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A Word From the Field

The Anchroress posted a must read letter from a member of the U.S. military:

Many of us in the military know about the political chatter swirling about. We just shrug and say, "what else is new." The stakes in Iraq, Afghanistan, HOA, and elsewhere are enormous. We would rather fight here than in our own streets. And, this is the point many Americans do not believe will happen if we leave this fight early. They see this as an abstraction, or more as fear-mongering. It is not. The assumption that a "Minuteman" response would occur is like believing that a snowball won't melt in 100-deg weather. The "Minuteman" response would not happen simply because of fear and the terrible loss of life we'll see.

The terrorists we face over here are stone-cold killers. They would kill their own if it means they get to propagate their hate and evil. And, they are evil in every sense of the word. They are not misunderstood, they are not the misforgotten, etc. They do know who they are. Many terrorists come from a world of privilege, more privilege than many of their kinfolk.

President Bush has done his absolute best. He's the right man for the time. This is not an easy war by any means a stretch of the imagination. We do put in very long days and very, very short nights. Sometimes we see very good results, sometimes the results aren't so good. War by nature is very messy. While we do our best to plan for contingencies, we adjust accordingly. With regard to the Vice President and former SecDef Rumsfeld, they've been the best to us. They understand the stakes, and this is most important ... not the political usefulness. You want people in leadership positions who understand the stakes, willing to make the hard decisions, and take responsibility regardless of the situation. The Vice President and Rumsfeld are such people. But, this is a point that can be argued at another time and by others...

I know that everyone in the military is not of the same mind, but I know there are many who agree with the author of this letter because I read their words at other blogs and in emails that I receive and in similar messages I get from many of their family members. This is one message that is getting out via the internet, but is still not making its way widely to the general public.

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Comments (32)

Had to scratch my head for ... (Below threshold)
Jethro:

Had to scratch my head for a few moments to equate HOA to horn of Africa.

With regard to the Vice ... (Below threshold)
observer 5:

With regard to the Vice President and former SecDef Rumsfeld, they've been the best to us.

Awww, very touching, although the lack of anything that you could point to that Cheney has done makes me wonder how he's "been the best." Did he bring this guy's unit some Gatorade or candy or something?

Rumsfeld, of course, made the "hard decisions" not to expand ground troop strength during his tenure.

Of course, after Rumsfled was fired, the Army Chief of Staff and the USMC Commandant both said their branches were on the verge of breaking, and so the new guy Gates made the reasonable "hard decision" which Rumsfeld didn't: to expand the Army and USMC by 92,000.

So, is this guy on his first, second, third or fourth tour in Iraq or Afghanistan?

Not to worry young man, hel... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Not to worry young man, help is on the way. 01/11/07
CONGRESSMAN RANGEL INTRODUCES NEW BILL TO REINSTATE THE MILITARY DRAFT
Legislation Would Require National Service for All U.S. Residents, Including Mandatory Military Service for Some During Wartime
WASHINGTON - I have reintroduced my bill to reinstate the draft, not because I support the war in Iraq or the President's plan to escalate the conflict. The reason is my belief that if Americans are to be placed in harm's way, all of us, from every income group and position in society, must share the burden of war.

That has not been the case so far. The overwhelming majority of our troops fighting in Iraq are young men and women who have chosen to enlist because military service is an economic opportunity. They are motivated by enlistment bonuses up to $40,000 and additional thousands in scholarships to attend college. They are from urban and rural communities where there is high unemployment and few opportunities to pursue the American Dream. My colleague, Congressman Ike Skelton, has confirmed that fact while pointing out the patriotism of these young men and women, and I agree with him.

It is time that all Americans--including the wealthy--be given the opportunity to prove their patriotism as well, by saluting when the flag goes up and defending their country in wartime. A military draft would ensure that.

My bill requires that, during wartime, all legal residents of the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 42 would be subject to a military draft, with the number determined by the President. No deferments would be allowed beyond the completion of high school, up to age 20, except for conscientious objectors or those with health problems. A permanent provision of the bill mandates that those not needed by the military be required to perform two years of civilian service in our sea and airports, schools, hospitals, and other facilities.

I don't see how anyone who supports the War in Iraq would not support reinstatement of the draft.

The President announced last night his intention to send an additional 21,000 U.S. troops to Iraq. The military is at the breaking point with more than 50 percent of our combat troops already deployed in Iraq. The question is: where will the additional troops--including those that may follow if the war is escalated further--come from?

The 21,000 soldiers that the President was talking about will not be fresh troops. Many of them are already on the ground in Iraq and will have their deployments extended. Almost 250,000 of the troops currently deployed in Iraq have served more than one tour, and some have been deployed as many as six times.

Since the start of the war, more than 14,000 discharged army veterans--members of the Individual Ready Reserve--have been called back from their jobs and families to serve in Iraq. Thousands have had their tours extended under so-called stop-loss orders.

The forced, repeated deployments of nominally volunteer troops not only violates the spirit of the contract with these soldiers, it is a cruel and unfair erosion of the principle of shared sacrifice which has been totally absent in the prosecution of this war.

Last night President Bush warned the nation that we are in for further sacrifices in Iraq. But the truth is, the sacrifice is being borne exclusively by the 1 million-plus troops who have served, and their families. Three thousand have made the ultimate sacrifice and 22,000 have been wounded and maimed.

The rest of us have not been called upon to make any sacrifice at all. It is the first time in an American war in which the populace has not even been asked to bear the burden of the war's cost. Fighting this war with borrowed money, we are leaving our children and their children to pick up the check that as of now is roughly $500 billion,
and counting.


Lorie, ya done good this ti... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Lorie, ya done good this time! This post was as funny as JT's "Star Trippin' link. "The Anchoress"/anchorite: "God's" laziest athelete! She can do the nun schtick without having to deal with sick people, and "Christ's girlfriend" carries more weight than "handwringing harpy". Which brings me to the Letter: I think the Anchoress wrote it herself! There's a distinct Ante Pavelic-in-womens'-clothes vibe that emanates from the letter and her blog.

bryanD - Do you have respec... (Below threshold)
marc:

bryanD - Do you have respect for anything? Anything at all aside from

To claim a heartfelt letter from one of the troops is first funnier than a post that was clearly meant to be comical and secondly to imply it's possibly not written by a soldier is despicable.

But sorry to say expected.

As for Rangel, he's playing fast and loose with the facts:

Almost 250,000 of the troops currently deployed in Iraq have served more than one tour, and some have been deployed as many as six times.
As of mid-November 2006, there were approximately 152,000 US troops deployed to Iraq.

Rangel isn't close even if you add the 21,500 that aren't in theater as yet and those in Afghanistan.

Question: How is it a "shared sacrifice" if only those between the ages of 18 and 42 do the sharing?

He and many others don't want to share they want to pull out, nothing more.

Sharing: In addition to his draft bill (that will never pass) issue ration cards for gasoline, ration cards that only allow 10 hours of cell/internet service a month, limit Starbucks visits to one per month, etc...etc

Everybody SHARES!

This from a Marine not afra... (Below threshold)
drlava:

This from a Marine not afraid to post his name, Philip Martin.

[email protected]


I'm sick and tired of this patriotic, nationalistic and fascist crap. I stood through a memorial service today for a young Marine that was killed in Iraq back in April. During this memorial a number of people spoke about the guy and about his sacrifice for the country. How do you justify 'sacrificing' your life for a war which is not only illegal, but is being prosecuted to the extent where the only thing keeping us there is one man's power, and his ego. A recent Marine Corps intelligence report that was leaked said that the war in the al-Anbar province is unwinnable. It said that there was nothing we could do to win the hearts and minds, or the military operations in that area. So I wonder, why are we still there? Democracy is not forced upon people at gunpoint. It's the result of forward thinking individuals who take the initiative and risks to give their fellow countrymen a better way of life.

When I joined I took an oath. In that oath I swore to protect the Constitution of the United States. I didn't swear to build democracies in countries on the other side of the world under the guise of "national security." I didn't join the military to be part of an Orwellian ("1984") war machine that is in an obligatory war against whoever the state deems the enemy to be so that the populace can be controlled and riled up in a pro-nationalistic frenzy to support any new and oppressive law that will be the key to destroying the enemy. Example given - the Patriot Act. So aptly named, and totally against all that the constitution stands for. President Bush used the reactionary nature of our society to bring our country together and to infuse into the national psyche a need to give up their little-used rights in the hope to make our nation a little safer. The same scare tactics he used to win elections. He drones on and on about how America and the world would be a less safe place if we weren't killing Iraqis, and that we'd have to fight the terrorists at home if we weren't abroad. In our modern day emotive society this strategy (or strategery?) works, or had worked, up until last month's elections.

My point in this; to show that America was never nationalistic. If anything they were Statalistic (giving their allegiance to the state of their residence). This is shown in the fact that the founders created states with fully capable and independent governments and not provinces that were just a division of the federal government. These men believed that America was a place where imperialistic values would be non-existent. Where the people trying to make their lives better by working hard, thinking, inventing and using the free market would tie up so much of normal life that imperialistic colonization and the fighting of wars thousands of miles away for interests that are not our own would be avoided. They believed this expansion of power could be left to the European nations, the England, France and Spain of their time. However this recent, and current influx of nationalistic feeling has created an environment where giving up your rights, going to a foreign country to fight a people who did not ask for us to be there, nor did their leader do anything to warrant us being there, and dying would be considered honorable and heroic. I don't believe it anymore. I don't believe it's right for any American to go along with it anymore. Yes I know that we in the military are bound by the UCMJ and somehow don't fall under the Constitution (the very thing we're suppose to be defending) but sooner or later there is a decision that every American soldier, marine, airmen and seamen makes to allow themselves to be sent to a war that is against every fiber this country was founded on. I know that when April rolls around I will be thinking long and hard on that decision. Even though we in the military are just doing as we're told we still have the moral and ethical obligation to choose to do as we're told, or to say, "No, that isn't right." I believe that if more troopers like me and the professional military, the officers and commanders, start standing up and saying that they won't let themselves or their troops go to this illegal war people will start standing up and realizing what the heck is going on over there.

The sad fact of the matter is that we are not fighting terrorists in Iraq. We are fighting the Iraqi people who feel like a conquered and occupied people. Personally I have a hard time believing that if I was an Iraqi that I wouldn't be doing everything in my power to kill and maim as many Americans as possible. I know that the vast majority of Americans would not be happy with the Canadian government, or any other foreign government, liberating us from the clutches of George W. Bush, even though a large number of us would like that, and forcing us to accept their system of government. Would not millions of Americans rise up and fight back? Would you not rise up to protect and defend your house and your neighborhood if someone invaded your country? But we send thousands of troops to a foreign country to do just that. How is it moral to fight a people who are just trying to defend their homes and families? I think next time I go to Iraq perhaps I should wear a bright red coat and carry a Brown Bess instead of my digitalized utilities and M16.

Notice I never once used the word homeland in any of this. I have a secondary point I want to bring up now. Never once was the term homeland ever used to describe the country of America until Mr. Bush began the department of homeland security after the 9/11 attacks. Taking a 20th century history class will teach us that the most notable countries in the last century that referred to their country in this way were Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. Hitler used the term fatherland to drum up support, nationalistic support, for his growing war machine. He used the nationalism he created in the minds of the Germans to justify the sacrifice of their livelihood to build the war machine to get back their power from the oppressive restrictions the English and French had put on them at Versailles. This is the same feeling that has been virulently infecting the American psyche in the last hundred years. This is the same feeling that consoles a mother after her son is killed in an attempt to prosecute an aggressor's war 10,000 miles away. It's also known as Patriotism these days, but I say, "No more." No more nationalistic inanity, no more passing it off as patriotism. Patriotism is learning, and educating oneself to understand what their country really stands for.

I heard a lot during the memorial service about how the dead Marine did so much good for others and how his helping others was like a little microcosm of America helping because we have the power to do so. Well if we have the power to help people why aren't we helping in Darfur where hundreds of thousands of people have died in the last 10 years. Saddam was convicted and sentenced to death for killing 143 Shiites who conspired to assassinate him. (I know all you "patriotic" Americans would be calling for the heads of anyone who conspired to assassinate supreme leader Bush). And yet we spend upwards of 1 trillion dollars and nearing 3,000 lives to help these Iraqis when they don't even want us there. Not to mention we don't have the legal justification to be there. I guess we should wait around for the omnipotent W Bush to decide who we should use our superpowerdom to help next. It's about time to throw him and the rest of the fascists out. Moreover it's about time to start educating Americans about their past and history, and letting them know that imperialistic leaders are not what the founders of this great country wanted.

December 8, 2006

Philip Martin [send him mail] has been a Marine for 2 years. He is in the infantry (a "grunt"), and spent 7 months in the al-Anbar province of Iraq. He went on more than 180 combat patrols in and outside of the city of Fallujah, where he was hit with 2 IEDs (luckily never injured) and was involved in a number of firefights. He is currently stationed in Twentynine Palms, CA, and due to return to Iraq for a second deployment in April 2007. He is 21-years-old.

How far is it from Twentyni... (Below threshold)
marc:

How far is it from Twentynine Palms, CA to Canada?

He has so much to say and write, but from all indications he hasn't the strength of convictions to head north. Too bad.

It's an ugly thing to have ... (Below threshold)

It's an ugly thing to have to say, but we would have ourselves to blame because we allow Muslims to come here. The root cause of terrorism that we face, today, is Islam. If we stopped allowing foreign Muslims, the group best known for wanting to indiscriminately slaughter Americans, to come to America, we'd probably cut down our exposure to terrorism by 90%.

Spare me that crap about "not all of them being like that." Of course they're not all like that. The problem is, we can't tell who is and who isn't because the radicals know how to look like good secularized Muslims when they need to, and many of the "moderates" won't snitch out on the true believers.

Drlava..I agree with you i... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Drlava..I agree with you in your wish to bury the word homeland.. The only people to repeatly invoke the unfortunte word 'homeland' apart from George W Bush, were the old apartheid South Africa regime leaders who introduced the term for the small Bantustans /homelands for 'blacks'
On the larger question, despite the best efforts of Bush/Cheney and Rumsfeld to link them -according to the latest 'Military Times' Poll on the question of 'Do you consider the war in Iraq to be part of the war on terrorism that began Sept. 11, 2001, or do you consider it to be an entirely separate military action?'
The response from active military service personnel was:
Part of the war on terrorism, 47%
Separate military action, 47%
No opinion, 5%

Sorry, but the first letter... (Below threshold)
groucho:

Sorry, but the first letter reads an awful lot like any administration PR blurb from the last 3 or 4 years, crammed with all the standard warmongering talking points. If it was truly written by a soldier, I wish him luck and a safe trip home to family. Perhaps then he'll realize that Bush, Cheney, Rummy, etc, do not see the big picture and are not the right men for the time.

"sorry, but the first le... (Below threshold)
cmd:

"sorry, but the first letter reads a lot like any administration PR blurb. . ."

Yeah - because the supposed "Marine's" letter is straight-shooting from the heart discourse, and not fevered moonbattery right from Michael Mooreistan.

Facism - check.
Lost rights - check.
"illegal war" - check.
Obligatory Nazi reference - check.

But hey - it must feel great to finally find a solider you can support, right, groucho? Right, drlava? Too bad his helmet's lined with tinfoil.

Driava, I aam in no way dou... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Driava, I aam in no way doubting the authenticity of the letter from Mr. Martin. Could I ask how you came across it?

These are the time... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:
These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. - Thomas Paine
The terrorists ought to be ... (Below threshold)
Pagar:

The terrorists ought to be overjoyed with today's messages of support from American leftists. Especially knowing that a Congressman wants to send a whole lot more of the type that wrote that
letter supposedly from a US Marine scheduled to return to Iraq. That certainly will insure the terrorists will try harder. However, I expect the results will be the same. The terrorists in Iraq won't defeat America, it will be their leftist supporters here in the US.

cmd,Re-read my sho... (Below threshold)
groucho:

cmd,

Re-read my short post and try to find the part in which I say I support the writer of the second letter. Stop making stuff up. It makes you look bad.

It is interesting that the writer of the second letter is scheduled for redeployment to Iraq in April, yet marc wants him to go to Canada. I think that says volumes about his "convictions".

From yesterday's NY ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:


From yesterday's NY Post, which I know some here will find unsavory, but good things do happen in Iraq. The question is always asked why we don't hear about them as much as we hear aboiut the bad stuff.

Last month, Iraq received the U.N.'s special environmental prize for reviving parts of the marshes drained by Saddam, thus saving one of the world's most precious ecological treasures. Almost no one in the media noticed.

Also last month, the Iraqi soccer squad reached the finals of the Asian Games - beating out Japan, China, South Korea and Iran. Again, few in the West noticed.

In 2006, almost 200 major reconstruction projects were officially completed and 4,000 new private companies registered in Iraq. But few seem interested in the return of private capitalism after nearly 50 years of Soviet-style control.

Iraq's new political life is either ignored or dismissed as irrelevant. The creation of political parties (some emerging from decades of clandestine life), the work of Iraq's parliament, the fact that it is almost the only Arab country where people are free to discuss politics to their hearts' content - these are of no interest to those determined to see Iraq as a disaster, as proof that toppling Saddam was a modern version of the original sin.

Iraq may still become any of those things - but right now it is none of them. When the real history of the Iraq war is written, posterity might marvel at the way modern media were used to manufacture that original sin.

Wizbangers,Remembe... (Below threshold)

Wizbangers,

Remember the AP reports from Iraq that you said you would no longer consider valid because they came from anonymous sources? Yet Lorie does not give us the name of this letter writer. So anonymous sources from news organizations in Iraq are untrustworthy but an anonymously sourced letter from a soldier in Iraq is the gospel truth?. Am I seeing a double standard here?

We're gonna lose this thing... (Below threshold)
nikkolai:

We're gonna lose this thing! We've just got to lose it! Remember the Viet Nam! It was our height of glory!

Sincerely,

American Idiot Leftist

Naww "[email protected]" you are seei... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Naww "[email protected]" you are seeing that you and your kind are un-American pieces of pig shit. Now stick that up your PC ass.

Time for your meds, j....</... (Below threshold)
groucho:

Time for your meds, j....

We can send a million troop... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

We can send a million troops to Iraq and still lose.
We can guarantee our own defeat. Just like Vietnam.
While victory is never assured, one can always assure one's defeat.
If we want to have a real shot at victory, more important than sending more troops is changing the rules of engagement to allow the possibility of victory instead of preordaining defeat.

Dave DIf you want ... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

Dave D

If you want to source drlava's Phillip Martin letter, just google the 1st 2 or 3 lines of it and you will get these results.

I believe the site that drlava used was the 2nd result from "Information Clearing House." That entry contains the thumbnail bio found at the foot of drlava's post.

nikkolaiFYI... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

nikkolai


FYI

someone has been making the most asinine posts above and has been making a fool of you by using your nic.

aRepukelican,Thanks.... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

aRepukelican,
Thanks. I appreciate it.
DaveD

marc: "heartfelt" is NOT th... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

marc: "heartfelt" is NOT the word I'D use to describe The Anchoress's anonymous correspondent's letter. I think it's the feminine tone underneath such lumberheadedness that you MISTAKE for "heartfelt". Sound like Mommie Dearest (or the Anchoress herself) to me!

cubanbob right on ... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

cubanbob

right on bob...with all that silica in Iraq, we could turn it into glass in a.... flash!!!

What we need is a real victory over there.

Already took them "grouchy"... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Already took them "grouchy" and up yours also.

"real victory" by "repukeface" is where his kind go over there and say BEND OVER so I can kiss your ass. That's the only kind of victory you get from LLL--cut and run with thier tail between thier legs.

Ah HAH! EVEN MORE Soldier P... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Ah HAH! EVEN MORE Soldier Prose! A prose offensive! Must Read! http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/blogs/wolcott

good things do happen in... (Below threshold)
Brian:

good things do happen in Iraq. The question is always asked why we don't hear about them as much as we hear aboiut the bad stuff.

You're right. With 3,000 dead Americans, and 150,000 dead Iraqis, it's almost criminal that the media does not keep us informed about the inroads the Iraqi soccer squad is making against the Asians.

In fact, we could use more people on the right to point out how the Iraqi marshland thrives just a little more with each dead American.

Well, since there's all thi... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Well, since there's all this discussion about the words of a single (alleged) military person, what shall we say about the words of a thousand of them?

On a wind-swept terrace by a House office building, several active duty soldiers announced they were handing to Congress a petition with over 1,000 signatures of members of the military, calling for the United States to promptly withdraw its forces and bases from Iraq.

The war was "unjustified, unwinnable and unconscionable" said 22-year-old Liam Madden, a sergeant in the U.S. Marines based at Quantico, Virginia.

"A thousand" out of 140,000... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

"A thousand" out of 140,000. Hmmmm-not very good odds.

About 1,000 times better th... (Below threshold)
Brian:

About 1,000 times better than 1, which is all that Lorie's post was based on. Gee, among everything else, I guess you suck at math, too.




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