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.