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Member since: Wed Aug 15, 2012, 02:17 PM
Number of posts: 2,597

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

Yup, I love votevets.org

They made me realize I was liberal before I realized it myself (if that makes any sense)

I haven't given them any money yet (I'm very broke), but I love these guys and their issues. The republicans love it when they are blasted by a group of combat veterans everytime they vote or do something blatantly against veterans and their true issues.

I used to believe that the republicans were the party of the military and veterans, but the democrats over and over again are faster to demonstrate care and concern for the veterans to a much further degree than the republicans. It's a shame that the conservatives get away with claiming they are the true patriots. You don't have to love war to love your country and to appreciate veterans.

Maybe it's only within the military community

but the name for the war/deployments in Iraq were referred to and Operation Iraqi Freedom (or OIF). I deployed to Iraq from Feb 2004 through Mar 2005, which would have been OIF II.

Well, there was a reason they didn't call it Operation Iraqi Liberation, or OIL - that was a joke I heard time to time while I was still in the military.

You don't give people freedom, you liberate them.

and another thing

I look at the "awards" I received for my combat action not as good things. In fact, when I received them, I was very upset at them. To me, they cheapen my experiences and the loss of life associated therein. It's kind of like "oooh you killed someone! lets give you a pretty shiny sticker!"

Using the avatar that I do use (the Bronze Star Medal) to me, demonstrates a quick visual validity to my stories of the war. Not that I believe that the opinions of a veteran are more important than those of a non veteran, but when I'm talking about how terrible war is, I think it has a little bit more of a bite as I've actually been through it.

By the way, I am an actual recipient of a Bronze Star (not that I'm trying to brag, I just don't want to come accross as something that I'm not).

I don't know how anyone in the military could vote for this guy

Knowing full well that this guy dodged the draft and spent his time in France while peers were in Vietnam, I don't see how anyone in the military could think he is a "leader" fit to be in the position to deploy Soldiers to war - especially not a war with Iran like he is advocating we do.

Could you imagine this guy wearing SSG rank and acting as a Squad Leader or wearing 1LT rank and acting as a Platoon Leader in combat, let alone acting as the leader of our Country in war? I just couldn't picture this guy (or George W.) slinging a rifle, 210 rounds, 4 grenades and body armor and going on a dismounted Infantry patrol in a combat zone. Yeah, I realize that mittens is old now, but while his peers were putting their lives on the line (either voluntarily or otherwise) in combat mittens didn't have the spine to face it. Now he wants us to hand over the reigns to the most powerful military the world has ever seen so that he can charge full steam ahead to a war with Iran. Yup, mittens, the guy who didn't have the courage to face combat in Vietnam is definitely the best candidate for the job

Don't forget Iraq

There was a lot of pretending going on there too, like the imaginary link between Sadam Hussein and Al Queda and the weapons of mass destruction they made believe were there. Oh, and remember how Jorge W. claimed "mission accomplished" in 2003 before the insurgency kicked into full gear? There was a lot of pretending going on there.

I'd like to pretend that Iraq never happened...

One more thing

Xchrom, thanks.


I know that nobody is insinuating anything here, but as a guy who participated in the war first hand in can assure you that this isn't at all what I wanted to do when I went to Iraq. The majority of the Soldiers weren't there to kill as many people as they could and to posion the cities. I know that this is the same excuse that the Nazi's used when they faced their war crimes, but I was just following orders - trust me it is hard for me to accept that and I'm deeply sorry for what happened in Iraq.

I was almost in Fallujah (i.e. Operation Phantom Fury)

I know it is kind of off topic, but I'm kind of drawn to anything to do with the war like a moth.

It was billed as a Marine operation, but responsibility for the spear head and the eastern portion of the city was given to 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (3 BDE / 1 ID). The unit within the brigade that was actually assigned to be the point of the assault was my company. Fortunately for me, my platoon (there are 3 platoons in a company) was attached to another unit at the time and I wasn't anywhere near Fallujah during Operation Phantom Fury. Instead, I was hanging out in another crap hole on the other side of Baghdad guarding a power transmission station that provided 1/3 of the electricity to the city.

My boss CPT Sean Sims and my next door neighbor and good friend 1LT Edward Iwan were killed there not to mention several other Soldiers from my unit. The stories that everyone was telling us about the combat in Fallujah was chilling. Like what I saw in some of the firefights that I was a part of in Baqubah, the combatants knew they were going to die and fought to the death. Many of them were taking meth and other drugs. Kind of like in the movies, these guys would get shot and still keep coming at you. Another of my good friends was a Platoon Leader for one of the platoons that was invovled and he told me stories about how they were having problems with suicide bombers. People would surrender and then blow themselves up on us. To deter that, people who wanted to surrender had to completely strip at a distance. If they didn't strip, they were shot.

Because of the intensity of the fighting and the way that buildings were occupied, unoccupied, and then needed to be taken again, there was no recovery of the non-American dead until after the operation. Operation Phantom Fury went on for several days and I heard that the stench of dead bodies was out of control. My buddy told me that it was unnerving to drive a tracked vehicle down the street and to run over one of these dead bodies and grind it up in the track pads (it wasn't done intentionally). Also they said that they would be eating in proximity of some of the dead and flies, presumably that were just munching on the dead a few meters away, would come land in their food like a housefly does.

I'm not at all envious that I wasn't there, although I remember some of my subordinates were.

I've read several articles about the birth defects and I've even seen a documentary about it. I'm well aware of the long-term effects. Unfortunately, and I cite this statistic all the time on this forum, the ratio of civilians killed in war to Soldiers killed in war in the 20th century is 10:1 (I can post a reference if anyone is interested, but do a search on wikipedia for civilian casualty ratio). There is a reason the military doesn't keep track of civilian dead from the wars in the middle east. The American people would be shocked to know the full extent of how many civilian men, women, and children were killed. My platoon was credited (I'm not trying to make it sound positive) will killing 46 people and I lost track of how many we wounded during the year I was in Iraq. I don't even want to think about how many of those were civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Maybe I'm out of line on this one

but I hate it when the military dead get lumped into the memories of September 11th.

To me this day is all about the civilian dead and the first responders who, without hesitation, ran into a building to save anyone they could. I mentioned this in another thread just a couple of minutes ago, but these are the people that monuments should be built for - not for the Soldiers like me. Memorials and monuments to war, I believe, give the impression that war can be a glorious cause. There is no glory in combat, but the people who died on September 11th, 2001 are people who we should idolize and be building monuments for.

I know it sounds callous toward our war dead and military service members, but as a disabled veteran I feel I can say this. Veterans and the war dead have their own days to be remembered. Leave today for us to remember the civilians and first responders who died with nothing but the purest intentions of selfless service.


Kurt Vonnegut, in his book "God bless You Mr. Rosewater" made it clear that the two groups of people he most respects are Volunteer Firefighters and Infantrymen. I don't know if I'd place an Infantryman at the top of the heap of most respected, but the Firemen and Policemen have my absolute respect for how they reacted to the events of September 11th. The people who went into the buildings of the WTC complex without any regard for themselves are to be absolutely admired.

We should be building monuments to people like these and not to people like me who fought in wars. Building monuments to wars, in my opinion, builds a false premise that there is glory to be achieved in combat - which there isn't. However we should admire pure selflessness and service of the firefighters and police officers who died that day.

Kind of a chilling article for me

I've posted this on several other threads, but I started life a conservative (although I never agreed with the religious stance of the party). Much like this guy, I had the similar belief of the good of war and that it is needed to enforce a peace. I found myself in Iraq in 2004 and the war changed me hard. I had no idea what to expect when I deployed. Actually, none of us did. 2003 (the first year of the war) was a formative year for the insurgency. By 2004, the Insurgency was in full force and attacks and military deaths peaked. I served as an Infantry Platoon Leader and I was working out of Baqubah, Iraq. In short, they don't put Infantry in nice places - and it didn't take long for the intensity of the war to catch up to me and my unit.

A few years back I was reading an article about PTSD and why the numbers of Soldiers in todays wars are staggering compared to those of wars past. Yes, I do know that PTSD wasn't even recognized as an official mental disorder until the 1980s, but it was known by a variety of other terms in the past. In WWII, because of the way that fronts and units shifted, the average American Soldier saw combat once every 6 months. In Korea is was once every 3 months and in Vietnam, it was once every 3 weeks. When I was in Iraq, My platoon probably had something happen to it once every 2-3 weeks. It wasn't always hardcore combat, but we'd get a struck by an IED, or engaged in a small arms ambush, a couple of random sniper shots when we'd conduct a dismounted patrol, a hand grenade thrown at us, and then, very occasionally, involved in a large-scale attack.

As an aside, many of the "cowboys" in the "wild west" are theorized to have been civil war veterans who were mentally messed up by the war. I believe the Hells Angels and a bunch of biker gangs were started after WWII by a bunch of psychologically broken veterans seeking adventure and who couldn't adjust back to "normal" life.

Anyways, without getting into the gory details, you don't have to stuff too many body bags with bits and pieces of what used to be human beings to make you question your one cherished beliefs. The war started a reaction in me that took a couple of years to fully develope, but it turned me hard to the left in my political leanings.
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