Saturday, January 29, 2005

I'm there.

Well, I'm in the general area now. Not at my final destination which'll be Baghdad proper but close enough.

The flight was decent, though I am afraid of flying...I know, I'm in the wrong business to have that as a phobia but it isn't a paralyzing one. I just get nervous.

We stopped in Ireland for a refuel and I did pound about three Guniness which, as you can imagine, made the last half of the flight much easier to take.

I really hope elections go off well tomorrow. I'm sure they will.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

How many?

From Al-Jazeera.

"We would love American commandos to enter Iran ... because they are chicks. Our eagles will catch them in no time. The Americans are stupid, but not as stupid as that"

Ali Yunusi,
Iranian intelligence minister

How many asses do we have to kick before someone gets the message?

Right now, our casualties amount to roughtly .3% of the troops we have in Iraq. In Afganistan, it is way lower. What makes Iran feel...when most of their country is against their government...that they could do better?

Anyway, lets hope it doesn't come to that. Let's hope, for everyone's sake, that they agree to dismantle their nuclear program. The great thing about Iran is, that they already have a democratically elected government in that is always at odds with the Mullahs(and extremely limited by them). How much effort would it really take to topple them and leave the democratically elected government in place? Probably not much.

I've read their last election was heavily influenced by the Mullahs though, and that many hardliners were elected because the Moderates weren't allowed to run in some areas. But, if the current Iranian President wanted to hold elections again once the Mullah's are gone, he could.

Every Iranian I've met have been wonderful people...actually, I met one that calls herself Persian because she doesn't want to be linked to the HMIC(Head Mullah In Charge). Beauty of a girl too.

Anyway...Do yourself a favor's already just a matter of time before the 'Persians' send you packing, so do the right thing for once.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Haven't left yet...and they need money?

Our flight was pushed back a bit so I get to post atleast one more time.

I'd like to talk about Roy Hallums. As you know a tape was released recently in which the terrorists made him ask Arab governments for support instead of the President because the President, "doesn't care" (Which means to me that atleast they know that they can't use kidnapping and murder to influence our policies).

I really hope we find him well. I also want to offer his family my best wishes, it must be terribly difficult to not know his status.

This is the website his family has about him.

They are selling magnets and asking for donations, to help him financially, medically or legally. To me it kind of feels like she's trying to make money off this horrible situation...but probably not, most likely it's my 'BS' meter going a tad haywire.

Not something my family would do but to each their own, I guess.

The daughter does a bit of complaining about how little information the US government releases to her. I'm sure she understands that releasing some information could hinder any investigation or search that they have going.

Anyway, I wish her the best of luck and I hope we are able to rescue him soon.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Almost gone.

Well, I've been busy the last few days getting ready to go.

I haven't had a chance to really look into some things that I wanted to, but oh well.

My next post will be from Iraq, wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005


About five days ago, I wrote up my opinion on this coward who didn't deploy with his unit when they went to Iraq. In that same opinion I brought up and example of one of my co-workers who fought to go.

Seems that they were in the same unit in Iraq and according the my co-worker, the coward has been causing trouble for quite some time.

On one of their missions they came across an old Iraqi position in a village. The Iraqis left their ammunition as they fled our oncoming forces. The ammunition was stored in civilian buildings and as my co-worker's unit arrived already three civilians had died from them trying to move the ammo to a safer place.

So, my co-worker's unit set about transporting the ammo they could move and destroying the ammo they couldn't. During that dangerous task one of the pieces of ammo they were moving exploded, injuring two soldiers moderately. (non life threatening wounds.)

So the coward, who wasn't even present or even near the incident filed a congressional report to his congressman as if just trying to get someone in trouble. Like moving ammo away from a place where already three civilians had died is a bad thing.

I really hope I never meet anyone like him during my career.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Questions to Condi.

Listening to some of the questions asked of Dr. Rice at her hearing today made me think that some of those Senators are lost in space. Sen. Chaffee(R-RI) and Sen. Boxer(D-CA) more specifically.

Condi said, " But Senator Boxer, we went to war not because of aluminum tubes. We went to war because this was the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a man against whom we had gone to war before, who threatened his neighbors, who threatened our interests, who was one of the world's most brutal dictators. And it was high time to get rid of him, and I'm glad that we're rid of him."

Boxer replied, "
And, if I might say, again you said you're aware of the stakes in Iraq; we sent our beautiful people -- and thank you, thank you so much for your comments about them -- to defend freedom. You sent them in there because of weapons of mass destruction. Later, the mission changed when there were none. I have your quotes on it. I have the president's quotes on it.

And everybody admits it but you that that was the reason for the war. And then, once we're in there, now it moves to a different mission, which is great. We all want to give democracy and freedom everywhere we can possibly do it. But let's not rewrite history. It's too soon to do that."

Now notice the bolds...

Condi says we went to war because we were worried about WMDs in the hands of Saddam. Then, Boxer...who seems not to have heard a word she said replies, that everyone but Condi admits we went to war over WMDs.

Is she on crack?

And of course the mission changed. There were phases to the campaign...for those of you who don't know how military campaigns are run.

First phase was the removal of Saddam from power...which, unless you live in a barn, knows was a complete success. (though when the President pointed that out on the carrier Abe Lincoln, some people thought otherwise...again, they must live in a barn).

Each succeeding phase has been dealing with the rebuilding of Iraq. We are at the fourth phase now, which are elections.

You can get this exchange in text here.

Next, ol' Chaffee...and I swear to God. Once I get out of the Army I'm going to run against him... I realize that in a liberal state, such as RI, you have to be atleast a moderate for a Republican to win in the state...but he isn't...not even close. I think he's trying to swindle the people of RI in a quite clever way.

He runs as a Republican to get some of those Conservative sheep that don't pay attention and just vote for who ever the Republican candidate is, and then he gets all of the far left in the state to vote for him too.

Anyway...back to the subject.

I couldn't find a transcript of this exchange(so I'm paraphrasing and can't vouch for its complete accuracy) but basically it's Chaffee asking why we treat some nations one way and other nations another way. He used Venezuala and Kazakstan as the examples.

Dr. Rice had to explain to him (a member of the foriegn relations committee for God's sake) that each country is different so each require a different approach and that we expect some countries to be further along than others. Kazakstan is a newer Democracy than Venezuala and there are different forces at work in each nation.

Pretty sad that she had to explain that to someone who is supposed to be an expert in the field.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

News from Iraq, and of opinion on it.

From AP,

"I think 40 to 50 percent of Sunnis will vote. That would be very good, with all the threats, with all the measures taken by the insurgents and the terrorism," said Adel Abdul Mahdi, when asked how many Sunnis needed to vote to validate the polls. Mr. Mahdi is the Iraqi Finance Minister.

Read the article for the measures that will be taken to secure the polling sites.

Still, all the liberals residing in the western world believe that the Sunnis won't vote, but every Iraqi official, blog and person I know says they will...not in the numbers that the Shia or Kurds do, but still a significant amount. In contrast only 32% of eligible people voted in our 2002 Congressional elections, I wonder if the Liberals will call 40-50% turn out a success or a failure?

I find it amazing how within four years of the war starting (from our standpoint that is...from the terrorists it's been on since 1998) that we have liberated two large nations from tyranny. I also find it amazing that regardless of all the good that has come from this some people still think we are forcing our will on other people. How is removing a dictatorship where people are butchered, oppressed and stifled to let them choose their own leaders seen as forcing our will on someone? Can someone answer that for me.

I also find it amazing that we haven't had any terrorist attacks during that time. I know a lot of people say that may or may not be because of our policies but lets look at some facts.

Between the time Bin Ladin's declaration of war on the United States in 1998 and 9/11, our embassies in Africa were bombed, the USS Cole attacked and then, of course, came the 9/11 attack itself. So in three years, there were three attacks. How many attacks have there been on the United States since 9/11? None.

Though during this time we've heard of many plots that have been stopped (using our 'evil' interrogation methods). Most of which were to take place in Europe....the same people complaining about how we're doing business.

And still we continue the struggle.

A prediction.

I am about to do my Nostrodamus impersonation.

I've looked into the Blogsphere, the fires are bright colors of blue and orange.

My prediction is that within a years time, the Iraqi people will get fed up and utterly root out and destroy the terrorist elements in their country. I think Sunni, Shia and Kurd will join together in this task which will bind them together unlike they've ever been in history. They'll start calling themselves free.

Well, there we go. After reading about a dozen Iraqi blogs lately....this is the impression I'm getting.

Of course, I'm no fortune teller or seer but I have this gut feeling after reading those blogs. I hope I'm right.

Friday, January 14, 2005

The difference between opinion, spin and defamation.

Today, while debating someone I was accused of not being able to accept someone's opinion can be different than my own.

I was actually quite suprised, I've always prided myself in not falling into the trap that a lot of people who are politically/socially aware fall into which is Bush is a fascist....Kerry is a traitor, ect. Basically what I'm saying is I've always felt that a difference of opinion is fine, that doesn't mean the person with the difference is evil or stupid. Just they see things differently than I do.

I think I learned this from my Grandmother, who is a staunch Democrat. We debate each other all the time, I always have a lot of fun and my Liberal arse Grandmother is a sweet, wonderful lady.

That said, after I was accused of running a spiteful, slanted, right wing nut blog and that I can't accept anyone elses opinion, I started thinking....yes, me thinking is dangerous. Remember when the lights went out in the Northeast a while ago? That was me trying to think of something deep.

And this is what I got.

An opinion is someone's point of view. For example, I like vanilla ice don't like vanilla ice cream. I think vanilla is tasty, you think it is nasty. Now this I can accept, and I won't think ill of the person who doesn't like vanilla or think that they are stupid or foolish.

Now defamation is actually what upsets me about people.

Defamation is something we see everyday in modern early 21st century politics. For instance, "Bush is like Hitler and he went to war for oil or so Haliburton will make a lot of money." Now, there are no real facts to this claim. We don't get oil from Iraq, Haliburton has been getting no bid government contracts since atleast Bosnia (which is the first time I got to live in a base built by 1998/99 during Clinton's Presidency) and the President isn't going around building concentration camps or conquering nation after nation or even expanding the military that much(it's still half as big as it was ten years ago). It's basically people taking a simple opinion (don't agree with us invading Iraq) and going to the extreme with it(Bush is a warmonger).

Now spin is what I encountered today. It's when someone wants to persuade someone over to their point of view so they present facts leaving out certian things so that those facts become 'proof' that they are right.

For instance, in the debate today. Poster said that people lied to recruits about numerous things while they were entering the military. I'll use just one example. He said that he heard one guy get told that they could apply to OCS(Officer Candidate School) once they got to their units...initially according to the poster...this is BS. My guess is he was hoping someone reading it actually wouldn't know either way. But I can in fact apply for OCS from any unit in the Army...of course, after I confronted him with it he said...yes, but it's hard. Which it isn't but that's niether here nor there. Point is, people who twist and misrepresent facts upset me. They don't piss me off like people who defame and everyone...even me...has used spin to win a debate now and then.

Another example is in regards to the unit that the coward NCO came from. Pointed out to me was that there were 17 AWOLs and 2 suicides in his unit. So this is how I looked at it....

I've been in two Infantry battalions since 2003. Both of those battalions have deployed to Iraq once before and both are over there again now (my company isn't yet because they stayed longer than the rest of the battalion the first time). Niether of these battalions have had any suicides nor any AWOLs related to the war. So my deduction was, it sounds like this third unit the coward came from is having leadership issues. Sounds like an easy conclusion to reach given my experience with two other units in the same boat, right?

For some people, that doesn't fit their view that all soldiers dislike trying to foster a free Iraq or that soldiers are leaving the army in droves because of Iraq or how often we've been deploying since 9/11(we call it OPTEMPO short for Operations Tempo). To them...even when the facts are clearly stated, with solid evidence to back them up...if it doesn't fit their opinion they will ignore said facts or spin them in order to win the debate.

To me, this means that the person isn't trying to point out things that need to be fixed, or things that are going wrong but that the person just has a predisposition, for whatever reason, to a certian train of thought and nothing you say, prove or demonstrate will ever cause them to waver. In other words, rigid thinking.

Now myself, on the other hand, my thinking may be a tad too fluid. I've found myself changing my opinion as I'm writing or talking because my brain seems to move faster than my fingers or mouth....and actually, I hope I stay that way.

The worst radio station of all time!

WBAI of NYC is the worst radio station in the world.

I was listening to it in order to hear Ali and Fadhil get interviewed on their morning show. What I heard made my ears bleed. It's almost like these people don't live on the same planet the rest of us do.

First, they say that just about every Iraqi doesn't want the elections. That the United States doesn't even want elections but that Sistani ordered them! While I do not doubt Sistani's power, I highly doubt that even the most half sane person can say that one man has the power to order the United States to do anything.

Ansar Al Islam is also(so WBAI says)...'a resistance group', even though their terrorist camps were one of the first targets we hit as we entered Northern Iraq. Our SoF and the Peshmerga attacked a very large camp in, I guess, mid-April 2003. I wonder who they were resisting then?

Now I know why the Democratic party are losing touch with the mainstream of America. As long as they continue to identify themselves with such loons they'll continue to lose people.

They also played a song called, 'Monkey man' that they dedicated to the President. Very professional of them.


I'd like to talk about this 'NCO' today.

All I can say is that it makes me sick to my stomache to know people like this somehow become leaders in our army.

A couple of points I want to make.

#1. The guy is a Non-Commissioned Officer, he has soldiers that count on him for his leadership and a unit that counts on his tactical and technical knowledge to get their mission accomplished. What he is doing, is in effect, abandoning his soldiers and his unit. He lacks loyalty and has left his soldiers out to dry.

#2. His mission, per say, does not require him to even come into contact with the enemy. He's a mechanic. He stays on a well defended base and fixes vehicles. Is there a chance that he still may be hurt? Of course. But there is a chance he will die in a car accident, does he still drive?

Is there a chance that he may come in contact with the enemy? Again, there is always that chance, but it is slim given his occupation.

Basically, I think this guy is a coward. Everyday NCOs who shouldn't be getting deployed are working their asses off attempting to go with their soldiers. In my unit there is an NCO who they believed had a blood disease. He was traveling to different hospitals around the country trying to find a doctor that would clear him to go so he wouldn't be sending his soldiers off to war without the leadership they need.

Eventually, the testing he had undergone at Walter Reed came back negative and the first thing he did was go to his doctor to get cleared for deployment. He's a coworker of mine, and just seeing what he did really gives me the feeling that, 'Hey, this is a guy I can trust." I know he'll get my back in combat and I really hope I can get his.

I really wonder why CNN doesn't do stories about the guy in my unit. Stories that occur everyday in the Army. Instead they focus on the one coward. It really pisses me off.

And don't let this guy fool you, it isn't that he 'disagrees' with war....I mean, he's been in the Army for 9 years. This guy is scared, understandably so, but so is everyone else that goes over there. Every soldier that goes to war thinks that it may be it for him, that he's going to most likely die on this trip, but we go anyway because not only do we believe in our mission in Iraq but because we don't want to let our brothers down. This person, obviously doesn't have these traits.


Check her out.

Hey, discovered this awesome blog. If you call discovering it after it's been around a year. I should say...I came across this awesome blog....

Errr, maybe it should be...while reading my normal read everyday blogs I got linked to this one.

No...that doesn't even make sense.

Whatever! Just read her blog!

Hopefully mine will be half as good as hers after a years time, I'd be content.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

WMDs, Kid Rock and Racism.

So the search for WMD in Iraq is over.

What I find amazing about the whole deal is not only did every Intelligence Agency in the world believe they had them, but so did almost everyone in Iraq's own government. There are a couple of things that could have happened.

1) They never had them.

If they never had them, why did Saddam just not let the UN have free reign to inspect the country. He could have had sanctions lifted, and he would have had us off his back. Was it something cultural that I(as a westener) just don't know about? Or is it that he still had them?

2) They still had them but under the threat of war they were moved/hidden.

Anyone remember all those pictures going around showing the nice shiney new Russian Migs with the shiney new French radar equipment found buried in the desert? Now imagine something the size of a barrel buried out's a possibility. We can't really debate on whether it's a likely possibility or not because we don't, as people outside the Intel community, have the information necessary to prove or disprove that suggestion.

Also, there are rumours circulating that, just maybe, they were transported out of Iraq into Syria or Becka Valley. The same problem above presents itself to this possibility as well.

What's the answer? What happened? We don't know, but if he did have them we need to find them before they fall into the wrong hands.

There's been a lot of hub bub about Kid Rock wearing an American flag as a shirt lately. To me it's just foolish. Who cares if he wears the flag as a shirt? I've seen American flag bathing suits, business suits, t-shirts, ect. For most people wearing them, they do so because they are proud Americans.

Really, it depends on why they wear them, not how. As a member of the Armed Forces, I'm certianly not upset when seeing people wearing clothing made from a US flag pattern. What would upset me is if they were wearing it to belittle our country not for the act itself.

I think of it this way. Protesters against a war we're engaged in burn a US flag to show their hatred for our me, that's traitorous. On the other hand, War Protesters flying an American flag at a rally shows that while against our policy, they still support the nation as a whole. Both sides are using the flag, one doing it distastefully, the other not. And while I may disagree with why they are protesting, I would view each group differently.

One last thing. Racial profiling...and not the way we all think of it.

I'm talking about how the left believes that if a minority American isn't liberal then they are some how sell outs. They seem to believe that anyone belonging to a minority Ethnic or racial group isn't capable of independant thought. I can also feel this type of thinking applying to where people are from...for instance, I'm from Rhode Island...a highly Liberal state in the midst of all the other Liberal states in New England. Am I a sell out too because I don't toe the Democratic party line?

Michelle Malkin, an Asian conservative goes into greater detail about the remarks and racism that is thrown her way because she isn't automatically a liberal based on her race.

Monday, January 10, 2005

I lost a friend, Palestine gains a president.

I'd like to congradulate, Mahmoud Abbas on his victory in Palestine's recent election. With him comes the hope of peace. Many people think it is a given, some people think things will not change. I tend to be on the more positive side, though I have some misgivings.

Hamas and Hezbollah never listened to Arafat, and I think that was his downfall. I really hope that both Iran and Syria for once do the right thing and pressure these two groups to follow President Abbas' lead and become incorperated into the Security Forces. If this happens, he should be able to exert more control over them. There by eliminating...or atleast diminishing the threat of one of these groups derailing, yet again, the peace process that so many have stuggled so hard to keep moving.

I also hope, for the Isrealis, that in their next election they also elect a more moderate person. The peace process is a two way street. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has been getting better, even going against his own party in order to make some concessions.

Former President Clinton gave a speech about a year or so ago. Now, I never liked him as President, but this speech is just amazing and he makes some very interesting points. He says that the old people on both sides of the issue won't bend, so the young continue to die due to their lack of being able to compromise.

I just spent two hours trying to find a link to that speech. What a waste of time.

Also today, I found out that one of my soldiers that worked for me, on and off, for the past couple of years died in Iraq by an IED. He was such a good kid, I'm really going to miss him.

What do I post about?

Hello, everyone.

I'm new 'round here. I'll tell you a bit about myself and how this blog came to be.

I've been visiting blogs for a while now, especially Iraq the Model and now Ali's new one. I've never left many comments, and when I was going to comment for the first time on Ali's sent me to a page to create my own...hence, this new blog.

A little background for now, I suppose.

I'm 32 years old, was born in Rhode Island and pretty much grew up there. At age 18 I joined the Rhode Island National Guard while I was going to school. At age 20, I went active and have been stationed at Ft. Riley, KS; Korea; Ft. Hood, TX; and now Ft. Drum, NY as part of the 10th Mountain Division.

I'm a 13F (Fire Support Sargeant) and I'm a Staff Sargeant...which in the Army is an E-6. As a Fire Support Sargeant I plan for, direct and adjust fire support assets such as mortars, artillery, attack aviation (rotary wing, IE Apaches and Kiowa warriors) and close air support.

I've been deployed to Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.

In Bosnia I did mostly presence patrols. Which were designed to secure the area around our base. It also allowed us to speak with the people of the surrounding area so we'd learn what they needed, problems they were having and any other local goings on. It was a great experience and it also changed some perceptions I had about Muslims though, in retrospect I have to say that Bosnian Muslims are much different than any others I've since encountered.

In Kosovo, I was a liason to a Greek Infantry Company that operated out of Partes, which is just outside of Gjilan. Those two towns and the people there really changed me. I learned that Serbians are a really wonderful people...strong, resiliant and beautiful. My main job was to keep in contact with the mayors of Partes and a neighboring village, Donji Budriga. During that deployment I got to work with Macedonians, the UN, numerous NGOs(non-governmental organizations like C.A.R.E.), Italians and others. It is extremely difficult to get in contract with people from there....if anyone knows a way...please, let me know.

As far as the Balkans are concerned, I'm pretty much well versed in their history, culture and opinions. I'll most likely post about this area of the world often.

In Iraq, I also got to work with a lot of different nations and ethnicities. I have a strong love for the Kurds and their Peshmerga are some of the best soldiers I've ever met. Iraqis, as a whole, are educated and open minded. I'll be returning to Iraq shortly and while there, I will try to post of my experiences as often as possible. I'll be concentrating on things I see personally but don't expect some 'war' stories or operational notes. I'll be posting about people I meet and things we are getting done over there. If you want to hear about the bombs, go to CNN. If you want to hear about projects going on in the whole nation of Iraq, go to the links above. If you want to hear what's going on in my sector...where I'm working, then come here.

I hope while I'm there I get to meet the three brothers, and I hope I can make a positive difference. The first time I was there I saw some huge changes...simple things like internet cafe's opening up everywhere, small business flourishing and cell phone systems being brought up. For those of you who think we were met with distain as we arrived and Rumsfeld was full of crap saying that we'd be greeted like liberators, let me just say he wasn't full of crap. As we moved through Iraq I felt sometimes as if I was in a parade with people on the side of the roads cheering as we drove by. Of course, I can't speak for all of Iraq but the parts I was in, that was the case.

I'm married to a wonderful woman and have three children. I'll most likely post often about them too since being married is the biggest thing in my life right now and probably will be for the rest of it.

Well, that's all I can think of right now. Hope you all enjoy it.