Sunday, August 07, 2005


While I was going through my email from earlier in the week, which I didn't have a chance to get to when it came in, I came across an item from Salon. The item is a letter written by an Iraq War Vet that explains just how the chimp's administration has lied in the past about the reasons for war and what they're still lying about now.

Here's the link to the site where the letter is. Letter from an Iraq vet

You may have to watch a brief commercial from the History Channel if you are not a Salon Member. Watch the commercial, the letter is well worth the time.


Mack said...

A disillusioned E-5, now there's a rare breed *rolls eyes*. The only thing I'd say is, shuffle to the bad, Jack. There are a lot of us here, and your voice counts for not one scintilla more or less than the rest of us.

Let me give you a quick lesson in how the military works: the enlisted, NCOs and company grade officers take all the shit and see maybe one one hundredth of one percent of the big picture. We fight the battles, the field grades win the wars. Unlike in civilian life, the Division Commmander is not likely to give every slack-jawed E-5 a Power Point briefing to clear the OPLAN with him.

The intel was bad? No f*cking sh*t? Guess what? The chain of command still has to make a decision, even if they don't have perfect intel - they make the decision with the best intel that they have. Decisions have to be made in real-time, while history and criticisms from buck sergeants who haven't even been to ANCOC are written with the luxury of 20/20 hindsight.

Although we nearly all agree that WWII was a just war, I'm sure that had you asked a survivor of Okinawa, Iwo Jima or D-Day whether they though it was worthwhile in the weeks after, you would have heard a less than polite, "NO!"

"I feel misled...", what a putz. Welcome to the Army, pal. And anybody who takes advice or commentary from an E-5 on anything above fire and manuever and squad-level tactics? Tell me first how far you'd trust him with your daughter and a twelve pack.

-Mack the Hack

Grandpa Eddie said...

RE: Mack's comment.

Going into battle with less than perfect intel is one thing. Sometimes that can't be helped. On this we agree.

To go to war on the intel of one source, and a very questionable one at that, isn't only bad but is very, very stupid. This is what the Emperor Chimp has done, gone to war on piss-poor...or one might say

1800 plus lives, and still counting, already wasted so he can be remembered as the war president, and so his rich oil friends can get even richer off the shed blood of American troops.

As far as WWII, yes it was worth it. I had three uncles that served; one in N. Africa then Italy (Anzio), one in Europe (D-Day landing), and one in the Pacific doing island hopping. If you were to ask any one of them if it was worth it they would have said "YES, IT WAS" without batting an eye. In fact every Vet of WWII that I've ever talked to has said the same thing.

For your comment "anybody who takes advice or commentary from an E-5", That's where the real truth about war is. Not the Generals, the grunts.

Mack said...

I agree 100% that if you ask any vet that participated in the campaigns whether the cost was worth it or not, they would say yes, and quite proudly. But if you asked them in the weeks following the campaign, you probably would have gotten a different answer. My uncle was the first of many paratroopers in my family. We talked about the Ardennes, and his experience wasn't the TV movie version. They fought hard because of who they were, but they believed wholeheartedly at the time that the whole situation was BS mismanagement, couldn't understand the massive intel failure and lack of concern for their lives. Even today using light infantry as a blocking force against mechanzed infantry and armore doesn't sound like genius. The soldiers on the ground were bitterly angry about the lack of concern for them, and felt that they were pretty much on their own. History has filled in the gaps and context for them.

I work in the financial industry, and still don't understand how the "war for oil" argument works. Seems like eveybody involved would have made more money by playing ball with Saddam - we still could have won the contracts and there would be a hell of a lot more oil pumping, plus he definitely had the country stabilized.

The real truth about war is with the E-5s? Romanticizing the service a bit? I didn't say I wouldn't take advice from an E-5, but I would only take his expert opinion about his MOS, small unit tactics or fire and manuever. In any other matter, his opinion is no different or more expert than anybody elses. The real truth about war? The NCO corps are the blade of the sword, the tip of the spear, not the hand that wields it. As an E-3, I could tell you everything that happens in my lane. As an E-5, everything that happens with my squad and in my sector, but even the company grade officers have a better idea about what's going on in the big picture. NCOs can tell you about what's happening tactically on a squad, platoon, company, battallion and brigade level and their impressions of it, but you have to hear from a lot of NCOs to understand what's going on overall. And let's not kid ourselves about how big a hurdle it is to make E-5. It's a hell of a lot harder and takes many more years of experience to make O-5 than it does E-5.

If this solier had been a battalion or brigade CSM, then we'd be talking a different story. But not many 1SGs or CSMs have come out bleating quite the same way, have they?

Also, one last thing - let's stop misrepresenting the "death count". ABout 500 of those were not combat related. Of the 1,800 souls who have perished in "Iraq", if you look at the stats, deaths in Amman, Kuwait and the Persian Gulf are being counted - basically anybody that dies anywhere in theater. If you are going to count accidental deaths or training deaths, why stop there? What about training deaths at Ft. Hood, Ft. Bliss, Ft. Bragg and Ft. Lewis in preperation for going overseas? Soldiering is dangerous business - I was once an NCOIC on a mobile training team observing and controlling an exercise where 7 soldiers died in two weeks, in peacetime in Texas. I just think it's dishonest.


Grandpa Eddie said...

No, Mack, what's dishonest about the death count is that the only ones listed as having died as a result of this war, whether thru military action or accident, are those who have died THERE. There is never any mention of those who die from their wounds during transport, or while hospitalization in Germany, or here in the states at places like Walter Reed Army Hospital.

You see, there are many more than the 1800 plus listed that have died from combat injuries that this administration doesn't want us to know about.

I really don't think we would see any commanders saying anything anyway. They don't want to get busted to a lower rank. Speak out against the way things are being handled and they have problems. Just happened to a Four Star Army General this last week.

Mack said...

The four star was busted down for "personal conduct" - the skinny is that it had to do with sexual misconduct. If he had been speaking out against the war, it would be big news. Fraternization with female lower enlisted troops is a big no-no for a lieutenant, for a general it's a career killer. The rumor mill says that it was even more scandalous than that. Personally, I don't care where his willie goes, but it's still a gentleman's game once you sew the double stripe on your pant leg (Officers have on solid black stripe, general officers have two parallel thinner stripes).

As far as the body count, this is an urban myth. If you get wounded in battle, you're tagged either by the medic on the ground, at the battalion aid station or at the medical clearing company (the battalion aid station equivalent for corps-level assets). You are entered into the system as WIA, and this designation stays with you on your charts until you are RTD (returned to duty) or you die. It doesn't matter whether you are in Amman, Germany, Walter Reed or Brookes Medical at Ft. Sam Houston. You are WIA. If you die, the attending physician has one of two choices - if you die as a result of your wounds, it doesn't matter whether you died of the wound or an secondary infection in the wound, you are in the count. If you die of something not related to your wound - you have a leg wound, but you die of pneumonia, you are not in the count. The only gray area is when you get shot in the leg, but die of pneumonia that you contract in the hospital because your immune system is down. Technically, a case could be made either way.

If they were hiding combat deaths, why would there even be a need to inflate the numbers with accidents or training deaths?

I think it's a matter of context - it's telling that you yourself get puffed up about the exploits of our soldiers in WWII, where it wasn't uncommon for 10-12,000 to die in a single engagement, yet you are unwilling to concede that our military has come a long way in making things better for your average infantryman. For the war, against the war, doesn't matter. Fewer troops are dying, this is a good thing, unless you are actually hoping for more deaths so that Chimpy McBushitler looks bad.

Myself, I'm an ex-infantryman. I think our troops have done an amazing job - more people die monthly in DWI accidents and murders in the USA on a monthly basis. Am I downplaying every death? No, an infantryman understands better than anybody. Each one of those people were somebody's son, father, Ranger buddy, squad leader, friend. None of those men was sacrificial lambs, though. None of them was sacrificed by their parents, they signed up knowing that this was part of the deal, or I'm sure that they grew to realize the danger. At least give them that dignity.

Grandpa Eddie said...

Concerning the General: The man spoke out against the war and was busted. The fraternization was used as an excuse by the Pentagon so as not to shed bad light on the White House fascists. You yourself said that the fraternization came from the rumer mill.

Concerning the KIAs: So what you are saying is that all the deaths due to action happen IN Iraq not here or Germany or elsewhere. If this is not so, why is it that the Pentagon does not release the number of wounded that die from their wounds? Because the Pentagon wants to keep the revealed number lowered so the death rate doesn't look as bad as it is.

Mack, I feel that you have bought into the lies of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld. They don't want us to know partly because of what they all said at the begining of this illegal operation. They don't want us to know and they have the MSM helping them cover-up the truth. This is why they do not want pictures taken of the troops caskets returning, including by the family members of the fallen.

Mack said...

The fraternization was an open secret - nothing new there, but the rumors are that he was a little creepier than what has made it to the press, and he was basically given an easy out. Notice that he hasn't been too loud on the way out - wouldn't he now be free to redeem and explain himself, much like the NJ governor who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar?

If they wanted to hide numbers, they would squelch the WIA numbers as well, but I don't understand why this is controversial. With all the comparison to Vietnam, what would the casualty numbers be at by this point? The real troop concentration began in 1965 - what were the numbers in 1968? Do you really think that we are so naive to not know that young men and women are dying over there? I think that most of us understand that you cannot go to war without losing lives, and we all understand that those lives are precious. Do you think that pictures of caskets really make a difference? Do you think that these pictures would honor the troops and comfort their families? Maybe the theory is that by rubbing our nose in it, we will be shaken out of our sleep, and come to see things your way? I find that idea rather condescending. We simply don't agree with you, and no amount of sensational, cynical and ghoulish pictures of US troops and citizens lying maimed and mangled or hanging burned and dismembered from a bridge is going to change the fact. We've all contemplated the meanings, and remembered times in our lives that lives were tragically cut short.

I don't think of it so much as buying into Bush/Cheney as I do as seeing things with my own eyes and believing things that make sense, given my experiences and beliefs. Of course, there are guys with experiences similar to mine that have come to different conclusions, those poor misguided bastards ;^)

Eddie, you and I may not see eye to eye on a lot of things, but I do enjoy your site and have enjoyed this discussion, and I will always respect a man of passion and conviction. Thanks for having me over, and making me feel welcome.