01 September 2008

Checking in..... things are changing...... like my socks.

So, I've been laying low for a while now. I've been getting over the whole truck wreck thing, ended up going to Hohenfels, Germany, came back, lost my job, but the real important thing is this: I bought a book.

"What's so special about that", you might say?

Well, despite all the crap I've got going for me right now, this book has changed my attitude towards just about everything.

"WOW! JB2D, what kind of book was it?"

It was a book about a man's experience in Operation Iraqi Freedom. It's titled, Chasing Ghosts: A Soldier's Fight for America from Baghdad to Washington, by Paul Rieckhoff.

Now let me explain why this book has changed my opinions and what it has led me to.

When I deployed to Iraq in the summer of 2004, I was a part of Civil Affairs. Civil Affairs is a branch of Special Operations within the US Army, along side of Psychological Operations. USACAPOC is our acronym.

I may as well have been on another planet, my experience was so different from Mr. Rieckhoff's.

CA (Civil Affairs) is almost totally comprised of Army Reserve units. This means that we get federal funding. This also means that because we are a part of USASOC (US Army Special Operations), we get almost everything we need and then some.

Mr. Rieckhoff was from the New York National Guard and was cross leveled (lent out to another unit to meet the manning requirements to deploy) to the Florida National Guard.

NG (Natl' Guard) is state funded. They depend on a smaller budget and are expected to keep pace with the Active Army, which, that's right! THEY get federal funding!

So Mr. Rieckhoff was fighting an uphill battle before he ever even left the States!

I could go on and on, but you'll just have to pick this book up for yourself.

So this book detailed his time in Iraq and his initiative to change things upon returning to America.

He details how he attempted to offer his insights and knowledge to Senator John Kerry (who seemed interested, but lacked the balls to shake things up politically) and was plain shot down by president Bush.

This really opened my eyes to a number of facts:

1. This war does, indeed, seem to be wrong. Let me clarify. I originally bought into the whole WMD thing, that theory was questioned as part of my AO (Area of operation) included a section of Baghdad that was home to the Al Tuwaitha Nuclear Center. You can find more info here. You can see from this evidence that at one time, there was an effort by Saddam to manufacture WMDs. I have walked ALL of the Tuwaitha Nuclear Facility. Obviously there is nothing there now, but I would seriously doubt that this place was capable of producing anything much less a credible WMD. It had been bombed by the Israeli's back in 1979/80 and has been a dump ever since.

A BBC article I found states that the locals had looted the place and, "the looters were not after the uranium itself, which they tipped onto the ground so they could take away the containers to store food and water". The story continues with, "Workers living on the site, worried about being contaminated themselves, buried the spilled uranium in cement and made a desperate appeal to visiting journalists for international help."

I never saw anything to verify the locals claim that they buried the "uranium" in cement. I also spent a good deal of time at Tuwaitha as it was fenced in and provided me and my team a small level of security. We even took our body armor off and would have lunch up there! It's where we staged ourselves as a sort of CA QRF (Quick Reactionary Force) for the 1st free elections in January of 2005. We stayed there overnight. Nothing was glowing. So I seriously doubt the validity of that WMD story.

2. LT Rieckhoff experienced a bureaucratic nightmare in regards to the ROE (Rules of Engagement) and even their jobs! While they (ROE) DID change almost daily, if not hourly, there still should have some common sense when it came to INFANTRY operations.

Let me break that one down to the Barney level for you:



"Like a TOW missile JB!"

Good. Now, when you can SEE the name brand of the bad guy's cigarette WHILE he's shooting at you, you should not need to ask permission from some limp-dick fobbit BC if you can go make it stop.

Now that I'm off my soap box.....

This book opened my eyes in a way that nothing, NOTHING has before. And I was there! That's just how incredibly complex and mind boggling important this conflict is.

It has also, most importantly, opened my eyes politically.

I've begun researching for myself, not letting any media outlet spoon feed me their propaganda. I also have begun reading the all important blogs, as they not only ask important questions (sometimes!) but they give me insight into how others are interpreting the same thing I'm seeing. Maybe they caught something that got by me.

Either way, this book has changed me.

It's taken me three days to put this post together as I've been studying up on the Democrat National Convention and I've been watching the Republican National Convention, and as I type this, I'm listening/watching John McCain give his speech.

I've read that some people on the internet claim his speeches are "a little stiff/rigid"..... that's because the North Vietnamese beat the shit out of him!

John McCain knows what sacrifice is, does Barry?

John McCain has SERVED his country, what has Barry done for you?

But don't take my word for it, after all, I'm another one of those voices that I'm so skeptical of. Why don't you look into the candidates, educate yourself and make an informed decision this fall.

But whatever you do, make the decision to vote. This is going to directly impact your life for the next 4-8 years.

On THAT, you can take my word.

JB2D out!


K. D. Johns said...

I can assure you I will be voting. There are lots of us who read your blog, so post often. I also agree with you about McCain, he is a real American hero. McCain is more than fit to be our next President.

Mary*Ann said...

Glad to see you writing! As Sarah said, "only one candidate has really fought for you". He may not have been my first choice, but he is now. And don't you think the WMD debate will go on forever? I keep thinking of all the documents seized that have yet to be translated.