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Victor_c3

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Aug 15, 2012, 01:17 PM
Number of posts: 2,526

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

For the best impact, I personally recommend that you listen to some gangsta rap while watching

My favorites definitely have to be the following:

Cypress Hill - "How I Could Just Kill A Man"
Cypress Hill - "Hole in the Head"
Cypress Hill - "Hand on the Pump"
Notorious BIG - "Gimme the Loot"
Notorious BIG - "Things Done Changed"
Notorious BIG - "Ready to Die"
Notorious BIG - "Suicidal Thoughts"
NWA - "Straight outta Compton"

Listening to some of those good ol' "murder tracks" definitely puts me into a crazy mood and gets me amped up to get back into the fight. I think I say this in every one of my war posts, but it is so true. War brings out the worst in people.

Messed up video about the sorts of things that happen in Iraq

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How many things like this were reported in our news when the war in Iraq was going on at full speed? I was living in Germany during much of the war and I didn't have cable television until a few months ago so I really don't know.

Geeze. And we wonder why they don't like us over there...

I blame a lot of it on the general misconception that a lot of Americans have about war

Most people aren't aware of or don't care about what really goes on in the wars in the Middle East. Mass media repeats over and over again terms like "surgical strike" and they glaze over civilian casualties. The government doesn't keep track of or report the full extent of civilian casualties and Americans go on believing that those deaths are minimal to nonexistent. Terms like "collateral damage" are used when discussing dead boys, girls, women, and men who are killed during an errant drone strike and it further sterilizes our actions and makes them palatable to Americans.

Much of America grows up playing war related video games and watching movies that doesn't capture the full nastiness of war which further makes war a more palatable action. You shoot and kill someone on the game, the pile of pixels falls off the screen, and you don't see the end result and you grow numb to the experience.

The flag waiving veterans that you do see are mostly veterans who haven't actually participated first hand in combat. Those veterans seem to preach or suggest that there is glory to be had in war and that combat is a patriotic function. Meanwhile, combat veterans who are broken by the war and their experiences remain quiet, battling their demons in silence. Americans who don't know better mistaken this silence for a withheld story of valor or heroism an believe, wrongly, that this silent veteran is just humble and modest. At least in my case, much of my actions in the war left me with feelings of shame and guilt.

In a semi-anonymous forum like this I let a lot of my thoughts and emotions run freely, but aside from the Doctor's at the VA, nobody I actually talk to know much about what I did when I was in Iraq. Nobody that I interact with regularly has any idea of the full nastiness of war and ugly it can be or what I did. And I do realize that my silence is feeding the American misconception on war. I've posted one of my combat award certificates on this forum before, but I've never shown anyone that I really know some of those details about myself.

I do realize that much of my opinions on war are contradictory. I'm not proud of what I did, yet I make sure everyone knows that I'm a veteran. I sport an avatar on this forum for a Bronze Star Medal and I proclaim that I served as an Infantry Platoon Leader in my signature yet I'm ashamed of what that actually entailed.

I kind of lost the point that I wanted to make with this post, but I spent too much time writing it to just trash it. The two things that I wanted to try to work into this was:

1) In the 20th century, for every 1 Soldier killed in war approximately 10 civilians were killed. This number was compiled by the red cross.

2) It is estimated that between 100,000 and 1,000,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in the war. The number is so vague because the DOD doesn't bother to keep track of this number itself. How many people are aware of that?

War is a criminal action. The politicians who wage it need to be held accountable for it. However, as a society, we all need to take responsibility for it as well. The American people step back and allow our politicians to wage these wars. How many protest have you seen demanding a stop to the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan? I do realize that I'm just as much of the problem as anyone else is (if not more so because of my silence regarding what I saw and did in war myself). I need to get more active and I need to demand accountability for our politicians actions in starting these wars.

The idea of entangling our military in Syria makes me nauseas

I'm appalled at the idea of the Syrian regime using chemical weapons on civilians too, but I'm scared shitless of Syria turning into another mess like Iraq and Afghanistan.

Doesn't anyone remember that Sadam's use of chemical weapons on his own people in the past was one of the reasons that the bush administration used to justify the 2003 war in Iraq? Was that war and the estimated 100,000 - 1,000,000+ dead civilians and $1 trillion wasted worth it?

I made many of the points in this thread in a post that I made in another thread, but I thought it was worthwhile to post this as a thread in its own right. Anything war related tends to get buried in the rear echelons of this forum. Most people are happy to ignore war and don't want to talk about it.

Before anyone is eager to send our military to fight in anyone's mess we need to know exactly what it is we are sending our Soldiers into and we all need to own it. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. We'll rally at the inhumanity and cry for the use of deployment of our war machine to Syria for a week, the government will do it, then we'll forget about it when the season finale for dancing with the stars or the voice comes up. We as a country will forget about what is going on in Syria and glance over what our military is doing on the ground and how it is impacting our Soldiers.

War turns nice people into evil people. Having been through it first hand myself (I served as an Infantry Platoon Leader in Iraq for 13 months in Iraq in 2004) I've experienced it first hand. Once you start shooting and killing people, it gets easier to do. Once you find yourself comfortable with committing murder what do you suppose that does to a person's moral compass?

When we hear stories of Soldiers posing with bodies of Taliban fighters like they were hunting trophies or videos of Soldiers pissing on the dead surface, we shouldn't be shocked. It's not natural to kill anyone. Having been through that experience myself, it makes you feel like shit regardless of the circumstance or how "justified" you are told it is. And, as much as I like to think that I'm a good person, the honest truth is it only got easier to do it the more the war went on. As soon as you can find yourself easily committing the ultimate transgression what stops you from committing any others? I'm probably doing a great job getting myself the "DU biggest piece of shit" moniker, but the only reason I didn't piss on the body of or pose with the body of a person I killed was because I didn't think of it - and that is the honest truth.

I don't know exactly what circumstances would make war an appropriate option or what a justified military response would be. I'm in the throws of trying to figure out my own anti-war stance and a lot of my positions on the subject is contradictory. However, my biggest sticking point with war is that the media needs to stop sterilizing it. We as a country would be more opposed to war if we understood exactly what it entailed in its full detail. It's just like the average American eating meat. Since most of us are removed from the process that brings us meat, it is easy for us to eat. However, if we all had to go into our backyards and butcher our own cow and take its life with our own hands, I bet many people wouldn't be able to stomach it. The same holds true to war. It's easy to support a war when you are thousands of miles away and you see the clean shrink-wrapped version presented to you by the media but it isn't easy to support a war when you actually have the blood on your hands and you are involved in it.

The media needs to show the dead women and children and report all of the atrocities that happen. The media needs to show the flag draped coffins and the gory images of the mangled dead that is produced. If we can stomach making the decision to send troops into harms way, then we need to stomach the gory details of what the decision fully entails. I know that at some point I need to get over myself, but the personal pain and images that I endure as a result of my war time service needs to be on the conscious of every American who supported the war. Every American who supported the war should have a picture of a mangled child's dead body front and center in their living room. They should have to face that image constantly during every moment of their life and it should haunt them just as much as it haunts the Soldier who killed that child and the family that lost that child. When they are sitting on the floor opening birthday presents with their child on an otherwise happy day, images of a dying 10 year old with a sucking chest wound and his shocked 6 year old little brother and three handcuffed uncles should be front and center in their mind. The parent should have to look at their shocked 4 year old daughter and explain why they are crying on their birthday.

If it wasn't for the support for the war at home there wouldn't have been a war. Everybody would be hard pressed to support any war if they knew the full scope of the violence that will be committed in their name.

A lot of my thoughts have already been mentioned above

Even though I fought in Iraq, I never for a second believed in Iraq or that it was justified on any level.

As far as wars go, I liked the way Libya went. The majority of Libyan citizens were eager for NATO involvement (as was most of the Arab world). It's amazing how different things turn out when you have the cooperation and support of the people you are "helping" and the rest of the world. Obama was able to accomplish in Libya in a matter of a couple of months and $896 million what bush wasn't able accomplish in Iraq with nearly a decade of war and $1 trillion. Syria, if chemical weapons were used, would be justified in my mind.

Having been through a war myself, I've developed very strong anti-war inclinations. However, as much as I hate war and I think it is criminal in nature, I'm not going to pretend that there aren't situations in which it is justified to deploy our troops. Interventions to stop the scope of violence from escalating like Bosnia/Kosovo and (although it never happened) Rwanda would have been justified. Those are/would be the sorts of military missions that would make me proud for how our troops have been used by the government.

However, my biggest sticking point with war is that the media needs to stop sterilizing it. They need to show the dead women and children and report all of the atrocities that happen. The media needs to show the flag draped coffins and the gory images of the mangled dead that is produced. If we can stomach making the decision to send troops into harms way, then we need to stomach the gory details of what the decision fully entails. I know that at some point I need to get over myself, but the personal pain and images that I endure as a result of my war time service needs to be on the conscious of every American who supported the war. Every American who supported the war should have a picture of a mangled child's dead body front and center in their living room. They should have to face that image constantly during every moment of their life and it should haunt them just as much as it haunts the Soldier who killed that child and the family that lost that child. After all, if it wasn't for the support for the war at home there wouldn't have been a war.

War is messed up and it brings the worst out of people who otherwise seem to be the best people we have. When we hear stories of Soldiers posing with bodies of Taliban fighters like they were hunting trophies or videos of Soldiers pissing on the dead surface, we shouldn't be shocked. It's not natural to kill anyone. Having been through that experience myself, it makes you feel like shit regardless of the circumstance or how "justified" you are told it is. And, as much as I like to think that I'm a good person, the honest truth is it only got easier to do it the more the war went on. As soon as you can find yourself easily committing the ultimate transgression what stops you from committing any others? I'm probably doing a great job getting myself the "DU piece of shit" moniker, but the only reason I didn't piss on the body of or pose with the body of a person I killed was because I didn't think of it - and that is the honest truth.

People just need to be aware of the full scope of what their support for a war entails. Again, I'm not saying that there isn't such a thing as a justified war, but all wars are nasty. Our media does humanity a huge disservice by not accurately reporting it. It's just like the average American eating meat. Since most of us are removed from the process that brings us meat, it is easy for us to eat. However, if we all had to go into our backyards and butcher our own meat, I bet many people wouldn't be able to stomach it. The same holds true to war. It's easy to support a war when you are thousands of miles away and you see the clean shrink-wrapped version presented to you by the media but it isn't easy to support a war when you actually have the blood on your hands and you are involved in it.

You took the words right out of my mouth

But put your thought a little more eloquently that I would have.

The first paragraph that you wrote sounds exactly like me. I知 proud of my service in many ways but, at the same time, I知 appalled and ashamed of it. Trying to describe what my military service means to me is a very complicated and muddy thing.

Watching the events unfold in the Middle East right now on TV is a hard thing. I know that I知 far removed from the seemingly looming war over there, but at the same time I知 envious that I will be sitting this one out. I知 happy that I知 out of the military and that everything is in the past, but I feel a yearning to return to war. The things that upset me and appall me the most are exactly the things that I miss. No, maybe not the feelings of losing a friend or even the feeling of seeing a guy from the opposite side of my sights fall, but I miss the feelings of excitement surrounding the danger and the feeling of a rifle in my hand.

I think that this has a lot to do with my PTSD and a sense of worthlessness that I (and probably other veterans) feel. When I was in the Army I was at my prime. I was in the best shape of my life and I was able to accomplish anything I wanted to. I returned home, got out of the Army and attempted to start my civilian life and I find that things like holding a job, driving in traffic, ordering food at a fast food restaurant, and even remembering to bathe and change my clothes every day van be a struggle.

I never look down or think less of anyone who says that they tried to avoid fighting in a war. Having been there and experienced war first hand, I know that it is an experience that I wouldn稚 wish on anyone.

In short, the insight that combat veterans provide to war is a valuable one, but that was already mentioned above.

Pinboy3niner, thanks for your post. I enjoy reading and listening to what you have to say. If I'm not mistaken, I believe that you were also an Infantry Platoon Leader like me (albeit in different wars). I wish that someone like you would have talked to me before I set out on my military career. The fact that you were a volunteer (like me) for the profession also speaks a lot to me. The feelings that you write about and what you say really does a lot for validating my own feelings and thoughts. Again, thanks.

Victor

I have a theory about why most veterans are republican

most veterans, like most people in the military, aren't in direct combat functions in the recent wars. It's one thing to be involved in a war from miles away from the actual action, but it is totally different to be within small-arms range or closer to a person that you are being asked to kill. It's totally different when you actually hear the sounds and see the sights of a person that you shot dying when you find their mangled bodies after the firefight is over and go search the area for dead and wounded. It's easy to feel proud for what you did in the war when you don't have any real connection to what you did.

I've never seen or met a combat veteran who supported or liked war. As a result, the most vehement anti-war folks tend to be combat veterans. They've been there, they've done it, and they completely understand how messed up war is.

I post a lot on a conservative forum and usually my post lean hard towards the anti-war direction. I get called out for being unpatriotic and, it is often said to me that I should be like most "honorable" combat vets and keep my mouth shut about what I did in the war. To me, that is dangerous and is misleading. It gives people the false impression that I did something glorious or some great patriotic service to our country by doing what I did in Iraq. The veterans who have never experienced combat first hand (and who never developed a distaste for it) stand up and waive the flag like they are some sort of hero and proclaim how glorious war and military intervention is. The media and our government officials focus on terms like "surgical strike" to mislead the public into thinking that nobody is unnecessarily killed in combat. Our government bans the media coverage of caskets returning from the war and images of war mangled bodies being thrown into the spotlight on the news.

It's easy to believe that war is a glorious and patriotic function when all you see are impressive images of military strength, shiny uniforms, and high-tech equipment. The only images of the Iraqis that you see are those of smiling and cheering children and harmless looking adults. The American public doesn't see the mangled children and heartbroken parents that this war produces.

Again, I've never seen or met a combat veteran who supported or liked war. Those who have actually been there and experienced it want to be the furthest they can be away from it.

I hate being thanked for my service when anyone finds out that I'm a veteran. If people knew what I did, I doubt they'd be thanking me for anything.

My wife and kids did something that really upset me yesterday (veterans day). My wife meant well, but she had my oldest daughter (who is 4) come over to me and say "happy veterans day, daddy". I have a lot of mixed feelings about the war and what I want my kids to know. Actually, I don't think they are mixed at all. I don't want them to know a thing about it. I would prefer that they never knew I was in the Army I and I don't want them to make the connection that I was ever in a place where I shot and killed anyone. I don't want to have to explain any of that to my kids and I don't want to hear their questions about why I did what I did. It wasn't justified and the people of Iraq weren't a threat to us. I don't want them to think that I was some sort of a murdering machine or a monster and I don't want their perception of me as a kind and loving person spoiled by what I was a part of in the past. Fortunately, at age 4, my daughter has no concept of what war is or that someone could be capable of killing another person. I'm not ready for that one and I have no idea how to deal with it when she figures it out.

I thought I was going to see a picture like this...

[IMG][/IMG]

Sorry, I turn everything into a conversation about the war. I guess it just shows how much it is constantly on my mind.

brings back nothing but the best memories.

I see Army latrines haven't progressed much since Vietnam. Notice the fuel containers to the left of the stalls.

[IMG][/IMG]

We cut 50 gallon drums in half, put in some JP8 (fuel) and called it a bathroom! When the buckets got full, we burned it.

[IMG][/IMG]

Above is a picture of me having my turn at burning our shit.

Great times

It's never the people at the top who start the wars that have to pay the price

It invariably comes down to the children on both sides who suffer the most.

My wife used to work as a special education aid in the DOD elementary school in Grafenwoehr, Germany. Some of the kids of the Soldiers who deployed to Iraq had some terrible issues as a result of having a parent in the war. They were messed up because of their emotional stress and as a direct result of their parent(s) PTSD issues. Some of the stories about some of the kids my wife worked with were extremely sad to me. These kids probably only have "light" issues compared to the Iraqi kids who grew up during the war. I couldn't imagine my kids having to grow up and facing the constant danger of going to school.

I was in Baqubah for a year in 2004. We used to see kids playing soccer in the fields around the city and its outlying communities all the time. One time in particular I remember a group of gunmen pulled up to a group of kids playing soccer and slaughtered them all when I was there. What the hell do the kids have to do with it? We we always scared that gunmen would do the same to the schools, but fortunately that never happened.

Fallujah and the poisoning is another topic altogether. Operation Phantom Fury kicked off almost 8 years ago to the day today. I was almost drawn into the fight, but my platoon was assigned to a different battalion during the assault on Fallujah. If you do any reading or if you have ever come across the book "house to house" by David Belavia (he was put in for a medal of honor as a result of his service in Fallujah), he was in my company. I was the platoon leader of second platoon that wasn't there. I don't regret not being there at all.

George Bush and his cronies need to be held accountable for what they did to Iraq. The war in Iraq needs to be the point of national shame and disgrace that it is/was.

Anyways, I'm done with my rant.

Victor G. Philippi
CPT, IN (former)
OIFII Veteran
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