Skip to main content

" My Military Experience (What Really Demoralizes the Troops)"

i found this link to a dailykos diary on news blog

My Military Experience (What Really Demoralizes the Troops)
by filmgeek83 [Subscribe]
Thu Jan 26, 2006 at 12:17:21 AM PDT

Before I begin, I just want to say thank you to all you Kossacks who have been so kind and thanked me for serving. I greatly apprieciate it. I always thought I'd be reluctant to speak on my time in the Marines, but now I realize the greatest disservice I can do for my buddies still in uniform is to remain silent.

I want to inform all of you, first hand, what I find most of those brave men and women find truly demoralizing. I'll give you a hint. Dissent is nowhere on this list.

1. Being Unprepared.

There is a sort of gallows humor that one clings to in Iraq. This is especially true when outfitting a Humvee with armor. I've saw some of those Up-Armor vehicles out there. Almost all of the grunts don't have them. They have to ride around with plates attached to their vehicles. This plating is spotty at best. The truth of the matter is it does very little to stop shrapnel in a blast. It will deflect some of it, but it is hardly a substitute for the fully-armored humvees I saw out there. Now we find out 80% of torso-related fatalities could have been avoided had the Pentagon distributed certain plates they had in their posession. It's like being thrown to the meatgrinder. Feeling expendable is demoralizing.

2. Victory?

The people who fought in WWII had an end to look forward to. Win or lose, they knew the parameters of the endgame. What constitutes a win in Iraq? No one, it seems not even the President, really knows. Being in the military these days is like being on a hamster wheel. They keep going to the same town, clearing them, leaving, and months later repeating the process. They come home for a year and go back again. They are tired. And there are no checkpoints to victory. There is no way to measure progress. There is no end in sight. What these men and women need to know is how victory can be achieved, and what they can do to achieve it. Attainable short-term goals to achieve the long term one. Without this information, the everything being done out there feels futile.

3. Losing Friends

I was a combat-videographer. I moved from unit to unit. While I was with the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, I met a Marine who's name, God help me, escapes my grasp right now. He was a good guy, and funny. He was also mutilating himself. He would put cigarettes out on his arms, and had eight distinct scars the last time I saw him. There were five on one arm. He said those were for people he killed. There were three on the other. Those were for friends he'd lost. One of my fellow videographers name was William Salazar. That's a link to his name on icasualties.org. He's dead now, killed by a roadside bomb. I watched the flag that draped his coffin being handed to his sobbing mother. It was difficult to say the least. The truth is I went to far too many memorial ceremonies during my time in the Corps, and these men and women deserve our highest regard. But it weighs heavy on the mind, and on the soul.

In all honesty, there aren't many grunts who will articulate these ideas. Most of them could care less about politics. Many do not want to look weak. But I also know that demanding to bring them home does not demoralize them. If anything, the idea of "Staying the Course" when there is no clear course really weighs on them. It weighed on me.

I believe success in Iraq is worth fighting for, but our military was given the short end from the very start. That, the incompetance of the leaders that should know better, is something that will tear down even the most resolute of fighting men under the hot Iraqi sun.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

'Anti-racism', All Trap, No Honey: A Discourse About Discourse

One of the things that prevents me from writing more often is the sense that I'm just writing the same thing repeatedly from a slightly different angle. In a nutshell, all I'm saying is that moral idealism substituted for material goals will not lead to justice, but is an argument against materialism. I'm a dumb person's low rent Adolph Reed Jr. translator. I'm a "class reductionist" who understands that when the discourse is reduced to just class there's nothing as important as food, water and shelter that's left out. I often find myself contending with people who insist that there is, unable to name anything. They don't understand that they're making an argument against economic redistribution, or they don't care. There are no concrete manifestations of systemic racism or any oppression that are not dealt with through economic redistribution. When people say that economic redistribution won't end racism, what they mean is that

Was it deliberate malevolence or just criminal incompetence?

i began this blog a while ago, hoping to find something constructive to do with the anger, frustration and sense of helplessness i felt during and after katrina. i had some ideas and thoughts that i wanted to write out in long form, but due to events in my life i laid it all down for a while. i've been wanting to begin again but with the torrent of criminal behavior from this administration and its allies it's been difficult to decide where exactly to begin. then i saw a clip of historian doug brinkley on msnbc's scarborough country talking about bush's failure in leadership in leaving the gulf coast essentially a wasteland. people are expressing surprise at this apparent failure instead of realizing that failure is the man's middle name (the w is silent). the title of this entry comes from a chris floyd post about the federal declaration of emergency in louisiana prior to the hurricane and how it failed to cover the coastal counties (illustrated here ).

The Cuckoo Movement

A reed warbler raising a common cuckoo chick it hatched from an egg surreptitiously placed in its nest by the cuckoo's parent “Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”―  George Orwell Parasite to Virus Brood parasites are species that manipulate other organisms to raise their young for them. Among the best known of brood parasites is the cuckoo.  A number of cuckoo species have specialized to lay their eggs among hosts whose eggs theirs mimic closely enough to provide protective camouflage. The eggs hatch sooner than host eggs, the chicks grow faster, and they often eject the eggs or hatchlings of the host from the nest. The cuckoo chicks begin to mimic the cries of the host young to encourage the fostering birds to keep up with their growth to the detriment of their own young. Following one of the first documented cases of computer espionage in the mid 80s, the concept of brood parasitism was applied to malware.