Heading For Yuma

After a final week of classes, practical exercises and weapons training at Ft. Dix, N.J., we scrambled the night before leaving for Yuma, Ariz. to amend flight plans, finish any red flag aircraft maintenance and pack.

Individually, we had twice as much equipment to take care of as we had just two weeks ago. As a unit, we have twice as many flyable aircraft. We plan to take four days to travel in our Black Hawk helicopters across the country to Yuma, and it figures to be a logistical challenge.


31 OCT 05, Ft. Dix, NJ -- Soldiers of A Co 2/224th AVN conduct drills on donning their Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) masks just seconds after the alarm is sounded. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com)
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Over the last week, we spent a good deal of time reviewing procedures and conducting practical exercises on Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) warfare -- everthing from getting our masks on quickly to practicing decontamination of our equipment and ourselves.

We re-learned the how to assemble, disassemble, clean and use our weapons in classes, the went to the live fire range for and attempted to hit targets that popped up in different places.

Of course, there were also classes that featured the monotone reading of Power Point slides in classrooms heated to 85 degrees. Even those of us who stood to keep from falling asleep were experiencing knee buckles and nodding off by the end of those.

With all of that stuff out of the way, we will return in Yuma to flying and training for our actual mission overseas. Plans are to stop in Nashville, Tenn., Fort Worth, Texas and El Paso, Texas on the way. I've been told I will fly most of the way, but time will tell. We plan on flying VFR, or visually as opposed to only using instruments, so I hope to be able to see a good portion of our country from the air. Once we arrive, I will update you on how the trip went.

By Bert Stover |  November 18, 2005; 9:42 PM ET  | Category:  Ft. Dix Mobilization
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When I went to Iraq for KBR we went thru hours of NBC training. Old hat for most of us guys, I served as a unit NBC NCO in Germany and went thru the course at Grafenweir. Even before leaving Houston my canvas bag had been designated storage. I spent a year at Camp Anaconda and the only time I ever opened that bag was refresher training and inventory before turning it in on demobilization.

The thing I like the most about the Army (all military) is how little things change. There are changes but within days of hitting Iraq I had fallen into the familiar rhythms of life on a base. Don't speed (they actually have radar equipped MPs at Anaconda, memorized the DFAC (chow hall) hours, as well as memorized the locations of items at the PX, you would go check for the prized items at off hours and immediately on arrival. The saying in Iraq if you see it in the PX buy it because it will be gone soon.


I have been back since September and miss that place, its weird.

God Speed WO and come back home safe.

Posted by: john beard | November 21, 2005 01:35 AM

Seems to me, the totally uninformed, that the "training" for soldiers being deployed to Iraq/Afghanistan, would be available "ready made" along our borders between Mexico...infiltration is the name of the game in the countries to which they'll be going...and is certainly happening night after night. Why not have them practice their "seek and detain" for a couple of weeks before being deployed? The Border Patrol could use, and would probably love this augmentation...

Posted by: William Goodnight | November 21, 2005 11:35 AM

But then we wouldn't be able to blame our economic woes on illegal immigration! Also, we can't spare any precious soldiers to protect our borders here. They're far too busy over there opening fire on civilian vehicles. Hey, did anyone find those WMDs yet?

Posted by: | November 21, 2005 12:21 PM

To: Posted by:(blank), Nov. 21, 2005 12:21:31 PM; you and William Goodnight are real winners..........GET LOST, this sight isn't for you.

Posted by: ShirleyAnn | November 21, 2005 01:04 PM

"Site", not "site".

And guess what? This isn't a private site.

Remember, even Cheney and Bush agree that disagreement over the war is patriotic. Do you disagree with them?

Posted by: | November 21, 2005 03:50 PM

Wow, I couldn't even make the same mistake ("sight") you did, my subconscious corrected it.

Regardless - commenting here is not limited to those who simply throw flowers and candy at the military without criticism. One cannot simply kowtow to those "brave men" without taking on the responsibility of determining if their actions are just or worthy.

And so often in the last few decades, they're not. Instead, they're just sent to occupy some country that hadn't attacked us because the CIC gets his druthers to act like a bully.

Posted by: | November 21, 2005 03:53 PM

Because border patrol is a law enforcement function, and the U.S. military can't be used in a law enforcement role within the U.S. borders. Unless marshal law is declared... But it's an interesting suggestion, nonetheless.

Posted by: Dave H | November 21, 2005 06:28 PM

Hey Posted by:(blank)
In your earlier post, you said, "... we can't spare any precious soldiers to protect our borders here. They're far too busy over there opening fire on civilian vehicles. Hey, did anyone find those WMDs yet?"

Do you blame the military or the politicians for the mess in Iraq?

Posted by: Joe1 | November 21, 2005 10:22 PM

To Posted by blank,
the way you write about the military opening fire on civilians, you must think they are doing it for fun...surely you don't think that is the case, do you? The next time you are watching the news and see footage of a car bomb go off, ask yourself if you could work a checkpoint and not be nervous....or better yet, go to your local VA hospital and meet someone who survived a car bomb and is now a single, double, or in some cases, a triple amputee. The men and women working in Iraq (at the orders of the civlian administration) have only a few seconds to make a life and death decision. If you don't agree with the policies of the U.S., take it to Capitol Hill...don't blame the serviceman or servicewomen.

Posted by: Bob | November 21, 2005 10:37 PM

"In your earlier post, ...
Do you blame the military or the politicians for the mess in Iraq?"

Both. The politicians lied us into war; the military mishandled the situation and yet demands that all Americans bow and kiss their feet.

Posted by: | November 22, 2005 08:48 AM

"the way you write about the military opening fire on civilians, you must think they are doing it for fun..."

Kinda like they did things at Abu G for fun? Kinda like the soldiers taking out their anger at being there on civilians?

Look, just admit it. The whole thing is a mess. The only answer is to get out of there now.

"surely you don't think that is the case, do you?"

I've seen enough tapes of soliders having 'fun' with "hajis" to realize that yes, more than a few of them are taking out their cultural disgust and anger out on innocent civilians.

Oh, and hey, maybe if they're all twitchy and nervous that everyone's gonna get 'em with an IED, maybe that's a sign that we're no longer welcome in Iraq by the public and that we should leave. The excuse that "if we leave it will go to the terrusts" doesn't hold water.

In fact, The longer we stay, the more average Iraqi will be sick of us being there and will side with terror.

"The next time you are watching the news and see footage of a car bomb go off, ask yourself if you could work a checkpoint and not be nervous...."

Sure, so just kill 'em all. Hey, I got a better idea! Maybe if the average Iraqi is so fed up with us being there that they're all blowing up checkpoints, maybe that's a sign that THEY DON'T WANT US THERE and we should leave.

Admit it, Bush's war was a failure. He made Iraq worse, more of a threat than it was before.

"and meet someone who survived a car bomb and is now a single, double, or in some cases, a triple amputee."

This wasn't a draft war, remember. People chose to go. For a lie.

"The men and women working in Iraq (at the orders of the civlian administration) have only a few seconds to make a life and death decision."

Sounds to me like you're not supporting our President in his war.

Do you or do you not want our troops to come now, before more die? Or do you put the corrupt 'orders' before the lives of the soldiers?

" If you don't agree with the policies of the U.S., take it to Capitol Hill...don't blame the serviceman or servicewomen. "

Hey, I'm not the one who told them to obey corrupt orders. They chose to, not me. "I vas just followink orders" hasn't worked as an excuse in years. Both those who gave the orders for this war, and those who followed it without question are equally culpable. And they all need to stand up and say "end this war now, it's wrong".

Posted by: | November 22, 2005 08:57 AM

Towards the end of World War II, it appeared that Tito's Communist forces were going to push for a civil war and take over Yugoslavia. Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister, was urged to commit troops to halt Tito. Churchill responded to that request: "Are you going to live in Yugoslavia after the war? No? Neither am I." And that's how I view Iraq: are you going to live there? If not, then leave the country to the Iraqi people and let them duke it out.

Personally, I am glad someone mentioned the illegal immigration problem -- which is a greater security threat to the American mainland than those crazy Iraqis.

Posted by: E. Etage | November 22, 2005 09:35 AM

I think it might be possible for National Guard troops to serve along the border as practice for deployment. Guard aviation assets assist local law enforcement in counter drug operations within their home states all the time.

So "blank", would you advocate spitting on soldiers returning from Iraq since you say they are to blame? I personally think it's only a matter of time before that starts happening. There will be a lot of broken nosed losers walking around out there if it does.

Posted by: Bill | November 22, 2005 11:47 AM

"So "blank", would you advocate spitting on soldiers returning from Iraq since you say they are to blame? "

Ah, yes, the old "spitting on soldiers" lie that the right told about the left after VietNam. Because, what, didn't John Kerry do that?

Can we spit on the "bad apples", those supposed "few" who were involved in or responsible for torture and the like?

Can we spit on the politicans and generals who lied us into war?

Can we spit on anyone who comes back and keeps spouting the idiotic rightwing lies about "we have to stay the course in order to kill more people so we make a point, blah blah WMD, blah blah freedom on the march blah blah step down when they step up"? Because, well, hell, they're idiots. They're part of the problem, the jingoistic idiocy that both got us in and keeps us in a war based solely on right-wing liars and their lies.

Or, wait, are you saying that just because someone decided to risk their life and limb for ideals of neo-imperialism, simple minded militarism, and divine-right racist jingoism, that we're supposed to bow and kiss their damn feet like they're coming home from Normandy?

I didn't ask y'all to go to Iraq. You went of your own free will (or your unwillingness to say "no, I won't go to this war", so don't expect me to kiss your backside.

Anyone who comes back and says "Well, that was a waste of time and people, and we as a nation slipped and let down our morality and became as bad as the enemy at time, we made a big mistake in trusting Dubya, and it came to bite us on the butt", well then, good. Lesson learned - don't rush to war on lies, don't jump when a corrupt leader says jump.

Posted by: | November 22, 2005 12:20 PM

Also, please explain the swagger by which you claim that there will be alot of "broken nosed losers" around.

Did I miss something in the playbook that said that civilians are supposed to, you know, treat everyone who served in Operation Bush's VietNam LieFest as heroes? You know, because they steadfastly defended us from a country that wasn't a threat to us, wasn't involved in 9/11, wasn't a hotbed of terrorism...

Or as dupes who got lied to and couldn't find it in them to go Objector when the 'war' turned from "let's actually find the 9/11 terrorists" to "Hey, Dubya just wants to take over Iraq cuz he needs a new toy"?

Posted by: | November 22, 2005 12:24 PM

Blank - I don't know if John Kerry ever did that. He certainly did symbolically, but probably not literally. I do know that someone did that to my father during the Viet Nam War in an airport while he was in uniform.

Answer the question. Do you advocate spitting on soldiers?

Posted by: Bill | November 22, 2005 12:45 PM

Blank - Why go blank? Afraid the "man" is watching, poised to take away your library card?

The swagger is whatever you want it to be. You go right ahead and "exercise your First Ammendment rights", spit on a soldier. If she doesn't beat you till you loose muscle control and shit down your own leg, I will. It'll be slim consolation to hold the moral high ground with your bowels voided all over your Guatemalan hemp panties.

Posted by: John | November 22, 2005 12:48 PM

Hey "Blank", do you remember the e-mail petitions that circulated in the late 90's, about the horrible treatment of women under the Taliban? It was forwarded to me at least five times; I signed and forwarded it every time. Did you sign it, did you forward it? I remember it said something about Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch calling the Taliban really awful people.

The question that comes to my mind is, what did Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch ever really do for the women of Afghanistan? Sure, they talked about the issue, but what did they, and by extension the people who donate and sing their praises, really DO for those women. The answer I come up with is NOTHING. All those recycled paper checks you wrote, all those e-mails you and I forwarded did not do one damn thing to help the women of Afghanistan.

You know who did do some very big things for the women of Afghanistan? Those "dupes" you malign with your smug superiority. It takes very little courage to protest anything in this country anymore. In fact, its trendy, like wearing your pants in a manner that makes it look like you're toting a load, or piercing your eyebrow. You want to be brave, go put your mortal existance on the line for someone else. Go to Afghanistan and build a school, help dig wells in remote mountain villages, hell, start the women's studies department at Kabul U. DO something, just like those 19 and 20 year old "dupes" did. Go make a difference somewhere.

Hey, "Blank", even though I said I'd kick you till you poo'ed yourself, I still love you. You whacky college freshmen are so good for a laugh. One sociology class, and you're going to go save the world, one web-post at a time.

Posted by: John | November 22, 2005 01:10 PM

"Hey "Blank", do you remember the e-mail petitions that circulated in the late 90's, about the horrible treatment of women under the Taliban?"

Taliban. Afghanistan. Not Iraq. Did you fail geography?

The question that comes to my mind is, what did Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch ever really do for the women of Afghanistan?

I'm sorry, did you miss that we're talking about the war in Iraq not the invasion of Afghanistan? I fully supported the invasion of Afghanistan. BUT WE DIDN'T FINISH THE JOB THERE, WE WENT INTO IRAQ INSTEAD.

"Sure, they talked about the issue, but what did they, and by extension the people who donate and sing their praises, really DO for those women."

What they did was brought light and pressure from international resources, offered humanitarian resources both inside and outside Afghanistan, etc...

"The answer I come up with is NOTHING. All those recycled paper checks you wrote, all those e-mails you and I forwarded did not do one damn thing to help the women of Afghanistan."

Shame, then, that by leaving Afghanistan and screwing around in Iraq, the US gave up on helping Afghanistan free itself from the Taliban. Proving that Bushie didn't care about the Afghanis.

"You know who did do some very big things for the women of Afghanistan?"

England.

"Those "dupes" you malign with your smug superiority. It takes very little courage to protest anything in this country anymore."

No, it takes courage to protest jingoism. And, hey, did you happen to read about how Pat Tillman said that it was stupid for him to be forced to leave Afghanistan to invade Iraq wastefully?

"In fact, its trendy, like wearing your pants in a manner that makes it look like you're toting a load, or piercing your eyebrow."

Real patriotism is having the courage to stand up against idiotic jingoism. If that's trendy, good.

"You want to be brave, go put your mortal existance on the line for someone else."

You mean invade a country that didn't want to be invaded, destroyed, and occupied? I put my existence on the line for people here in the US, thank you very much. Rather than engaging in irrational idiotic wars.

"Go to Afghanistan and build a school, help dig wells in remote mountain villages, hell, start the women's studies department at Kabul U. "

Why the sudden focus on Afghanistan? Is is because you have finally admitted that the invasion of Iraq is indefensible, and you want to build a strawman argument? Won't work. I fully support our work in Afghanistan. But the Misadministration took most of the troops out of there to play in Iraq.

"O something, just like those 19 and 20 year old "dupes" did. Go make a difference somewhere."

What about making a difference in the US? You know, like, say, keeping our Nat'l Guard here to help when, say, huge hurricanes destroy the South? They'd make a big difference there. But instead, they're wasted, thrown like good money after bad, tossed into Bush's war simply because he's too much of a coward to admit when he's wrong.

"Hey, "Blank", even though I said I'd kick you till you poo'ed yourself,"

Funny how you types always resort to violence when someone disagrees with your machismo jingoism. You can't even DEFEND the was in Iraq, you KNOW you can't, but you'll be DAMNED if you'll let anyone force light onto the issue or criticise. You can't admit you were wrong, and you prefer to threaten violence to be "manly".

"I still love you. You whacky college freshmen are so good for a laugh."

Sport, I got out of college during the FIRST Gulf War. I've got multiple degrees in History from conservative old-money schools. Your dodges don't change that you're wrong about this war.

" One sociology class, and you're going to go save the world, one web-post at a time."

Multiple history degrees, as I said.

Posted by: | November 22, 2005 01:36 PM

"Blank - I don't know if John Kerry ever did that. He certainly did symbolically, but probably not literally. I do know that someone did that to my father during the Viet Nam War in an airport while he was in uniform. "

Ah, the old friend-of-a-friend story.

Ya know, there's not a single documented case of that ever happening to anyone at any airport. It's always "someone who knew someone".

Answer the question. Do you advocate spitting on soldiers?"

I do not advocate spitting on soliders, or anyone. I advocate decrying unjust ideas. Soldier or not, if anyone argues that our nation must continue to waste lives in this stupid war, I'll counter their points with the truths instead. Don't spit on people - spit on their ideas.

Also, I advocate bringing the troops home from an unnecessary and stupid war instead of continuing to risk their lives and limbs for a lie.

Do you advocate bringing our men and women home now, or wasting their lives in a continued unnecessary war?

Posted by: | November 22, 2005 01:40 PM

"Blank - Why go blank? Afraid the "man" is watching, poised to take away your library card?"
No, just didn't type a name the first time and it stuck. I couldn't care less for a handle, the discussion is what matters.

"The swagger is whatever you want it to be. You go right ahead and "exercise your First Ammendment rights", spit on a soldier."

I wouldn't say spitting on anyone is either good or protected by the First Amendment. But I do note how many people on your right-wing neocon side like to threaten anyone who uses their First Amendment rights period - call them unpatriotic, cowards, threaten them with physical violence, etc.

You got issues.

"If she doesn't beat you till you loose muscle control and shit down your own leg, I will."

Of course you will. I imagine you shake your little hands in fury at anyone who dares to criticize anyone's service in a war, even if that war was a disastrous one that we didn't need to be in. I bet you don't even criticize anyone who's involved in, say, Abu Gharib because, you know, "that happens in war, they asked for it".

You put anyone on a pedestal just because they signed up to catch lead for Dubya's empire.


"t'll be slim consolation to hold the moral high ground with your bowels voided all over your Guatemalan hemp panties."

Moral high ground? You advocate continuing to risk American lives in a war based on lies, egged on by torture, irrational violence, poor planning, pure hatred of both the civilians and the Geneva conventions...

You've got about as much Moral High Ground in this war as Saddam did.

Posted by: | November 22, 2005 01:45 PM

Blank---I am hard pressed to figure out how to start this---are you sure you're not Michael Moore?

So much is you posts is just bad info. How come ever politician from Bill Clinton to Ted Kennedy to John Kerry to you name it, was saying exactly the same thing about Saddam Hussein and his regime in 2002?

Look, pal, we know he had WMD---at least chemical---probably bio, and was trying hard to get nukes. He used them on his own people---Kurds and Shias alike. What did he do with them? Don't know. But we are better off without that madman in charge. And we are doing good work to help the Iraqis get back on their feet. You spout bs that they don't want us there---bad info again. And someone once said that bad informationand goos intentions are a recipe for disaster!

You can disagree, but I take offense to you disparaging the folks who are engaged in the hard, dangerous work.

Posted by: Mike | November 22, 2005 03:28 PM

Bad information and good intentions are a recipe for disaster!

Posted by: Mike | November 22, 2005 03:29 PM

---"Sport, I got out of college during the FIRST Gulf War"

Whew, to have lived through those glory days on campus: relearning the ancient art of tie-dye, hanging peace sign rainbow flags in front of the library, writing editorials to the student newspaper, smoking doobies in the back of a VW van on the way to the "no blood for oil" marches. Heady days, heady days indeed. But you, what a man you are to have been at a college for TWO wars in the Middle East. Did you need years of PTSD counseling before you could drive your Volvo again? Do you get a special patch to wear on the right shoulder of your commencement gown?

---"Multiple history degrees, as I said."

I hung out the 'college freshman' bait to see if you'd spend a bunch of time telling us all just how damn smart and edgimacated you are. Boy, all those degrees sure are impressive. You must have spent your entire adult life in college. A real live collidge perfesser. Ma, git the little ones and the picture box, there's a real live perfesser on the web! Wow.

---"But I do note how many people on your right-wing neocon side like to threaten anyone who uses their First Amendment rights period - call them unpatriotic, cowards, threaten them with physical violence, etc."

The whole 'make you poo' bit was just a test to see if you'd break out the old, "you Neanderthal, military types always default to violence" bit you old lefties always cry about. You jumped at it like a college professor at a coed.

--- "I put my existence on the line for people here in the US, thank you very much."

How is that, Professor, just how do you put your life on the line? Bravely telling History 101 students how Thomas Jefferson and George Washington owned slaves? Maybe you talk openly in the coffee houses about voting for John Kerry or Ralph Nader, or about how you financially support Amnesty International. I'll bet you're so brave that you give failing grades to conservative students, to teach them a lesson. I'll bet you 'speak truth to power' when Dick Cheney is giving a speech on TV? I'll bet you even hang a picture of George Bush with a Sharpee hitler mustache on your office door. Wow, you sure do put it out there. Here's to you, mister leftie history professor, for all that you do, have a glass of Chardonnay on me

Posted by: John | November 22, 2005 04:45 PM

---"You mean invade a country that didn't want to be invaded, destroyed, and occupied? ... Rather than engaging in irrational idiotic wars."

---"I bet you don't even criticize anyone who's involved in, say, Abu Gharib because, you know, "that happens in war, they asked for it"."

Actually, Professor, I was sitting in the chow hall at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo (a democrat's good money after bad, or a valuable use of our military?), when CNN broke the news about Abu Gharib. My reaction was exactly the same as the reaction of every soldier around me: disgust and dismay. Every one of us knew that what those soldiers did was going to have a negative effect on the perception of the mission in Iraq; but more importantly every one of us felt, deep inside us, that what those soldiers did was absolutely wrong. No ifs, ands or buts. Wrong. I've never heard a soldier try to justify the actions of the Abu Gharib perpetrators.

---"Taliban. Afghanistan. Not Iraq. Did you fail geography?"

No, I did not fail geography. That being said, I'm certainly not a big time history professor, like you, so I'll try to defer to your logic more in the future. However, the reason I made my comments about Afghanistan is that you leftie college professors all use the "distracted efforts in Afghanistan" argument when dealing with Iraq. The thing you didn't get though is that many of the guys who've served in Iraq have also served in Afghanistan. They are the self same "dupes" you advocate spitting on in one post [---Can we spit on anyone who comes back and keeps spouting the idiotic rightwing lies about "we have to stay the course..."], then "fully support" in another. That's my point. Pat Tillman's opinion was his opinion. You only use it to attempt to make your point; otherwise you would have no time, respect, or sympathy for him at all; he'd just be another jingoist dupe of the imperial machine to you.

Posted by: John | November 22, 2005 04:51 PM

---"You advocate continuing to risk American lives in a war based on lies, egged on by torture, irrational violence, poor planning, pure hatred of both the civilians and the Geneva conventions..."

I think the administration is wrong not to condemn torture categorically. That being said, you leftie college types might want to read the Geneva Convention before you run it up your flagpole and wave it around too vigorously. You might not find it as edifying as you imagine. For instance, nowhere does it state that, "...leftie college professors should always be consulted before any military action is undertaken..." or, "...leftie college professors are the final word in detainee treatment..." Just in case you weren't aware, I thought I'd give you the heads-up.

As far as Iraq goes, Professor, we'd be having a very different conversation if Saddam did have the WMD that the UN, Bill Clinton, France, and even John F. Kerry all said he did, and those weapons had been used in a suicide bomber scenario here, wouldn't we?

What would your solution have been? Look into History, Professor, and tell me about Saddam and the weapons inspectors. Use them big ole degrees of yours and tell me how well it worked passing UN resolution after UN resolution. I'll even give you that we helped to create Saddam's regime (though not nearly as much as your darling France, or the USSR, China and Germany), but don't roll that out as a smoke screen for the fact that you have no means to convince anyone with a big ole DEGREE (or especially DEGREEs, plural) that the weapons inspectors would have been successful this time. Use that expensive education of yours and explain how you would have handled it.

Posted by: John | November 22, 2005 04:56 PM

Chief,

Best wishes to you and all your comrades. Fly safe, land safe, come home safe!

Posted by: chemlite | November 22, 2005 05:04 PM

---"I've got multiple degrees in History from conservative old-money schools."

---"Ah, the old friend-of-a-friend story."

Hey, Professor, didn't they teach you to read at those fancy schools? Use that old-money learnin' of yours and re-read Bill's post.

---"I do know that someone did that to MY FATHER (my emphasis) during the Viet Nam War..."

No wonder our young people are hitting the job market with no skills, even the professors can't handle reading comprehension.

Posted by: John | November 22, 2005 05:17 PM

I think that what you and the other soliders are doing to help keep us safe is remarkable. Keep doing the great and amazing work that you and other soliders are doing. You are in our prayers. Be safe, and THANK YOU!

Posted by: Tulo | November 22, 2005 05:18 PM

Bust on the guy all you want, he's right.

If we had stayed in Afghanistan where we should be, we wouldn't have screwed up Iraq.

Posted by: David | November 22, 2005 06:44 PM

WO Stover's reports have been interesting but hardly compare to the literary excellence from the "Professor". Damn, I thought people like that were lost in the 60's. Too bad.

Posted by: Joe M. | November 22, 2005 07:19 PM

David, cite for me the troop levels in Afghanistan, pre and post Iraq invasion, would you please? I'd love to read the sources you use to support the Professor's "ignoring Afghanistan" argument. El Professorio's word just doesn't cut it for me, even though he does have a Che Guevara t-shirt and "multiple degrees in History."

Posted by: John | November 22, 2005 08:08 PM

You know there are some similarities between soldiers (around the world), politicians, and protesters at the gates of the White House. They are doing something!

Regardless of where you stand on an issue you have no right to complain if you are only willing to sit and let others do the work for you. If you are not actively involved in the resolution then you are a part of the problem that you spend so much time writing about.

I really admire anyone who takes the risk to act on their beliefs. They have earned my respect even if I don't agree with them. As an American I can disagree with you and still respect your effort.

And, there is no "I did my part". Your part doesn't end with a bus trip home or an ETS (end time in service). Your part continues for as long as you want things to change.

Posted by: KT | November 23, 2005 09:38 AM

Who calls anyone "Sport"...I thought that name ended with "leave it to Beaver"

Posted by: Bill | November 23, 2005 09:57 AM

John,

Here's the information you wanted on Afghanistan:
www.americanprogress.org/site/pp.asp?c=biJRJ8OVF&b=14530

Posted by: David | November 23, 2005 10:22 AM

John, read this to see how the US lost sight of Afghanistan as well:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/07/AR2005100702332_pf.html

Posted by: David | November 23, 2005 10:38 AM

Don't put too much stock in degrees from old-money schools. After all, Bush has degrees from Yale and Harvard Business School and not even his most fervent apologists would pretend that he is intelligent.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone on all sides of the argument! And special prayers to those spending the holiday in the combat zone and to their families back home.

Posted by: E. Etage | November 23, 2005 11:04 AM

David,

I read both of the articles you presented, but found the answer to my question, pre- and post-OIF troop levels in Afghanistan, glaringly unanswered. Now the OPINIONS of two journalists might be enough to convince some folks, but I like actual numbers. I can opine that the Apache is the fastest helicopter in the inventory, because it looks so sleek and mean, with all those rocket pods and guns and stuff; but until I read the actual statistics I'd be wrong. The BlackHawk is faster than the Apache, and the Chinook is faster still. Even though one might conclude, from its scruffy, and somewhat outdated looks, that the Chinook program was being ignored by the Army, actual numbers tell the true story. See my point?

Posted by: John | November 23, 2005 11:54 AM

David,

I read both of the articles you presented, but found the answer to my question, pre- and post-OIF troop levels in Afghanistan, glaringly unanswered. Now the OPINIONS of two journalists might be enough to convince some folks, but I like actual numbers. I can opine that the Apache is the fastest helicopter in the inventory, because it looks so sleek and mean, with all those rocket pods and guns and stuff; but until I read the actual statistics I'd be wrong. The BlackHawk is faster than the Apache, and the Chinook is faster still. Even though one might conclude, from its scruffy, and somewhat outdated looks, that the Chinook program was being ignored by the Army, actual numbers tell the true story. See my point?

If you can find the information for me, I would truly be interested in reading it. Otherwise its all just politically motivated hearsay and not worth the paper its printed on, except as a wrapper for fish.

Posted by: John | November 23, 2005 11:56 AM

Oops, double post.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those who do serve, who have served and who will serve. Thank you. Come home safe!

Posted by: John | November 23, 2005 11:59 AM

To everyone,
Try not to let the "Professor" bother you - he has been busy getting his "multiple degrees in History" and has had little time for practical application. Like all the other hot air generators he has a plan, an answer, can arm-chair quarterback and tell everyone around him "I told you so!" Blank (or is it Antifraud), you are just full of theory and history but can not provide a realistic solution for any problem the world has to offer. Did you look at any history other than U.S. history while going to school? Life and politics have more problems to offer than your cozy little hometown. I bet the most challenging issue you have faced at work is deciding who is bringing in the donuts for the next meeting. From reading all of your post, I don't see a single solution in your writing other than to say something is wrong - what is your solution to make the world a better place for everyone - not just you and your slice of apple pie.

Posted by: Bob | November 23, 2005 07:03 PM

Since my son enlisted in the Army my eyes have been opened to the reality of the quality of the American soldier. There are no better trained and equiped military personel in the world today. Interestingly enough though, there committment to go to war is not driven by a great political force nor is it driven by an overwhelming belief in the great american way . From what I've gleaned from my rather closed lipped son is that they fight because it is there profession. They are all volunteeers now and are warriors in the real sense of the word. Fortunately they are not politicly driven. They are not Bush's or Rumsfeld's soldiers, they are America's and we should all be proud of them even if we don't support the mission.

Posted by: Phil | November 28, 2005 12:51 PM

John, nice going 'baiting the professor.' I always find it funny when people start badgering others... trying to goad them into responses. It really shows intelligence when all you can do is attack someones education and threaten violence, only to prove that you knew what they were going today? When someone attacks me, physically or mentally, I tend to defend myself. I'd assume you do the same. But nice going. That really shows a great deal of intelligence and cunning.

It's also funny that you've resorted to only goading him with little or no response to his points. But thanks for playing, and I'm sure you'll be sent home with the consolation prize.

Posted by: The word of the day is 'fool' | November 28, 2005 01:09 PM

Phil,

Best wishes for your son, and for all the sons and daughters who chose the profession of arms for our country.

Posted by: John | November 28, 2005 01:13 PM

You can attack the issue of war. You canhold the administration accountable for the info they shared or did not share before Congress voted. If you voted, you can complain!

The military needs to be run by the military not a bunch of civilians who are "learning on the job"; Rusmfeld included!

You cannot blame the military, the young warriors with "boots on the ground". There mission is to follow legal and just orders which usually 99% of them are. Warriors do not stay in the military for the money - ha ha - they stay because it is a calling, a committment, a passion, a way of life... One that very few civilians can really relate to.

Your right to condemn or praise this country's actions are what warriors fight for, regardless of personal politics, religion and beliefs. Do you think those warriors feel good about the loss of civilian life; I don't think so. Sadly war has collateral damage, the nice way of saying innocent people die.

Do I support the war? Hell no! DO I support the misrepresentation of the truth by a REMF president and a draft dodging vice president? Hell no! Do I support the warriors with muddy boots on the ground? Hell yes! And thirty years of active federal service as a Soldier and voting gives me that right?

Drive On Warriors, I hope we can pull back into overwatch soon...

Fins Up

Posted by: TR, the Sergeant Major | November 28, 2005 01:42 PM

SGM - Fighter pilots are hardly REMFs. National Guard service is more flexible but less stable than active service. Everyone who serves during war time, even those that are never deployed to a war zone but train waiting for the call, are valuble members of the team.

Posted by: WO1 Chmelir | November 28, 2005 03:42 PM

I don't wanna beat a dead horse,but,,the mess
in Iraq was created by politicians in the
United States. They took off without getting
thier facts straight. I really miss Colin Powell, I guess Bush in reality needed a
"yes woman",you think?????

Posted by: Floyd Vaughn | November 28, 2005 04:36 PM


OK People, Listen up!

The WMDs went to Syria by the truckload.

CIA does not want to support the President so they deny it.

Next Question!

Posted by: A USN CDR | November 28, 2005 04:43 PM

LCR supports American troops at home and abroad, regardless of circumstance. That is what I wanted to say after I read the initial article. However, I got absorbed in reading the 49 posts that came after that. The first post, as well as a few others, I am proud to see. As for the rest, well, I got absorbed. An increasingly pervasive issue is the polarization of the American social and political climate. As the previous bloggers have illustrated so well, we have become eager to devote ourselves to one side of the spectrum and remain there staunchly, regardless of what new information we might gather. I'm fairly certain John could watch our President commit murder on national TV and say that its a roll of film doctored by Michael Moore, just as i'm sure Blank could see President Bush walk on water and quickly make the joke that its all the air in his head. John, your writing started so well, but you so quickly sunk to the level of the typical liberal, playing word games and setting petty traps. We as a nation need people with your convictions and strength of character to help our country through the tough times that lie ahead. Blank, you are obviously a well educated man, but your writing reaks of bitterness and anger, don't let those emotions block your intellect. What do you think would have been, and what would now be the best course of action for the US to take? You both are remarkably resolute in your opinions, but what you fail to realize is that we are all headed in the same direction, towards the same ends, whether you care to admit it or not. John, please be more open to the idea that mistakes may have been made. Blank, please be open to the idea that, while Kerry may not have made the same mistakes, the ones he would have made (because we all do) may have been more costly.
Best to All.
God Bless America.

Posted by: GOP4LIFE | November 29, 2005 02:40 AM

WO1 Chmelir -

Bush was a REMF; he most likely has a few more hours than the minimum requirement to be called a "pilot". Its' like being Airborne: There is a huge difference between a five jump chump and a real Airborne warrior.

I was not attacking the Air or Army National Guard -- their repective missions are vital to the country and their respective states. ...and like any organization, military or civilian, there are those that do the real deal and those who show up to punch their ticket and see the dentist.

Hooah

TR

Posted by: TR, the Sergeant Major | November 29, 2005 11:18 AM

President Bush was an F-102 Fighter Pilot. If his guard unit would have been deployed to Viet Nam, (like the F-102 guard unit at Buckley Air Force Base was during that same time frame), then he would have been flown till proficient and deployed along with them.

Maybe President Bush didn't make the most of his time as a pilot in the Texas Air Guard. But his ass was on the line just as much as the other pilots in his unit during the time that he served. I for one respect that, myself being a guard pilot with half of my unit currently in Afghanistan and myself missing the deployment simply because of mission qualification timing.

Posted by: WO1 Chmelir | November 29, 2005 12:29 PM


TR SM --
Do you have 300 jumps from a perfectly good airplane?? If you do, say "All the Way, Airborne."

President Bush has over 300 hours in the F-102. Fully qualified whether you like it or not. You cannot be as dumb as Viet Cong John and still fly fighter aircraft.
President Johnson should get all the credit for ruining Vietnam War Victory by trying to run it from his office. I know since I was there in 1964 and 1965!!!

Reservists cannot get dental work done, Read this week's Navy Times.

God Bless America and Protect us from the Terrorists too.

Posted by: A USN CDR | November 29, 2005 12:37 PM

I love the baiting and beating, but like almost every politician, both sides need to be more open to more than their "party line." THAT is what make politics so disgusting at times.

The National Guard can and has been used in Law Enforcement in the US - remember drug eradication? As long as they are mobilized under state orders, they can perform law enforcment. As far as I know, there is no law that says state mob troops have to stay in the state. I agree, send them to the border. There are other ways to get the feds to pay for it since the states would have to foor the bill. But then again, how many people would do half of the jobs that immigrants do, or would want tht kind of life for thier children? Can you see my point? There are two side to every coin. That could go on and on for every issue. I used that one since it was posted. I can be a damn good devil's advocate to get a point across when necessary.

WMDs - How quickly does Blank forget all of the history he has learned? Does he not remember that the US gave Iraq (at the time, the lesser of two evils between Iraq and Iran) the chemical weapons in support of the Iran/Iraq war?
What the media did NOT show much was pictures of Iraqi MIGs buried in the desert, being pulled out of the sand once they were found. If you can bury a fighter plane, how easy do you think it would be to hide a few mason jars full of chemicals?

Also, dig deep into History, and you will lose respect for Collin Powel. Les Aspin took the fall in the Clinton admin for Somalia, but Powell also was one that refused to commit more troops to help the ones already there get out of a mess. That got brushed under the rug because Powell had already made it to the top of the military chain, and was also on the civilian fast track.

Why do soldiers do it? "They volunteered, etc." is correct. That doesn't mean they all have to agree with what their elected civilian leaders say and do, or their military leaders for that matter. However, we all have bosses, and we all have a job to do. How hard is that to understand? if Balnk refuses to do what his boss says, he may or may not keep his job. Worst case, he has to look for another job. A soldier will end up in jail, and have a criminal record tht will haunt him for the rest of his life, and not be able to get a decent job because of his military conduct, other than, say college professor. (Sorry, couldn't resist that one.) The guys with the rifles and muddy boots are not in a position, literally or figuratively, to second guess any and every civilian or military decision as legal or not. Neither is the majority of the brass tht has to enforce those decisions for that matter.

Remember the scene at the end of "Blackhawk Down"? There are some good lines in that movie that could possibly help non-military people understand
To paraphrase some:
Why do you do it? Do you love war? Are you a war junkie?
"They don't understand. The CAN'T understand that it is for the guy next to you."

Not that I am an expert in this matter, but is is also something that you grow to understand in the military. Once the first bullets start flying, politics be damned. You will do what you can and have to to get the job done, and protect yourself and your buddies.

Remember, regardless of education level, degrees, etc, there is a big difference between educated and smart. Some of the smartest people I know never went further than a HS Diploma.

Posted by: Craig | December 3, 2005 11:15 AM

I've just got to jump in on Iraq.

In Oct of 2001, I was attending a martial arts school near Columbus Ohio. In my class, there where couple of airmen from a local airbase taking classes.

Of course, it was in October that we went to Afganistan and they announced that they would soon be leaving. I asked them what I thought was a rhetorical ( sp ) question when I asked, " Afganastan?"

All within earshot were amazed when they said, "No, Iraq." I asked them what they ment by that and they said, "That's where the next war will be, just watch."

At that time, Iraq was just a forgotten dust-spec. There was the "No Fly Zone" that was like the land-that-time-forgot and the Administration did not publicly start rattling swords about Iraq until early/mid-2003. So where on earth would they get that idea? Lucky guess? Really? Me? I think GWB had intentions to lunch on Iraq and finish what Daddy didn't from Day One.

That's really OK with me, I just wished that if he wanted to kick some ass he would've been honest about it and said so. Better yet, go after a real threat like N. Korea or Iran.

Posted by: J | February 13, 2006 10:58 PM

The sad crap is not Afgan and Iraq-istan. It is the stupidity of this administration turning over Arab oil to the Persians in Iran, through the Shia majority, who are along with Qeida, our real enemy. Kissing our but now, while they hide the semitar behind their backs.If we don't get out of Iraq quickly and now to let these people have their civil war and return to normalcy, we will definately remain at war forever. I don't particularly want our present "leadership" around that long.

Posted by: EB | February 14, 2006 12:21 PM

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