Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Holiday Sadness

I read about the deadly rocket attack in Mosul today. My heart goes out to all the families of the deceased and wounded. Let's not forget over this holiday season that we can eat in peace because of the men and women risking their lives in support of our nation.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Bureaucracy, Red Tape & Regulations

The election is over. I am back in the States. I have visited my family, and life is trying to reestablish itself into a semblance of normalcy.

Yet things will never be normal in the same way again. I honestly really miss being in Iraq. I thought I would leave it behind, but I can’t. I really don’t want too. Life their gives me something that life here does not. Life here is dull, which is both good and bad.

All I have here is bureaucracy, red tape, and regulations.

For example I took it upon my self to come into work on Sunday and get ahead start on a presentation I need to give in a few weeks and help a peer with their own presentation. I am there of my own volition and taking time out of my day to get the presentation done early while helping another.

I have been working in the office for nearly there hours when a person waltz’ in and sits down at a computer a few monitors down from me. This is strange because the office has dozens of rooms with dozens of computers each, but I don’t really pay attention.

I am discussing the finer points of the Iraqi insurgency with my colleague and a few expletives were included in my clarification.

I am surprised when I hear a voice say,” Do not say that word again.” With a tone of authority.

I turn around and stare incredulously at this woman and I ask her,” Do you realize we are fighting a war in which people fucking die… and you are concerned with my choice in adjectives when discussing it!”

To say I was furious would be an understatement of colossal proportion. I wanted to verbally attack her; to absolutely destroy her and her precious sensibilities. This is the world I find myself in when I go to work now.

They look to me to for so much because of my experience. I happily help to teach others were and when I can but when these incidents occur I am constantly reminded of the bounds by which I am held.

I have done more in my 5 years in the military than she has done in 20 yet people like her can hold me back or snub me for personal reasons and I am almost powerless to stop them.

Working with sensitive incompetents is grating. I realize that where ever I go in life there will always be people that I do not like, respect, or want to work for or with.

However because I am in the military I have to keep silent and respectful lest I face severe punitive action.

I logged off my computer and left with out another word.

If she has a problem with me using a word found in common parlance when describing a horrible detail of war…well then I want nothing to do with her or the military that allows her to continue wielding power and influence. Those that have not seen war because of incompetence or avoidance have no place in a war time military.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Parting Was Such Sweet Sorrow

I have been home about 10 days. The shock of being back in civilized culture is disconcerting at times. I was really anti-social the first 48-72 hours.

Its good to be back in the United States again, although I do miss Iraq(I sort of expected this).

All my stuff is still in storage so I have been living on a friends couch till my townhouse is vacated on the 13th of this month.

I will continue writing when I am moved into my house and have settled down. I still have a lot to say about the war over there and the horrid people I meet over here(I live in California..a communist/socialist/anti-war for any reason... state).

Friday, October 15, 2004

Guantánamo Bay, Cuba

I wonder what the ACLU thinks about when it tries to free the detainee’s at Gitmo? Does it keep track of the people that have been released? Does it know how many have gone back to terrorism? How many more people the released have killed and kidnapped?

Unfortunately their defense of “human rights”, has cost the lives of many truly innocent people around the world.

The terrorist prey on the ACLU’s world view in this case. Why doesn’t the ACLU protect the people the terrorists prey on? That seems a lot more philanthropic.

I will tell you. It’s because the terrorist fight their battles not in a civilized courtroom, but on and in any ground they can. They do not limit their attacks to arguments, courts, and notarized letters. They are limited only by how far their members are willing to go. As the world has found out, they are willing to kill themselves and innocent people to bring about their demands.

How does a group of lawyers protect people from terrorism? This can only be done by building or shaping laws to allow people to deal with those terrorists. As the failure at Gitmo has shown, catch and release, is far from humanitarian. The “victims they are fighting for are released and soon end up conducting terrorist attacks and kidnappings. Who is the victim here? Who should the ACLU be protecting?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Shooting Jackal's

I woke up to the sound of Howitzers firing counter battery fire. The distinctive thumps rattled the window in my room.

I had some maintenance personnel install the blast resistant coating on the window. This means that when things blow up outside the window the concussive blast will not fragment the window. The window will remain in a sheet. This is much better than digging out thousands of tiny shards of glass after the window becomes a projectile.

I have also put ductape and card board on the window to block the sun. The tape and cardboard also make me feel more comfortable while I sleep. I know that it will not stop any of the frag but it is comforting thinking that there is at least a little more “stuff” between death and me.

My air mattress, which I bought at Sports Chalet, fits nicely over the cot I have in my room. I also brought sheet for the mattress, and use them in conjunction with my sleeping bag.

As I rose to my feet and wiped the sleep out of my eyes I heard the Howitzer fire another salvo. I wonder what they are firing at and why. I slip on my flip flops and wander down the palace stairs and out the front door. It’s about an hour past midnight and the moon has not yet set. Through the dim illumination I can see flash’s in the distance and then hear the explosion.

Having grabbed a bottle of water before I left my room I now opened it and drank a few gulps. While doing this I walked around behind the palace to look the other direction. There is a huge dry lake behind the palace. While I was taking another gulp of water my eyes wander up to the roof of an adjacent building. I noticed that there where people up on the roof.

This is unusual because it is O’dark thirty and there are never people up on the roof of that building. I walked over to the building now noticing the conspicuous absence of my side arm. After climbing the stairs on the side of the building I noticed that all three guys had rifles and night vision. I quietly walked up to and squatted next to the closest guy. “What are you guys doing?”, I asked. He replied, “Sniping the jackals.”

I sat up there for a few more seconds then briskly walked back to my room and grabbed my gear and weapons before returning. I sat on the roof for about an hour but did not take a shot. Bored, tired and not looking forward to working tomorrow I went back to my room and took a power nap before getting up for breakfast and “work”.

It is always eventful in Baghdad. The sky will shake with explosions periodically, and the air has a funny smell that is indescribable. We all agree it has an odor that varies in degrees, but not on how to describe the smell.

Thinking of smells. The worst smell I have ever come across was in a bombed out building. I was living right next to the carcass of a bombed out office building. Every time I would walk by this building or the wind would blow towards me from the building there was a stench that defied imagination.

It’s the kind of smell that you would imagine coming from the cesspit in hell. The rank and putrid fumes would just whisk by you and it took an act of utter will power to not wretch or vomit.

We eventually called in cadaver dogs. The dogs found a few bodies but we did not have the equipment to remove them or seal the ruble. So we had to live with the smell of cooking & rooting human flesh right next to where we sleeped and work. This is a good way to lose weight. I only meet a few guys who could eat with that stench. That’s grit.

That office building reminds me of a building complex I stayed in last year near Sadr City in Baghdad.

I had just returned from Tikrit where I had assisted in the last large assault of the opening phase of the war. We were staying in a government office-building complex. It was huge. There were about 10-14 office buildings that where 10 stories or higher most had a lot of superficial damage to the exterior. The looters had picked over the inside of the buildings before we got there, so it was a total mess.

I had been in that camp for about 4-5 days doing patrols into Sadr city and the outlying area. We had sporadic contact with enemy elements, as we would meander through the city on patrol. It was exciting. There are so many stories I have from just those few days on patrol. On one such day I had just come back to camp and was walking in a fairly deserted section of the camp. The marines had dug large trenches so we could all relieve ourselves in a semi sanitary manner. As I walked over to the piss-trench an Iraqi walked around the corner of a building in front of me.

I was shocked that there was an Iraqi in the wire. I yelled “Kef!” and drew my pistol. He was carrying a gas can and some hosing. I could not tell whether this was a suicide bomber or just some poor Iraqi looking to loot some fuel from the government.

As put him on the ground and called for back up I kept thinking that this would be an ironic way to die. Living through all the patrols, ambushes, and various attacks only to be killed by one random suicide bomber, after I had just safely returned from Sadr city.

A man I worked with here this tour, went home and promptly got killed in a traffic accident. The terrorists have beheaded several of the men and women I have worked with here; and every one of them said it would never happen to them. So I don’t think my mind was being overly depressing, just pragmatic because these things do happen and history is replete with examples.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Make No Little Plans

I have been mulling over taking some time off and traveling around the world. My basic plan is to start in Indonesia and then head westward(via land not water) Traveling around each continent.

In light of recent events world wide and the growing anti-americanism I have begun to question wether this is a good idea. Obviously I would have to hide my affiliation with the military, and adopt a much more politically nuetral "cover". As detestable lying is...I appreciate having my head attached to my shoulders. Although just being American these days is target enough i suppose. I am wondering if its worth the risk, or if I am lowing the things I read about in the news out of proportion?

Debating this has given me pause. Of course the other factors besides terrorism are dominated with money. Money makes the world go round. Money. Is it better to save now, and secure the future at the expense of living your life? Or is it better to go on the trip and make more money later? This is a very simple question for a set of complicated questions. I have been trying to decide for a few months now.

Monday, October 11, 2004

"Man in the Arena"

I lack the time to type anything original today. This quote below is from our 26th president. I wonder how the Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry would view this quote.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. "

Too Many Victims & Not Enough Adults

I would like to meet Andy Rooney. There are very few people these days who have traditional American values. I feel Mr. Rooney is one of them. I think America would be a better place if more people took responsibility for their actions and stopped letting everyone claim victim status.

Subject: Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney said on 60 minutes a few weeks back:
(for those of you that don't know Andy Rooney, he is a 82 year old US TV commentator)

I like big cars, big boats, big motorcycles, big houses and big campfires.

I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some governmental stooge with a bad comb-over who wants to give it away to crack addicts for squirting out babies.

Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.

I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason, that is why there are no girls allowed. Girls belong in the Girl Scouts! ARE YOU LISTENING MARTHA BURKE?

I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.

I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers. The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America. Try to have things like the United Caucasian College Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America; and see what happens. Jesse Jackson will be knocking down your door.

I have the right "NOT" to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off.

When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling, it is the Law of Probability.

I know what sex is, and there are not varying degrees of it. If I received sex from one of my subordinates in my office, it wouldn't be a private matter or my personal business. I would be "FIRED" immediately!

I believe that if you are selling me a milk shake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English! As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English!

My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave the countries you were born in to come over and disrespect ours. I think the police should have every right to shoot your sorry self if you threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word "freeze" or "stop" in English, see the above lines.

I feel much safer letting a machine with no political affiliation recount votes when needed. I know what the definition of lying is.

I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business.

We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their interpretations.

I don't hate the rich. I don't pity the poor. I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television. That doesn't stop you from watching them.

I believe a self-righteous liberal or conservative with a cause is more dangerous than a Hell's Angel with an attitude.

I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more. If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system that's better, and put your name on the building. Ask your buddy that invented the Internet to help you.

It doesn't take a whole village to raise a child right, but it does take a parent to stand up to the kid; and smack their little behinds when necessary, and say "NO!"

I think tattoos and piercing are fine if you want them, but please don't pretend they are a political statement. And, please, stay home until that new lip ring heals. I don't want to look at your ugly infected mouth as you serve me french fries!

I am sick of "Political Correctness." I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa; so how can they be "African-Americans"? Besides, Africa is a continent. I don't go around saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was from Europe. I am proud to be from America and nowhere else.

And if you don't like my point of view, tough. DON'T PASS IT ON!!