Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Crazies and the Letters They Write

I am no stranger to occasional hate mail but I have received several emails lately that made me laugh. The thing about hate mail is that it inspires me to keep writing. I don’t exactly know what it is but there is something inexplicably fun about riling people’s feathers to the point that they take the time to write incoherent emails to you. It is almost as if they have nothing better to do with their time…

With that said I want to share a few exceptional letters I have received over the past couple of weeks. I’ll mention no names or give out email addresses but hope that the people that wrote them will read this post and send me some more hate mail.

Perhaps my favorite tactic used by the hate-mailers is the train of thought that “This person cannot possibly exist” when talking about milbloggers. I have heard several milbloggers say that they have been accused of nonexistence and it recently happened to me. I was scanning my sitemeter when I happened across a link from a forum for Backpacker magazine. Of all places I don’t know why I was being discussed on a forum for an outdoors magazine but maybe the people were outdoors when they read my blog. Someone mentioned that they thought I wasn’t real and that someone ought to investigate me further to make sure I wasn’t a concoction of some neocon. While they discussed the ontological hullabaloo surrounding T.F. Boggs I laughed out loud. “Why someone in the military who can read and write-Impossible!” cried the Murthacrat.

Everyone knows that people in the military: “Are nothing but cannon fodder serving with your body, but with an empty head” as another angry reader of my blog quipped to me in an email. The person who wrote me that carried on:

“I pity you. You are as brainwashed as a suicide bomber who thinks the best way to support his cause is to blow strangers up. Found any connection to 9/11 in Iraq, soldier? Found any WMD yet, sir? Found Jenna or Barbara Bush serving next to you, soldier? Go home now then!!! There’s no honor killing in the name of the Liar in Chief.”

Take a moment to digest the wisdom of that email.

One of the best things about blogging is that you are able to reach an international audience. I received an email from a man in France the other week that replied to my interview of General Ali.

“However, sorry to say, as to your activities in Iraq, well, I think you will not prevail. The tide of history is very much against you. Your venture was-or is-to bring freedom and democracy to a country with well over five thousand years of continuous history. 5000 years, sergeant!”

Whatever that means, he continues on:

“And now you come and propose democracy but trying at the same time to grab the only riches they have, oil. You are bound to fail, not by military defeat but by continuous small losses of human life and by the enormous cost of this venture. Sooner or later your politicians will come to the conclusion that all this is meaningless. Then you will return home…”

Frenchie continues on by alluding to Vietnam and ends the email with a nice cartoon that has the military portrayed by a giant turtle that he “imagines I’ll like.” How nice.

By far my favorite comes from an oh-so-informed Red Diaper Baby who chose to respond by commenting on my blog.

“…I suppose that the blogger thinks that al-Qaeada exists and believes other things the government tells him. That's his choice, but I do hope that he realizes his folly before the totalitarian takeover is complete. It's already chugging along at a steady pace…. In case you haven't noticed, the terrorists are not the ones killing the American soldiers.”

Quick someone nominate this guy for public office. I would tell you how he went on to allude that the Illuminati are finalizing their takeover of the American government in a push to consolidate the world into a global community with one currency in order to support the antichrist at his reawaking ceremony but that would only be some expert speculation on my part. I also want to take some time and thank him for letting me know that terrorists are not the ones killing soldiers. I suppose they are dying as a result of not getting the proper counseling needed in order to rid their brains of alien life forms that keep them from reaching their full potential. (Hat tip Tom Cruise)

What planet do people like this come from? It is actually quite saddening. On the surface level it is pretty funny but when you start to think about the thought process that goes on behind these ideas it is frightening. No terrorists? No al Qaeda? Are you kidding me? Who are these guys that we see here in Iraq everyday? Who have we been fighting? Is this some sort of drug-induced hallucination I have been on for the past 4 years? I knew that Bin Laden guy was fake, no one has a nose that big!

One consistency I have found in hate mail is the lack of coherent sentence structure. Case in point: an email I got in response to my letter to the NYT from a self-described

“72 yr.old retired janitor; served US Navy, 1952-56, never left the U.S. I was a Hospital Coprsman, Psychiatric Technician (orderly), have worked in V.A. system, Mclean Hospital (Belmont, Ma.) private psych hospital for 19 yrs. Trained at St. Elizabeth’s hospital near Washington D.C. (vomited on side walk outside white house and never knew where I was?) Chelsea Naval Hosp. 3 and a half yrs., Psych ward, Portsmouth Naval Hosp. (Prison Ward) 6 months. I went into the navy even with hearing loss in right ear. Puss was running out of my ear when they accepted me. They cured it by removing my tonsils at 18 yrs of age, day before Thanksgiving, Brainbridge Naval Hospital…”

I didn’t know I was accepting his resume. However, I couldn’t possibly make this up so you know I am telling the truth here. Emails like this one are priceless and immediately go into a separate folder where I stash emails that I want to save. What point exactly this retired janitor was trying to make still eludes me but lets look at his email further.


“…we attacked Iraq on false statements made by everyone in this administration, (This is a war for control of oil…Saddams best friends were/is the Bush #41 (George H. W.) (Poppy bush) drug lord of the world…the poppy trade (opium) has grown by more than 300% since we took over Afghan. The Taliban had almost got rid of it….I have never seen a president such as this so close to Hitler (even Nixon) did not come that close…I could go on with the bush family history that would knock your socks off…and why are we spending so much money on a new Embassy the size of Rome...we spend 9.7 billion dollars a day now…in Iraq. Take care of your self.”

Wow, just wow. “Oil, grumble, oil, grumble, Hitler, grumble, praise for the Taliban, grumble, rich pricks, grumble, have a good day Sgt. Boggs.” Aww thanks old man. I’ll have to admit this email almost had me convinced to join the dark side. The fact that he left me his home phone number kind of creeped me out but maybe I’ll visit him next time I shoot up some of that Bush-made heroin and am looking for a history lesson about the demonic Bush family.

I know there are millions of people in America that support the troops and what we are trying to do in Iraq and Afghanistan. These people have fully functioning brains that are capable of seeing the truth. The people that write hate mail are in the minority but at the same time seem to be coming out in larger numbers everyday. The internet has allowed everyone to share their opinion with the world whether or not it is an informed one. At a time when people are threatening others for what they write on their blogs we should all take the time out, moonbats included, to thank the soldiers that have made this type of expression possible. I gladly invite these hate-mailers to move to a country where the government doesn’t stand for dissent. If you like the Taliban so much go live under their rule. If Saddam was such a great guy go to Iraq and protest his trial. If there is no such thing as al-Qaeda come to Iraq and hang out in Baghdad, I am sure there are plenty of terrorists (or I mean totalitarian tools) willing to cut your head off to make a political statement.

Until then keep writing to me, I am always up for a good laugh.

47 comments:

john said...

lol...what a bunch of douches. keep up the fight. love ya homie!

tanksis said...

Sgt.,

This was great- a lot to laugh at. Yet you are right, it is sad when you think of some of the thought processes invloved in these musings.

How I hope for the day when some of these idiots can put down their defeatist, anti-American hate mongoring and just say thanks to you all. Yep, I won't be holding my breath either!

Thanks for sharing! Sorry you won't be sharing a departure date with Buck, but the selfish part of me is glad to have you around a while longer. You know we'll be here until you are home safe and sound!

dj elliott said...

To quote Bill Cosby:
Riiiiiiight...

When did they start giving mental patients internet access???

MK said...

Thank you TF Boggs for what you do.

I'm saddened that there is a growing number of such nutty people out there, I am afraid as 9/11 grows further from people memories, the more people will be squeaking about oil conspiracies and denouncing Bush.

To deny the existence of al-Qaeda and islamic extremists is to deny that close to 200 people were butchered in India the other day, all I can say is good luck to such fools.

It’s not only in America, but there are many of us around the world who pray for you and your fellow soldiers, for you carry future of so many of us on your shoulders.

I shudder when I imagine a world without America and her noble sons.

Thank you once again.

BUCK SARGENT said...

Boggs, dude.... you aren't kidding, man. I think I can publish and entire book (a la Michelle Malkin) just out of the insane comments and emails I've received this past year.

I also admit to scoping my sitemeter whenever I have time. I love snooping on "private" message boards debate my existence and trash me without any idea that I'm reading it all and loving every second of it. It sucks not being able to troll on those things, or I would join the arguments probably.

One guy even sent me an email demanding a copy of my DD-214! Like I'm just gonna hand that over to him.

Oh, and don't worry bro. I won't forget about you when I'm HOME ENJOYING A FROTHY GUINNESS OR TEN AND WATCHING MY WIFE COOK UP HER CULINARY MASTERPIECES WEARING NOTHING BUT LINGERIE AND... oh, sorry, the caps button got stuck again...

Courtney said...

Sgt. Tim,

I informed Dad a few minutes ago that you had a new post, and when I told him the subject you discussed he said "Who would write hate mail to a soldier?". That pretty much sums it up.

The world is full of incompetent people.

There sure are a lot of people out there who do support you guys. In fact, I went to the Lynard Skynard concert last night and they had everybody who knew somebody in the military raise their hand (which was like the entire crowd) and they told every person that had a hand raised to personally tell the person they knew in the military that Lynard Skynard was behind them 110%. Of course the crowd went wild. You know you can't be wrong if you have the pinnacle of good ol' southern rock behind you.

Stay safe and know that you are constantly in my prayers.

mamaworecombatboots said...

Well, the internet has certainly opened up a brave new world. It has given limitless opportunities for us to communicate with each other. Unfortunately, it hasn't necessarily improved the quality of those communications....

Anonymous said...

It is strange but the only people we know who can really make us laugh are men in combat zones. Regular people just don't seem to have much sense of humor any more. Did you or Buck ever get hate mail from a person with a good sense of humor? Guess not. Maybe they just take themselves much too seriously. You were just being - -funny - - weren't you Buck. I hope you don't lose your sense of humor once you get home. Great idea to write about all the nuts in the world, Tim. We need to be aware!!
Also don't let Buck lead you astray young Sgt. Boggs.
Your fans,
A&N

William Eaton's Last Stand said...

Earlier this week I checked one of the boards I used to post on a lot, found a thread about North Korea's missile launches and proceeded to read.

There were, of course, all of the "stock" liberal viewpoints, but what stood out most to me was after one poster had asked rhetorically what nation on Earth would back up North Korea if they ever did go to war with us and one of the "enlightened European" members of this forum actually responded with "Japan."

JAPAN.

I almost soiled my britches right there, I laughed so hard.


It's not that I think that everybody on "my" side of the debate has themselves all together (not even close), but why must the anti-war crowd be constituted of such soft-minded thinking? How can they scream about 'cultural sensitivity' and yet think that combating the aggressive, "macho" culture/ideologies that we see in Radical Islamist and Arab Fascist circles with passivity and weakness is a good idea?

In the end, I think that deep down, it's not that they are concerned for their fellow human being or for their nation or for the world, but that they want to be able to turn on their TV, watch the news and not feel guilty about what they see...

And so they rationalize any excuse to make it stop -- not the killing, not the dying, not the oppression -- just the fact that it's on their TV set because our troops are in the area.

T. F. Boggs said...

I think I'll collect these letters into book form and solicit some from other people and call it something like "Moonbats say the darndest things".

Buck- I really wanted to answer you in funny way by saying something like "Oh yeah well at least I am not going to live in a housing project in Alaska when I go home" or "Ha ha ha, everyone knows Guiness doesn't travel well so when I am in the UK next month I'll let you know what a real Guiness tastes like" or "At least I don't have to pay for my food" or something of equal lameness but then I thought better. I really have no reply for you, I am jealous. Only a few more months for me though. Here's hoping your wife still remembers who you are, I hear she has been reading my website.

Don't forget to pour some beer out for your homies still in Iraq.

But seriously, if Lynard Skynard is behind me who can be against me?

T. F. Boggs said...

Buck I almost forgot to tell you that I am glad you can finally enjoy the finer things in life, what are you like 20 years older than me?

Bag Blog said...

Just today I was flipping through the TV channels looking for some news besides ABC. I came across some talk show that had a Democrats phone line, a Republican line, and an Independent line. I listened for a few minutes to both the Dems and the Reps. Then an Independent came on and said the craziest things I have ever heard - He said that 911 was completely organized and carried out by the U.S. government. He ranted on about this, but I turned him off. You are right - there are some really "interesting" folks out there.

Elizabeth said...

Sgt. Boggs, I'm enjoying your blog more and more...

It isn't just right-wing people who get strange hate mail; I've gotten plenty of strange hate mail. Although, I have to admit, no one has accused me of not existing...

As usual, a lot of your commenters get it wrong: Your hate mail doesn't come from people who are "left wing," it comes from people who are crazy, as you and a couple of other people noted...by the way, I do consulting work in state psychiatric hospitals, and I can tell you that the patients do have internet access.

MissBirdlegs in AL said...

Some of your mail is funny & some is sad to me - after I get over the anger I feel at people who would spew their hate and conspiracy theories at men who are defending their right to do so. I'll bet there are very few of them who would have the guts to say such things to your face!

Buck, you ought to be ashamed of yourself! I can just see the evil, satisfied grin on your face, though. :)

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how many "stupid" people there are out there isn't it? I get so sick of hearing the pack of lies some of these people tell over & over again.I for one support Bush,always have,always will.I campaigned for him in both elections.Is he perfect??No he isn't but I respect & support him.Do I think we were right to go into Iraq?Damn straight!!.I fully support all the troops fighting to help keep these terrorists out of OUR Country.I guess these other people sending you their take on Bush & no WMD,no Bin Laden etc have forgotten the principles this Country is based on & have surely forgotten about 9/11.Who do they think flew those planes into those buildings? Keep up the good work.May God Bless you & all our troops.The majority of Americans love & support you.

Anonymous said...

Your comment explains much. Thanks Elizabeth.

Susan said...

Think about the Bell curve. By your vocabulary and sentence structure, I believe you are one of the 2.5 at the high end, and that you took advantage of some educational opportunities. You know how to think and how to express yourself.

Then look at that big 68% hump in the middle. Notice how half of it is left of center? And that it's all downhill from there? It would seem that your hate mail is coming from the downhill side of humanity. =)

Thanks for all you do - blogging and soldiering.

Gypsy said...

Ahh moonbats, can't live with 'em can't beat the you know what out of 'em. Well not in public anyway.

t.f. I think your idea for a book is a great one!

That said, stay safe. Your little exchange with Buck Sargent was hysterical!

Anonymous said...

T.F., thanks for regularly refreshing us. In the light of the frequently distorting quip that Islam is a religion of peace (contrast Christianity which spread exclusively by both word of mouth and the exemplary lives of its adherents in its first three centuries because it was a persecuted minority with Islam that was successful solely because it used the sword in its first century of existence), your presence as a soldier among soldiers fighting Muslim warriors is hardly a surprise but to be expected given Islamic history. "Never give up, never surrender."

BUCK SARGENT said...

"Buck I almost forgot to tell you that I am glad you can finally enjoy the finer things in life, what are you like 20 years older than me?"

Not quite, sonny, but remind me when you get old enough to drink and I'll buy you a cold one.

Oh, and my wife told me she checks your website whenever she wants to know if I have a new post up or not. You know, seeing as how you make entire posts about nothing more than the fact that I have a new post...

The Ugly American said...

It's not that there are more crazies out there Tim it just you are becoming more famous.

When are you gonna share all the emails from the young ladies sending you naughty letters?

Anonymous said...

Why--what have you heard Ugly American.....I swear we didn't do it.

Charred said...

Sgt. Boggs,
Remember that it's those who hate who are most likely to be verbal, much to our nation's embarassment, I'm afraid.

Thank you so much for all you've done for us.

T. F. Boggs said...

Ahh Buck I was trying to do you a favor seeing that no one really links to you. I mean just because I have Hewitt, Malkin, Reynolds, Frontpagemag, etc. in my back pocket doesn't mean that you shouldn't get some traffic. I am just trying to build you up a little.

Really it is the least I can do, I mean we ARE supposed to respect our elders aren't we?

Elizabeth said...

Men!

BUCK SARGENT said...

Don't be hatin', Boggs. Don't be hatin.'

You'll get to go home too, one day...

Agnieszka O. said...

Just dropping by...
Thank you so much for your service!
Love to read your blog.

Draftee said...

11B training as small arms interceptor prepares you for the nasty, ugly comments of the unwashed and uninitiated.
Keep on trucking!!!

carmachu said...

I blame Regan. He let all those crazies out of the Asluym in the 80's.....and no one's gotten them back in....*grin*


Seriously, there will always be crazy sad people. Just look at the folks in Journalism and College professors....

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your service. Without you and the professional military we'd be in some deep trouble, so thank you very much.

If they can't write coherently, it just goes to show where they're fodder on the intellectual food chain.

Thanks once again!

Molly said...

I like you, Boggs (no beef with you)--but I have some comments for your buddies:

bag blog --> It's called "Washington Journal." It's on C-SPAN like every morning. I'd recommend you watch it... every morning.

Carmachu --> If you eliminate ALL the journalists and college professors, (as you've so sweepingly generalized) WHO can you trust? The likes of "Anal cyst" Rush Limbaugh?? Any-other-talking-head from Fox News? Although NONE of those pompous asshats have served a day, you should take 'em all on their upstanding moral character I suppose...?

And for most of the kool-aid drinkers on this post (exluding our brave service members): You CAN support our troops (sans the big stupid ribbon) by fighting for their return home and NOT supporting their mission!

William Eaton's Last Stand said...

Molly, if you've paid ANY attention at all to either SGT Boggs or Buck Sargant and what they've had to say, you'll note that supporting their MISSION is part of supporting them.

I don't just hear it from these guys; I hear it from my best friend since third grade (who just returned from deployment), I hear it from my other peers who've served in Afghanistan, Iraq or Kuwait, I hear it from my fellow PGR members who're active duty Army and Marine Corps and I hear it from people I know who've served in Vietnam or Korea. Not universally -- but often enough that it must be pointed out here.


Do you have any comprehension of just how bitter a pill it must be to be fighting a war, SEEING that -- in spite of all odds -- you're winning it, FEELING the importance of your/our presence there and then to be confronted with the possibility that it could all be thrown away and that your months away from your loved ones, your lost comrads and your own wounds will have effectively been for nothing? Do you think "WE WERE WINNING WHEN I LEFT" patches sell like hotcakes any time a group of Vietnam vets walks into an establishment because they're HAPPY about the outcome of that conflict?

Are you really so naive as to think that once our troops were out of Vietnam, the killing stopped? That their weren't hundreds of thousands of reprisal killings? That all those boat people just spontaneously showed up here because they felt like it?

Do you think that Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and others DIDN'T notice that in Vietnam we conceded defeat in a war that in every military sense we were winning? Are you actually nearsighted enough to think that leaving Iraq now won't have dire consequences for our national security (and not just from Islamists)?


Sorry, but as much as I want to see these men and women home, I don't want to have to see them go back in a few years at much higher cost in lives and treasure lost. I don't want yet another generation of Iraqis growing up under a fascist or Islamist government, disappointed by the United States and our lack of backbone. I don't want every Jihadist, Neo-Nazi, Narco-terrorist, fifth-rate despot and compound-dwelling separatist crackpot thinking that we can be pushed around having only been inflicted a minimal amount of pain.

And, admit it or not, that's exactly what you're advocating.

tfdad said...

Wow, thanks WELS, I haven't heard that said so well in a while.

If our body politic finds another way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, we won't have you to blame.

Amen to every word you said.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr. Eaton for your accurate words. If you are drinking cool-aid- -please keep drinking it. We are grateful for people like you who actually think for themselves instead of falling for the propaganda spread by the many pawns of the enemies of freedom and of the United States.
Ann & Neatie

Molly said...

Who says, Will? How do you support the troops?... Likely in the same way I do, if not less so. (My husband is Army ;)

You must realize that as soldiers they follow a different set of laws than us. They're not allowed to fully think for themselves (or act any way they want), but must follow the commands of their leaders.

The dilemma is, as they're the ones protecting us, WE are the ones who are supposed to be thinking of them! (i.e., looking out for their best interests--which are, ultimately, ALL OF OUR best interests--and not sending them off to fight in the War on Abstraction.)

Look, we all wanted revenge after 9/11; we started out in agreement to go hunt down Bin Laden but have since then been led astray and are now entangled in this "generational commitment" that none of us signed up for. Yes, good things have come of this war and I am not saying it was all for nothing.

In the same respect, I am reminded of Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. I think the allegory is quite fitting here: "Indiana... Indiana... Let it go."

We need to stop reaching for the friggin' cup already.

Anonymous said...

Molly - -what world are you living in? I hope your husband is not in Sgt. Boggs outfit if he thinks like you. You are so far out in left field that no reply could correct your stupidity. Indiana Jones was fantasy. Terrorists are reality - -not abstraction. The military fight wars and keep our country secure - -they don't make quilts and they voluntarily sign up. If you are a gutless liberal don't sign up. I'll leave it to a military man to correct you on your strange ideas about how a military should be organized and function. Maybe you are just young and ignorant. Either way you are in over your head.

Molly said...

Oh please, how about you INDULGE ME for a while "Anonymous", correcting my "stupidity"?

Just where do you get off?

If anything, your personal insults only deflect from your non-arguments.

As for my point on this War on Abstration--look up the definition of "terror". Do you realize that it can apply to anyone and anything (including our own country, sad to say) and has existed THROUGH-OUT time and will continue to do so (infinitely) after our monetary interests (or whatever) in Iraq have dwindled? I like that we have a military to protect us--however, right now their occupation rises (and is rapidly continuing to rise) too much dust in the Middle East. Check-out some of these articles on yahoo: "Daily look at U.S. military deaths in Iraq" or "Sectarian violence out of control in Iraq" or "Iraq civilian toll spikes to nearly 6,000."

Where is it going to stop, "Anonymous"?

After Iraq, Iran? Syria? The world? If you haven't already gleaned, the War on Terror=Perpetual War around the Globe. As a Christian I cannot support this and as an American I REFUSE to sacrifice more of our brave men and women who swore an oath to defend and protect US (by going after the REAL terrorists of 9/11--Osama and his ilk), and NOT to act as world police.

One last thing... If you're a fan of Newt Gringrich, you may have noticed his comments recently on "WWIII in the Middle East"? Tell me, our forces being spread as thin as they are and our troops being extended to their limits, (my husband works close to 20 hour days) how are we to handle this?

crewdog said...

Molly,

This is not a War on Abstraction. Global War on Terror is a poorly chosen name, but this name is the result of everyone’s reluctance to name the enemy: Radical Islamist Organizations. I suppose “The World War Against Radical Islamist Organizations and the States That Support Them” isn’t as catchy a phrase.

How many people died in the attack on Pearl Harbor? 2600? But that was what got the United States into World War II. Japan attacked us; we fought back. We also fought the war in Europe. Why? The Germans didn’t attack us. I don’t think anyone doubts that the U.S. had to fight that war. If we stayed out of the war in Europe, what would have happened to the U.S. later? Care to speculate?

On 9/11, the U.S. was attacked by a terrorist organization. 3000 civilians were killed by Al-Qaeda terrorists. The U.S. fought back by attacking the state that harbored their leadership - Afghanistan. The U.S. also went on to attack Iraq. Why Iraq? They hadn’t attacked us. Just like the Nazis in Europe, they were closely allied with our enemy. Translation of over 2 million documents from Saddam’s regime has just barely started, but the evidence is clear that his regime provided training, financial support, intelligence, and safe haven to Al-Qaeda terrorists.

I wonder, what do you think would be happening now, if Saddam was still in charge. You don’t think Al-Qaeda would be operating with impunity from its new Iraqi base? How many more attacks against the U.S. would have occurred? OBL himself said that his goal was to kill 4 million Americans (his estimate of how many Muslims that U.S. policy has “killed” over the years).

So, do you think we should just disengage from the world and they (the Islamists) will leave us alone?

Phrases we often hear, like “they hate us because of our freedoms” sound pretty abstract as well, but that is the bottom line. These Islamists believe that all infidel nations must be subjugated before Islam. What price are you willing to pay to appease them? Convert to Islam (and be a piece of property), pay the poll tax (for being a non-Muslim, which does not guarantee your safety), or die (beheading).

I thank your husband and you for his service and deep, personal sacrifices for our country. I left the Air Force in 1997, but the grueling deployments and long hours at the home station cost me my marriage. I don’t blame the Air Force: No one is drafted into military service. Neither was your husband. I hope he makes it home soon, and safely. If he doesn’t believe that military service is right for him, I hope he gets out when his enlistment is up, or resigns his commission if he’s an officer.

I work in the defense industry, and many of us are working long hours to make sure our service members get what they need to succeed and come home safely. Many of the people I work with have sons and daughters in Iraq and Afghanistan. This war is more than just talking heads on the tube at night. It’s personal.

There are some Afghanistan and Iraq veterans in my local VFW post, and they invariably say the same things: The war is not what the news media portrays it to be; the U.S. is not universally reviled; the war is difficult, but we are winning. Are they all brainwashed, or lying?

T. F. Boggs said...

Glad to have you Crewdog, great comment.

Bag Blog said...

Molly --> Thanks for the info on the name of the show. Although I like comedy, I just don't have time to watch such craziness every day.

William Eaton's Last Stand said...

"Who says, Will? How do you support the troops?"

Do you need the full list? Does an internet peeing contest of "who does more" really further this debate? The bottom line is that I'm willing to say to our soldiers "thanks, I believe in what you're doing" and I take a lot of time out of my life to serve assorted veterans' causes. This is obviously personal for both of us, so how about we dispense with the B.S. because what an individual is willing to do for our troops really has very little to do with "right" and "wrong."

In fact, "right" is rarely easy and Humans tend to be a very selectively ambitious species.



"You must realize that as soldiers they follow a different set of laws than us. They're not allowed to fully think for themselves (or act any way they want), but must follow the commands of their leaders."

Maybe I'm a little more stubborn than most, but it's incomprehensible to me that anybody could control or limit what I think, and I see no indication of it in my friends.

Sure, they were a little weird coming out of Basic and AIT, but I don't doubt for a second that their opinions aren't their opinions and I can guarantee to you that President Bush, nor their respective branches of service would care too much for A LOT of those opinions.



"The dilemma is, as they're the ones protecting us, WE are the ones who are supposed to be thinking of them! (i.e., looking out for their best interests--which are, ultimately, ALL OF OUR best interests--and not sending them off to fight in the War on Abstraction.)"

How does broadcasting the message that we can be cowed to Islamo-facists (or anybody else who doesn't mind spilling innocent blood) serve our interests? Our weak responses to their attacks have emboldened them since the days of my namesake and there's not a single historical account or interview with one of these guys that I've seen that refutes that assessment.

The fact is, that the Insurgency in Iraq has NO meaningful political or military victories. They're progressively being killed off, Iraqis and increasingly reporting them and so there's no reason whatever for us to quit now -- it can ONLY serve to jeopardize (if not eradicate) the progress we've made while saying "HEY! IF YOU MORTAR ENOUGH CHILDREN, WE'LL GIVE YOU WHAT YOU WANT!!"

Who's children do you think will be murdered the next time somebody wants a "concession" from us?



"Look, we all wanted revenge after 9/11; we started out in agreement to go hunt down Bin Laden but have since then been led astray and are now entangled in this "generational commitment" that none of us signed up for. Yes, good things have come of this war and I am not saying it was all for nothing."

crewdog did an outstanding job of bringing to light a number of important facts; most notably, it isn't just terrorist organizations that are the problem, the bigger problem is that those organizations are in large part funded, equipped, trained and spurned on by nations hostile to us.

"Getting bin Laden" would be really nothing more than a symbolic victory for capturing and trying him really does nothing to combat the much larger issues that produced him and supported him and people like him. This was part of why we needed to invade Iraq; it took not only a sponsor of terrorism out of the picture, but it also removed a looming long-term strategic problem of HORRIFYING proportions from the picture.

IF (and there's no real proof of this) Saddam was out of the WMD business at the time we went into Iraq, it was clear he had no intention whatsoever of staying out of it. ALL of the major WMD reports on Iraq confirm this.

So, we'd only end up forced into a). fighting his regime when it had rearmed and recovered enough to continue its well-documented ambitions for Pan-Arab conquest or b). fighting with/against God-knows-who when Iraq collapsed and Turkey, Syria, Iran, al Queda and probably Saudi Arabia started squabbling over the left-overs. Any which way a Ba'athist controlled, WMD armed Iraq continued to play out, we have too many allies in the area to not end up getting sucked into the mess -- at a much higher cost in soldiers lost.



"Check-out some of these articles on yahoo: "Daily look at U.S. military deaths in Iraq" or "Sectarian violence out of control in Iraq" or "Iraq civilian toll spikes to nearly 6,000.""

Now put those articles into CONTEXT -- while every individual life lost is in it's own way a tragedy, we have never occupied a foreign territory with so few casualties; sectarian violence is in many respects sensationalized while the much greater phenomena of Iraqi resistance to it is ignored by the MSN; and last time I checked, something like 45-48,000 Iraqi civilians (mostly children or the elderly) were starving to death or dying of treatable illnesses in the years leading up to the invasion (one of al Queda's big rationalizations for their Jihad against us, by the way).


We don't protect our troops by loosing. We protect them (and ourselves) by sending the message that if you attack us or our allies or support those who do, we will come to your doorstep and we will end you.

Bag Blog said...

I'm curious - Molly (whose husband is Army) says "You CAN support our troops (sans the big stupid ribbon) by fighting for their return home and NOT supporting their mission!" - Is this how her husband feels? Are there military people currently in Iraq who are writing home saying, "Hon, will you see what you can do to bring us home and by the way, don't support us. This is just and abstract war and I don't want to do it." I can understand not wanting to be away from home and family, putting your life on hold while you serve your country - it is a big sacrifice. But I cannot imagine fighting along beside someone who thinks this war is useless and does not want the support of the American people. Or, is Molly just spouting her own beliefs and not that of her husband?

Molly said...

crewdog --> You make some excellent points and the majority of them I agree with; certain wars in our past have been necessary for our continued survival. This conflict in Iraq, however, is a different frontier for us and can hardly be compared with those wars of the past.

For one thing, (and I am very pleased to find another in agreement on this) there is no specific enemy (only this loosely formulated concept of who is a "terrorist"--that, again, can be applied to just about anyone) as there has been no formal declaration of war. In this respect the the Iraq conflict differs dramatically from those other examples you've supplied. Yes, our congress has "Authorized the Use of Military Force" in Iraq but does that mean we are technically at war? Now, one could make the argument that ideologically we are at war with Islamic extremists (as I also believe we are), but the facts are that legislatively and constitutionally we are not.

What does this mean exactly? That the case for our invasion of Iraq was so flimsy that it could not be constructed on a constitutional basis as our framers intended? This does not encourage me to support us being in Iraq, or to enable further losses of our troops.

Bin Laden and his operatives who directly orchestrated 9/11 should have been hunted down and either brought to trial or killed or preferably both. (Again, I'm glad many agree with me on this.) We know the majority of their funding came from the Saudis so why did we not go after THEM? Or, if the threat of WMDs was such a pressing concern why not North Korea at the time when there was NO DOUBT they had the capabilities? (Maybe they wouldn't be such an annoying problem now?) Does no one else ruminate on these questions? You can find such publications from years back archived online.


Will ---> No offence, I just take issue when people start questioning my support... or implying that it's "not right." I apologize if that was not your intention. Like you said, it's very subjective and we have our own ways of doing it. I guess that's what makes our country so awesome, right? Y'know, differing viewpoints -- so we don't become too intellectually lazy -- even though, I've noticed, critical/independent thought isn't always welcome.

Maybe I'm a little more stubborn than most, but it's incomprehensible to me that anybody could control or limit what I think, and I see no indication of it in my friends.

Perhaps we aren't on the same page here... While I do not disagree that each individual retains their own opinions on matters, I do think that if those opinions consisted of, say, being against occupation of Iraq, the said individual could be brought up on charges of treason and the like. A certain Lt. by the name of Watada comes to mind. (He also claims the war is unconstitutional.)

Again, to build some bridges here, I don't disagree with this serious threat of Islamic extremism; I mean, they totally want us annihilated off the face of the Earth. My point is that going into Iraq was a major lapse of judgement because there were so many other avenues (that actually involve strategizing and not just having a "Middle East free-for-all") for dealing with this Islamic threat while at the same time bringing the perpetrators of 9/11 to justice. Am I the only one raving mad that this has yet to be accomplished?

I'm not even asking for an apology here. The facts are we're in Iraq now, so let's look for answers out of this mess. What I think? For one thing, we must end all this corporate privateering and give 100% of the re-construction contracts into the hands of the Iraqis. Why should these private U.S. corporations be making profits off the blood of our soldiers? Also, this will keep many citizens from turning to terrorist organizations to support their families. Finally, we MUST phase out our troops from Iraq and re-group... if you haven't noticed, massive conflict is building up all around the globe and we need to be prepared.

...Also, I very much appreciate the civility from you both. Resorting to name calling and "putting words in your mouth" accusations is just so immature!

bag blog --> I speak for no one but myself. I think fighting against extremism IS worth fighting for, but not in this way and not in Iraq.

crewdog said...

Molly,

Back in my Air Force days, a large part of our PME (Professional Military Education) involved the examination of the utility of military force and warfare as an instrument of foreign policy. A Prussian general named Carl Phillip Gottfried von Clausewitz basically viewed war as a continuation of politics by other means. You have diplomacy on one end of a continuum and total war on the other end. In between, you have sanctions, blockades, etc. Central to Clausewitz’s theories was the concept of the nation-state, what we commonly think of as a “country” – a government that represents a population within a specific geographical boundary.

I think by the end of the 21st century, the concept of the nation-state is going to seem rather quaint and archaic, much in the same way we look at columns of soldiers trading volleys of cannon and musket balls across an open field, wearing brightly colored uniforms.

Countries, that is, nation-states, declare war on each other. What we are seeing are organizations like Al-Qaeda, Hizbollah, etc. that are like governments, but do not represent a population within a geographical boundary. Did/could the framers of our constitution envision such a thing? The United States is a nation-state, and to those of us who reside within its geographical boundaries, it is a representative form of democracy. Its shear size, wealth, and cultural affluence make it as isolated from the rest of the world in the way that the vast oceans isolated it in the 19th century.

The bubble we live in comes at a price. As the winner of the cold war, the U.S. is now called a “hyperpower” – something beyond a superpower. The blog The Futurist has an excellent essay on just what this means here:

http://futurist.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/05/why_the_us_will.html

But the author falls into the same intellectual trap of defining the hyper-power by the old standard. For all its seeming invincibility, the essay misses the fact that a relatively small, non-nation-state organization can crash its economy and create destabilizing political turmoil.

The “War on Terrorism” as it is called, is the focal point of political discourse in this country. All the polarized rhetoric, hateful screeds in the blogosphere, moonbatty callers-in to Washington Journal, are all about this war that doesn’t seem like a war (unless you or one of your own is in it). In World War II, the entire economy was re-tooled for the war effort. There was rationing. The military swelled to 12 million men. A nation of immigrants, letters from relatives in “the old country” served to remind people at home what “our boys” were doing over there. It was a war of nation-states.

So when you say there was no formal declaration of war, I have to ask you, “so what?” If one day, Heaven forbid, a smuggled nuclear weapon destroys a U.S. city, are you going to worry about whether or not congress formally declares war on the country that harbored the non-government terrorist organization that did it?

Sorry for the opus on high-falutin’ Calusewitzian theory. I know it doesn’t comfort you much when the bad guys are after you.

Molly said...

crewdog --> Thanks for that, your post has been very eye-opening. I hadn't been aware of that theory before! It certainly makes a lot of connections to this new era of geopolitics.

A problem with this war, though? I'll be frank; I haven't trusted this leadership since 2000 (and I suppose this depends on your affiliations and/or where you get your news) and I don't believe they have the America's best interests at heart.

This "War on Terrorism"? It was from the beginning blown out of perspective and exaggerated. (But now I would argue that the threat is not exaggerated but very real and being further fueled by our occupation.) Our fear was used (and is continuing to be used) as leverage for this perpetual war you will see spreading through-out the Middle East. That is, until you-know-who's term is over.

At this point let me make it absolutely clear that I am not saying the threat of terrorism is entirely fictional. (If you'll refer to my previous comments on this illogical use of terminology, I'll spare you a repeat posting. In brief; there have always been terrorists, and there always will be (arguably more now?) as there is no fixed number and it will never reach a point to where there are "zero terrorists.")

Extremism in all its forms should be challenged, whether it be political or ideological or physical or online in a blog. The extremism I see a lot of here are so-called Americans attacking others because of their differences in opinon and labeling individuals (like myself) as "moonbats" or "hating my country" or (my favorite) "aiding and abetting the enemy" because I don't support this war in Iraq.

What's more, I have the audacity to question our reasoning for being there when the evidence just doesn't add up!

(To digress a bit here, does no one read their constitution anymore? Our judicial system has ruled that to be charged with "aiding and abetting", the accused party must have physically supplied the enemy with armory and/or sensitive information.)

I wonder if anyone else here identifies themselves as Christian. Looking at a very complex sitution simply as others on this blog have done, I could very easily call you something akin to an Islamic extremist because your position supports death and destruction just as theirs does. "Oh no, she DIDN'T just play the Jesus card!" Hypothetically yes, but on this blog I haven't because I've decided not to (out of my AMERICAN VALUES) because I realize everything and everyone comes in shades of gray.

Like your teachers used to tell you in elementary school, "Let's everyone put on their thinking caps!" (and keep them on.)

crewdog said...

Molly,

I can appreciate your distrust towards the Bush administration (if that's what you mean by "this leadership since 2000"). I voted for Gore/Lieberman in November, 2000. When George W. Bush assumed his office in January 2001, I figured it would be another four years political "gotcha" and not much would change. My opinion of President Bush did not change overnight.

I was at work on September 11, 2001 when the news came of the attacks on the World Trade Center. All work stopped and every PC and televesion in the building was on , everyone was following the horrifying images of the United States under attack. I was certain that in the coming days, there would be more attacks, and some form of martial law would be imposed on the nation.

It didn't come. President Bush reaffirmed that our representative democracy would remain intact, that civilian control of the government would not be subordinated in the name of our national security. In the following months, I believe President Bush demonstrated presidential leadership that historians will judge very favorably.

Would a President Gore have done the same things? We'll never know. The Albert Gore of 2006 doesn't say much about it. He talks about global warming being the biggest threat to our existence. He disengenuously repeats the tired, party orthodoxy that "he was robbed" of the election, _his_ presidency. (I don't want to get into a debate over the Florida vote recount in 2000 at this point. I will observe that economist Paul Krugman wrote a series of columns for the New York Times in which he claimed to present data that showed Mr. Gore would have won 2 of 3 of the recount methods. His "facts" were thoroughly debunked. For all of the accusations promulgated by Democrats of election fraud, the only persons actually convicted of election fraud have been -- Democrats.)

I voted for President Bush and Vice President Cheney in 2004. In 2005, I changed my party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.

I'm not sure what you mean by "this war on terrorism" being "from the beginning blown out of perspective and exaggeerated". Three thousand civilians were killed in an attack, carried out by a terrorist organization whose tutelary leader proclaims that at least four million more Americans must die. (What do you think the Geneva Conventions say about that?) Just what is your perspective of 9/11? Why do you think you-know-who wants leverage to perpetuate war in the middle east? Please don't tell me "Haliburton" or "blood for oil".

I think you believe the terrorist threat was/is exaggerated because:

- There were no terrorist attacks prior to 2001. That is false; U.S. citizens have been killed and targeted by terrorist organizations and states since at least 1979 (when Iranian revolutionaries took Americans hostage). Hopefully, you are aware of the many other attacks that occurred leading up to 9/11. If not, we can go over them if you like.

- This war hasn't made us any safer. That also is false; we haven't had any more attacks on the U.S. since Mr. Bush dropped the shit hammer in the middle east. Now, there are two ways of looking at this:

(1) It's because it was part of the evil Bush-Cheney Oil Corporation Axis to scare us with their planned 9/11 attack. Now they have their desired war-for-oil, they need only scare us from time to time with controlled leaks of terrorist captures, disrupted attack plans, etc.

(2) It's because the president understood that taking the fight to the enemy keeps _them_ on the defensive. (It's a basic principle of Sun Tzu, another volume from the PME front line library.) The president has also used various intelligence gathering tools to discern the enemy's plans. Tracking financial transactions and logging/cross referencing phone calls to & from known terrorist phone numbers are examples of that. These sophisticated methods were not available to our governemnt in World War II. Had they been, perhaps the interment of Japanese Americans would not have happened.

I accept explanation (2), because I have direct experience with and some degree of intellectual understanding of "the military".

Finally (my post is getting verbose, I know), I am mystified by your equating radical Islamists with opinions like mine, because both opinions support "death and destruction". I am not a particularly religious person. I grew up in a Roman Catholic family but have no strong religious beliefs. I get the sense that you believe if we just didn't wack the hornet's nest, that they would leave us alone.

You say you are a Christian; good, I am happy for you. Christianity is a big umbrella covers a broad range of theological interpretations of Christ's teachings. I don't know if you are alluding to Jesus' instruction to "turn the other cheek". If every Christian did so, there wouldn't be any Christians left.

I spent a large chunk of my adult life in third-world shit holes. Other societies, other belief systems do not value human life the way that you apparently do. Those Islamist extremists that you "could" equate with me would kill you simply because you are unapologetically Christian and you are debating political and philosophical issues with men (presumably) on the internet.

Anonymous said...

It's not really hate mail if they're just espousing their views on the government's motivation for war. Hate mail would sound more like "You suck for joining the military, you stupid hick!"

I'd also like to say, on the issue of these people being labeled as crazy, unintelligent, or otherwise mentally handicapped: Ad hominem