don’t sit down and discuss the implications of what we are doing and how it might affect the world or our future. That is for non-military types to hash out all they want. Soldiers have a job to do, if we do that job right we stay alive and go home at the end of our year. We don’t care about what the hell people like Kerry and Biden say. That is until it starts affecting how Americans view us and how the MSM portrays us to the world.
Not to say that all soldiers support Bush or vote Republican cause they certainly don’t. The thing about 99 percent of the soldiers here though, is that they see a side of the war that Americans don’t. We see the differences taking place everyday for the Iraqis. We see the cities being rebuilt, kids going to school, the new Iraqi army being trained, modern technology coming to the everyday Iraqi, and the list goes on and on. These differences allow soldiers of all political affiliations to put aside their differences and work together to make real tangible change in this country. If only democrat senators could put aside their ambitions for their own future and think about the future of the 25 million people in Iraq, as well as the Middle East in general, just as the soldiers do, then real progress could be made.
If I could cut off all news to Iraq I would so that I don’t have to sit in the chow hall and listen to Anderson Cooper or Chris Matthews open their mouths and show the world how ignorant they are. I would love to see troops do their job without having to worry how people back home will view them. I would love to have the MSM leave their hotels and actually come here and talk to us and find out how we feel. I would love to talk to Kerry, Murtha, Biden, and Kennedy and tell them how wrong they are about everything. I would love to go before the Senate and tell them all to strap on a pair and do the right thing and quit worrying about what people will think of them and whether they will have a job in a few years. If only senators cared more about doing the right thing then what people think of them we would be in a much better situation.
I don’t want to sit around and let Iraq become another propaganda war like Vietnam. Iraq is nothing like Vietnam and never will be unless we as Americans let it become that way, which is exactly what the Axis of Evil senators want to happen so they can finally be right about something.
Oh how I wish I could personally meet those senators. I would tell them exactly how it is and exactly what the soldiers think of them. I have a feeling those conversations would contain a lot of four letter words.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Election Time

So it is election time once again in Iraq and the tension is rising. People are starting to worry about their safety and what exactly they think will happen, but here is my prediction. The elections go off with only a few hitches. A couple suicide bombers here, maybe a bomb or two there, but overall I think more people will come out to vote since they saw what happened when they didn't vote the last time. I also bet that a higher percentage of Iraqis will vote then Americans did in the last presidential election. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Obedience School

I finally figured out how Iraq is different from the first time I was here, all Iraqis have been to obedience school. You know if you have a dog acting up and you just cannot figure out how to train her then you send her to obedience school, and then you get her back 2 weeks later and she is a whole new dog obeying all that you tell her to do- well that is what Iraq is like now. The first time I was here whenever we would drive down the roads people would try to come as close as they could and mix in with our convoys to get ahead. Now whenever we drive down the road everyone knows to pull of to the side of the road and wait for us to drive by. If they dont feel like pulling off then we force them to and they get the point immediately. If they still dont then we smack them on the nose and they go run to their cage. It really is a great thing because now when people stay on the road and mess with us then we know that we need to take them seriously and deal with them accordingly.
I do not mean this in a demeaning way, rather, it is the best way I can describe what it is like in Iraq now. The Iraqis have been dealing with us for going on 3 years now and are finally starting to understand the way we work. Their understanding leads to a lot less casulties and headaches for not only them but us too.
With the elections coming up in a week I guess we will see if they continue to cooperate the way we want them too.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Insane hippies and CNN

Reading the Stars and Stripes (the daily military newspaper) always provides me with enough material to blog about. As far as reporting the same old crap about body counts, and too-old-too-far-out-of-the-game-war-vet-senators I guess it is like any other news agency in the states, perhaps maybe a little better but not much. The past few S&S have had some well written and informative Associated Press articles about such topics as the recent Christian Peacemaker Team members taken hostage here in Iraq, and Ted Turner’s fear that someone (George Bush) might accidentally slip and trip the “hair trigger” to launch nuclear weapons at Russia. Hard hitting journalism at its best from mainstream media’s finest.
Now considering the recent Christian Peacemaker hostages I have a few thoughts of my own. I have personally dealt with some CPTers before and not one of them has been sane. In my experience they have either been old hippies searching for a new cause to cry about, or young hippies looking for their first cause to rally around. Now I don’t personally know the four individuals who were kidnapped by the terrorists here in Iraq, and by no means would I ever condone kidnapping, but maybe this will open the eyes of the “peacemakers” to the real situation here. It’s not America who are the terrorists or occupiers ,but rather, the foreign terrorists trying to disrupt the democratization of Iraq. Of course the CPTers would say that the terrorists wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for America conducting it’s “illegal” war, but that just goes to show how far from reality the CPTers actually are. People who hide behind religion to mask their own ignorance of the truth in order to accomplish their goals are the same as the terrorists who kill “infidels” in the name of God. In my book the CPTers and their sympathizers are American terrorists bent on seeing America fail and the terrorists succeed at any cost. The CPTers who came to Iraq in 2002 before the military invasion, and continue to come now, are puppets of Saddam and the current terrorists. They should not only be recognized as such, but should be thrown in jail for providing aid and comfort to the enemy, betraying their country, and for contributing to the deaths of American soldiers.
Ted Turner might as well join them in jail so that “brain” of his wont be able to hurt anyone besides himself. That a mind like that can control a major media outlet like CNN just goes to show how gullible Americans can be. I am starting my own boycott of CNN and ignorant hippies. If you would like to join me I would be more than happy to have you.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Lions, Tigers, and Commies oh my!

So I made it to the desert safely but along the way I had a funny thing happen. We started to fly over the ocean but had to turn back due to strong weather. So instead of flying back to the states we flew to Canada for a brief layover. As we entered the airport I saw about 10 people wearing Che Guevera shirts and berets with red stars pinned to them. Turns out it was a group of Russian Communists returning from a fun-filled trip to Cuba. Now they weren't too happy to see a company of American soldiers, and certainly were not happy about the idea of having their picture taken with one of them so they left a few minutes after we got there.
I got to thinking about how ignorant people have to be to still follow and worship famous Communist leaders. Not only have they killed millions of people but we have fought to stop the spread of Communism numerous times. Anyrate it was ironic to be traveling to Iraq and have to stop and see a group of Castro loving Commies along the way.
All is well in the desert and I should start posting more regularly in a couple of weeks. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


I will be offline for a little while because I am on my way to Iraq. I am not sure when I will start posting again but it shouldn't be too long. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Problem With Media Coverage

Earlier this year before I was deployed I wrote a weekly column in Ohio University’s college newspaper The Post. Every chance I got I tried to influence the students at OU’s nationally recognized Scripps school of journalism since they are some of our nation’s future journalists. Mostly I would talk about the media’s coverage of Iraq and how I thought it is for the most part biased and unrepresentative of how things really are. College life can be a mini real world for many students who tend to focus only on what is going on in their lives and rely upon others to tell them about the real world. Considering this I thought that perhaps I could influence one or two of them for the better. Now if only I could influence professional journalists who already report for the mainstream media.
The problem with the mainstream media’s coverage on the conflict in Iraq, and for that matter any violent conflicts in general, is that those covering the conflict have no prior experience in the military. Consider Martha Stewart reporting on Monday night football, or Pat Buchanan reporting on the 25th anniversary of BET. These journalists tend to stay in safe zones, and instead of gathering their own info and talking to real soldiers in the field, they receive briefings every day by the military so they don’t have to do any real reporting themselves. Of course there are exceptions like the fine reporter Oliver North from Fox News.
My point is that how are the people of America supposed to get an accurate picture of the conflict in the Middle East if they cannot get it from the media? Obviously not everyone can travel overseas to see first hand for them selves. What needs to happen, in my opinion, is that someone needs to start holding the media accountable for what they report. Now of course this is what bloggers already do, but until everyone turns off their television sets and hooks up to the Internet something needs to change. For the most part the mainstream media reports whatever they want, no matter if it is detrimental to our nation and those serving in the military. I am thinking along the lines of the propaganda war waged by the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. I am not mistaking Iraq for another Vietnam, but rather, only comparing what the media did then, providing aid and comfort to the enemy, to what they are doing now by only reporting the bad news coming from Iraq. Body counts and explosions on TV wane support for the war here in America and bolster the terrorist’s confidence. War is not a pretty thing, but when all people see is the negative side of war they don’t see what it accomplishes. In the case of Iraq our presence has freed the Iraqi people and given the Middle East a chance at change, something I am sure any oppressed people would want.
Until the media gets a clue about how war is conducted and what it is like to serve in the military they wont learn to report the real news coming out of Iraq. Instead stay tuned to the bloggers who have a better clue about what is going on.
(Once I figure out how I will post the links to my columns from The Post.)

Monday, November 07, 2005

God Machine

A friend and I have recently talked a few times on how we as a country could better fight terrorism and what we came up with is what we like to call the "God Machine." Now you will have to bear with me as I explain.
The "God Machine" would be created by Hollywood's best computer graphic designers and model makers and would cost only a fraction of what we have already spent on the global war on terrorism. Instead of 80 billion dollar packages the senate would only have to approve about 1 billion dollars to make this project happen. My friend and I envision the "God Machine" (GM) as being a technical marvel that would be able to convince terrorists that it was really Allah and it wanted them to do certain things. The GM would be a sort of ghostly image with a commanding presence that could appear and disappear at the will of it's operator. It would be able to speak many different languages so it could be used on terrorists from all over the world. Whoever employs the GM would sneak somewhere close to a terrorist training camp and wake the terrorists in the middle of the night so as to catch them off guard, or spray a gas in the air to put the terrorists in a trance. It would then tell them whatever tactic was being used at the time, whether it be to call off operations in Iraq because Allah no longer approves of killing innocent people and is sending suicide bombers to Hell, or something a little more permanent like telling them to all make a pilgrimage to Guantanamo so we could put them in jail. Obviously these are just suggestions and we would let the professionals in charge of the GM tell the terrorists what they want to. All I am saying is that we need to think outside the box when combating terrorists and the GM might be a step in the right direction.
When you are dealing with extremists extreme measures need to be taken.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Over There...Over Where?

I accidentally watched the television show Over There for the first time the other night. Accidentally because it was on in the gym while I was working out. I didn't expect much because the media and television never accurately depict anything having to do with the miltary. However, the show far exceeded my expectations. I think the best way for me as a veteran of Iraq to describe what is wrong with that show is to list what I found wrong with the show. 1.) First off the actors were too good looking for anyone to believe that they were actually in the military. 2.) The "soldiers" spoke english too well and didn't cuss enough to be soldiers. 3.) Not one of them held their weapons right 4.) The fake dirt and grease they had all over them wasn't believable 5.) Their convoy was set up wrong with two girl maintenance privates leading the convoy blocking the way for the first gun truck. 6.) They had a camp fire and drank beer out in the open at night time 7.) The LT did things that no officer would ever do and the soldiers respected him all the same 8.) The "infantry soldiers" were all a bunch of girly men. 9.) They were all scared of killing people. 10.)The list goes on and on but I have already started the process of forgetting the show.
I think what I am trying to say is that the show sucks and is nothing like what it is really like to be "Over There." Once again television has failed Americans and anyone who watches the show should think twice about what they are seeing.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

What are they thinking?

I know I said I wasn't going to start writing until November but I couldn't contain myself any longer. As I sat eating lunch in the chow hall where I am training I happened to notice a report about the anti-war protestors in Washington D.C. The video was of Cindy Sheehan talking to some policemen. Although I couldn't hear what she was saying I am sure it was a bunch of garbage. What strikes me the most about the whole Cindy Sheehan thing is that the media just can't seem to get enough of her. Why is this lady the figure-head of the anti-Iraq crowd? In my book she is an ignorant disgrace to all that would follow her and also to the memory of her son. I told my parents on several occasions that if they ever denounced the war in Iraq or our policy there just because of my death I would try to disown them from the grave.
I know I am beating a dead horse but was her son forced to join the military? Since he wasn't and did so according to his own free will, why isn't she protesting against him? He had a choice whether or not to join and I am sure he didn't join the army to cuddle with teddy bears and sip cappuccino while discussing philosophy. Cindy's protest is utterly baseless and anyone who wanted to protest the war on legit grounds would get rid of her. The lamestream media just don't have a clue. They are willing to put anyone or anything on air as long as it is anti-Iraq, Bush, or war in general.
I guess if she is the best the anti crowd has to offer then us normies (pro Iraq policy crowd) aren't that bad off. Now if only the media could get their heads out of their four point of contacts.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Stay Tuned

I plan on starting the blog in November so come back and check it out then.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

first post

This is the first