Monday, September 18, 2006

Apology Of My Blog

That's Right

Ok so here’s the deal: I am not a “front lines” type of soldier who happens to be stationed where all the reporters and news cameras are. I am just your run of the mill soldier doing a job that doesn’t make the headlines unless something goes wrong. I am right near a major city, Mosul, which just happens to be a place where all the news cameras have left hence no one hears much about it anymore. I have my opinions of course and like to share them with anyone willing to listen. My blog has and remains to be a collection of thoughts and opinions from the “common” soldier. As I have noted before I am not a “cool guy” soldier doing “really sweet” stuff that books and movies are written about. Perhaps the only book you would ever read about someone like me is if I wrote one.

I regret the decisions that lead me to my current job because I know I could be better used elsewhere. I often struggle with the daily grind of the army because it really isn’t my cup of tea. I like serving in the military but the menial jobs that make up so much of the military just don’t do it for me. If I would have known better, or just known someone who knew better, I would have followed a different path in the army and would probably have done something that would have allowed me to send Jihadists to paradise each day. Now that I have spent 2 1/2 years on deployment though, I often wonder if I would have the energy to do it all over again performing a new job.

My blog has always been from the perspective of someone who is in the theater but not on center stage. I think I have always been a little down stage right which doesn’t lend my blog that air of “freaking awesomeness” that others might have who tell tales of running to and fro from the shower under raining down mortars, or those who sit and contemplate life in the midst of a firefight. I came, I saw, I drove a truck. I had my share of non-regular-civilian-world occurrences but nothing that many other soldiers hadn’t already gone through themselves so I didn’t find it pertinent information to share with everyone. There are a number of blogs out there where people can read this type of blather all day long and I didn’t want mine to be another one of them.

I started my blog with the intention of sharing the truth about what is going on in Iraq as I see it and how it relates to me. I have a particular interest in politics and some of my focus has been there also. I tend to be sarcastic because I believe the world needs a little sarcasm with all of the serious idiocy going on today. I wish I had a more central role in the war right now so that I might better be able to share with everyone the truth on the ground, however, all viewpoints need to be shared and are of value to the overall picture. If everyone blogging were and infantry soldier, or a company commander for instance, the whole picture wouldn’t make it out. I believe that milbloggers in theater have a unique opportunity to share real time updates and give readers an on the ground insight into the fight. I liken milblogs to the letters soldiers have written in past wars and believe they will have an historical significance in the future for anyone wanting to learn about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would and do encourage soldiers with half a brain to write about their time here in country and value what they have to say more than most of what the media does. I have never accepted any help or advertisements to my blog in order to remain independent and above reproach from haters.

I by no means pretend that I have all the answers about this war. There are a lot of people who use me as a way to vent their criticisms about the Bush administration and their handling of the war. Have we made mistakes in Iraq? Sure. Have we made positive strides in Iraq? Yes. I do not think it is or was possible for the government and military leaders to predict all of the problems and exact outcomes of our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan every step of the way. The belief that such a thing is possible and the blame that follows as a result is unfounded and dangerous. Hindsight is 20/20 especially when Americans are dying. If only our government was as perfect as everyone expects it to be and the soldiers on ground were physically and mentally capable to handle every problem that came their way despite an unwillingness to cooperate on behalf of those they are helping and with the negative criticism coming from every angle from the armchair generals back home.

My friends and I have a saying here that goes “Don’t talk about it, be about it.” Most people love to talk big boy talk like “Oh yeah well if I was there I would do this and that and nobody would hold me back.” Or “If I was president I would do this and that and everything would be just peachy.” The problem with those people is that they have words with no actions and no qualifications. I can sit in my room on Saturday and yell at Ohio State’s football coach all I want and tell him he needs to bench this player and give more time to that player but until I invest the amount of time into doing his job that he has I have no room to talk. Sure I can comment as a fan all I want and have the right to do so but when I start thinking that I know better than he does I start to overstep my bounds.

I have always believed that the war in Iraq was the right war at the right time. I have constantly defended that belief and I don’t see it changing any time soon. Despite all I have seen and read I still agree with this war, maybe not everything we have done along the way but the fact that we did it in the first place. I believe that over time we will see achievements on par with what we hoped for at the outset of this war but things take time and we need to allow them to unfurl before we damn them as failures. As I have said many times before patience is a virtue that is seriously lacking in the world today. Perhaps the guiltiest among us are the politicians that represent us. Politicians are so worried about not rocking the boat that they lose sight of doing the right thing. Their main concern seems to be doing what will keep their constituency happy so they can keep their jobs not what will be best for our country in the long run.

I am a pro-victory conservative and want nothing more right now than to see our country do the right thing in Iraq and Afghanistan, which in my opinion is to stay and get the job done. We are at a pivotal point in our history and the world, as usual, is looking to us to do the right thing. Other countries might not agree with us but they sure rely upon us to clean up the messes in the world. We are often damned when we do and damned when we don’t. The good thing about the operations we are in is that we are not in them alone. The help we receive from other countries is often downplayed and underreported by our media but is of immense importance especially in Afghanistan where we would be lost without them.

When all is said and done I don’t think I nor anything that I said was in any way more important than anyone else. I am just here to share my thoughts with those who want to listen. My only hope is that I have given some insight into the life of a deployed soldier and have helped people understand what it is like in Iraq. I think the reason that I am unique is that I am happy to be deployed to this god-awful country helping people who often aren’t thankful. I believe in what I am doing and am glad to have had the opportunity, twice, to act on my beliefs and not just sit at home and talk about them. I am not a mindless drone doing as ordered, I think for myself and form my own opinions all the while doing the job I am supposed to do. I realize I am only a pawn in the larger scheme of things but also realize that without pawns there would be no defense.

I will continue to bring it to you throughout the rest of the time I am in Iraq and hope to keep writing on my return home. I ask that you read my blog for what it is worth and for those haters out there quit blaming everything and anything on me. I am fighting for what I believe in, what are you doing?

30 comments:

mamaworecombatboots said...

Well, Tim
I'd say if you are getting hate mail you are accomplishing what you have set out to do--reach people with your viewpoint. We need your insights as much as any coming from Baghdad because your experience is also part of the big picture. Without the big picture it is impossible to know what is really happening. The fact that life in Mosul makes you want to stick your head in a bucket of ice water is good news to me because of what it says about the peacefulness--ie mission success--of where you are.

Anyone who decides to take a stand publicly has to have a tough hide. You walk your talk and don't need to apologise to anyone. Carry on, soldier!

Anonymous said...

We read because what you write is worth much. Perhaps we should start a blog critiqueing those making comments about war when they are not involved in it personally. In a way your comments page does that. Please keep speaking the truth going on around you Sgt Boggs. Remember that the widows mite was much...No action, however menial it might be, is worthless, but all the little actions put together are great as you have pointed out. Personally I don't think your job is that insignificant or that free from much danger. Believe me, Tim, many of us here at home are doing more than just sitting in judgement of you. We too are doing the menial things necessary to defeat the enemies of truth and freedom. Together, by the Grace of God, we will win this war over evil. Let the blind say what they will...They are tinkling bells and empty vessels. They talk to hear themselves. They think themselves more important than they are. Take care of yourself so we can vote for you someday when you are ready to fight that battle for truth and sanity. Excuse the spelling, Tim. I think you will get the message anyway. Good blog!
Annie

membrain said...

Absolutely excellent post SGT Boggs. I agree with everything you wrote. It's especially important to point out that mistakes are made in all wars. Pickett's charge at Gettysburg was Lee's first mistake. The Kasserine Pass battle in WWII was a debacle due to poor leadership of mostly green US Troops. And I've always thought that blogs such as your are the modern day equivalent of letters home from earlier wars. They do have a place in history.

Keep up the good work Tim. And thanks again.

Praguetwin said...

Boggs,

We found something we agreed on! Your bit on "this doesn't look like you" is perfect. I saw ALL people being search going to England from Paris as an extra precaution.

This is a battle that the terrorists are winning and the sad thing is that we are giving it to them for free.

Hang in there and get home soon.

SK said...

Beautifully stated.

Melinda said...

Nicely stated.

Should you need a "correspondence secretary" of sorts to help you respond to the less than polite e-mail you are receiving, I'd be happy to oblige. After all, I'm not enlisted...I'm just a troop supporter. Usually that means writing letters TO the troops, but I'm happy to write some FOR the troops as well. :)

Keep up the good work and we'll keep reading.

Huntress said...

This, Tim, is one of your best!
Hooooah!

And if the cameras aren't there any more..its a reallllllly good sign... cameras only go where the terrorists flow...

Stay safe, cool guy....errr soldier boy :>)

strykeraunt said...

"I think I have always been a little down stage right which doesn’t lend my blog that air of “freaking awesomeness”

Just want to clarify, I have been to many blogs in the past and a couple in the present who are written by infantry soldiers. Some have been really good but not anymore "freaking awesome" than yours. What is a little ironic, one of my favorite posts from an infantry soldier's blog was his announcement that they put up a snack shack at his FOB where the soldiers could pick up snacks for free. I enjoyed this particular post because it told me a little more about life at an FOB.

I have a nephew who was over there with a recon team, and a nephew who was a combat engineer. Both can tell some stories about dicey situations. (I am sure you have experienced a couple of dicey situations yourself.) However, they have also shared their extremely bored moments. I remember my recon nephew complaining about going out on missions during the time of day that Jihadi does not come out and play, complaining about it being such a waste of time. Then he reached a point where he didn't care during those times they didn't come out and play on his shift. Look at the combat engineers who never get recognition for all of the (thousands of) IEDs they remove from the roads. However, we only hear about the ones that blow up. How many people know what a Buffalo is?

It always looks better on the other side of the fence (or in this case the wire). However, I would bet that no one over there is saying their MOS is perfect. As far as learning from soldiers who share on blogs like this, I would rather have a little variety in order to gain a wider perspective.

One more thing, Mosul was never a frontline place until it gained some attention from the mess hall bombing. There was plenty going on there but just no one in the area to report. I believe before that point it was only Geraldo who visited (and that's a whole other story!!)

Continue to write what you write because it is definitely good enough that I come back each day to see if there is a new post...and I know I am not alone.

Anonymous said...

Well said Soldier. Thank you for your service. Be safe and again, thank you and all of your fellow Warriors for doing the heavy lifting in protecting me and mine. Your in my prayers. God Bless.

Theresa, MSgt (ret), USAF

Lynnette in Minnesota said...

An excellent post Sgt. Boggs.

Having been surfing these comments sections for a long time now, I am familiar with the kinds of people who lurk in these spaces. It has been an experience, I must say.

Don't let the critics bother you. Everyone here has their own agenda.
Just keep doing what you feel is right.

tfaunt said...

I don't care what you think...I know several cousins who consider you a hero. And rightly so...
Keep up the good work and stay safe

gypsy said...

t.f. I enjoy your blog because what you write is what you are thinking, feeling and experiencing. Your thoughts are an insight for us, your faithful readers, into you as a man and a Soldier.

Every person, no matter their MOS, is a part of the greater whole. From those who see daily combat to those who support those ops, you all are unique and your personal perspective is valuable!

I have no doubt that you will continue to make an impact, both in and out of the Military arena.

BZ t.f., my sincere and continued thanks and prayers.

ET USN 71-78 said...

I'm more than impressed with your blog and your assessment of the situation around you. Almost to the man you seem to have a better grasp of the big picture than we did a few decades ago. I'm grateful for all of you, and your selfless positive attitudes about serving your country and placing yourselves in harms way.

Sorry you feel your job isn't as satisfying as you would like. I don't see any of your jobs as less than admirable and necessary, and I do know how menial some of the military tasks can feel at times. Keep the right attitude and I believe you will excel in whatever you do, and new opportunities will present themselves if you are meant to do something else. Just be content where you are at present.

I also concur with your thoughts about blogging. You can't imagine what a positive impact you are making back home. Even just a few blogs from soldiers of various positions have a tremendous ripple effect back home that is effectively countering much of the hostile press and liberal cut and run, clueless appeasers spewing their own brand of disinformation.

Don't believe the MSM when they try to "report" that folks back home aren't behind your efforts any longer. We are solidly behind you, and we keep telling our politicians to let you do your jobs with minimal restrictions and our full support. Your blogs are excellent ammunition, too, in presenting our cases. I believe this one development (milblogging) is the main factor that is keeping America engaged in this vital and noble struggle. Keep up the excellent work, and always remember we appreciate you every day.

Kat said...

I personally think your blog is great. You are giving us the perspective of a Soldier "over there" - and that's a very good thing. :)

Re: you saying soldiers should write about their experiences... boy do I agree! :) Over the past three+ years, I've saved every "snail mail" letter and many emails Soldiers have sent to me, and kept them in a big ole scrapbook, preserved not only for me being sentimental, but also for future generations. :)

"I am fighting for what I believe in, what are you doing?"

Why, supporting y'all, of course! :)

Keep up the good work - and thanx!

Kat - a Soldiers Angel
www.SoldiersAngels.org

lillie said...

Tim I am glad to hear that you are almost ready to come home. And that things are quiet for you. Quiet is a good thing. I also agree that they should do something about cleaning up the area to make things easier on the families there and the soldiers that have to patrol the streets. Maybe there is away of getting the community involved with that. Lots of Love, Lillie in Kansas

LoveMyTanker said...

Any job you do in combat is worthy of only respect and admiration from those of us sitting on the homefront. I thank you for your service and for your blog.

AFSister said...

heh.
I knew I was recognized as a blogger of some worth when I started getting hate mails and troll comments.

It's annoying as hell, but at least you're ruffling feathers! Keep it up, Boggs. You know we've got your back!

Jesse said...

I see no need to apoligize, you are a soldier, you have gone where you were sent and done what you were told. Some end up doing something spectacular, most end up peeling potatoes or driving a truck.

Nothing spectacular will happen however, if those potatoes are not peeled or that truck is not driven.

Thank you for your blog. js

jgr said...

Well said.
Your writing and thinking in this post do America proud.

Anonymous said...

Just as clarification, I believe the word apology is not used in the same way that you would say: you apologized to your friend for your wrong doing. He is using it in the sense that he is writing a clarification of, or a defense of, or a justification of. Just an observation from the previous comments.

T. F. Boggs said...

Yes anon, that was my purpose of the use of "Apology." Maybe I didn't use it correctly or maybe it just sounds weird but I meant "apology" as "a speech in defense of" rather than "I'm sorry." However, all the comments are fine with me and I am glad to see some old people back and commenting.

I didn't mean to sound like I was trying to critique anyone here for not doing anything in support of the war effort, I was simply challenging people who like to criticize me although they don't do anything themselves.

Only about 6 weeks left here, my time is getting short. I'll have to think up some good stuff for the blog in the next weeks. I just hope they don't Stryker Brigade me.

Anonymous said...

"I just hope they don't Stryker Brigade me."

A week ago one of my niece's returned from three weeks of trekking across Italy. What I got from family was that she had a great trip, returned tired but in one piece, had gotten stuck in New York, nothing confiscated, had not lost her luggage.
I went a little ballistic - what were her impressions of the Trevi Fountain, Sistine Chapel, the Coloseum, Boticelli's Birth of Venus, Michelangelo's David, Cinque Terre, Greece, the people, food, transportation, attitudes????

The MSM gives us - - - on his way back to base his unit came across a bombing that had just happened in ...... which killed ...... people ...... which caused the terrorists to claim ...... and the police chief to say ....... you get the drift.

I drive a truck too (well, not really, it doesn't matter what I do, baker, candlestick maker, it is what I do) but it is what I see/observe/think about/process other than just the dirt or blacktop along the route that I strive to communicate to those I love.

Here at home we have been desperate from the beginning to know where our soldiers are and what they are doing, how they are fairing, what they see and what they think, what the country is like where they are serving, what the people are like, how they live, what they think. Perspective (a very important thing perspective) from one of our own counts more - far more - than anything the media gives us.

If they do "Stryker Brigade" you it will not be because of how well you drive a truck, it will be because they know folks back home are going to miss seeing - we DO see - via this particular soldier's eyes/mind.

Posts like your own have served us well Boggs but rest assured, we want you home.
THANK you for this service to your country.
Andrea in California

strykeraunt said...

Andrea in California, when Tim says "I just hope they don't Stryker Brigade me" he means extend his deployment. It is really doubtful that he will be extended so that we can continue to read his blog.

jgr said...

Tim, here is a post with some comments you may find encouraging.

http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/008127.php#comments

(excerpt from one)
'Thank you and thanks to all your fellow military persons. I want my kids and grandkids to know, emulate and praise persons like you. Not the politicians. Not the $Million atheletes. Not even the common man who decides to just "do nothing in particular"'

jgr said...

Sorry. A very long URL below, broken up so that blogger will print it.

http://www.captainsquartersblog.com

/mt/archives/008127.php#comments

Anonymous said...

strykeraunt - well I know the Stryker Brigade (Baghdad/120days...they've given all, now more) has had their time extended. My comment was simply an attempt to convey the importance I place on his invaluable perspective. Andrea in California

DubiousD said...

"I just hope they don't Stryker Brigade me."

No, actually, Tim, that would be cool! Then maybe Michael Yon would embed with you, and then you two can spend your weeks trying to outscoop each other.

"Oh, man, what a firefight! Wait till I blog this!"

"Outta my way, Yon, this is MY story!"

All kidding aside, thank you for your service. And thank you also for this blog.

Verity Kindle said...

Awesome. You're a good writer, keep it up, ok? Don't let the haters/couch commandos get you down. The people who matter are very proud of you!

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#bored
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