Friday, November 19, 2004

Back from Fallujah

Ready to Roll into Fallujah
Ready to Roll into Fallujah - picture taken at a staging area an hour or so before we rolled in the first day of the operation. The city is just over the dune behind us.

What an interesting trip, interesting being an understatement and probably inappropriate.

I was with an Iraqi Brigade and six other Americans. I found the Iraqis to be wonderful and brave fellows. I learned to never give a gift to an Iraqi unless you are willing to play a never ending game of one-upmanship. I had five Iraqis that I inadvertently engaged in this game. It all started with me giving them gum, progressed through them killing and cooking a rooster for me, me buying cartons of cigarettes from Marines for them and ended when they 'liberated' several cases of Coca-cola from a store and brought it to me. I knew then I had to tell them the game had to stop.

Taking all the politics, motivations, lies, deceptions and whatever else brought us all to this point out of the equation, my experience with these fellows is something that will stick with me for a life time. They are so eager, too eager, to be just like us. The fellows I was with think the world of a US uniform and were willing to do anything and everything I asked, a wholly different experience than that of many US soldiers.

By the third day of the operation civilians by the dozens began to emerge from the rubble, old men and women, young mothers and children. They hid from us as long as they could, they surely thought we would gun them down. Their hunger and thirst forced them out. Contrary to the stories I later heard I can tell you we fed these people (out of our own food and water), medics tended to them and they were taken care of. The fear was evident in their eyes, even as they lined up to receive food and water.

Much more to tell, many more thoughts to think, just now I am too close to some of the more painful sights, sounds and events to comment. I saw some very fine young men doing things young men ought never have to do. My heart remains in the Corps even though I long ago changed uniforms. Those kids are simply the finest and 99% of the world can never really and truly appreciate what I mean by that.

This is a damned nasty war. Make no mistake about it.

Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem
El Cid

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

'If Only the Führer Knew…'

While I sit and wait for things here to begin again...dare not do anything with an election afoot...I found this by Micheal Peirce:

In 1944 the young German fighters in the panzer divisions knew perfectly well that fighting under the guns of the Allied fleet in Normandy was madness. On the Ost Front they were equally aware that the order to "hold at all costs" was grinding their elite units into dust and robbing them of their unquestioned advantage, tactical flexibility. However, their faith in Adolf Hitler remained undiminished – they blamed these suicidal orders on the high command, on the regular army generals, and repeated this slogan to each other, "If only the Führer knew…"

American conservatives are much like that. They are quite aware that the United States government is working actively against the best interests of the people of this country. The failure to defend our borders, the draconian and unconstitutional assault on our God-given right of self defense, the mass murders of the unborn, the transformation of the public school system into left wing indoctrination centers – conservatives are aware of these things. But there exists this huge disconnect – constantly one hears the same mantra, "Don’t worry, the adults are in charge now."

If they had but eyes to see they would see that it wasn’t liberals who recently announced a plan to send fifteen billion extorted dollars to Africa, ostensibly to fight the AIDS epidemic that is depopulating a continent. It wasn’t the liberals who declared, "Islam is a religion of peace," ignoring history and common sense. It wasn’t the liberals who tried to sneak through a general amnesty for illegal aliens and who failed to take any action whatsoever to protect the unborn or the Second Amendment. And it is certainly not Al Gore who has dreamed up this horrific plan of attack against a third-rate country in the Middle East, claiming that we will not forget 911, an action in which Iraq had no part.

As Josef Goebels and Adolf Hitler were well aware, a big lie works best. I’m astounded when "conservatives" call me a wimp and a communist because I refuse to face up to the imagined threat posed by Sadaam Hussein. Well guys, it wasn’t Sadaam Hussein who used tanks to kill Americans in Waco! You can take this to the bank – I’m against their wars of aggression, their war on some drugs, and their attack on our right to own weapons – how this is un-American eludes me. I’ve got George Washington and all the founders on my side. None of whom were wimps or communists!

Of course, I’m often reminded that this business of a Constitutional Republic was decided on the battlefield, in the "late unpleasantness" as they daintily refer to the destruction of the South by government mercenaries. Then why do we pretend to honor the history of this very same Constitutional Republic?


Y'all just stop and think about it...or not I suppose.

Waiting

Everyone waits from time to time. The world awaits the outcome of the US election. A whole bunch of insurgent knuckleheads are hunkered down in Fallujah awaiting their impending doom. Amazing how so many folks and so many events await the culmination of this uniquely American spectacle that has become the presidential election process.

I happily mailed off my ballot for Dr. Michael Peroutka some time ago. Of course some might say that was a wasted vote but it was my conscience. I think you always have to go with that. What else does a man have if he does not listen to his conscience?

I had a fascinating discussion with a Marine buddy of mine tonight as we sit and wait for all the “big events” in the world to transpire so that we can again get on with the business at hand.

Really in the big picture it does not matter who wins the election. There is not that much difference in the two fellows or the two parties. An Australian buddy of mine expressed to me his wonderment at the passion Americans display based upon parties. From his perspective there is little difference. My view has been much the same for several years now.

It is fascinating; in all the time we have spent together we have never had the opportunity to discuss philosophy or life. As we sit and wait we found the time tonight. We agree that there is nothing new under the sun and that there is little that we as mere mortals can do to alter the course of events. We envisioned a couple leathered warriors of Rome’s legions sitting next to a fire a few hundred years ago having the exact same discussion we enjoyed tonight. I am almost certain there were some of those fellows on the far edge of the empire fighting various barbarians (insurgents in modern parlance) pontificating on the same issues we covered. My mind always goes back to the words of Vegitus.

Good folks are so hard to find. I have been so lucky here to encounter many.

I have the pleasure to work with two of the last best Sergeant Majors left in the military (I am sure there are probably a handful scattered here and there but they are few and very far between). SGM V is a heck of a guy, the sort of guy that is there for you and there for the troops no matter what. Likewise with SGM C, different sort, a lot less dirty (no sure how he works that out because I see him in the same places as me). V is much more the “SGT Rock type” and C is much more the stereotypical British Sergeant Major type. Both are fine men and excellent NCO’s. Not typical at all.

The other officers I work with are all (with one exception) mustangs (all prior enlisted). At 38 I am not the old man in this group, which is nice. The perspective of these fellows is just a whole lot different; refreshing, real and comforting. We weaned the last of the Air Force folks from the team two weeks ago and shuffled them off to “other work”.

We got a new Navy Senior Chief in last week. We have three other Navy folks. They have all adjusted very well. Senior Chief is a bit like a fish out of water, he has spent 20 years aboard Subs. He is not exactly accustomed to carrying a rifle and could not tell the difference between incoming mortar and rocket rounds when he came to us. I have a lot of respect for the fact that he knows when to shut his mouth and follow on task he has no clue and is willing to speak up on the technical issues he is here to do. We took him to a make shift range and gave him a bigger weapon the other day. I think we will turn him into a soldier. He is certainly willing to learn. I think a a couple months he will be a real veteran and able to carry his own weight. He and I get along very well.

I think I mentioned before my love for the troops with us. No matter what we do or where our tasks pull us there are there to support with nothing more than the expected complaints (if they did not complain a little something would be wrong…I would take that as them not trusting me).

It is raining here now…I doubt it will really stop for the next month. It is a crazy place, hot and dry all year with just one rainy month. Makes you wonder how this was potentially one of the cradles of civilization. The fine powder sand has all turned to muck. This is of course very much irritating. Not the sort of stuff you really look forward to laying face down in. Amazing that it is possible to wish for the weather of June but I do.

I notice some folks were kind enough to link over to me. I appreciate that. I do not have the time to really track them down and post their links. I actually feel rather bad as I do not have the time to write much of interest to anyone and I would hate for people to take their time to visit the site in these circumstances.

Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem
El Cid