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Victor_c3

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Aug 15, 2012, 01:17 PM
Number of posts: 2,522

About Me

I grew up hardcore Republican and conservative (although I never agreed with the religious portion of the party) and I even voted for Bush in 2000. (However, by 2004 I realized that was a mistake) I joined the Army in 1997, when I was 17 years old and my parents had to sign a waiver to get me in that young. I later went to college, obtained a degree in chemistry, and received a commission in the US Army where I served as an Infantry Officer from May 2002 until I was discharged in October 2007. While I was in the Army, I would consider myself your typical hardcore junior officer. I spent some time in Ranger School, did the typical stint at Airborne School, and I even had grandiose dreams giving it a shot at Special Forces selection. However, I deployed to Iraq as an Infantry Platoon Leader from Feb 2004 through Mar 2005. Seeing and being involved in combat as intimately as an Infantryman does really shook up a lot of my core beliefs. I could write an essay on this, but in short I now lean hard to the left with much of my political views.

Journal Archives

I hate to sound so callous

but what do you expect? A war is being fought over there and, unfortunately, the vast majority of the victims are women and children. I hate to keep recycling the same facts over and over again, but the ratio of civilians killed in war compared to soldiers killed in war is 10:1 in 20th century wars. Search "civilian casualty ratio" on wikipedia.

I'm just as angry at this as you guys obviously are and I feel powerless that I don't know how to stop it.

It makes me think of the Blak Sabbath song "War Pigs"

As a combat veteran who dealt with a lot of... well... combat firsthand, I don't understand how anyone who has actually fought in a war could support this guy. This guys talks about the "envy" he has of his peers who actually served in combat operations in Vietnam and his missed opportunities for glory.

Really? There is glory in combat? please explain that one to me. I saw my share of combat in Iraq and I stuffed my share of body bags while I was there too. I had the "honor" of picking up a dead body and having them spill their contents from its stomache and ass all over me. I've looked at the blank eyes and gaping moutgh of a person I shot and a subordinate I lost in the war and I experienced the "privaledge" and "glory" of wathing a young child my platoon shot in combat die before my eyes when I found him in his final moments of life after a firefight in a field. What part of that is glorious? What part of that is supposed to bestoy an unbriddled sense of patriotism over me? I wish he'd explain that one to me and the rest of the military before he sends them in to fight another war in Iraq or Syria like he wishes to do.

Yup, there are a lot of reasons for a combat veteran like me to hold their head up high for :rolleyes: Willard "mitt(ens)" Romney definitely has a lot to be jealous of when he addresses veterans.

Yup. Things like PTSD and the issues broken veterans like me have to deal with becuase of politicians like Romney and W. Bush and their belief that there is glory to be had in war are things that you'd wish you had to deal with. What a piece of shit.

People like Romney are dangerous and unfathomably destructive to the world. He is the problem, not the solution.

I sure hope so

I'm hafway to drunk right now!

It's funny. The psychiatrist at the VA tells me not to mix my medication with alcohol, but i find I get the best results from my meds when I do mix it with alcohol.

well, in this case, DU

Yup. George W. Bush, 2000

Look up the definition of a "wallmart republican" on urbandictionary.com. That pretty much described me to a "T" when I was growing up and in 2000.


[quote]Wal-Mart Republican (noun)

The illegitimate cousin of the Wall-Street Republican who based on economic circumstance should be a Democrat. But because of certain prejudices identifies with the GOP. These prejudices include, racism,bigotry,homophobia,religious zealotry and sexism. There is also a strong tendency to follow NASCAR, display the confederate flag and affix an NRA sticker on ones pick up even though the membership dues were never paid.

Larry:
Jim Bob, how in the hell can you be a Republican? You live in a trailer, have no health insurance and no savings or investments whatsoever.
Jim Bob:
That black ass, muslim, homo lover ain't takin' my guns away!
Larry:
Oh, I see. You are a Wal-Mart Republican!
[/quote]


I grew up hard conservative and I thought Al Gore was a POS. 4 years later I was hanging out in Iraq and I certainly didn't believe that anymore. It's amazing how your mind changes on certain things when you actually have to see firsthand how the policies or ideas you were, in part, responsible for setting in place are implimented and received on the ground. To put it simply, the war sucked and it completely changed my political outlook. I will never, ever, vote republican again.

I know. I completely deserve to be flamed on this and I'm willing to take it. I was 20 years old and I really was still under the influence of the values and thinking of my parents at that time. Please go easy on me!

.

I agree that Iran with nukes is a bad thing, but do we really need to spend $707 billion on defense in 2012 to have a military powerful enough to crush the Iranians? See post #13 (my other post on this thread). Eisenhower thought our military was strong enough to defeat the Soviets while spending (adjusted to 2012 dollars) $400 billion a year on defense.

You could point to or military spending years in Iraq and Afghanistan and not being able to "win" the war, however can you list one military engagement where the US military was defeated (i.e. could not conduct any further offensive operations, lost freedom of movement in sector, etc)? The Iraqi military was crushed in 1991 and in 2003 in a matter of days with little loss in life to US forces. The same would happen if we were to engage the Iranian military. They'd be done in a matter of days. The part where we'd get screwed is in the nation building and fighting an insurgency part which, as we've seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, draws out for years. Iran could be stopped from having nukes militarily without us having to spend $707 billion a year on defense.

I was in Baqubah Iraq on 24 June 2004. I spent 14 hours involved in a fairly intense firefight against Zarkawi's militia and my platoon was credited with killing 14 insurgents and I don't even remember how many we wounded in that fight. After the fight, I remember going back to our FOB and watching the news and we all kind of laughed when it was reported on CNN "the US military lost controll of Baqubah today". Really? I lost control of Baqubah? I went and did whatever I wanted to do in that city that day! The insurgents didn't stop me from moving my platoon through their positions. CNN had no clue what they were talking about. CNN was essentially saying that we lost in Baqubah that day, which certainly wasn't the case. Tell that to the dead and wounded I left behind.

I'd love to see significant cuts in our military spending

As a veteran, I've seen first hand the waste produced by war. I'm grateful that I served in a first-rate and well funded military, but the dollar cost of war is staggering - and that doesn't even take into consideration the longterm care of our disabled veterans (which many people in government are reluctant to fund).

I'm amazed how as a country we can pull money out of the woodwork to fund and expand the scope of wars, but we can't do the same thing to take care of our own people. I'd argue that large-scale wars like WWII are a thing of the past. The major powers in the world are too busy trying to dominate each other via trade.

If China were to go to war with us, what would happen to their economy? They are so dependant on the US (and Europe) as markets for their manufactured goods that they'd be ruined financially. Don't forget that they have trillions of American dollars in their cash reserves that would instantly become worthless to them. What would that do to their currency that is pegged to the value of a dollar?

2012 DOD spending is estimated to be about $707 Billion. If you adjust the military spending of Eisenhower's last year as president to 2012 dollars, he spent $400 billion on his military - and that is a military that he deemed large enough to defeat the Soviet Union! So why do we need to spend so much money on war if we don't have adversary like the Soviets anymore?

I get it too

I haven't actually had an attempt, but suicide is on my mind a lot. If I didn't have my two little girls and I'm almost positive I wouldn't be around right now. My 2 year old and 4 year old daughters would be ruined if I weren't in the picture anymore.

Combat, at least for me, really took away my concern for myself. I got to the point that I just didn't care anymore while I was deployed and, to a large degree, it is still there.

(by the way, I'm also actively receiving treatment at the VA)

I would love to see more stuff like the diary you mentioned out there for the public to read. I've been mulling over various ideas for books that I'd like to see written regarding combat and how hard it is for vets to return to normal life after war for years. I've even written a couple of short sections and I have a rough outline of what I'd like it to be. To prevent frivolous wars from being inflicted on our kids, us struggling vets need to get our stories out there.

War, as most of us know, doesn't end when you leave the combat zone.

Nice quote

I find the stark contrast between quotes like the one posted above and even quotes from other Republicans like John McCain regarding war compared to quotes regarding the glory of war issued by guys like Romney and George W. Bush startling. I can't think of anyone who has actually experienced combat who has said anything positive about the glory of it. But I sure hear plenty of quotes citing how envious they (Romney and W. Bush) are when they talk to troops getting ready to deploy to combat or when they talk to groups Vietnam veterans about the glory of combat that they missed out on.

I'm all for the seperation of powers built into our government and the fact that a civilian is the commander and chief of our military, but at the same time I'm also worried that someone who has no concept of the brutality of war is in a position to wage it.

thanks again

I believe that there is a large segment of our population that feels like you do. Also, remember that it is a volunteer army and I joined on my own free will (although I didn't quite know what I was getting myself into). The guys I really feel for are the Vietnam era guys who were drafted and got the raw deal all around. At least I was able to come home and not be labeled a baby-killer and people sincerely do wish the best for out veterans. The VA, as strained as it may be, is much better suited to care for veterans today than it was during the Vietnam era and there is a lot more support out there.

As an aside, I remember shortly after 9/11 seeing a story on the news about a group of people who were calling themselves "anti-recruiters" who posted themselves outside of recruiting stations to try to deter people from enlisting. They were all Vietnam era veterans who were broken by the war who were trying to inject a sense of reality into potential recruits before they enlisted. I saw this long before I personally was deployed and I remember thinking "what a piece of shit" and "how could someone do something like that?" Geeze, I sure was wrong on that one. Unfortunately I didn't realize it until I already found myself engulfed in the war. If/when another war is on the horizon, I'll be there outside of a recruiting station doing the same thing. I can gurantee it.

I really hate the violence in our media and what our kids are exposed to in the terms of games and everything else. I think the unrealistic portrayal of war in movies and in games glorifies war and combat to an extent and helps to make it easier for our country to send troops to Bush's Follies for "glory". Its just like the inconsequential violence that people complained about being portrayed in cartoons like Tom and Jerry where nobody really gets hurt when someone is smacked in the head with a hammer.

Anyways, I'm preaching to the converted here. Again, I appreciate your words and support.

Thanks

Thanks for the kind words. I don't know how I could help a fellow veteran other than just letting them know that they aren't alone. I do post on veterans forums from time to time. I really feel sorry for the doctors at the VA who have to hear all of the horrors of war from guys like me and who see first hand how it affects not only the veteran, but their families too. It has to be a hard job.

My experiences in Iraq have spurred a very anti-war position in me. I mentioned this in another thread, but the one thing that appalled me the most about the violence in the war is that hardly any of it is shown to the American people. George W. was smart when he banned the press from taking pictures of coffins returning from Iraq. Displays and visual references to people dying in war is bad for its support. The ratio of civilians killed to soldiers killed in combat is a staggering 10:1 (straight out of wikipedia, I can find the link if anyone is interested in citing that statistic). If people in America saw first hand the dead and mangled women and children this war produced, the support would have vanished a lot sooner. As a veteran who is appalled by the war, I feel it is my duty to portray the realities of combat to people who have no idea what it is all about. I'm slowly coming out of my shell on talking about the war but I feel it is my duty.

I somehow ended up with a whole pile of pictures of dead and mangled people. After a firefight, I had to take pictures of the dead and submit them with my AARs (after action reviews). So I inadvertantly have a whole pile of this crap somewhere. I believe it is considered confidential material and I think it is illegal to distribute these sorts of pictures. I honestly don't know why I still have them. I just can't bring myself to get rid of them. They are rough and raw, but it helps to convey the brutality. For instance some guy decided it'd be a good idea to attack one of my Bradley Fighting Vehicles (BFV) while wearing a suicide vest. The only person who was hurt during the attack was the attacker (who obviously died), but I have a picture of a Sergeant looking really pissed off picking up pieces and stuffing them in a garbage bag with the blood-splattered BFV in the background. If it wasn't for the cold brutality of it, it'd be a funny picture.

I really loved the military, what it stands for, and the people I worked with. I'd say most people who are in the Army are good people and strive to do the right thing. However, there are people at the top who, in my opinion, misuse the Army. The bottom line, and this is something that I should have realized when I was 17, is that unless you are willing to deal with war, you should never join. The real kicker is you have no idea what war is really like until you actually experience it. You can read and watch all the movies you want, but it still is hard to portray just how devastating and traumatic war actually is.

It is a significantly emotional event when you pull one of your dead Soldiers out of a ditch and hold his cold hand while your medic tries to resuscitate them. It is even harder when you make it home and you talk to your Soldier's mother and she wants to know the details of her son's death. To talk about it is one thing, but to actually demonstrate how much it sucks and to get people to internalize it is the hard part.

I would love to write a book one day and I do have a couple of ideas, but I'm not ready for that yet for a variety of reasons.

As far as the community idea goes, I think that isn't a bad idea. I got back from Iraq in March 2005, but stuck around in the Army until October 2007. I managed to get a cushy job at Range Control to ride out the majority of the rest of my time where I helped units align their training objectives to a variety of live-fire training ranges. I really took that job to heart as I was a junior Captain and I saw a whole bunch of even more junior Lieutenants getting ready to deploy to combat for their first time and I wanted to prepare them the best I could for what the war was going to be like. Anyways, back to the community idea, I found that things weren't so bad for me and my PTSD while I was still in the Army. A lot of the guys around me were all dealing with the same issues and being around the military community was very comforting to me. Sometimes they'd be firing artillery from a firing position on one of the far sides of the training area, the rounds would fly over our building, and land in the impact area several miles away. We'd all be going totally crazy from hearing and feeling the sounds of artillery and just look at each other and laugh.

I've read some things recently that community service is of tremendous benefit to veterans recovering from their issues with the war, which ties directly into your idea.

The biggest hindrance to me and actually submitting myself to an intensive in house PTSD/war trauma program offered by the VA is I have a young family and I have bills I have to pay. I can't take that sort of time off from work.

The suicide part of war is tough.

Anyways, thanks again.
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