Finally Some Room

I'm not complaining, because we have a pretty good living situation, but it just got a little better. All of the rest of the 2/224th battalion (HHC, Delta, and Echo companies) moved out of the tents and into some more stable arrangements. Some into actual buildings and others into trailers commonly referred to as 'cans'.

We're not in buildings yet. But the others' exodus has made way for the flight companies to expand out of the one tent-per-company situation that had put us literally on one on top of another.

The crew chiefs used the room to set up a space all their own, where they do not have to listen to the whining of the officers.

I've been able to stop living out of my vertical sea bag. Constantly having to fish through a sea bag to find all of the fixings for a uniform in the dark gets old, fast. Now, I have the luxury of being able to spread out my clothes on the top bunk (there's even space for books and packages sent by loved ones). And soon, we're told we'll get to move out of the tent entirely and into more permanent quarters.

-- Written 3/21/2006

By Bert Stover |  March 27, 2006; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Al Asad, Iraq
Previous: Ground Hog Day | Next: Beauty in Iraq


Please email us to report offensive comments.

It was great when we moved out of the "holding" tents and into our b-huts over here in Afghanistan. Just having a space of your own that you can customize a bit, makes things so much better.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Dan | March 27, 2006 01:22 AM

If we look back on why went to war, and what our objectives are, a number of things are painfully obvious. We did not really prepare to liberate Iraq. Essentially we sent in a bull to liberate a china shop. As a result, the legacy in many ways is very destructive. Security for the average Iraqi is now worse than it was under Saddam Hussein, who focused really on political dissidents. The living standards of the average Iraqi are far worse. There's far more unemployment. The distribution of income is terrible. And though you can make a paper case that some macroeconomic measures have improved, in the real world, Iraqis are worse off, on average, as individuals, than they were before we invaded.

Posted by: Thanks for invading us. | March 27, 2006 03:15 AM


We do not care, please take your political Bull$h*t some place else. This blog site is a means of communication for supporters of the 224th. It is a way for families and friends to check on our well being and to let us know they are thinking of us. We are here to do a job and we are doing it to the best of our ability. The members of the 224th and all the troops in Iraq and other places around the world are making great sacrifces. It must be easy to sit in your living room and cut and paste a bunch of crap in the safety of your home. If you are going to bash our leaders and bad mouth our country, why don't you come to Iraq and stand in the middle of Baghdad and spout off, see how long you last, you idiot, or better yet why don't you paste your comments on some poster board, go to the airport and stand in front of some soldiers coming home on leave. I am sure you will get whats coming to you. Please stop posting here!!!!!!!! We don't care about your opinions. So please STFU and F/O.

Posted by: CW4 in Bert's unit | March 27, 2006 03:44 AM

To "thanks for invading us",

Sounds to me like you're just one more pouting liberal who wants the payoffs without the work. If this was the 1940's I'm sure you'd be outraged that we bombed France to save that country from its dictators. I can hear you now: "Oooh, the French are so much worse than before we started bombing the Nazis. Their living standards are far worse! There's far more unemployment! They'll never recover! It's the fault of American warmongers! We're spending too much money to help someone else!" Be patient. Europe wasn't rebuilt in a day or even 3 years, either.

If you've got the time and resources to whine on the internet then you're obviously not suffering. Why not do something to help somebody else out? Give of yourself freely. I can assure you there are servicemembers standing by my side, painfully but proudly from their families because we believe there is more to our sacrifices here than just the politics you dwell on. I'm not asking you to enlist, just try focusing on the positive aspects of the situation and stop being so danged negative. We're working hard over here because we know good things come to those who wait!

Posted by: You're welcome | March 27, 2006 08:27 AM

HuffPoster Paul Reickhoff shares an e-mail from a soldier in Iraq:

"The bottom line is, the overwhelming majority of people live in fear. We can do NOTHING to help them. We don't have anywhere near the manpower, and our actions are too severely restricted. Good thing 2,500 people died for this. What are the good news stories? I would love to hear them. Spare me the heart warming tales of a single family or school or neighborhood that was helped. Operation Iraqi Freedom is, at this point, an abject failure. This is the most dangerous place on earth and it's getting worse, not better."

Posted by: SUPPORT OUR TROOPS; BRING THEM HOME ALIVE | March 27, 2006 09:10 AM

It's hard sometimes to sort out who's killing who," said Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, an American military spokesman.

The most gruesome report of violence for the day came from officials in Baquba, who said Sunday evening that 30 men had been beheaded and dumped near a highway.

Interior Ministry officials said a driver had discovered the bodies heaped in a pile next to the highway that links Baghdad to Baquba, a volatile city northeast of Baghdad that has been racked by sectarian and insurgent violence.

Iraqi Army troops waited for American support before venturing into the insurgent-controlled area to retrieve them.

"It's too dangerous for us to go in there alone," said Tassin Tawfik, an Iraqi Army commander.

Posted by: Bring Home our Brothers; Send Cheney | March 27, 2006 09:22 AM

"I'm less optimistic because I see the fatalities every day," said Angela Kirby, 32, a lawyer from St. Louis who initially supported the war. "And the longer it goes on, the less optimistic I am."

Here in New Mexico, Dollie Shoun, 67, said she had gone from being an ardent supporter of the war and the president to a fierce critic of both.

"There has been too many deaths, and it is time for them to come back home," Ms. Shoun said. Speaking of Mr. Bush, she added: "I was very much for him, but I don't trust him at this point in time."

Polls have found that support for the war and expectations about its outcome have reached their lowest level since the invasion. A Pew Research Center poll this week found that 66 percent of respondents said the United States was losing ground in preventing a civil war in Iraq.

Posted by: ENOUGH OF RUMSFELD'S WAR | March 27, 2006 09:26 AM

Scores of bodies, often mutilated, are turning up across the country every day.

Such is the level of killing that the discovery of 30 bodies, many beheaded, on the main road of a village northeast of Baghdad yesterday barely drew a mention in local media.

Posted by: This is American Liberation, Thank you, now go home. | March 27, 2006 09:34 AM


Have some patience on the housing situation. It will get better. My experience was the first base I was at we lived in "Cheeseboxes" trailers with 4 living units per trailer at 9'x 7' per unit. We had portajohns nearby, but had to walk about 1/8th a mile to the showers. Then we were transferred to another base, a FOB and we were living in Army Medium GP Tents, about 6 firefighters per tent. My understanding now is the fire station I was at are living in Wet CHUS (Containerized Housing Units), 2 living units per container that shares a bathroom between the units. If you can get into Wet CHUS that is the way to go. Take care and stay safe.

Posted by: RetiredFirefighter | March 27, 2006 11:10 AM


"During a private two-hour meeting in the Oval Office on Jan. 31, 2003, he made clear to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain that he was determined to invade Iraq without the second resolution, or even if international arms inspectors failed to find unconventional weapons, said a confidential memo about the meeting written by Mr. Blair's top foreign policy adviser."

Posted by: BRING THEM HOME ALIVE | March 27, 2006 11:13 AM

Thank you to all those who serve our country. You are in our thoughts and prayers. And to the IA boy in Bert's company I miss you and am praying for you.

Posted by: IA Girl | March 27, 2006 02:46 PM

I wish the pinheads ranting about policy would post somewhere else. This is about one person's account of serving in Iraq, not a forum to debate politics. Please express your opinions in a more appropriate forum.

Posted by: Tired reader. | March 27, 2006 04:20 PM

another package on the way bro, sent last week.

Posted by: docadam | March 27, 2006 06:33 PM

I used to have to get dressed in the dark for weeks at a time, in the rain and mud even, when I did my time.

None of this will matter, because you still aren't thinking about who the enemy is, or realize you're working "for" the Theocracy you think you're against.

Same as in other failures ... you have to grok who people are, not how you think they are.

Posted by: Will in Seattle | March 27, 2006 06:41 PM

My son is w/the MWSS 274 at Al Asad....talked to him today and he shared w/us what his Can was like....he was happy to have a place to put his things instead of the Sea Bag like you mentioned....those of you "sharing your War views" please find another site....those of us w/sons/daughters there are bored w/your opinions.....our sons/daughters are away from home/families fighting for you to have the right to express your opinions....please do that SOMEWHERE ELSE!! I'm sure there are Chat Rooms where you can share together....We want to read what this young man writes to have some idea of what our sons/daughters are going through while we are separated, we really don't care what all of you think about the WAR! We only care to hear what it is like for our loved ones! I don't bore you w/my opinions on "life"! I don't mean to be rude about this, but there has to be a better place for you to "vent"....

Posted by: Mechanic's Mom | March 27, 2006 07:27 PM

Sacrifice for what? Lies.

Posted by: For what? | March 27, 2006 09:02 PM

Mechanic's Mom. Our soldiers are not fighting for us to have the right to express our opinions. That would be the case if the purpose of the war were to defend the United States. This was an unprovoked attack on a foreign country that did us no harm. The military is being misused. Soldiers and their loved ones should think about the awful position in which they have been put by our deceitful leadership.

Posted by: Patriot | March 27, 2006 09:09 PM

Mechanic's Mom. Our soldiers just want to stay alive. The enemy is everywhere. Who is friend, who is foe? Nobody knows. Why are our soldiers in Iraq when virtually no Iraqis want them there? Why have they been put in this situation? Why does Bush lie and tell us that he has "a plan for victory"? What victory?

Posted by: Patriot | March 27, 2006 09:41 PM

Patriot? Shut the F up!!! Can't you and the rest of the idiots that talk all this political crap understand through your thick skulls we don't care what you think of the war. This is not the forum for it. I could give a rats a$$ what your "opinions" are and they are certainly not welcome on this blog. Your opinions are of no consequence to us that are reading this blog to see what is up with Bert and the people he is there with. Did you NOT understand when Mechanic's Moms stated "We only care to hear what it is like for our loved ones!" or when CW4 in Bert's unit stated "We do not care, please take your political Bull$h*t some place else". How hard is that to understand? I suppose you just dismiss our comments as much as we dismiss your political rhetoric.

Bert, Glad things are getting more comfortable there for you. Take care and know we are supporting you always.

Posted by: Cali-Girl | March 27, 2006 11:00 PM

While in Congress, Hill voted to authorize the invasion of Iraq. He considers his vote and his story about how he believes he was misled by the administration to be an advantage with voters, he said.

Hill said he had planned to vote against the war resolution until he was invited to the Pentagon for a top-secret briefing from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. There, Hill said, he was shown intelligence that suggested Iraq had the ability to attack the United States with weapons of mass destruction using unmanned aircraft.

That briefing "was a deliberate misrepresentation," Hill said, and his message to Indiana's independent-minded voters will be that "it's healthy for us to be skeptical."

Posted by: What are we fighting for? | March 27, 2006 11:06 PM

America wants to know why we should sacrifice our loved ones for a pack of lies.

Posted by: What are we fighting for? | March 27, 2006 11:08 PM

I was eager to read this soldier's blog until I saw how MANY negative comments are posted on it. How long before Bert decides it's not worth it? We'll miss the opportunity to watch him grow as he spends his time in Iraq, and to provide a REAL story of just what things are like there.

The comments of many of the posters here are sickening. I won't be back to read any more, because it's just too depressing to hear the same old blathering over and over.

God bless you, Bert!

Posted by: KP | March 27, 2006 11:23 PM

KP-- Good point.
I have complained about the negative comments before, I don't see why doesn't consider ways to stem this, by showing posters' registered names.

Who's the editor here? I emailed Executive Editor Jim Brady. He did come to the Ombudsman Deborah Howell's defense after the comments blew up.

On a more mundane note, I was just a tad curious why Stover's posts are 6 days behind (I assume he's not near a computer these days). I figured an editor might take the time to clarify this.

Posted by: Jon Garfunkel | March 27, 2006 11:57 PM

What are we fighting for?

You wrote: America wants to know why we should sacrifice our loved ones for a pack of lies.

WE? Do have a mouse in your pocket or something? What is this "we" crap? Are you over here? Or are you in the comfort of your home? Are volunteering to come over? As I see it you do not seem to have any part of what are "we" fighting for? Guess what, "we" are fighting an insurgency here in Iraq, and a few of Saddam's loyalists who want to see OIF fail. But take look around your living room, look where "we" are not fighting them, "we" are not fighting on U.S. soil.
So please, unless you have ever served a day as a U.S. Soldier, do not include yourself in the "we" part of it. Just sit back, take a few more bong hits in the safety of your living room, or dorm room and then get on your computer and surf for an Anti U.S. Government, Anti War, and Anti Bush Chaney chat room. Please take your sh*t some where else, or be a man and stand up, become a U.S. soldier and earn the right to include yourself in the "we".
But if you find that thought to horrifying, maybe Che will pay for an airline ticket to come here and protest against the U.S. Government in downtown Baghdad.

Posted by: CW4 in Berts unit | March 28, 2006 01:42 AM

The occupation of Iraq has brought civil war to that country, has destabilized the region, and is seriously compromising the security of the United States. It should be ended.

We would not like to be conquered and occupied and neither does Iraq.

Posted by: Patriot | March 28, 2006 08:38 AM

I would like to add a few comments to CW4 in Berts unit's post. First I am not inclined to post a politcal response. I have in the past, and would like to see this blog focus on Bert and his Units deployment in Iraq. But I guess the left, far left, socialist, communist, 9/11 conspiracy theory, anti-Bush, anti-Government, anti-America, anti-war people among us will post their opinions on this blog. But amazingly on the subject of living conditions at Al Asad, there were 4 responses that were actually about the subject of housing at Al Asad, and 12 that expressed opinions against OIF, Bush, and Chaney, and and about 7 that are in response to the anti-war rants. So let me weigh in.

No one can dispute these facts. On 9/11/2001 3,000 of our citizens were murdered by Islamic terrorists who trained in Afganistan, and since then there have been no Al Qaeda attacks in the US.
Yesterday, the face of our enemy surfaced in a Federal Courtroom in Alexandria, Va in the form of Zacarias Moussaoui when he declared he was to fly a passenger plane into the White House on 9/11. While I was reading the article on the front page of the Post I wondered how many more Moussaouis are now taking a Carribbean sabbatical from worldwide Jihad in Gitmo courtesy of our brave troops? How many Attas have been killed on the battlefields of Afganistan and Iraq? How many
Moussaouis are hiding in caves in Afganistan and can't deploy to conduct terrorist operations because of constant pressure from our troops.

I pray that our country will never have to experience another terrorist attack, especially one as bad as or worse than 9/11. But we are at war with Al Qaeda and I imagine they will try again. But the fact that we have not had another attack here in almost 5 years certainly gives credibility to our policy to deploy to Afganistan and Iraq. To Bert, CW4 in Bert's unit, and the rest of the 2/224 thank you for your service and keeping us safe at home. Take care and stay safe during your deployment

Posted by: RetiredFirefighter | March 28, 2006 08:59 AM

Just want to send my thoughts and prayers to all of the men and women who are over there doing their duty. Whatever one believes politically, you are our family and we care about what is happening to you. We are not forgetting you. Do the best you can to help others in the way that you can. Be true to your hearts and souls. Let history take care of the rest. God be with you on your paths.

Posted by: Older Vet | March 28, 2006 09:55 AM

To the RetiredFirefighter: Uh, the al-Qaeda terrorists who engineered 9/11 were Saudi Arabians. No Iraqis were involved in that attack.

And the only reason they got away with 9/11 is because Bush & Co. were too stupid to heed the many warning signs that an attack was imminent. (Read the 9/11 report, sir.)

Also...Has anyone ever noticed that Bert never responds in his blog to ANY of the comments posted here?

Posted by: E. Etage | March 28, 2006 11:29 AM


Bush was in office for 9 months before the 9/11 attacks, Clinton was in office for 8 years before the attacks. The 9/11 report listed not sharing intelligence between the FBI and CIA as a reason we failed to stop the attacks. What that has to do with Bush and Company being too stupid, I don't know. If anyone was asleep at the wheel in not preventing these attacks I would have to lay it on Clinton. Of course he was too distracted to deal with Al Qaeda, with Whitewater and BJs in the Oval Office and all.

Posted by: RetiredFirefighter | March 28, 2006 11:56 AM

E. Etage, I'm going to ignore your stupid 9/11 comment. If you want to debate that, go to another forum.

As for Bert, I'm sure he has more important things to do than sit for hours reading so many comments and responding to the idiocy that people write. Bert and the others only get 30 mins on the computer at a time and it can take an hour to get that computer. Work, Eat, Sleep. Maybe you should read what he writes rather than trying to figure out what political crap you want to put on here next.

Posted by: Cali-Girl | March 28, 2006 12:00 PM

It was back in nineteen forty-two,
I was a member of a good platoon.
We were on maneuvers in Louisiana,
One night by the light of the moon.
The captain told us to ford a river,
That's how it all begun.
We were -- knee deep in the Big Muddy,
But the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, are you sure,
This is the best way back to the base?"
"Sergeant, go on! I forded this river
'Bout a mile above this place.
It'll be a little soggy but just keep slogging.
We'll soon be on dry ground."
We were -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

The Sergeant said, "Sir, with all this equipment
No man will be able to swim."
"Sergeant, don't be a Nervous Nellie,"
The Captain said to him.
"All we need is a little determination;
Men, follow me, I'll lead on."
We were -- neck deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool said to push on.

All at once, the moon clouded over,
We heard a gurgling cry.
A few seconds later, the captain's helmet
Was all that floated by.
The Sergeant said, "Turn around men!
I'm in charge from now on."
And we just made it out of the Big Muddy
With the captain dead and gone.

We stripped and dived and found his body
Stuck in the old quicksand.
I guess he didn't know that the water was deeper
Than the place he'd once before been.
Another stream had joined the Big Muddy
'Bout a half mile from where we'd gone.
We were lucky to escape from the Big Muddy
When the big fool said to push on.

Well, I'm not going to point any moral;
I'll leave that for yourself
Maybe you're still walking, you're still talking
You'd like to keep your health.
But every time I read the papers
That old feeling comes on;
We're -- waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.

Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep in the Big Muddy
And the big fool says to push on.
Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a
Tall man'll be over his head, we're
Waist deep in the Big Muddy!
And the big fool says to push on!

Words and music by Pete Seeger (1967)
TRO (c) 1967 Melody Trails, Inc. New York, NY

Posted by: Red, white, and blue. | March 28, 2006 12:28 PM

I agree with your statement Cali-Girl that the political posters here probably don't even read Bert's posts. They just go straight for the "Post a Comment" section so they can bore us with yet another political statement like a Seegar song from the 60s.

Posted by: RetiredFirefighter | March 28, 2006 12:49 PM

RetiredFirefighter, I agreed with your statement(s) earlier too but I was busy posting mine and didn't see yours until after :] It's a shame. Bert is just trying to help the friends and families get a glimpse into our loved ones days in Iraq and a majority of what he gets in return is Bush-bashing, political crap and negativity that has nothing to do with what he posts. At least he has a few faithfuls out here that actually read what he writes and appreciates what he has to say.

Keep it up, Bert. We care and want to know about what you are up to. Thank you for all you do.

Posted by: Cali-Girl | March 28, 2006 01:13 PM

It is clear that the US occupation of Iraq has been a disaster from almost every angle one can think of, most of all for the Iraqi people, not least for American foreign policy. The US still has to reap the whirlwind for its stunning feat of imperial overreach.

Iraq was supposed to signal the US's new global might: in fact, it may well prove to be a harbinger of its decline. And that decline could be far more precipitous than anyone has previously reckoned. Once the bubble of US power has been pricked, in a global context already tilting in other directions, it could deflate rather more quickly than has been imagined.

Posted by: Genius Bush | March 28, 2006 01:17 PM

Bert & Others... At the risk of asking two already answered questions...

1) What are some of the things the guys/gals incountry (Iraq- Kuwait- Afghanistan) miss the most that we can send from home? (Ladies- speak up!)

2) How can we send stuff - To who? To where?

I was a Vietnam era GI, and still remember the excitement of someone getting goodies from home. One unbelievable Mom sent a chocolate cake to one of the guys in our platoon... by the time it got from NY to the jungles of Panama, it was nothing but a cardboard box of brown crumbs. Still, he passed it around letting everyone take a handful. Most of us squeezed our crumbs into a lump and enjoyed as fine a piece of chocolate cake as any of us could remember.

No cakes will be sent...

A note to everyone complaining about the political posters... do what I do- you know by the end of the first sentence if it's a 'statement'... just skip over the rest of it. I think they really get off on the controversy they create, and probably are disapointed when there is ZERO response to their whinings. Ignore 'em, and go post something outrageous on a lefty political Blogsite.

Posted by: ElkGrover | March 28, 2006 02:15 PM

Well, I broke my own rule about not sticking with a soldier's blog just because some nasty people insist on soiling it. I came back to read what Bert might have written and see that there are others who truly care about our soldiers in Iraq.

Please, those who don't, take your diatribes elsewhere. You will never succeed in swaying our respect for our military and their CinC!

Posted by: KP | March 28, 2006 02:16 PM

Patriot: You are a fellow American and you are certainly entitled to say whatever you want in this country without retaliation from our government....that is a right that comes with FREEDOM....FREEDOM that was bought with blood of soldiers early in our country's son is fighting for the FREEDOM of another country who is trying to put a government in place.....This site however, is not for this is for those who want to know what it is like for our Military sons/daughters who are there!! My son wants to stay alive as well!! duh.. You are in the comfort of your home, I'm guessing you don't have a son/daughter in that "Hell-hole" ....I would ask you when you sit around your Easter Dinner table...or when you take your first Holiday week-end the end of May... or have your 4th of July picnic or spend your Labor Day week-end having remember that there are 138,000 American families doing those things without their son/daughter being able to participate....we are sharing Holidays and Birthdays out of a box!! please move on to a site where your opinions and your intelligence will be given the opportunity to dazzle those who are interested and want to share in that with you! We are not here to challenge you or get into a political debate...I was taught not to argue politics/ one wins!! This site isn't about YOU and it isn't about ME, it is about a brave young man who is trying to give others a glimpse of what it is like there!! Please consider the feelings of those of us to go to sleep crying many nights because we haven't heard anything about our sons/daughters that day....think about SOMEONE else rather than YOURSELF!! Are you "friend" or "foe"??!!! Sorry, I'm out of time, I have to go get a box ready, my son's 23rd Birthday is coming up soon and he will spend it opening a BOX 6000 miles away from his family, but he will have our LOVE, OUR PRAYERS, AND OUR SUPPORT!!!

Posted by: Mechanic's Mom | March 28, 2006 02:46 PM

Our soldiers are not fighting for FREEDOM. They are fighting to conquer and occupy a foreign land where they are not wanted.

Posted by: in fact | March 28, 2006 03:26 PM

Applauds Mechanic's Mom. I hope your son has a happy birthday. How lucky for him to have a great mom like you :]

ElkGrover, some of the things that I have sent have been his favorite candies, an iPod, socks, razors for shaving, CD's and of course, lots of cards and letters. He's a really great artists, so I sent him some art supplies, such as colored pencils, pens, and paper. (He then sends his artwork back to me, which I love.) I just recently sent brownies and put them in a Ziploc bag to keep them fresh and then in a Gladware container to prevent them from getting smooshed. He hasn't gotten them yet so I don't know how they faired :]. Hopefully well.
Things usually take about 1 week to get there, give or take a day or even a week. But typically about a week.
I ask him often what he wants or needs and he usually comes up with some stuff that he can't get there and that I can send off to him.
As for where and to whom to send things to, I'm not to sure if you don't have someone specific to send it to. Perhaps go to a "USO" or "Adopt-a-Soldier" site and they can answer your question on that.
Hope this helps. :]

Posted by: Cali-Girl | March 28, 2006 03:41 PM


I was in Iraq for a year as a civilian firefighter on two US Military Bases. Here are some of the things I looked forward to in "care packages". Powder drink mix such as Crystal Light, sugar-free Koolaid, hand cleaner like Purell and Germ-X, snack food, like peanuts, jerky, candy, sunflower seeds, raisins, toiletries, such as lip balm, sunblock, Visine, disposable razors, other stuff like Starbucks coffee (ground), paperbacks, DVDs of current movies, phone cards (ATT). If you can send some that stuff listed to a Soldier in Iraq or Afganistan he/she will be one happy camper.

Posted by: RetiredFirefighter | March 28, 2006 03:55 PM

Soldiers flee to Canada to avoid Iraq duty

Hundreds of deserters from the US armed forces have crossed into Canada and are now seeking political refugee status there, arguing that violations of the rules of war in Iraq by the US entitle them to asylum.

Posted by: A Link | March 28, 2006 08:08 PM


Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

My son wrote that food goodies are deeply appreciated and placed on a community table in the middle of your tent. He said it was part of sharing the wealth and that placing the food on the table was about the safest way to protect the food from mice. Keep your spirits up and we'll keep sending the "care" packages.

Posted by: Tata | March 28, 2006 09:37 PM

To those who are filling this blog with anti-Bush, anti-war bias, please tell me what is your intent? If it's to turn us who support the military away, forget it -- it won't happen. If it's to discourage the men and women who are deployed in Iraq, you are doing a good job of that. Can you actually sleep at night knowing what harm you're doing? Shame on you. Take it elsewhere.

Posted by: KP | March 29, 2006 02:01 PM

Blake says that the turning point for him came one day when his unit spent eight hours guarding a group of Iraqi women and children whose men were being questioned. He recalls: "The men were taken away and the women were screaming and crying, and I just remember thinking: this was exactly what Saddam used to do - and now we're doing it."

Posted by: IVAW | March 29, 2006 04:24 PM

When IEDs would go off by the side of the road, the instructions were - or the practice was - to basically shoot up the landscape, anything that moved. And that kind of thing would happen a lot." So innocent people were killed? "It happened, yes."

Posted by: IVAW | March 29, 2006 04:26 PM

Joe Hatcher reflects on his own time in the military and the hostility he has met from pro-war activists at home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, a town with five army bases where he campaigns against the war at town hall forums. He says: "There's this old guy, George, an ex-colonel. He shows up and talks xxxx on everybody for being anti-war because 'it's ruining the morale of the soldier and encouraging the enemy'.

"I scraped dead bodies off the pavements with a shovel and threw them in trash bags and left them there on the side of the road. And I really don't think the anti-war movement is what is infuriating people."

Posted by: IVAW | March 29, 2006 04:28 PM

Jody Casey left the army five days ago and came straight to join the vets. The 29-year-old is no pacifist; he still firmly backs the military but says that he is speaking out in the hope of correcting many of the mistakes being made. He served as a scout sniper for a year until last February, based, like Blake, in the Sunni triangle.

He clearly feels a little ill at ease with some of the protesters' rhetoric, but eventually agrees to talk to us. He says that the turning point for him came after he returned from Iraq and watched videos that he and other soldiers in his unit shot while out on raids, including hour after hour of Iraqi soldiers beating up Iraqi civilians. While reviewing them back home he decided "it was not right".

What upset him the most about Iraq? "The total disregard for human life," he says, matter of factly. "I mean, you do what you do at the time because you feel like you need to. But then to watch it get kind of covered up, shoved under a rug ... 'Oh, that did not happen'."

What kind of abuses did he witness? "Well, I mean, I have seen innocent people being killed. IEDs go off and [you] just zap any farmer that is close to you. You know, those people were out there trying to make a living, but on the other hand, you get hit by four or five of those IEDs and you get pretty tired of that, too."

Casey told us how, from the top down, there was little regard for the Iraqis, who were routinely called "hajjis", the Iraq equivalent of "gook". "They basically jam into your head: 'This is hajji! This is hajji!' You totally take the human being out of it and make them into a video game."

It was a way of dehumanising the Iraqis? "I mean, yeah - if you start looking at them as humans, and stuff like that, then how are you going to kill them?"

Posted by: IVAW | March 29, 2006 04:30 PM

The IVAW Mission Statement
Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is a group of veterans who have served since September 11th, 2001 including Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. We are committed to saving lives and ending the violence in Iraq by an immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces. We also believe that the governments that sponsored these wars are indebted to the men and women who were forced to fight them and must give their Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen the benefits that are owed to them upon their return home.

We welcome all active duty, national guard, reservists, and recent veterans into our ranks. Confidentiality can be assured. What does this mean? To join IVAW please send an email to , or fill out this membership form.

Posted by: US Citizen | March 29, 2006 05:04 PM

I have to agree with what someone said earlier. Ignore the idiots that are on this blog for no other reason than to rile those of us that are here for it's intended purpose. It was quiet until someone roused the sleeping beasts and all hell breaks loose again and they start up again with their nonsense.
So let's just ignore them. We know early into their post what it will be about so just skip over it and move on. Don't comment (it does no good), don't argue (they are idiots and don't listen anyway), and just ignore them (maybe they will go away. I doubt it but it's worth a try) and let's keep supporting our troops and letting Bert and those he's with know we care.

Posted by: Cali-Girl | March 29, 2006 08:36 PM

Great advice, Cali-Girl! Will do that!

Here's a great news item that won't show up in the mainstream media:

JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, March 29, 2006 Hundreds of people gathered March 25 to celebrate the renovation of Agam High School in the Pachir wa Agam district in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.
Coalition forces funded the $25,000 project.

Mohammed Sadiq, the school's primary headmaster, welcomed district Sub-governor Sayeed Rahman, other officials and faculty to the festive event, along with national and border police officers, and U. S. soldiers and Marines.

"Today, I am happy to see so many children at this school from this mountain area," Sadiq said through an interpreter. "This is the witness that we can show to the people of this district and the world, that Americans are not here to destroy, as the enemies of Afghanistan say. They have come from many places far away, and they give their funds to help us.

"We want our children to be like other countries' children, with chairs to sit on, books to read, and a roof over their heads," he continued. "With your help and cooperation, the children of Afghanistan can be more like them. "

Posted by: KP | March 29, 2006 09:58 PM

Bush wanted war and lied to us to get one. Now we're in a huge mess with no successful conclusion in sight. Why should our soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen have to pay the price?

Posted by: I Love the USA | March 30, 2006 08:17 AM

Military Families Speak Out is an organization of people opposed to the war in Iraq who have relatives or loved ones in the military. Formed by two families in November of 2002, we have contacts with military families throughout the United States, and in other countries around the world. Our membership currently includes over 2,900 military families, with new families joining daily.

As people with family members and loved ones in the military, we know that it is our loved ones who are, or have been, or will be on the battlefront. It is our loved ones who are at risk, who have been injured or who have died as a result of this war. It is our loved ones who are returning scarred from their experiences, who are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We say:

Support Our Troops
Bring Them Home Now!!! and
Take Care of Them When They Get Here.

If you have family members or loved ones in the military and you are opposed to this war, JOIN us by sending an e-mail to

Posted by: SUPPORT OUR TROOPS | March 30, 2006 08:24 AM

Eric Haney, a retired command sergeant major of the U.S. Army, was a founding member of Delta Force, the military's elite covert counter-terrorist unit. He culled his experiences for "Inside Delta Force" (Delta; $14), a memoir rich with harrowing stories, though in an interview, Haney declines with a shrug to estimate the number of times he was almost killed. (Perhaps the most high-profile incident that almost claimed his life was the 1980 failed rescue of the hostages in Iran.)

We recently spoke to Haney, an amiable, soft-spoken Southern gentleman, on the set of "The Unit."

Q: What's your assessment of the war in Iraq?

A: Utter debacle. But it had to be from the very first. The reasons were wrong. The reasons of this administration for taking this nation to war were not what they stated. (Army Gen.) Tommy Franks was brow-beaten and ... pursued warfare that he knew strategically was wrong in the long term. That's why he retired immediately afterward. His own staff could tell him what was going to happen afterward.

We have fomented civil war in Iraq. We have probably fomented internecine war in the Muslim world between the Shias and the Sunnis, and I think Bush may well have started the third world war, all for their own personal policies.

Q: What is the cost to our country?

A: For the first thing, our credibility is utterly zero. So we destroyed whatever credibility we had. ... And I say "we," because the American public went along with this. They voted for a second Bush administration out of fear, so fear is what they're going to have from now on.

Our military is completely consumed, so were there a real threat - thankfully, there is no real threat to the U.S. in the world, but were there one, we couldn't confront it. Right now, that may not be a bad thing, because that keeps Bush from trying something with Iran or with Venezuela.

The harm that has been done is irreparable. There are more than 2,000 American kids that have been killed. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed which no one in the U.S. really cares about those people, do they? I never hear anybody lament that fact. It has been a horror, and this administration has worked overtime to divert the American public's attention from it. Their lies are coming home to roost now, and it's gonna fall apart. But somebody's gonna have to clear up the aftermath and the harm that it's done just to what America stands for. It may be two or three generations in repairing.

Posted by: red blooded american | March 30, 2006 08:34 AM

May I make a suggestion? If someone has Bert's military mailing address, let us know somehow so that his SUPPORTERS can write to him. Bert, shut this blog down so you don't have to read any more of this garbage.

We support you!!!

Posted by: KP | March 30, 2006 09:06 AM

Q: As someone who repeatedly put your life on the line, did some of the most hair-raising things to protect your country, and to see your country behave this way, that must be ...

A: It's pretty galling. But ultimately I believe in the good and the decency of the American people, and they're starting to see what's happening and the lies that have been told. We're seeing this current house of cards start to flutter away. The American people come around. They always do.

Posted by: RED WHITE AND BLUE | March 30, 2006 09:09 AM

From the top down, there was little regard for the Iraqis, who were routinely called "hajjis", the Iraq equivalent of "gook". "They basically jam into your head: 'This is hajji! This is hajji!' You totally take the human being out of it and make them into a video game."

It was a way of dehumanising the Iraqis? "I mean, yeah - if you start looking at them as humans, and stuff like that, then how are you going to kill them?

Posted by: USA | March 30, 2006 09:12 AM

Our own servicemembers are major victims of this war. They are being put in an unbearable situation and will suffer for the rest of their lives... for what? SUPPORT THEM by bringing them home safely.

Posted by: SUPPORTER of our troops | March 30, 2006 09:16 AM

The MAJORITY of the American people support our troops and want them brought home safely. The MAJORITY of the American people know that we were lied into a pointless war that is harming AMERICA. SUPPORT Bert Stover and all our troops. Bring them home safely. How many more must die for Cheney-Rumsfeld-Bush and their arrogant and stubborn disregard for our safety and welfare?

Posted by: SUPPORT OUR TROOPS | March 30, 2006 09:21 AM

A parent would enter a flaming house to save his or her children. We should SUPPORT our troops in Iraq by getting them out of the flaming hell that Bush had made of that country. Either SUPPORT our troops OR support Bush and his strategy for continued failure.

Posted by: SUPPORT OUR TROOPS | March 30, 2006 10:46 AM

The majority of our troops want out of Iraq. Let's support them in that very understandable wish.

Posted by: BRING THEM HOME | March 30, 2006 10:48 AM


Don't worry about the arnmchair warriors who post here. A FEW people think this occupation is a good idea and are willing to sacrifice the lives of others for their beliefs. However, the majority of the American people SUPPORT our troops and want them brought home safely, asap.

Posted by: TROOP SUPPORTER | March 30, 2006 10:53 AM


Nice to hear that you are moving to better living conditions. You have our continued support and best wishes from everyone here.

Take care.

Posted by: Somen | March 30, 2006 12:04 PM

Glad to hear you have a little space. I remember living out of a sea bag, Everything you needed was always on the bottom. You all have my support.

Posted by: Steve | March 30, 2006 12:26 PM

Thanks to all our troops in Iraq. It's a shame that you have been put in an impossible situation by people in government with no regard for human life. I hope that you come home safely and work with the American people to get rid of this gang.

Posted by: Fromer | March 30, 2006 12:57 PM

Almost two years after the videotaped beheading of U.S. contractor Nick Berg in Iraq, his father is running for the U.S. Congress on a platform seeking a complete withdrawal of American troops.

Michael Berg is a candidate for the Delaware seat of Republican Rep. Michael Castle.

Berg says said the war not only kills U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians, but increases the risk of terrorist attacks on American soil.

Prominent Democrats such as Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. John Kerry want to escalate the war in Iraq by sending in more troops, Berg argues.

Posted by: Richard | March 30, 2006 02:05 PM

Just read a POSITIVE item from the Armed Services Information Services (highly recommend you subscribe to it!)

Iraq Veterans Proud to Serve, Eager to Deploy Again

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2006 With the war on terror in its fifth year, U. S. military personnel continue to pack duffle bags and don desert camouflage uniforms -- many not for the first time.
"I am proud of what I accomplished during my tour in Iraq and would be proud to return, on sea or on land," Navy Lt. Cmdr. David Bitler, a surface warfare officer, said. Bitler is assigned to the USS Tarawa, which returned from a Middle East cruise in February.

"Most of all, I'd be honored to work again alongside the Iraqi people, whose bravery and courage in the face of continual barbarism and anarchy is our best hope for long-term success and, I believe, our survival," Bitler said.

Bitler was assigned to the Coalition Military Assistance Training Team in March 2004 for six months as an individual augmentee in Baghdad. In 2005, just months after returning from Iraq, Bitler found himself afloat on the USS Tarawa, halfway through the ship's seven-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf to support operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The ship also supported relief operations after a devastating earthquake in Pakistan in October.

"On a personal level, . . . I was in the middle of buying a new house, which required signing over a power of attorney to my brother . . . to complete the process," Bitler, an Ohio native, said. "Professionally, I had to drop out of my night-time MBA program I had just been accepted to, preventing me from getting my master's degree, vital in making promotion to O-5.

"But the personal and professional benefits were just as significant," Bitler was quick to note.

During his first tour, in Baghdad, he was assigned to a new department overseeing the logistics of standing up new bases around Iraq and rebuilding the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. "Having trained my entire career to destroy things, I suddenly had an opposite task, to help build and create an organization - almost out of thin air - that could defend a nation of 30 million people. "

Army Sgt. Jared Zabaldo understands the personal sacrifices and personal and professional benefits of deployment too, he said. The Army Reservist, assigned to the 1st Battalion, 413th Regiment, 7th Brigade of the 104th Division (Institutional Training), at Vancouver Barracks, Wash. , volunteered for a nine-month tour in Iraq in 2004. He is headed back to Iraq in 2007 to serve with Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq.

"I joined the Army Reserve to do something for my country, and in the reserve system either you're training to do something or actually doing it," Zabaldo said. "I was in the latter half of a semester in law school, and the Army Reserve called me up one day and said they needed a journalist in Iraq, and I jumped on it. "

Zabaldo, an Army journalist, will likely deploy as a battalion training team member and help train and advise Iraqi forces, a role he is prepared for based on his previous service in Iraq.

"One thing I always remember is a mission I went on with the Iraqi 2nd Battalion outside of Taji, Iraq, in June 2004," he said. "My first experience with them was rolling silently through the back roads outside Taji at 2 a. m. We were heading into a suspected insurgent operation out in the countryside, and I couldn't have felt safer with the guys. "

Marine Corps Lt. Col. David Flynn, from Loogootee, Ind. , served a yearlong tour with the Marine Corps Training Assistance Group of the U. S. Military Training Mission in Saudi Arabia. He was the senior military adviser for 2nd Brigade of the Royal Saudi Naval Infantry, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a mission he volunteered for. After war broke out in Iraq, he volunteered for duty there and spent 14 months.

"I was the senior adviser to the Iraqi Intervention Force and the Iraqi 1st Mechanized Brigade," Flynn said. "I extended there because I wanted to see the mission completed. Of course, your family would prefer that you were with them, but my family was totally supportive and provided me that support throughout all of these deployments and many more over the past 22 years. "

Like many others in uniform, Zabaldo also is putting aside his educational development to serve in Iraq. "This deployment (in 2007) will make life tougher because it appears that it might occur just a couple months before I'm scheduled to graduate from law school," he said.

Despite the setback, he is optimistic about putting the mission first. "There are soldiers with much tougher situations than me, people with families. But this mission is so important to get right that I would really consider it an honor to be brought back and inserted into the mix again. The law school will always be there," the Milwaukie, Ore. , soldier said.

Despite the obvious sacrifices being made by service personnel who deploy, many of them are driven to serve in Iraq because of fond wartime recollections and their sense of duty.

"The Iraqis I worked with and who are my friends sacrificed much for their new country and have risked their lives . . . to work with the Americans to bring about peace and democratic freedoms," Bitler said. "I love working for an organization where 'honor, courage, commitment' aren't just bywords, but necessary characteristics for surviving and succeeding through never-ending challenges and obstacles. "

Zabaldo, one of the many men and women who joined the U. S. military after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said he shares the same patriotic perspective. "I think the majority of our servicemen and women are patriots, and they are proud to serve," Zabaldo said. "There's also something to be said with having worked with the Iraqis before.

"I do feel compelled to go back, because it's important to ensure Iraq has the ability to protect its freedom from whoever would seek to destroy it," he added. "I can't imagine that a successful exit from Iraq wouldn't be a catalyst for something much bigger and much better over the long term."

Posted by: KP | March 30, 2006 04:09 PM

Ha ha. Reads like Pravda, or is it Izvestia? Do they think we are morons? Apparently.

Posted by: Brain Intact | March 30, 2006 04:18 PM

Those are the paid propagandists of the Armed Services Information Services. Supposedly that kind of drivel will attract 17-year-olds whose future is otherwise pretty bleak. Unfortunately for the manipulators who want to put our kids in harm's way, they can't meet their recruitment quotas by a long shot. This despite repeatedly lowering standards.

It's hard to sell an abject failure. Enough nonsense. Let's SUPPORT our troops by bringing them home safely.

Posted by: Uncle Sam | March 30, 2006 04:26 PM

"One thing I always remember is a mission I went on with the Iraqi 2nd Battalion outside of Taji, Iraq, in June 2004," he said. "My first experience with them was rolling silently through the back roads outside Taji at 2 a. m. We were heading into a suspected insurgent operation out in the countryside, and I couldn't have felt safer with the guys. "

This is the kind of idiot who didn't last very long in Vietnam. Actually, he's got to be making it up: "I couldn't have felt safer..." Otherwise this retard is in Iraq and he thinks he's in Disneyland.

Posted by: Give me a break. | March 30, 2006 04:31 PM

Mr. Gung Ho Patriot says: "I do feel compelled to go back, because it's important to ensure Iraq has the ability to protect its freedom from whoever would seek to destroy it," he added. "

Protect it from what, a foreign invasion? Oh yeah, Iraq has already been invaded by foreigners. Let's SUPPORT our troops by noy asking them to occupy foreign countries where they are not welcome.

Posted by: SUPPORT OUR TROOPS 100% | March 30, 2006 04:34 PM

If we don't SUPPORT our troops by bringing them home now, they'll be there for a decade or more. Cheney and that bunch don't care. As far as they are concerned, the civil war can last for fifteen years. The oil will still be there. Meantime, how many more of our soldiers must die?

Posted by: 110% American | March 30, 2006 04:39 PM

Unfortunately that article is an example of the kind of pseudo-patriotic nonsense that our troops are subjected to from day one. It's a tough thing to resist when you see and hear it day in and day out. However, recent polling indicates that they are not buying it any more. The majority now understand that the war is a lie and a pointless waste of life. Let's SUPPORT them.

Posted by: Six-pack Joe | March 30, 2006 04:49 PM

To all the above posters that regurgitate "bush is bad, bush is bad...etc." we get it, you think Bush is bad, I think you can sleep easy knowing that we understand what you believe.
As for those who claim to know the thoughts and beliefs of the entire American public and the soldiers abroad, give your generalizations a rest.
To all those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan I wish you safety and a speedy and timely return home to your families.
In your time over there, however, I hope you do good things in spite of the nay sayers and all of the negative press. I believe that positive things can come of all of this.
Play it safe and find a moment or 2 for yourselves.

Posted by: Alex | March 30, 2006 05:01 PM


I hope you will continue to write, despite all the "stuff" on here...I look forward to reading what you are helps me understand what kind of conditions my son is dealing with when I can't hear from him...keeping you and all the troops in my prayers!! Stay strong and we are proud of you!! Stay close to God and He will stay close to you!!

Posted by: Mechanic's Mom | March 30, 2006 08:05 PM

Again, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. You are providing an invaluable service to those of us who crave every bit of info we can get about life at Al Asad. My husband will be taking your place soon in the tents. God bless you and keep you.
***Cali-girl*** let me know how the brownies faired. Do they have milk that's not in a box?? My hubbie wants OREOS but only if the milk's ok. :)

Posted by: home alone | March 30, 2006 08:20 PM

Home Alone,...LOL I will let you know via post on here. I'm thinking the brownies must have gotten there by now but I haven't heard from him in a couple days. But I WILL let you know and I will ask him about the milk. Reminds me of that commercial "Got Milk?" I always think of that when I am craving a cookie and there's no milk UGH!!! That must be how it is for them. Hee hee.

By the way, I'm going to get a LiveJournal up for friends and families that read this site to be able to go there and vent, share stories, comfort, ideas. It might help and we can get away from the politics. We can keep it a "Friends Only" Journal or just delete any stupidity that may filter in. I'll let you know the same time I let you know about the brownies ;]

Posted by: Cali-Girl | March 30, 2006 10:17 PM

3 years after the start of the war in Iraq, 2,300+ military personnel have died. In the same time frame, 120,000+ men, women, and children have died on the nations highways in vehicle crashes. Sounds to me like it is safer in Iraq. Where are the people protesting the legislators, law enforcement, and judges how are doing nothing to stop this slaughter? Instead when there is a fatality crash, we tend to blame the weather, the road, the highway dept., road conditions etc. when over 99% of the crashes are caused by human error or carelessness. Excess speed cause most of the accidents in this nation and what do we do when we see a cop running radar? We flash our lights to warn approaching drivers to slow down. Real Smart.

Leon Skeen, CW4 retired, Va Army National Guard.

Posted by: Leon Skeen, CW4 retired, Va ARNG | March 31, 2006 07:55 AM

Good point CW4! I have a son in the Marine Corps and one on a college campus...I worry equally about the one on the college campus...2000+ college kids die from binge drinking in this country a year and no one bats an eye!! It is strange the "bandwagons" people choose!!

Posted by: Mechanic's Mom | March 31, 2006 09:45 AM

Waiting to hear about that LifeJournal, Cali-Girl! What a shame we have to go somewhere else to talk about the GOOD being done over there.

God bless the military, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart, no strings attached! And God bless those who see the big picture and are POSITIVE in their thinking and writing here!

Posted by: KP | March 31, 2006 09:46 AM

I couldn't help but read the writers blog on the fact that he didn't have enough room to sleep. What a lightweight!! Believe it or not he should ask one simple question- How good does he have it? Does he have hot meals? Is the tent or sleeping facility have A/C? When we got to Iraq in June of 2003, we ate MRE's until mid August, slept at the palace on the balcony... Did guard duty, during the day it was hot...the heat was 135 during the day and well beyond 120 degrees at night. That becomes a pain in the ass when you have that heat 24/7!! Once or twice a week showers??

All I can say is, be glad of what you got Chief... now get on with Army business.....and quit complaining!
Sign me -
"Been there done it for 14 months...."

Posted by: Bill | March 31, 2006 09:50 AM

Sounds like things HAVE gotten better since the time you were there. Good for them!

Posted by: Hmmm | March 31, 2006 10:37 AM

Brandon Hughey arrived in Canada in March 2004. Hughey, a San Angelo, Texas native left his Army unit before it shipped out to Iraq. It was, he says, his obligation to leave.

"I feel that if a soldier is given an order that he knows to not only be illegal, but immoral as well, then it his responsibility to refuse that order," he wrote in response to e-mailed questions from the San Angelo Standard-Times. "It is also my belief that if a soldier is refusing an order he knows to be wrong, it is not right for him to face persecution for it."

Brandon had his hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board in June 2005. His claim was rejected and that decision is now being appealed to a Federal Court.

The War Resisters Support Campaign is a broad-based coalition of community, faith, labour and other organizations and individuals that have come together to support U.S. soldiers seeking asylum in Canada because they refuse to fight in the illegal war in Iraq.

The Campaign works on two fronts: we support the material needs of war resisters when they arrive in Canada; and we campaign to persuade the Canadian government to provide sanctuary for U.S. war resisters.

Posted by: Harry | March 31, 2006 12:36 PM

Eight-eight percent of Sunnis and 41 percent of Shias said that they approved of insurgent attacks on American forces.


Posted by: Joe Sixpack | March 31, 2006 12:59 PM

Darrell Anderson arrived in Toronto from Lexington, Kentucky in January 2005. He served 7 months in Iraq and was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded by a roadside bomb. When faced with a second deployment to Iraq, he chose instead to come to Canada.

His experience in Iraq convinced Darrell that the war was unjustified. Innocent civilians are being killed, and young soldiers are dying for an illegal war. "Coming to Canada doesn't ruin your life," said Darrell, "it saves lives."

Posted by: Sarah | March 31, 2006 01:00 PM

Forty Seven percent of the public approves of attacks on U.S. forces but only 7 percent support attacks on Iraqi government security forces and 1 percent approve of attacks on Iraqi civilians.

This is disgusting to think about, but understandable. What would we do if we were conquered and occupied?


Posted by: | March 31, 2006 01:04 PM

When Private First Class Joshua Key was shipped to Iraq, the US army combat engineer believed he was doing the right thing.

"I left for Iraq with a purpose, thinking this was another Hitler deal," he said in a recent interview. "But there were no weapons of mass destruction. They had no military whatsoever. And I started to wonder."

He served eight months in Iraq before going AWOL. Key arrived in Toronto in March of 2005, with his wife Brandi and their four young children. Asked what led him to desert, he says: "The atrocities that were happening to the innocent people of Iraq. I didn't want to be part of it no more. I came home and I deserted."

Posted by: Yanick | March 31, 2006 01:05 PM

Ivan Brobeck served 7 months in Iraq with the U.S. marines before deserting and coming to Canada in April 2005.

As Ivan told Now Magazine in Toronto, somewhere between the three-hour firefights in Fallujah and the missions to hand out candies to Iraqi children, the native of Arlington, Virginia realized he had to get out. "A lot of marines feel that way,'' he said. "A majority know this war is pointless. But orders are orders.''

Coming to Canada was a difficult decision. "Going AWOL is always a hard decision because it means leaving everything and everyone you know. But having an option means that I can get on with planning what I want to do with my life..."

Posted by: USA | March 31, 2006 01:08 PM

When asked for their expectations regarding overall security if the United States withdrew within six months; Iraqis overwhelmingly answered with positive responses, saying that the amount of crime would decrease while the availability of public services and the willingness of factions in parliament to cooperate would increase.

Posted by: BRING THEM HOME SAFELY | March 31, 2006 01:10 PM

Interpretation of poll results:

Thanks for getting rid of Saddam. Now leave, please. Good bye, please shut the door.

Posted by: George. | March 31, 2006 01:24 PM

You go, Cali Girl

Go start a blog where you can discuss the wonder and beauty of war.

Go create a space where you dont have to listen to all the whiny limp-wristed liberals (traitors?) discuss the insanity of your war (and the insanity of placing good Americans like Bert in the insane position of deciding whether or not to shoot at the driver of an oncoming car)

I'll bet your fearless chickenhawk leaders like George and Dick can pile on and also not have to hear any opposing thoughts.

No one has disparaged Bert here, ever (as far as i have seen), just your criminal leadership that has placed people like Bert in that insane position

Bert, I dont know you from Adam, and I dont even live in your country (USA), but i wish you, and your comrades a safe and speedy return.

And I pray (as much as a non-religious person would) that the Iraqis will no longer have to live with the tyranny that Bush and co. have created.

Posted by: dave | March 31, 2006 01:38 PM

Please do not use this space to crticize Cali-Girl or any other participant. We are all victims of the Cheney gang here. Save the criticism for the real criminals.

Posted by: USA | March 31, 2006 02:23 PM

Cali-girl did not start this war. The Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld axis of evil did. Leave her out of it. She has a right to express herself. Her loved one is in danger and she wants to defend him. This is understandable and should be respected. War causes lots of pain, plenty to go around.

Dump on the murderous warmakers, not on their victims. Keep in mind that it was the resistance and insubordination of US soldiers that helped end the war in Vietnam. They are NOT responsible for this war and their loved ones even less so.

Posted by: USA 110% | March 31, 2006 02:32 PM

We're all in the same boat, the sinking ship of state. Cali-girl, Jersey-girl, corn-fed Iowans, hillbillies, rednecks, buckeyes, yuppies,whatever: black white, yellow and tan.

Texas-boy and his manipulative handlers are the ones causing this pain, both personal and collective. They are responsible for tens of thousands of dead, wounded, and spiritually dead. Their brownies are poison. Why should any American heed their orders?

Posted by: | March 31, 2006 03:07 PM

We're all in the same boat, the sinking ship of state. Cali-girl, Jersey-girl, corn-fed Iowans, hillbillies, rednecks, buckeyes, yuppies,whatever: black white, yellow and tan.

Texas-boy and his manipulative handlers are the ones causing this pain, both personal and collective. They are responsible for tens of thousands of dead, wounded, and spiritually dead. Their brownies are poison. Why should any American heed their orders?

Posted by: We're all in it together. | March 31, 2006 03:08 PM

Thanks for those of you sticking up for me. It's appreciate. I'm not sure why people care if I'm starting my own journal. It really makes no difference to anyone but me. So yeah, critisize all you like if it makes you feel better.

But, dave, I'm not starting a blog/journal to "discuss the wonder and beauty of war." I'm starting it to get away from the crap that people comment about on here and completely disregard what Bert has said about his day. I'm starting it so friends and families of loved ones can go and chat about anything BUT politics and share thier stories, talk about their loved ones, etc. We see enough crap on the news, we don't need to read about it constantly while trying to find out what our loved ones are up to over there. Clear enough?

Brownie Update: The brownies got there safe and sound (after 7 days). He said they were still "amazingly moist" and "really delicious". He said he tried to hide the fact they were so good from those around him so everyone wouldn't take them. But he did share with a few of his friends. :]
As for the milk situation. He said it's not like what what have here in the states but it is "ok". He said "it's good enough and better than nothing"

As for the journal, go to
I have two journals and you can find either one through the search engine on LiveJournal:

"oursoldiers" is my personal journal for either registered or non-registered users of LJ
"soldiersupport" is a community journal for registered users only of LJ

They are both connected and you can go to either of them.

Bert, I'm sure you won't have time but you are more than welcome there. :]

Posted by: Cali-Girl | March 31, 2006 03:24 PM

Cali, thank you for the update!! See you at livejournal.

Dave, how ridiculously insensitive!

'We're all in this together' the brownie symbolism made me laugh out loud.

Posted by: home alone | March 31, 2006 08:07 PM

Sgtbilly, writes:I couldn't help but read the writers blog on the fact that he didn't have enough room to sleep. What a lightweight!! Believe it or not he should ask one simple question- How good does he have it? Does he have hot meals? Is the tent or sleeping facility have A/C? When we got to Iraq in June of 2003, we ate MRE's until mid August, slept at the palace on the balcony... Did guard duty, during the day it was hot...the heat was 135 during the day and well beyond 120 degrees at night. That becomes a pain in the ass when you have that heat 24/7!! Once or twice a week showers??

All I can say is, be glad of what you got Chief... now get on with Army business.....and quit complaining!
Sign me -
"Been there done it for 14 months...."

Okay, you win the who's got the biggest member contest, yes you had it the hardest, the war is now a bake sale compared to when you were here. However stick to what you know, because you obviously do not know anything about 24/7 aviation operations. I starts with 12 to 14 hour shifts, 6 hour nvg flights,over all the places on you see on CNN. Oh by the way stop hydrating, because you do not have the chance to use the bathroom, unless you are wearing depends, or you get a few minutes in the farp. Then get off in the morning, and try to sleep in a white tent, oh and did I mention its air conditioned, but works best when its below 80 degrees outside or at night.Keep in mind it is still spring here,so it gets cold at night, and worse yet we know know we have the sweltering summer heat to look forward to. The tents also do wonders for drowning out all vehicle traffic and other aircraft flying the day missions.Then after a few hours of sleep we do it all over again. So God bless for the hardships you endured, I personally thank you for the job you had to do. I do not think Bert is complaining, he is just trying to give some insight of the daily grind to our loved ones and supporters. So please do not confuse it for complaining, it is mearly a window for our families to see what we are up to.

Posted by: CW4 in Bert's unit | April 1, 2006 02:41 AM

Does anyone else think that these last 10 posts were "forced" by way of copy and pasted on here by the same person, just using whomever's name? If you look at the times they were posted they are all 1 minute apart. It just seems a bit odd to me.
I guess if that's how they feel they have to get their point across.... but how stupid to put one right after the other. A little obvious....and pathetic.

Posted by: Cali-Girl | April 1, 2006 10:03 AM

My nephew was reassigned to Iraq, two days ago. So, suddenly this thing has gotten real personal with our family. Whether or not the mission in Iraq is sustainable, moral, right, wrong, I don't care. We'd better take care of our people, make sure they've got the right equipment and give them all the support they can get. Anyone who swears an oath to take up arms for our country deserves all breaks, deals, bogo's, you name it. Ultimately, the war's political ends will be hashed out in Washington by the politico's, the way it's always been done. But, don't let those troops down, what ever you do.

Posted by: Diver Dan | April 1, 2006 11:53 AM

Cali-Girl, I was just about to say the same thing -- obviously someone is just so eager to bash everything our military is fighting for has tried to be clever. Well, it failed! I suggest Bert ditch this attempt at blogging and set up his own, such as two fine Marines did (they're now home and I thank them for their service). You can still read some great ON THE GROUND reporting from Capt B and Taco here:

They are two GREAT examples why our military continues to do a fine job for all of us back home.

Posted by: KP | April 1, 2006 12:35 PM

For a legitimate look at the way veterans of the War on Terror feel, take a look here:

Posted by: KP | April 1, 2006 01:18 PM

Thank you for serving our country and keeping us free! My brother in law is also in 2/224th we pray for all of you everyday. Stay safe, keep a smile on your face , come home soon.

Posted by: Karen | April 1, 2006 01:49 PM


Not sure how these comments got so far off from your original post about getting some room, but it seems to done just that.
You guys have now been there for 2 months. I hope you are continuing to find some comfort and that the time is going by fast for you.
As always, know we are thinking of you all and wishing you well.

Posted by: Cali-Girl | April 3, 2006 10:16 AM

My Husband served in the USMC for 7 mths. He endured 120 degree heat - firefights and being lied to by his country. All the while he continued to fight for the cowards sitting at home gulping coke and eating burgers. My husband is a USMC deserter as it stands. Does this make him any less of a war veteran? I think not. The USA should be offering amnesty to its own citizens before it considers this for illegal Mexicans.

Posted by: WifeofWarVeteran | April 12, 2006 11:34 PM

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