Your Tax Dollars at Work

If you are wondering where some of your tax dollars are going then I have an answer for you. We were issued brand new equipment to include some frivolous items like fleece jackets, fleece hats, and Oakley sunglasses/goggles, and some very necessary items like new ballistic helmets, lighter and with more secure chin straps.


22 OCT 05, PFC Lee has his barcode sticker placed on his chest just prior to receiving his equipment from the Rapid Fielding Initiative, Ft. Dix, NJ. Barcode stickers provide a quick way to inventory items issued to soldiers. (Bert Stover -- washingtonpost.com)
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As pilots, we can't wear most of the items we were issued since they are made of synthetic materials like polyester and spandex that would melt in a fire. We have to wear all cotton and nomex clothing to help reduce the possibility of burns.

But some of the gear makes sense. My favorite items are my new Army combat boots, which are tan and don't need polishing. I'm sure there are vets that think this no polish boot is a travesty, but it should be a real timesaver.

Getting the new equipment was surprisingly easy. too. About a year ago, the Army started a new equipment issue program called Rapid Fielding Initiative. It actually lets soldiers determine how well equipment fits instead of just issuing what's available and ordering the troops to move out. At Fort Dix, the system is run well and we were impressed with the results.

The result is that I have another green duffle full of equipment. That makes 3 green duffles, 2 flyer's bags, 1 ruck sack and 1 black trunk. An enormous amount of equipment for one soldier, especially compared to some of the previous US wars.

By Bert Stover |  November 1, 2005; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Ft. Dix Mobilization
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David Rosenberg
Dryhumor999@aol.com Why all that equipment? Where is it stored? It seems to me, the Army is overloading their men with items, never to be used.
What happened to A Rifle, Ammo, Knife and Canteen and go to war?
No wonder the Defense Budget is so high.

Posted by: | November 1, 2005 10:42 AM

It's amazing how things change. I retired in 2002 from the Army Reserve and still remember being issued Korean War surplus cold weather gear, one extra wool blanket because there were no sleeping bags. Having to suspend training because there was no fuel for our vehicles, going to the rifle range with only enough ammo to fire for familiarization. And, to top it all not a few months ago there was a ruckus over a shortage of uparmored vehicles. Now I fully expect people to complain about to much being issued to our soldiers.

WO1 Stover, us old soldiers salute you. God protect you.

LTC, USAR (Ret)
John Wells

Posted by: John Wells | November 1, 2005 10:59 AM

Your description of drawing your equipment at Fort Dix made me chuckle. In Jan. '69 drawing equipment was very different. We went down the line and guys behind the counter eyeballed us and threw (yes threw)whatever they considered to be the correctly sized gear at us. I guarantee you that nothing fit and since this was winter I wore the most uncomfortable flannel underwear and outerwear. Good Luck and watch your tail.

Posted by: Steven U. Teitelbaum, frmr. Cpt. | November 1, 2005 11:27 AM

I entered the Army in late Oct. 1969 and had Basic Training at Fort Dix. We were issued surplus ( previously used ) equipment, including older M14 Carbine weapons ( if memory serves me correctly ). It was a cold winter but we got by, even in the field all day, w/o any real problems.

Let's be clear. We are not preparing to defind our country. We are preparing for offense. The U.S. is the one major country I can think of in this world that is perpetually at war with other countries or their people, either openly or clandestinely. Rarely are these wars for a noble cause or purpose, but simply to extend our influence by force. Middle East, South America, East Asia and Philipines. We are in Iraq _to stay_. It matters little that the people of so many countries that we have a military "presence" in, don't want us there; their government does. So much for the fallacy of democracy, and our support of it. We seek only more power. Ike was right. The military/industrial complex rules in the U.S. and the American people are too scared and/or uninformed to protest. The U.S. has become a disgrace to humanity, with the neo-cons ( i.e. radical right ) leading the way. "Take no prisoners, only kill" from "Peacekeeper"

Posted by: P. Goodman | November 1, 2005 11:56 AM

I wouldn't laugh at that equipment; You'll need it. My fleece has been a lifesaver. The goggles have saved my eyes from damage and allowed to continue my mission several times.

Posted by: Robert Parr | November 1, 2005 12:51 PM

Why not just flush the tax dollars down the toilet? We'd get the same results as we are getting in Iraq, only faster and without anyone getting killed.

Posted by: E. Etage | November 1, 2005 03:34 PM

A comment Posted by: P. Goodman | Nov 1, 2005 11:56:12 AM I think he needs a reality check. I've been in the military since 1974 and intend to stay in as long as I can. I also feel that anybody who thinks that the war on terroism is foolish and the United States has no right being there is fool of crap and needs to leave this country and go live over there. I believe that we have been appointed by GOD to be the peace keepers of the world. Mr Goodman and all of his constituants would not be talking so loud if Iraq or any other country brought the war to our own land. Mr Goodman, would you rather be fighting on our own soil or deterring it on someone elses. Most of you people out there complaing are ignorant to what is really going on and listening to what the media broadcasts, and to the facts. Get with the program or move to a country wher you don't have the freedom to run your mouth or criticize the decission of our Commander & Chief. I think next to President Kennedy, Reagan, Bush, G.W. Bush is one of the greatest Presidents I know. P.s. I think we need to stay in Iraq and Afganistan until we get total control of terrorism.

Posted by: R T Halsell | November 1, 2005 05:01 PM

Young man, you may not be able to wear them Oakley's in the cockpit or snuggle with your fleece there, but you will appreciate all of it. No tax dollars wasted to protect your eyes or the best fleece to keep you warm.

You and tell your fellow soldiers to ignore those who think the efforts in Afganistan and Iraq or folly. This country has NEVER gone to war except to protect itself and others. Most of the time we were forced into conflicts. The larger majority of Americans support you and the reasons our military is there.

May the spirit and maker, in whom you believe, look over you and protect you and your fellow soldiers.

"MISSION READY"

Posted by: Earl Gould, MSGT USAR and USAF ret. | November 1, 2005 06:18 PM

I do not begrudge one dime of my tax dollars going to outfit you and the rest of the soldiers. You should get whatever you need or will make your job/life easier.

I don't support Bush, but I do support you. I hope you and your fellow soldiers come back healthy and whole. Very good luck to you.

Posted by: Teresa Monroe | November 1, 2005 09:00 PM

RE: Above RT Halsell

"I believe that we have been appointed by GOD to be the peace keepers of the world."

Have you considered seeking psychiatric care? Perhaps inpatient, nice padded ard and all that? That is whee they put people who are delusional.

Posted by: katherine scott | November 1, 2005 10:04 PM

YOU WILL NEED THE COLD WEATHER EQUIPMENT MORE THAN YOU KNOW -- IT TOOK MY HUSBAND 6 WEEKS TO GET A LETTER TO ME DURING DESSERT STORM AND ALL HE WANTED WERE WARM THINGS TO WEAR!! YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO WEAR THEM FLYING BUT THEY WILL CERTAINLY COME IN HANDY

Posted by: kAYTE MULLEN | November 1, 2005 10:07 PM

Mr. Halsell:

I think you are very naive. The idea that we are solving problems by "fighting them over there" is, to say the least, unproven. Nothing we are doing in Iraq is decreasing the likelihood of more terrorist attacks in the United States. If anything, our actions there are increasing the likelihood of more major attacks.

There is a world of difference between taking out the Taliban in Afghanistan and invading Iraq. The invasion of Afghanistan was justified, and we had--and still have, I hope--a chance of helping to create a decent government there. That chance would be greatly increased if we had not alienated both our friends in Europe and Asia and most of the Islamic world by launching an unnecessary, unjustified war in Iraq--a war that shows no sign of ending.

The idea that we can get total control of terrorism is absurd. As long as there are people who are willing to blow themselves up in order to kill a couple dozen civilians, we will be vulnerable to terrorists. We may be able to decrease the likelihood of terrorist acts by working for political and social change, but no amount of military power will serve to counter individuals who are aiming for martyrdom.

I am proud to be an American too, but we have NOT been appointed by God to be the peacekeepers of the world. Much good has been done in the name of God, but so has much evil. Keep in mind that the terrorists you aim to defeat are also saying that they were inspired by God.

Abraham Lincoln said, ""Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right."

We should all remember that.

Posted by: JRG | November 1, 2005 10:13 PM

While the Hassell commentary about the U.S. being appointed by God to wage war is, admittedly, a new low in stupidity, there is something even dumber: "Mr Goodman and all of his constituants would not be talking so loud if Iraq or any other country brought the war to our own land. Mr Goodman, would you rather be fighting on our own soil or deterring it on someone elses. Most of you people out there complaing are ignorant to what is really going on and listening to what the media broadcasts, and to the facts."

Yes, and how many Iraqis were part of the 19 terrorists who flew the airplanes on 9/11? We are talking about Iraq, which was never anyone's idea of a major military power. Or even a minor military power. The Iran-Iraq War went on for 8 years for one reason: both sides were so utterly inept that they fought into a prolonged stalemate.

Just a review of the facts:

1. The people responsible for 9/11 (Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda leadership) have never been apprehended. In fact, they are believed to be residing in Pakistan, an alleged U.S. ally.

2. There were no Iraqis involved in 9/11. There is no evidence that the Saddam Hussein government financed, planned or participated in the attacks.

3. The Bush White House ignored repeated intelligence reports of a possible attack on American soil by al-Qaeda. And for that matter, the Clinton White House was equally negligent in responding to the crisis.

4. The Bush White House was planning a war against Iraq as early as January 2001. This was reported by the former Treasury Secretary, Paul O'Neill.

5. The Bush White House was soliciting bids for the reconstruction of Iraq while Hans Blix was still in that country. There was clearly never a moment that the Bush White House was not gung-ho about the war.

6. The invasion of Iraq was built on a foundation of fraud: there were no weapons of mass destruction, there was no threat by Iraq against the U.S. mainland or U.S. interests, and none of the Arab nations in the region wanted the war to take place.

7. Democracy has not been planted in the Arab world as a result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The presidential election in Egypt was a blatant fraud, the Saudi municipal elections was for ultra-low-level positions (and half of the population was excluded from the vote), and Lebanon was an on-again, off-again democracy before any of this took place. No other Arab country is embracing democracy - in fact, they are going in the opposite direction even faster.

8. There is reason to believe the last Iraqi election was disfigured by fraud at the polls in order to push the Bush agenda. So much for genuine democracy.

9. The U.S. is building military bases in Iraq in order to keep a permanent military presence there. This was there is constant evasion to the question of when the troops are coming home. They aren't.

10. The media is not lying to the public. Thanks to the media, we know that more than 2,000 decent and brave Americans were killed in Iraq, that tens of thousands of Iraqis perished, that Iraq was brought to utter ruin in the invasion and has yet to recover, and that the war is being lost on every imaginable front. We know that Iraqi Christians have fled their homeland because of Islamic fundamentalist violence (coupled with a lack of U.S. protection for religious minorities). We know that women are losing their civil rights thanks to mad mullahs pushing shariah as the judicial soul of the new Iraq. And we know the Bush White House violated national security to smear one of the few people who was brave enough to say the whole bloody mess was a web of lies.

11. The Bush White House has yet to tell anything resembling the truth on any subject. It is incomprehensible that people who are so venal, stupid and dishonest have been entrusted with such responsibility.

12. As for God appointing America, to go to war, I believe a certain Navarene once proclaimed "Blessed are the peacemakers." Not "Blessed are the warmongers" or "Blessed are the war profiteers" or "Blessed is the Halliburton Corp." Anyone who thinks the Iraqi war is a mission from God is an idiot.

Posted by: E. Etage | November 2, 2005 08:33 AM

Correcting #9: It should read: "This is why there is constant evasion to the question of when the troops are coming home. They aren't." Should have run the spell czech.

Posted by: E. Etage | November 2, 2005 08:37 AM


It is regretful that we have to 'correct' an armed soldier with regards to what is fact and what is not but I agree with E. Etage and others on this post-we are not appointed by God to do what's been done and to say so would put us in the league with the Jihadist's or better said, the pot calling the kettle black.

But what's just as concerning is the number of brave soldier's we've sacrificed and they too, were lied to-that's hard to take and my heart goes out to all the families of these brave, young heroes and hope they know how much we suffer with them in their losses.

God Bless America

Posted by: M. Cione | November 2, 2005 11:38 AM

Padre Etage: Over 25,000 innocent Iraqis have been killed my fundamentalists in Iraq. Should we pull out now and let the rest of them die?

Posted by: Deuce Wang | November 2, 2005 12:46 PM

I have read the above comments on the war in Iraq. I would like to say that E. Etage has common sense and has been keeping up with the way our leaders of this country are ruining us along with ruining our reputation with other countries. I am for defending ourselves when we have to but, this is only a POLITICAL WAR. We have no business over there. Our leaders are taking the democracy of the average American away from us. What right do they have to say they are trying to bring democracy to Iraq?
If the people who are for this war was to lose a son, dad, mother, or someone else close I wonder how they would feel. As you can tell there are no wealthy Americans who have loved ones over there, at least not where the danger is great.

Posted by: Betty Hyde | November 2, 2005 01:58 PM

Why would God appoint the US as peacekeeper to the world? That is parallel to thinking that God favors one athletic team or one sports participant over another.

Posted by: P. Maddox | November 2, 2005 02:17 PM

Yeah, I was just issued my 2nd big green duffle full of brand new gear. Some I'll use, some of the stuff will never come out of the plastic it came it. Wasteful? Sure it is, but...
Where do the funds for all of this "wasted" gear come from? Well, you're looking at it! The media(and Joe Protestor) screaming about how we "lack the body armor we need in Iraq", in another vain effort to make the President look bad, created the political will to spend the cash on all of this excess gear. That's right, you Bush hating protestors are guilty of giving the president the political will he needs to execute his job more effectively, I love it!
Funny though, a welfare check meant for food and clothing that is spent on crack cocaine is somehow morally right, government funded abortion clinics are somehow morally right, but money spent on equipping Soldiers to reshape a region in desparate need of modernization and reform is a waste, and somehow morally wrong?
Keep it up, you Bush haters! You're defeating yourselves every time you open your mouth! Every time you try to make President Bush look bad, he comes out smelling like a fresh cut rose. How many elections have your people won since 2000?(I hate to break it to you, but Gore LOST) Maybe you should try something like coming up with your own ideas, instead of bashing the President? You aren't persuading or inspiring anyone.
Most Soldiers are still proud of our Commander in Chief, myself included. We are also proud of our efforts to reshape the middle east. This debate will go on for many more years, because I agree that we will have a permanent presence in Iraq. It will be, however, not an emperialistic scheme dreamed up in Crawford, it will be the request of our Iraqi Allies. "Iraqi Allies!" Now there's a term you wouldn't have heard had we not had the leadership of our esteemed chief executive!
But please, don't take my advice. Stay the course you're on, because you aren't the majority, you aren't the "main stream", you don't speak for the average American.
You are loosing and will continue to do so!
And that is Bush's fault!
At least you're right about something...

Posted by: SSG Carey | November 2, 2005 05:07 PM

Thank you Mr Etage.

Mr Bush and associates, please stop trying to mislead us.

Our troops are not in Iraq to protect freedom and democracy. They are there to protect oil and profits.

Mr Bush, can you count beyond 2000 or do you have to go back and start with the number 1.

It is our bad luck to be led by a president (note no capitalization) and associates who would "lie when the truth would serve them better."

Posted by: John R Peterson | November 2, 2005 08:51 PM

I want to add to my previous post that I support our children where ever they are sent. That does not mean that I have to support or believe the stated reason they are placed in harms way.

Posted by: John R Peterson | November 2, 2005 08:58 PM

Be happy with all the gear they are issuing.
As a Marine infantryman in Vietnam I was equipped with WWII/Korea vintage web gear, stateside leather boots that rotted in a matter of weeks and very tired weapons that were less than reliable.We resorted to trading with the Vietnamese troops who were provided by the US Government with much better gear than we had.

An entire division of troops can be equipped with personal gear for the cost of one fancy airplane and should be. Be happy!!!

Posted by: Mike Ingham | November 2, 2005 09:08 PM

I was in an Army plane crash in 1966. I was wearing my Class A wool, dress uniform. It was raining when we crashed. I was thrown out of the plane and drenched by the time the fuel tanks exploded. I was steam-cooked by the heat, but the wool uniform did not burn. They did not know I had third degree burns over most of my right leg and backside until they cut off the uniform. Fly safely - the alternatives are very unpleasant.

Posted by: Tata | November 2, 2005 10:13 PM

There is a debate here about the merits of the war in Iraq. I choose not to overtly take sides here, but the Iraqis now have a chance for freedom if they will seize it. If they can overcome the cruel fascists that are trying to hijack their religion, if they can overcome centuries of a narrow provincial culture and divisions, and if they can overcome their own fears, they too can choose freedom. It remains to be seen.

How many bombs have to explode in Iraq, how many planes have to crash into buildings, and how many innocent people have to die at the hands of the terrorists (not insurgents) before people realize that this struggle is for the freedom of the world? Will you change your minds if vest bombs explode in the NYC subways or a Bears game, or on an LA bus, or all three and more? Perhaps no Iraqi was a 9/11 bomber, but how about the "accidental" firing of a French made Exocet missle fired into a US ship before the first Gulf War? (Saddam's mistake? So sorry.)

We are doomed if we fail to heed history. Had we stopped the Imperial Japanese or Nazi Germany sooner than we did, how many American lives, how many Russians, Filipinos, and how many Jews would have been saved? On the one hand president Bush is a war monger for warring against Saddam. On the other hand he "ignored repeated warnings" and allowed the hijackers to hit us. Had he gone to war against Al Quaida in Afghanistan before 9/11 you would have said it was an unjust war, just as you are saying about Iraq. It all comes back to the election of 2000 and the inability of many people to accept the results, and therefor GWB has to be demonized.

Millions of people are no longer under Saddam, and they will no longer be subject to his terror and his wars. They now have a chance. We are fortunate to live in the USA with its rule of law and great prosperity. We forget the many struggles of the people who built this country. The relative peace we have enjoyed within our borders since 1865 has made us forget that bad people still exist in the world, and that some of them would visit us with malevalence rather than the charity that we extend. If we choose to take the war to others rather than have it come to us, it may be that we are prudent and pragmatic.

I am indeed fortunate that I was very close to the only man who ever (that I know of) pulled a gun on me and was able to take it from him and capture him. But I am even more fortunate that I live in a country with guaranteed freedom that we believe emanates from the Creator - novel idea - and so are you. Hopefully fleece will protect an off-duty pilot and make him more comfortable. Be glad you are not in 1950s Chosan, 1940s Ardennes, or the 1860s Camp Nevin where one of my ancestors died in the cold of disease.

Debate the war. It is healthy, but keep it civil. The issue is more complicated than slogans and name calling.

Posted by: Lt. Mike Hunter (Ret.) | November 3, 2005 12:28 PM

This Blog is certainly becoming the hot-bed for anti-Bush comments.

I am in the Army and have been to Iraq twice (1991 and 2003). I have lost many friends in the War on terror but NEVER did I consider that we were there to gain a hold on the Oil.

I still don't and won't. Chalk that up to me being naieve or me having faith in our Government.

We can argue this for years to come but the true outcome of today's action will not be recognized for many years to come.

God Bless the USA and the leadership of our GREAT nation!

Posted by: CW3 Gordon Cimoli; Blog: "Operation XXX" | November 3, 2005 12:43 PM

I agree with Chief Cimoli. For those who are so against this country and what it stands for I would suggest they think about the sacrifices that have been made for them to have the right to express their opinions. Over the years I've visited several other countries and I give thanks that I was born here. I'm proud to have served this country. I wasn't so happy in 1972 when I was drafted but over the next thirty years I grew to respect the men and women in our military and would serve all over again. God bless America and America's soldiers.

LTC, USAR (Ret) John Wells

Posted by: John Wells | November 3, 2005 12:58 PM

Hey SSG Carey, I'm not sure why you think that spending a welfare check on crack cocaine is morally right, but I don't. I also don't know a single person (excuse me, a single 'single' mom) who spends her 'welfare' check - that is, the $440 a month meant to survive on - on crack. The ones I know spend it on trying to survive. What should've happened to those moms? Should they have gone to one of those "government funded abortion clinics"? You know you don't think so, neither do I.

I consider myself lucky to know soldiers and welfare moms and I'm always deeply affected by the former's commitment to their ideals and the latter's commitment to their children's health and well-being. You have more in common in your strongly held convictions with a mother caring for her children as best as she can than you know.

That being said, it's not our right to "reshape a region in desparate need of modernization and reform." If that were so, why aren't we in Sudan? Somalia? Rwanda? Most of Central Africa? Indonesia? Parts of China? Burma, which has been under oppressive military rule for years? Why Iraq? Why did we totally refocus on a country - Iraq - that didn't pose an immediate threat to American soil from Afghanistan? Why not Saudi Arabia? Pakistan?

Personally, I dislike the President for his desperate lack of management skills - or, as we've been saying, delegation without accountability. I'm sure he's a nice enough guy, but honestly, has he ever successfully run a business other than his own election campaign?

Posted by: jct | November 3, 2005 01:44 PM

My predictions regarding this war are quickly coming true. At the beginning of this war I told my wife that when the body bags start coming home people will turn against this war. Look at many posts on this site and you will see how right I was. The first mistake the military made is when they allowed the media be embedded with the troops. Another mistake was capturing Saddam. The troops who found him should have dropped several grenades in the hole and advised their superiors he resisted. This trial is going to be a circus. When you are fighting terrorists sometimes you have to become a terrorist to beat them. Keep up the good work troops. Semper FI..

Posted by: LDJ CIA/Retired | November 3, 2005 02:11 PM

I had an imbedded reporter flying in the back of my helicopter and living in the same crap conditions that I lived in during the final 2 weeks of the build up and the first month of the war. His stories were fair and showed an acurate representation of what we were doing and how we were doing it.

He was not treated any differently than we were and I was proud of him for genuinely sharing our situation and living it side by side with us.

I had a good experience with the imbed's. But I do see a lot of sensationalism on the t.v. or in the papers and I don't agree with that. Sometimes we, as soldiers, think that we are being slighted but I also have to be fair and admit that there are stories (negative ones) that show us in the wrong light - because that is the light we have painted.

http://www.cimoli.com/blog/cimoli_blog

Posted by: CW3 Gordon Cimoli | November 3, 2005 02:58 PM

jct, you completely misread my comments regarding the welfare recipients, and missed the point entirely! I'll take fault that the wording I used may have been unclear, but let me try once more to make my point.
I DO in fact know several welfare moms who spend their welfare checks on drugs. Most of them live with their own parents, or at least leave their kids with them most of the time. I'm sure the ones I know aren't the only ones who do so, and for those kids who don't have grandparents or other loved ones to care for them, I can only pray.
I was refering to the left wing(Michael Moore, etc.) criticizing atempts to put welfare recipients to work as immoral. (See the "Bowling for Columbine" segment on the "welfare to work" program)
Of course spending that government assistance on drugs is immoral! Just as using abortion as a means to prevent that situation after poor decisions put them there is immoral! But if you think it doesn't happen, you're just wrong, plain & simple.
If the government is going to do anything, they should provide childcare and an opportunity for the single moms to work or go to school, so that ultimately they can support themselves and provide a chance for prosperity for their kids. But if I'm not mistaken, there are already programs which do that, but many recipients would rather cash their checks and do nothing.
Paying people to do nothing IS immoral! It will cripple their ability to care for themselves and their children forever, and foster yet another generation of kids who grow up with an entitlement mentality, and not understand the value of a hard day's work.
As for our role in reshaping the world, my view is this. We are the only nation that can, therefore we have a responsibility to do so. I am thankful that we have a leader with that view.
Why Iraq, and not the other countries you refered to? Well, we did not have an 11 year history of repeated cease-fire agreement violations, and over a dozen violations of UN resolutions with those other countries. Also, and here's where the "blood for oil" types get a little satisfaction, we will benefit economically for generations once the Iraqi economy gets rolling. Case in point, Japan, post WWII.
In addition, Iran, Syria and most other Arab states are calling for the complete distruction of Israel, our only true ally in the region. A long term U.S. presence there is necessary to give those countries at least a chance to modernize and break away from the grip of their fanatical leaders. We were the only country whose presence brought peace & stability to Western Europe after generations of war. The U.S. is the only country that can do the same in the middle east, therefore we must.
But just like the welfare mom, Iraq and the other Arab nations must take advantage of the assistance that we are providing and use it for their long term benefit. Otherwise this will turn out to be one of the greatest wasted opportunities in human history!
P.S., To all of the Vets commenting about equipment: I'm not complaining about all the extra gear. I'm grateful that the government is taking care of us, even if it is a little overkill!
And thanks to all of you for what you did before my time. You paved the road that we're driving on today, and we won't forget it!

Posted by: SSG Carey | November 3, 2005 11:15 PM

Is it true the Republicans want to cut our troops benefits so they can give the wealthy another Tax Cut? Are the Republicans saying the Democrats wants to raise taxes because the Democrats don't want to cut the Troops and the most dependent benefits? This doesn't sound logical or intelligent to me.

Posted by: oneforall | November 4, 2005 03:38 PM

Obviously the comment writers constitue a biased sample of the general public. Nevertheless, one disgruntled enough to write probably represents nine others with the views. To them I say, instead of writing get off your butts and work to defeat any neocon or evangelistic legislator up for reelection in the coming
senatorial and house contests.

Posted by: essbee, WWII vet | November 4, 2005 04:03 PM

Iraq is another Vietnam, but even worse!
At least in vietnam there was 'only one' political agenda. Iraq has many and once there's a pull-out it will be a 'free for all' on whom takes over? There will be civil war in that country for years to come with all the different factors involved in that country and the surrounding regions!

Posted by: Archie A Vietnam Vet | November 5, 2005 01:27 PM

My daughter ("Offspring" as I call her)is in this unit. This is her second deployment (first was in the Navy). You all let me know if you need anything!

Blessings to all,
ms

Posted by: Mormonsniper (retired, US Army) | November 6, 2005 11:07 PM

Regarding the SSG Carey comment about the Bush-bashers making the president look bad: the president doesn't need his detractors to look incompetent and clueless. He seems to be doing that quite well by himself (witness the disastrous Latin American tour). And what Iraqi economy? All of the reconstruction projects went to Bush-backing firms, not Iraqi contractors.

Regarding Deuce Wang's comment on Iraqi civilian safety: let them take care of themselves. If you are so concerned about the safety of Iraqi civilians, why don't you go over and fight for them? And for that matter, why don't you get the Pentagon to admit the number of Iraqi civilians killed and injured during the 2003 invasion and in subsequent military actions afterwards?

Lt. Hunter: this has nothing to do with the election in 2000 (and personally, I think Al Gore would have been an awful president). My calendar says 2005. There is no denying the war was built on a foundation of fraud -- we cannot undo that lie. But only a fool or Donald Rumsfeld would insist the war, as it is being fought today, is a stand-up-and-cheer success.

Posted by: E. Etage | November 8, 2005 08:56 AM

I would rather my tax dollars be spent supporting the troops than spent supporting low-life losers who spend all day loafing around on medicare and all night cruising in their SUV's.

Posted by: M. Watts | November 8, 2005 12:11 PM

"Let them take care of themselves"? Do you think they are capable of doing that? If terrorists were killing you and your family, how you you feel if someone told you to take care of it yourself?

Posted by: Deuce Wang | November 9, 2005 12:50 PM

Let us not forget what this posting started out as; a discussion on military issued equipment.

There are better places to bitch about who did or did not do what. This soldier is going over no matter what--he does not need to hear what our opinions are as now he just has a job to do.

To the soldier who wrote the story... Temperatures drop 30-40 degrees at night in Iraq. Regardless of what the temperature currently is, a change like that will make you glad to have the fleece. The Oakleys came in handy for my husband when he was deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan and I am sure that by the time you come home, they will look like you used them quite a bit too.

Please be careful and don't forget that you are being prayed for back here at home.

Posted by: Sue Smith | November 11, 2005 11:20 AM

I am constantly amazed by people who can't discern the real reason for our occupation of Iraq. We're not there to liberate the Iraqi people, or to protect Big Oil, nor are we there to promote the profits of the Military/Industrial complex.

We invaded Iraq so that Bush 43 could hand Bush 41 Saddam's head on a silver platter.
It's that simple. It's all about saving "face".

Bush 41 failed to capture Saddam in the latter stages of Gulf War I, and Bush 41 cost the lives of countless thousands of Iraqis by calling for Saddam's overthrow--an effort he had no intention of supporting.

Then Saddam tried to assassinate Bush 41 in Kuwait. This was too much for the ever- loyal George W. When he attained Power as Bush 43, he was determined to bring Saddam to heel no matter the consequences. If he needed to trump up charges to invade Iraq, then so be it. And that's exactly what happened.

I agree with a previous poster that our troops should have killed Saddam when they first had the chance. The world would have been better off.

Posted by: Karl Rove's Conscience | November 14, 2005 02:49 PM

I would like to join

Posted by: jack | November 15, 2005 11:39 AM

We should thank God that we had forefathers who had the guts and determination, who at the risk of their lives, families and fortunes,did what was right in those historic troubled times. One accomplishment was giving those who constantly complain and gripe how bad the USA is this right under the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Try that in Iran, China or any pre WW2 countries like Germany, Italy or Russua for starters. Go over there and start shooting off you mouths and see what happens! But here one can use these hard fought for rights to diminish our wonderful country while enjoying all of the benefits that most of us enjoy today fought for by someone else.

Posted by: Tommy Thompson | January 18, 2006 10:05 AM

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