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t.f. boggs



"Mere ideals are the cheapest things in life. The more ideals a man has the more contemptible he is if the matter ends there, if there is no courage shown, no privations undergone, no scars contracted in the effort to get them realized." William James



Updated: 2017-08-11T11:23:08.709-04:00

 



New Website!

2007-06-30T10:35:01.131-04:00

So I have finally finished the new website I have told people about for several months now. I am not officially announcing it until Monday the 1st (whatever that means) but for the few readers who may see this post before then head on over to www.voxveterana.com and check it out. I am going to leave this site up as an archive but I do not plan on posting here anymore so add the new site to your blogroll instead of this one.



How Much More?

2007-05-03T18:49:37.027-04:00

Concerning the recent debate about the Pentagon’s choice to severely limit milblogging I take a stand somewhere between Hugh Hewitt and Joe Carter. Here is why.In WWII the Nazi’s were significantly effective in using propaganda as a tool for the destruction of Europe’s Jews. A common misunderstanding of the Holocaust is that it was perpetrated solely by the Nazis, and they alone are to blame. The fact, however, is that almost everyone in Europe got into the game of killing, or at least took part by deporting their Jews to be killed by the Germans. Why the participation? Well one of the reasons was because of the massive propaganda machine that Germany employed. Headed by Joseph Goebbels, who had the title of Minister of Propaganda, the propaganda machine was responsible for espousing the hatred of the Jews on a large scale. Every day Germans were exposed to countless posters, radio broadcasts, newspapers etc. that told of the inferiority of the Jews in some fashion or another: they were biologically inferior, they carried disease, and they were whatever was wrong with society. After awhile these messages began to take a toll on the non-Jewish population, and even reached across the seas to America.My point in saying this is that the Germans were hugely successful in their campaign to exterminate the Jews because they were able to convince others of their point of view. The Nazi government realized the role that media played in their realizing their goals and went full force into fighting their battle on both the ground and in the minds of the European population. Would they have been as successful, able to kill 6 million Jews, if they kept their ideas about Jews to themselves? No. They needed the cooperation of other nations in order to do so. Thus begins my point about the milblogs being essentially shutdown.As I noted in my blog at Blogworldexpo.com the US military is overwhelmingly capable of winning a ground war against any enemy. But what we aren’t capable (for lack of something of which I am not able to put my finger on) is winning the minds of people across the world as to the rightness of our war on Islamic extremism. If we could somehow get the truth out to the world about what is really going on in Iraq (i.e. not just Baghdad) I am willing to bet that people would immediately question their previously held notions about the war.For some reason post-WWII USA has been seemingly incapable of convincing others that the wars we fight are the right ones. No matter what we fight against we are wrong and they are right. Look no further than the current war in Iraq. What rational being could possibly be sympathetic towards the extremists in Iraq? How could anyone possibly not see that we are fighting pure evil? In order to convince others of the truths on the ground we need a media blitz. Notice I did not say we need a propaganda machine like the Nazis did, the truth will suffice for us. If we were able on a large scale to share what is going on in Iraq, the good, the bad, and the ugly, we would win people to our cause in droves. Winning the support of the world would then allow us to do what is necessary to win the war against Islamic extremism by giving us the tools necessary to do so i.e. divesting from terror supporting countries, seeking alternative fuel sources, military support etc. Now I believe, although not unconditionally, that milblogs play an essential role in getting the word out about Iraq and Afghanistan. In my time as a milblogger deployed to Iraq I would often receive emails thanking me for telling it like it was. I realized then my limited role in getting the real information out, but whatever I could do to help I wanted to do. Although some say that it isn’t the job of soldiers to fight the war on the ground and the war against the MSM at the same time I disagree. Who better to do so than those who know what is really going on? We aren’t that tied up that we can’t contribute in other ways than simply being trigger pullers.Of course there is the argument about[...]



Not quite retired...

2007-05-02T22:40:21.079-04:00

In response to the shocking news that the Pentagon has banned milblogs I wrote a response for my buddy Rick at Blogworldexpo.com which was subsequently linked by Hugh Hewitt. However, the blogfather, in his link to this site, called me "Retired Milblogger T.F. Boggs". Now I know it has been super sparse lately but trust me when I say that I am all but retired. The new site is just waiting to be coded and loaded (I've said that before) before it is up and running. If you're new to the site welcome and hang in there, the new site is coming and it won't dissapoint.



And So...

2007-04-11T00:27:27.421-04:00

And so the new site is almost completed. I imagine I'll upload it to the web sometime towards the end of the month. When I do I'll post a link to it here. I have another writer on board to write with me and am trying to convince one more so it won't be all T.F. this time around, which coincidentally should make it much better.



Initial Thoughts

2007-03-17T16:31:44.693-04:00

I came, I saw, I drank some coffee and then some beer. I guess I didn't really know what to expect coming down to D.C. for the counter anti-war protest termed Gathering of the Eagles. Whatever it was the reality of the day definitely did not match up.

For starters the anti-war group ANSWER and their cohorts seemed to have an unusually small turnout. Perhaps I feel this way because their exploits are always given too much media coverage but their group was really lame. Actually I can't say only bad things about them, they did have some great music playing on their supierior sound system. I guess if you become accustomed to protesting you figure out how to do it well. But I get ahead of myself.

The Gathering of the Eagles saw a great turnout of veterans and military supporters. The day was cold and the ground was muddy from the night before, but the Eagles stayed out the whole day to show their support despite the lack of media coverage that the anti-America group was enjoying. There were a few cameras rolling near us but they only wanted to catch the heckling going on outside the gates to our area. Since I can only take so much of chanting, heckling, and crazily dressed commie-pinkos I left the gathering before too long.

What I realized before I left has changed my viewpoint about the anti-war crowd. I realized that they don't necessarily outnumber us, and they definitely don't out think us (not one of them could participate in a rational argument). The only reason they enjoy so much attention is because they are so outrageous that the media covers them. So instead of solely blaming the anti-crowd (anti-war, anti-democracy, anti-truth, anti-rationality etc.) I blame the media as well. When we approached the protest site today media vans lined the road around the anti-crowd but were nowhere to be seen near the Gathering of the Eagles. Why? I don't know so I can't tell you, but what I do know is that it is a joke. I am sure whatever they put on the TV will be an exaggeration so don't buy the hype. Nothing out of the ordinary happened today no matter what the TV tells you.

What did happen today was a bunch of people from across the country came to D.C. in support of the military and our president. They made an impact on each other if not on the media. So I leave D.C. feeling better about our chances winning the war in Iraq after seeing the lame anti-crowd. If they are our only opposition then we are okay.



Back In Action

2007-03-14T15:43:23.079-04:00

After a small hiatus I am back in action. The winter quarter of school is all finished up and I somehow emerged unscathed. The new website is almost ready (I've said that before) and I have been writing a few posts for it that I hope will go over well. Until that happens though you can catch a sighting of T.F. at the Gathering of the Eagles in D.C. this upcoming weekend. This will be my first time attending an anti-war protest so I am sure I’ll have something to say once it is all said and done. Oh, and incase you were wondering I will not be protesting the war, but rather, just taking pictures and people-watching.

If you decide to attend I’ll be the guy with the pinch cap and pipe. Hope to see some of you there.



What Have I Been Doing?

2007-02-18T20:32:22.181-05:00

So some of you are wondering why I haven’t been posting much lately and rightly you should. I think a bit of explanation is in order in response to this comment:

“Great job, but where's the new stuff? I mean, I know it takes you army guys a while to think things through, but seriously...”

Well besides figuring out how to live as a civilian and growing a beard, I am taking 27 credit hours this quarter, working on completing the new website that should be out soon, writing some posts for the new site, doing interviews for radio and TV, and I just took the LSAT in order to apply for law school this year. I know it isn’t the same as fooling around with planes and eating steak and lobster everyday in the rear Chicpilot, but it’ll do;)

But seriously though, I have been chomping at the bit to tell you exactly why the defeatist democrats, who utter such things like Iraq being “the worst foreign policy mistake in the history of this country” as Harry Reid did, are as anti-American as you can get. (Where was I when Iraq surpassed even Vietnam as the worst foreign policy mistake ever?)

I have been wanting to defend soldiers against such lowlifes as William Arkin, James Walcott, and Matt “I played a soldier on TV” Damon, but it will have to wait for the new site.

If you guys stay with me through the thin posting times it would be much appreciated. Meanwhile visit Michael Yon, Bill Roggio, and Buck Sargent who are all doing ample posting.



New Media In Action

2007-02-06T22:54:45.742-05:00

Last week I did an interview with Mark Finkelstein for his show rightAngle. He just posted the video online at his site so follow the link and watch the show. Any compliments on my overcoming my "You know" ness are welcomed.

I look forward to doing interviews in the future with Mark so I'll be sure to keep you guys informed when I do.



Support This Man

2007-02-04T09:57:15.984-05:00

I have long admired Pat Dollard for his willingness to leave his prosperous life behind and stay with the marines in a very dangerous part of Iraq. I am eagerly anticipating his documentary and think it will greatly aid our nation's perspective of the war. If you haven't heard of Pat or watched the trailers for his movie be sure to check out his site.

Pat needs some financial help right now so go over to his site and contribute. As if contributing to a good cause wasn't enough you get a great shirt along with your contribution. I personally can't wait to wear the shirt here at school and will document what happens when I do. If you happen to not want the shirt but want to contribute anyway, send the shirt my way and I'll make sure it gets to a deserving soldier, but whatever you do help out the guy if you are able to.

*Pat has nothing to do with this post by the way. I wrote this on my own accord.*



10 Things I’ve Learned at School (so far)

2007-02-01T23:10:01.609-05:00

1. There is no truth.

2. One great piece of literature can change the world.

3. Truth doesn’t matter, that is of course unless it applies to fiction.

4. Bush is quite possibly the antichrist. Not an antichrist, but possibly The antichrist.

5. Never admit you are in the military unless you do not want to be taken seriously again.

6. It’s better not to think on your own. Just follow what your teacher tells you.

7. Driving sucks when the only possible thing that might blow up on you is some 18-year-old girl you almost hit because she stepped into the street while talking on her cell phone, while arguing with her parents that her bank account is low, while being 20 minutes late to class, while wearing really ugly snow boots, and all the while wearing jogging pants that would have been appropriate for the weather but have long ceased to hold any functionality since they have been cut off just below the knee.

8. Terrorists would all lay their weapons down if they just understood how to read fiction sophisticatedly.

9. If you don’t read the New York Times you cannot have an accurate grasp on what’s going on in the world.

10. The single greatest tragedy to happen in the United States in the past 37 years was the Kent State shootings on May 4th 1970.

There is still much for me to learn but I think this list is a good start. Oh and just incase you are wondering there is no possible way I could come up with these on my own, I am not that creative.



Good Article

2007-01-25T20:17:37.503-05:00

First off sorry for the lack of productivity on my site lately. School is kicking my butt with regards to free time so I haven't been posting too much. I have several posts in the works but for now I have a link to The Captain's Journal where you will find an excerpt from my radio interview with Hugh Hewitt last month contributing to an overall argument against the rules of engagement (ROE) in Iraq. The Captain puts together a good argument against the constricting ROE that we had to face in Iraq so visit his site and let him know what you think.



Just Doing My Part

2007-08-06T22:24:06.353-04:00

(image)
I often wonder why it always takes socialist scumbags to awaken me to the fact that there are a lot of lowlifes out there willing to take advantage of other people. Cue Appeal For Redress. I am just doing my part to spread the word about this so called "grass roots campaign" so don't credit me with this one, Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette is the one doing all the work. Visit the link above to see Greyhawk's original article.

Although I didn't discover this story I am going to add a new thought to it by referring to this as my generations first "Swiftboat Cause" as I am sure there will be more. Those of us in the military who are tired of being taken advantage of need to speak up and be the real grass roots organization that Greyhawk refers to.

So the guy who the people behind Appeal For Redress say started the website is a navy veteran who joined in 2004 and is now out. You may be wondering what this guy did while he was in the navy as I did when I first started reading about him. Well turns out he was an onboard photographer who also spent his time fixing up offices and making sure things worked properly. While others will not question a veteran's right to voice their opinions I will. What possibly does this guy have to add to the discussion on whether or not we should be in Iraq? This guy, as far as I can tell since all the links talking about him have been changed or removed from the web (most likely in the past day or so) never made it off of the ship into Iraq. Now if he wants to be ideologically opposed to war than that is fine I suppose (although I would disagree with him there too) but on the website it says "Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price." How the hell would this navy photographer know that? Now of course this guy is just a front for the organization but don't you think they could have found someone more qualified? Is this the best these people can come up with?

So what everyone should do is spread the word to as many people as they can. Send Greyhawk's article to your local representatives so they won't buy into this crap when it comes across their desk. I'll keep people updated as I hear more but be sure to keep checking back with Mudville Gazette.



Help A Soldier

2007-01-14T18:23:11.825-05:00

Some folks are above shamless self promotion...I'm not. Go over to this site and vote for the best milblog so your favorite military author can win some money. Just so you know if I win any money (highly unlikely) it will go towards the creation of my new website. You will basically be doing yourself a favor because you will get to enjoy the fruits of your own labor in voting for me. Thanks.



Yeah I Don't Get It Either

2007-01-14T09:32:41.636-05:00

After checking my site meter earlier today I learned that a number of people were coming my way via Mary Katharine Ham's website at Townhall.com. I decided to check out why they were doing so since Ham has never linked to me before. When I got to her site I watched a little video that she made that quotes me during it. I don't really know why she quotes me because what I said doesn't fit with the point she is trying to make. I am also quoted alongside the likes of some of my favorite people like John Kerry, Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid just to name a few. Now I don't know whether Ham was trying to cast what I said in a negative light but after watching the video several times it seems that way to me. Of course that may not have been her intention with the video but the video is poorly done and devoid of any real meaning so the point was hard for me to grasp.

So why did I respond you may be asking? Well I just didn't want people coming to my site thinking that I support what those democratic senators said. Don't blame me for the video, I'm just an innocent bystander. Go check out the video and tell me what you think because maybe I am way off base here.


*Update* Mary Katharine Ham emailed and said she didn't mean for it to be negative in any way. No harsh feelings Miss. Ham just wondering.



I Just Got Iraqed Upside The Face

2007-01-13T15:59:51.121-05:00

My apologies to those of you who happened to see a post of mine that was up for about 20 minutes on Thursday night. I took the post down after giving it some thought and think I made the right choice. For those of you who didn't see it a little bit of explanation is warranted on my part.

The post was my initial reaction to the news from this
article. The article is about the Pentagon's new policy regarding deployments for the Guard and Reserve. Have a look for yourself.

“Until now, the Pentagon’s policy on the Guard or Reserve was that members’ cumulative time on active duty for the Iraq or Afghan wars could not exceed 24 months. That cumulative limit is now lifted; the remaining limit is on the length of any single mobilization, which may not exceed 24 consecutive months.”

My initial reaction was obviously not very positive but since then I have calmed down and realized that I might as well get mad at the weather. There is nothing I can do about anything the army does. So if they need me to deploy again then so be it, I just thought I would go ahead and volunteer for my last tour so I could have some assurance about the course of my future. Silly me.

On the bright side maybe I'll be able to provide everyone with news from the front again sometime soon. I won't be holding my breath but you guys are welcome to.



Two Articles

2007-01-10T21:30:09.741-05:00

By no means am I the first to share the links to these two articles but they accurately portray how I feel so I thought I would link to them so people could understand where I am coming from with a lot of my thoughts. The first article was written a week ago by J.B. Smith who served in Iraq from 2004-2005 and can be found here. The second article was written by Jed Babbin at the American Prowler (linked to in my blogroll by the name The American Spectator) and is called The A-Team?

I just figured if you are like me you could use some good reading now and again. Enjoy.



Why A Troop Increase Isn’t That Bad of an Idea

2007-01-08T12:30:25.720-05:00

Lots of talk has been made lately of the majority Republican idea of sending more troops to Iraq in an attempt to quell terrorism once and for all. Democrats (most of them at least) want us to pull out of Iraq and come home so that not one more soldier will die, or something like that. My real guess at what the democrats want is for the troops to come home so John Kerry will stop putting his foot in his mouth when he refers to them thus making potential voters angry. So here we are with two options but still without a real plan so if I may offer my two cents on the topic we’ll see if we can’t clear up a few issues.As you already deciphered from the title of this post I am in favor of a troop increase and think it will help enormously as long as the troops are put to good use. My support for a troop increase stems from some of my experiences while in Iraq on my second yearlong tour with the army. The town I was based in was somewhat of a model for all Arab Iraqi towns. I say Arab Iraqi towns because a true model for Iraq would be that of the Kurdish areas but since Arabs do not play nicely with Kurds we’ll take what we can get. Sometime before I arrived there the town I was in was a haven for terrorists. Due to the effort of many brave American and Iraqi soldiers the town had been cleaned up and was for the most part about as safe as you can get in Iraq. Since the town was safe, reconstruction efforts were able to get underway which in turn allowed the inhabitants of the city to see the benefit of not allowing terrorists to operate in their midst. It is simple mathematics: 2+2=4 and no terrorists=better quality of life. When water starts flowing and schools start opening up, among many other things, people realize that we are not the Great Satan that they once thought we were. They understand that we really are there to do as we said we were four years ago. We don’t want their oil; we want to make it flow better. We don’t want to indoctrinate their kids; we want to open up schools so they can learn and make their own decisions. We only need the time and cooperation of the local population to make these things happen. With more troops in Iraq I believe we would better be able to secure towns and allow reconstruction to happen on a larger scale. I mentioned that we cannot simply send more troops into country with the hopes of everything magically getting better but that they must be put to good use. Much has been made about the Rules of Engagement (ROE) being too strict thus hamstringing our troops from adequately doing their job and I agree. I have mentioned several times before about instances when I thought twice about doing something simply because I was worried if what I was going to do fell within the limitations of the ROE. While soldiers need to learn and memorize the ROE, the ROE need to be relaxed if we ever hope of truly crushing the terrorists. We need to be allowed to walk into any Mosque at any time to search it since they have generally been places for terrorists to hide their weapons caches. We need to come up with a standardized set of rules for Iraqis to follow when around soldiers so that anything out of the ordinary will be easily recognizable. These suggestions among many possible others should go into effect along with any troop increase that might happen in Iraq. More troops is only part of the answer, and while it is a major part, we also need to fix the ROE. Fighting wars by political means has never worked in the past and it will not now. We need to let our war fighters do their jobs and that means having the politicians in Washington sit out of the meetings[...]



Back At Liberal U

2007-01-04T17:20:44.550-05:00

I do not know why I would ever be surprised by the goings on at a major university but for some reason I am now. After attending the first day of classes I visited a local bookstore to purchase my textbooks and I noticed several class reading lists that consisted solely of books bashing the Bush administration. Titles like State of Denial , The Greatest Story Ever Sold: The Decline and Fall of Truth From 9/11 to Katrina, War on the Middle Class, and The World is Flat adorned the bookshelves and kids were rushing to get their copies. Books by Cornell West and other hate-America lefties were assigned reading and I cringed as 18-year-old students fresh out of high school plopped down their money in order to be indoctrinated by their far-left professors.

After my book buying experience I was all set to meet with a professor whom I hadn’t seen since I left school almost two years ago for Iraq. Now to be fair this professor is a friend of mine and is a great teacher but what she said to me within the first minute of seeing me confirmed the fact that I’m not in Kansas anymore. After we said our pleasantries she asked me the same thing that everyone always wants to know:

“So are you going to have to go back to Iraq?”

She said this with a hint of trepidation in her voice and when I explained to her that the earliest I would have to go back would be sometime late 2008 if at all she breathed a sigh of relief and said:

“Phhewww. By then we will have a democratic president in office so you won’t have to worry about it. If by some crazy chance Bush was elected to a third term you know you would be going back.”

After I shrugged off her ridiculous concern that Bush might somehow gain office for a third term considering it is law that presidents can only serve two terms (although admittedly Bush does have superpowers since he caused Hurricane Katrina) I found it funny that she thought I must feel the same way as she did. I can guarantee that it never crossed her mind that I would feel differently. After she was finished speaking I just smiled politely-the smile that I do when I know there is no reason to argue-and told her that I didn’t really mind my deployments and actually had a great experience. However, I am sure that this part of the conversation went somewhere off the left side of her brain and bounced around the walls of books until it found it’s way out the crack at the bottom of the door.

The reason teachers (not all teachers just to be fair) feel this way is because they live in a little academic bubble and are surrounded by like-minded peers. I don’t have a solution to this problem but if you know a young college student point them in the direction of websites that share real world information (hint: info not found in a college newspaper) the likes of which I have linked to in my blogroll. A little outside perspective can go a long way on a college campus.



Joys of Blogging

2007-01-01T23:06:35.910-05:00

So I realize that I haven’t posted for a while and for that I apologize. I just got back from my cross country media blitz consisting of one radio show interview and am currently packing up the car to go back to school. The next chapter to my “back from war” life is starting and I have to say I am excited to get on with things.

After appearing on the Hugh Hewitt show last week on which I had the opportunity to talk with many of the big milbloggers out there I ran out to Las Vegas with a blogger friend of mine and had a great weekend. A year ago when I started my blog I never would have thought that I would have done half of the things that I have done because of it. I consider myself lucky to have done the things I have since then and hope to continue on with blogging. With that said I hope to come up with a new website and finally get away from blogger. I have big plans for the future and I just ask everyone to stick with me in the meantime. I will continue to post at this URL and will be sure to let everyone know what’s going on with the new site.

So Happy New Year everyone, thanks for reading and I hope you continue to stop by. I’ll be back soon.



Listen In

2006-12-18T01:54:31.716-05:00

In lieu of a better post I just wanted to mention that I will be “appearing” on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on the 27th of this month. If you live in an area that broadcasts his show be sure to tune in but if you don’t go here to find out how you can listen. I believe I will be on for the whole show so call in and say hi if the spirit moves you.



Where do we go now?

2006-12-09T17:54:10.373-05:00

Since I have expressed my disdain for the “findings” of the ISG I suppose I should offer my opinion on what course I believe our military should take to win the war in Iraq and against the greater war on terrorism in general.

First off when we find ourselves engaged in a war our military are more often than not the ones fighting it. Unless things have changed in the past three weeks since I left Iraq there weren’t any politicians on ground clothed with body armor patrolling the streets looking for the bad guys. My point being that in war we should let the war fighters fight the war with their guns and steely knives not the politicians. America cannot afford to hamstring it’s military any longer with senseless limitations.

I am not the first to make this point but the ISG offers no course for victory in Iraq. The ISG instead discusses what they think would be our smoothest course of action for pulling out of Iraq. Who said pulling out of Iraq is our only course of action? I guess considering our recent history with Vietnam, Beirut, several embassy bombings, Mogadishu, the first bombing of the WTC and the USS Cole to name a few we have been accustomed to either non-action or quitting the fight too soon.

A true Iraq Survey Group would not have been comprised of men like Baker and Hamilton but rather, men like General Norman Schwarzkopf and General Tommy Franks for their ability to make tough decisions. Along with these men a group of soldiers who had recent experience on the ground would serve as no nonsense advisors. We would need soldiers of all ranks and jobs in order to fully grasp the big picture. As I have noted before it is often hard to obtain the real picture from high-ranking officers alone so a true mix of all types of soldiers would be ideal. Throw in some educated Iraqis and a group of Iraqi soldiers who are risking their lives to save their country from falling into the hands of the terrorists and I believe my version of the ISG would come up with much more sensible recommendations than Baker’s ISG did.

The most important key for victory is to counteract the negative press coming out of Iraq. Terrorists know that to beat America they must do it on the nightly news and not on the battlefield. As things stand right now no terrorist organization or terrorist supporting country could even hope to hang with our military in battle. From my own experience I believe the terrorists are merely keeping up the fight in order to wear down the resolve of the American people. My company traveled the roads of northern Iraq and we often encountered roadside bombs but never were any of our soldiers injured. The IEDs were small and merely an annoyance. I often wondered why anyone would risk their life to place such a small bomb that had no hope of injuring anyone besides themselves and I came to the conclusion that as long as bombs were going off the news would report on them and the American people who don’t know any better will think that chaos continues to reign in Iraq.

I am not against changing our course in Iraq but I am against cutting and running. With a realistic plan for victory composed by the very men and women who are doing the fighting combined with a media who was behind our efforts I believe a victory would not be long behind. If our military was simply allowed to do their job and not be hamstrung by politicians 5000 miles and a world away Iraq would be a much different place.



What we should and should not do: An Authoritative Voice...

2006-12-06T16:52:24.366-05:00

After watching the Iraq Survey Group press conference today I am a firm believer that all politicians are idiots. Okay well not all of them but they all have a problem understanding reality. If any politician is reading this now feel free to email me and we’ll go out for coffee and I’ll further explain. But I digress.The Iraq Survey Group’s findings or rather, recommendations are a joke and could have only come from a group of old people who have been stuck in Washington for too long. The brainpower of the ISG has come up with a new direction for our country and that includes negotiating with countries whose people chant “Death to America” and whose leaders deny the Holocaust and call for Israel to be wiped from the face of the earth. Baker and Hamilton want us to get terrorists supporting countries involved in fighting terrorism! If I am the only one who finds something wrong with that then please let me know because right now I feel like I am the only person who feels this way.Not only are the findings of the ISG a joke but the people who led the group (Baker and Hamilton) treat soldiers like they are a joke. One of the main recommendations of the ISG is to send more troops to Iraq in order to train Iraqis so they can secure their own country, but they don’t feel that we are doing a good job of that right now because training Iraqis isn’t an attractive job for soldiers to do because it isn’t a “career advancing” job. As someone who trained Iraqis from time to time I take personal offense to this remark. In my experience soldiers clamored for the chance to train Iraqis. Any soldier who doesn’t think training Iraqis is worth their time because it isn’t a “career advancing” job shouldn’t be part in the war on terror plain and simple. What the group desperately needed was at least one their members to have been in the military and had recent experience in Iraq. The problem with having an entire panel with no one under the age of 67 is that none of them could possibly know what the situation is actually like on the ground in Iraq. Now I concede that it is possible to have a good understanding of things as they stand in Iraq but unless you interact with the people of Iraq and spend a year or years of your life on ground you cannot possibly have a complete picture of the situation. We cannot appease our enemies and we cannot continue to cut and run when the going gets tough. As it stands in the world right now our enemies view America as a country full of queasy people who are inclined to cut and run when things take a turn for the worse. Just as the Tet Offensive was the victory that led to our failure in Vietnam our victories in Iraq now are leading to our failure in the Middle East. How many more times must we fight to fail? I feel like all of my efforts (30 months of deployment time) and the efforts of all my brothers in arms are all for naught. I thought old people were supposed to be more patient than a 24 year old but apparently I have more patience for our victory to unfold in Iraq than 99.9 percent of Americans. Iraq isn’t fast food-you can’t have what you want and have it now. To completely change a country for the first time in it’s entire history takes time, and when I say time I don’t mean 4 years.Talking doesn’t solve anything with a crazed people, bullets do and we need to be given a chance to work our military magic. Like I told a reporter buddy of mine: War sucks but a world run by Islamofacists sucks more[...]



Back Home

2008-08-27T17:48:41.326-04:00

I finally made it home a week and a half ago and have been thoroughly enjoying some time off. I have seen most of my family and friends and have enjoyed simply being in America. Being home feels completely normal to me and I haven’t even thought about Iraq one iota. The transition from soldier life to civilian life has been seamless and I rather prefer it that way, I suppose it can be chalked up to my crafty veteran status since I seem to do this every other year.The last couple weeks in Iraq at times were pretty lame and I doubt I ever had that much free time. We played cards and watched football biding our time before we boarded the plane out of Iraq. Not all was completely unexciting as we narrowly avoided an ambush on our last mission just days before we left country. We were delayed two days in Kuwait when five different dogs smelled something “fishy” on our plane and I swear the beer in Ireland made us intoxicated at a quicker pace then I ever remembered before. It seemed as if everything was working against our coming home. Kiss my butt terrorists you’ll have to try harder than that. But now I am back and life is good for the time being. Everything here seems to have taken on a new significance and I appreciate things a lot more. Of course I did this before and the feelings do fade with time so I’ll enjoy the taste of real food and the thrill of making my own decisions while they are still new. I have told countless people that it feels completely normal to be back home and that I am doing fine “really I am, don’t worry about me.” Everyone looks at me with a concerned stare just to make sure I am really telling the truth I guess. I’m taking it easy for now but I’ll head off to school next year and see if I can finish up my three and a half year degree in my seventh year. “There are lots of people who go to school for seven years Tommy, they’re called doctors.” Once completed I think I just might get myself stuck in school for another three years to learn about those pesky things called laws. Who knows maybe there will be another deployment thrown in there? But who am I kidding, with a House and Senate controlled by the democrats we’ll probably be worrying too much about how to put everyone on welfare and see to it that no one has to pay for health care. I survived bullets and bombs now let’s see if I can survive a country where Nancy Pelosi is third in command. So for the time being I am trying to figure out what exactly I’ll be doing with my blog. As soon as I find out I’ll let everyone know so rest assured, I know that is probably first and foremost on your minds right about now so I’m just looking out for you. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. If you have some time take a minute to think about how well we have it in America. I can’t even begin to list them but playing golf in a free society is right near the top.[...]



A Last Few Thoughts

2007-01-08T12:36:12.963-05:00

Since I am only a few days away from leaving Iraq I haven't had much time to access the internet let alone follow the news. When I finally made it to a computer I found out that a lot has been going on in the last few days that concerns me to an extent. In light of those events I'll add my two cents although most of what I am going to say people will probably already be able to guess. First, John Kerry has been and continues to remain an idiot. There isn't really much left to say on the subject that hasn't already been said. He constantly puts his foot in his mouth and is an embarrassment to America. Whether or not he intended his comment to insult those serving in the military is not the question, because even if he didn't, the end result is that he did. Kerry often touts the fact that he served in the military in Vietnam and thinks that it gives him a pass to continually talk as if he is a lifelong member of the "I-can-make-fun-of-the-military-because-I-am-a-member-of-the-club" or something. In my eyes Kerry revoked his "cool pass" with the military long ago and is no longer immune to criticism when he makes jokes about those who serve. Are there stupid people in the military? Yes. Are there smart people in the military? Yes. But there are also stupid people in college. I would much rather be around truck drivers and welders in the military for the rest of my life instead of having to dwell among the people at universities and the ketchup-heir-wooers of the world in all of their infinite wisdom. What John Kerry doesn't understand is that the people in the military are genuine people unlike the leaders of the democratic party he hangs out with. John Kerry is so far removed from reality that his jokes don't even make sense. He is nothing but an embarassment and the fact that he even draws so much attention when he does something stupid amazes me. Moving on, elections are coming up in a few days and I have a plea for all voters: Do not let the events in Iraq in the next few days affect the way you vote. Our enemy is a calculating foe and has timed some major attacks right before elections back home in order to scare people away from voting pro-victory. We need leaders to continue to fight terrorism wherever it may be found and right now that place is Iraq. Our enemy knows Americans are a weak-kneed people and is counting on more bloodshed to scare them into voting for the cut and run party. Don't do it though. We need the right people in power to see that we continue to fight so that we can win and show the world we aren't scared to follow through with what we know is right. Enough said, I'll leave the details for you to find out on your own. I'll share an analogous story with you. The other night I was on the road and our convoy happened upon a donkey in the middle of the road and he wasn't going to move for anything. We drove right at him going 50 miles an hour and he didn't flinch. This donkey was impeding our ability to make progress so we swerved to avoid from hitting him. He stayed in the middle of the road for the entirety of the convoy and never moved. Being experienced soldiers we knew that we needed to press on and continue the mission despite the efforts of the donkey to stop us dead in our tracks. We eventually made it back to base safely and laughed about the whole incident. Take what you want from the story but all I ask is that you don't let the donkey impede our progress any longer. That [...]



All You Ever Wanted To Know And More

2006-10-27T02:59:31.190-04:00

So here it is in all it's glorious longness. I was vain enough to interview myself and will probably have other milbloggers thinking about me as they always have: "Yeah he is all right I guess but I think he is stuck on himself." I hope you enjoy.From your observations do the Iraqi people have the ability, desire, and personal integrity to govern themselves totally on their own? This is a tough question to answer right now. I in no way pretend to have all the answers but I will do my best to explain how I feel about the Iraqis ability to govern themselves. I do not believe they are ready to govern themselves in a way similar to how we do in America. I believe there is a serious lack of education in Iraq among the general public and this would hamper their ability to govern themselves in such a way that we would see as adequate. There are some decent people here and I have met several myself but on the larger scale there are too many problems with this country right now for Iraqis to govern completely on their own. With Iranian influence, fear of al qaeda, and a general dislike between Sunnis and Shias, Arabs and Kurds, and Muslims and Christians, I do not believe everyone would be treated equal under an Iraqi leadership. Without equal treatment for all and without a competent army and police force many problems would arise that we can only guess at right now. However, I believe given time and an understanding by the world at large that "new" countries will make mistakes in the early stages of government I think the Iraqis would figure things out over time. I do believe it will take them longer than most but then again we didn't figure things out ourselves for quite some time. How does your experience in Iraq comport with U.S. media accounts of the situation over there? What are the gaps in information that we're not getting? I have written about the media many times and don't have much new to say on the subject but I do not believe the MSM presents the whole picture of Iraq. If the world only sees the carnage in Iraq then the bigger picture certainly is not making it out. There are many cities here that are making great strides and their efforts often go unreported. If the media really want to get the big picture across they do not need to be afraid to report on positive stories. I understand that it can sometimes be hard for them to travel around and accurately gauge the general feel in Iraq but I believe it is their job and if they want to be taken seriously they need to make an effort. The gaps in info can often be found in the writings of milbloggers like Bill Roggio, Michael Yon, Buck Sargent at American Citizen Soldier, and writers who travel to Iraq like Victor Davis Hanson. Those who come to Iraq in search of the truth will find it and if they don't have stings attached such as many reporters with major companies do, I think it will be easier for them to tell it like it is. How do you gauge the attitude of the Iraqis toward Americans? Are most of them hostile and uncooperative? I do not want to pigeonhole all Iraqis so I can only talk about the ones I have come in contact with. The majority of Iraqis I have been around have been hesitant at first in their dealings with Americans but once they come to know us they open up and are mainly friendly with us. Of course some of them will not want to deal with us and will be uncooperative as a result but I don't believe this se[...]