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The War as They Saw It

Posted on Aug 20, 2007

With the Bush administration set to offer a progress report on Iraq—assuredly an attempt to make the case for a prolonged surge—seven active-duty GIs have offered their own assessment in The New York Times. Their view, though bleak, is not cynical, but instead a practical approach to the many problems they’ve witnessed during their time in the quagmire.

New York Times:

In short, we operate in a bewildering context of determined enemies and questionable allies, one where the balance of forces on the ground remains entirely unclear. (In the course of writing this article, this fact became all too clear: one of us, Staff Sergeant Murphy, an Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head during a “time-sensitive target acquisition mission” on Aug. 12; he is expected to survive and is being flown to a military hospital in the United States.) While we have the will and the resources to fight in this context, we are effectively hamstrung because realities on the ground require measures we will always refuse—namely, the widespread use of lethal and brutal force.

[...] In a lawless environment where men with guns rule the streets, engaging in the banalities of life has become a death-defying act. Four years into our occupation, we have failed on every promise, while we have substituted Baath Party tyranny with a tyranny of Islamist, militia and criminal violence. When the primary preoccupation of average Iraqis is when and how they are likely to be killed, we can hardly feel smug as we hand out care packages. As an Iraqi man told us a few days ago with deep resignation, “We need security, not free food.”

In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are—an army of occupation—and force our withdrawal.

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By purplewolf, August 22, 2007 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

Farmertx, my son-in-law survived brain cancer about 25 years ago and has about 22 brain surgeries for that since then.He has a lot of memory loss due to this, maybe that explains his siding in with the shrub.We can hope its due to medical conditions and not actual loyality.

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By farmertx, August 22, 2007 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

#96250 by purplewolf on 8/21 at 8:23 pm
(70 comments total)

The ouch was a result of the comment about Texas bimbos.
As to his having a mind, I wouldn’t swear to it, but just assumed that as a living mammal, there was something up there.
Your son-in-law has lots of company here in East Texas. There are still a few that really think Shrub has saved the world. Most will admit, albeit privately that they wish they had never heard of the Shrub; they failed to look at his life before he became a candidate and trusted the sound bites to form an opinion.
As an ex trucker, I would have thought that fellow would have had better sense than to fall for that line of bull.

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By 1drees, August 22, 2007 at 12:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well these boys can make as much noise as they like and tell me is that all going to make a difference? i hardly think so. BUSH is the DECIDER AND he explains to NOBODY. so you guys might as well start doing something better like calling your congress-person and trying to make a change in the congress by campaigns of calls for a change. Do like the ZIONIST do, only thing i could suggest, LEAVE the appropriate phone numbers on blogs and then remind known people to make the call and that’s how a minority of people of America make themselves heard and then the govt allocated $30 billion worth of military hardware to ISRAEL. I HOPE FOR THE SAKE OF HUMANITY & GLOBALPEACE THAT PEOPLE CAN DEAL WITH THIS AMEROZIONISTIC MENACE before itsets the whole planet on fire. Alrady Coldwar is back on, and a couple of other conflicts have been started, Americans no longer have any staunch allies like they used to before, also the declassifed reports have washed away any confidence and allies that the American used to have, the GLOBAL SITUATION HAS CHANGED TREMENDOUSLY but some dimwits cants see it.

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By purplewolf, August 21, 2007 at 9:23 pm Link to this comment

#96235 Farmertx:
I read your comment and between mine and yours just cracked up. Are you sure he has a mind,fevered or anything else. As for the bimbo info, I guess the twins fall into that group too. I didn’t know Anna Nicole came from there, I don’t usually the latest celebrity fiascos.
My parents must have raised me with to high a goal in mind for what I looked for in a husband, honesty, hardworking (I was brought up to be that way) treat other people,animals and the earth with respect, trustworthiness,and a few other things.That’s probably why I am still single, I expect to much from a man. I guess Laura had parents who were just glad to get rid of her like a lot of parents so they tell their daughters to lower the standards.

Youre “Ouch” opening line sounds like my son-in-law, he is from Texas/Colorado and a truck driver and was a loyal(blind)follower of the weed so we cannot discuss it around him.He used to really stick up for weed but my daughter says they don’t talk about him but, she said she thinks he is starting to see weed for what he really is. There might be hope for that boy yet.

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By farmertx, August 21, 2007 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

#96225 by purplewolf on 8/21 at 5:20 pm
(64 comments total)

By feeling like a man,I meant in his fevered mind.
And, dammit, Texas does grow some outrageous bimbos’.
Anna Nicole comes immediately to mind.
I will give Laura the benefit of the doubt; she was raised a Southern/Texas girl ( I assume) and they were, at that time, taught not to expect a lot from their man, besides providing an income to live on and someplace to do that living.
Thanks to his daddys’ money, plus what he was able to scam from his daddys’ friends before they wised up to him, he did that. And maintained a coke/whiskey habit to boot.
Then he thought he found Jesus and it’s been downhill since…least for Texas and later, the whole country and parts of the world.

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By purplewolf, August 21, 2007 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

# 96192 Farmertx:
You are to kind to actually state that war makes Weed feel like a man,worm is a better noun, and the only manly thing he has done is become a father. Any moron,and Weed proves it,can become a father. And even though Jenna has some family resembelence around the eyes and nose area and like her dad? is a liar, alcoholic party person(remember all the bars the twins got busted in drinking underage with false(liars) ID’s the first few years daddy was prez?) Could it be another male relative of de weed.Besides Laura Bush was inseminated with a turkey baster per instructions of Snarl Drove. That way Weed could always say he never had sex with her and not have to pay child support if things didn’t work out for the two of them. And besides I don’t care how desperate and horny a woman is I find it hard to believe anyone would be so hard up as to go to bed with that let alone have sex with Weedboy.Maybe they were drunk or given that date rape drug, who knows.But then I’m not from Texas, do they grow dumber bimbos down there?

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By steve, August 21, 2007 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All of this is seen from a much different perspective for those in the White House.  This is exactly how the Bush Administration planned it from the beginning and for them this war has been and continues to be a great success.  Divide and conquer the Iraquis and people here at home and keep the profits rolling in.  I am sure that Iraq today looks like the Bush Administration planned it four years ago.

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By farmertx, August 21, 2007 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

American soldiers are required to obey the lawful (not moral) orders that their superiors give them.
Shrub loves to call himself a War President. It makes him feel like a man. And God knows, the only manly thing he has ever done is become a father.
(it’s unclear whether Der Karl was there with him, telling what to do next, but…)
Some have called upon the troops to just stop obeying orders.
The problem with that is that we don’t really want a military that thinks they only have to obey the orders they approve of.
Until there are no more threats from any possible source, we will need a military; a strong disciplined and effective military.
Yes, our military, and more importantly, our civilian officals, have never bothered to consider the outcome of Korea (still under cease fire—no final solution yet) and Vietnam (who can forget the mad scramble for the last helicopter’s off the roof of the Embassy).
You cannot fight a limited war against an opponent who is fighting an all out war. Not and expect to win.
War is hell. Civilian’s get killed.
Gen. Lee ( I believe) said it is good that war is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it.
But the warmonger’s who dodged their chance to experience war up close and personal have no clue.
I can understand the Congress Critter’s who voted to go to war in Iraq. No President in history had ever lied about a causus belli. This one did. You expect a politician to lie, but not about a reason to go to war. That is above politics, or had been until the Shrub arrived on the scene as the first totally clueless person ever appointed to be President.
As we say in Texas, Yeah, he says he’s a Texan; But he’s lied before.

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By desertdude, August 21, 2007 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

As a Vietnam Veteran I can’t help but see the situation in Iraq as a repeat of Vietnam. We were allways told things were getting better, when we knew ourselves that they were lying. Americans never learn from History, they just repeat it.

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By msgmi, August 21, 2007 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Kudos to those that have a brain and speak out as opposed to the ass-kissing sycophants…bottom line, what can anyone expect from the airhead hawks and Viet-era draft dodger politicians on both sides of the aisle who never bothered to read the 2002 NIE on Iraq and voted to detour our men and women into a sectarian quagmire. Add them to the ‘all aboard’ politicians of both parties who march to the tune of undefined victory and the dysfunctional process keeps rolling along. No one cared to examine the lessons learned from the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and its aftermath. And no one bothered to examine the lessons learned from Algeria since circa 1954. One thing for sure, Halliburton will not be thrown under the bus, just the expandable military.

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By ~B~, August 21, 2007 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

We have three branches of Federal Government. 2 elected and one appointed. When the 2 elected do not represent us we surely can expect that the appointed will not as well.

As long as money rules elections (by morons voting for the idiots they see buying commercials and telling em bullshit they want to hear) only those with money in the game will get any real representation.

If we want to see actual candidates we need a different electoral system. Business doesn’t want to buy lottery tickets they want a fixed race with a doped horse.


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By felicity, August 21, 2007 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

The divide and conquer strategy lives - in Iraq as well as here.  The Iraq Constitution did a bang-up job of creating divisions among the Iraqi people - Sunni, Shia, Kurd, other ethnics, theocrats, secularists…And in case the division thing doesn’t work, undeveloped oil fields basically belong to foreign governments, just in case the natives join forces and claim them as their own, sharing equally in their rightful proceeds.

Anybody want to bet that today’s Iraq is exactly what it was designed by Washington to be?

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By Amei, August 21, 2007 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through.” What does “committed solders” mean? See “what mission” through? licensed killers?! make sure the corporations have the control of Iraqi resources? When the soldiers will understand they are mere instruments for genocidal profit grabbing! No one will have peace until the committed soldiers stop playing ball with their own self-righteous fantasies.

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By purplewolf, August 21, 2007 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

#96107 G.Anderson
I saw a button once that said,” you can’t reason or argue with an idiot”.Is this a standard requirement now, being an idiot, to make one eligible to run for politics?

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By cyrena, August 21, 2007 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

#96107 by G.Anderson on 8/20 at 9:34 pm

“ just a divide and conquer stategy the corporations use to keep us arguing with ourselves, fighting with ourselves over who is to blame.”...

G. Anderson, you covered this point so concisely. That’s what it is, and has always been…the divide and conquer strategy. That strategy that is age old, and that we somehow have fallen for here, and it has worked in Iraq as well.

So, the thugs have got us here at home, mostly with spin, and the ever increasing (dramatically) gap between the haves and the have nots, and so that causes all kinds of divisions, and the war has done the same to us here, as they’ve done to Iraq there. Divide and conquer was the strategy from the beginning, and purplewolf is correct that the strategy was planned long before 9-11, which makes sense, since we’ve always known there was never a connection between them.

Meantime, our kids are still dying, (or in some cases even worse, because they’re wounded beyond any possible way to ever care for themselves, and we know our Veterans services are not up to the task. The whole Walter Reed thing is everywhere, because like every other American institution, they’ve dumped the career civil servants, and contracted it all out. So now, our vets have to get contract worker care, if they get any at all.

And, this is all the “corporate way”. just like G. Anderson said. This is how the government is run now, (if we can really say that it’s being run) and it’s as a corporate operation that has failed, just like everything else that GW has ever attempted to do in his life. He’s been one walking disaster after another, for 7 years. I don’t know if there’s ANYTHING he hasn’t permanently jacked-up!!

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By PACRAT, August 21, 2007 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We owe a debt of gatitude to the brave warriors who took it on themselves to tell the story of the Iraq invasion from the point of view of the fighting man -not the military officers or the politicians!

They did this knowing full well that they will be persecuted and likely prosecuted for their story - unless some courageus journalist decides to pursue their story. Which journalist will decide finally to be a journalist and follow up this story - not the typical characters writing the PR handed to them by the White House and related cronies.

While the White House has lost almost all credibility with the American people - so have most journalists who bear equal responsiblity for the mess in Iraq - and Afghanistan - that this administration has made of life for everyone.

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By Druthers, August 21, 2007 at 3:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

After having their lives put on the line these Courageous Seven will probably face the slime machine.  Is there any preparation to cover their backs when this happens?

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By weather, August 21, 2007 at 3:21 am Link to this comment

The NY Times died on 9/11, its spirit got crushed its own rubble.

They don’t report, they choreograph.
No longer suitable to print, they manage their own PR like they manage Israel’s - perpetuate the myths and protect the lies.

If they had been doing their job w/even a modicum of integrity we wouldn’t be in Iraq in the first place.

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By Outraged, August 21, 2007 at 2:27 am Link to this comment

It would be humourous if it weren’t so sad…........We sit here on our high horses trying to figure out how to “fix” the situation.  I think what we really mean is: How can we fix it so we don’t look WORSE than the Muslim extremists.  It isn’t a far stretch of the imagination to envision the Iraqis sitting there thinking….well, thanks, but, no…..well…..thanks anyway, but you’ve done more than enough already.

This quote from the article sums it up well:
“it would be prudent for us to increasingly let Iraqis take center stage in all matters, to come up with a nuanced policy in which we assist them from the margins but let them resolve their differences as they see fit. This suggestion is not meant to be defeatist, but rather to highlight our pursuit of incompatible policies to absurd ends without recognizing the incongruities.”

This is intellectually polite way of saying: America, you can shut up now!

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By GW=MCHammered, August 20, 2007 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Frigging High School Nation with hotdog lettermen BushCo-types given the court/field ‘causa-hoo-daddy-be.

But in the end, always the responsible gotta clean up after the irresponsible. Always been, always will be.

“Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective.”

Sorry soldiers. American(self)-centered is all Washington’s about… particularly your Commander in Chief. Ugh. Where’s the other GW when you need him, battle tried George Washington? His modern equivalent is here, just oppressed.

“...failed on every promise” has been the Capitol Hill/K-Street finale for decades. Human basics come first. Who-da thought that lesson would come again to America from Iraq? Eh, Bush elitist base?

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By G.Anderson, August 20, 2007 at 10:34 pm Link to this comment

President Bush, is not there to to lead us.

He is there to remind us who our owners are.

So appealing to him, or reasoning with our political leaders is usless. Because Democrat or Republican, is just a divide and conquer stategy the corporations use to keep us arguing with ourselves, fighting with ourselves over who is to blame.

Sill there are people, who sit cooly calmly in their offices, just like the vietnam era comanders sat in their air conditioned trailers, planning other wars and concocting other lies, that we can argue about, while our sons and daughters die.

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By purplewolf, August 20, 2007 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

Enemy of the State: If a real threat came along we would be up the creek…Weed would then declare Martial Law. He wants it so bad so bad it throws him into an orgasm just thinking about it. Then all of the lives of those American he has not destroyed in his role playing fantasy of being the Grande Dictator of the world, will join those he has destroyed with his pack of lies and dilebert misinformation hand fed to the American public by Fox news and other media that have sold out the truth. Weed planned on invading Iraq and going after Saddam the madman months before he stole the first election.Around July 2000.
There are some sheeple still believing the lies as truth. I support our troops, but not this debacle dreamed up by the Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue Gang.

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By Enemy of State, August 20, 2007 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment

The right wing spin machine is already revving up to discredit these folks -and the traitorous democrats who might attempt to bring this thing to a close. Tragically one of the seven was shot in the head -he is supposed to live at least. These Sargents seem to understand the situation better than the generals did only couple of years ago.  Unfortunately if/when we leave the violence is likely to increase. But staying on and on and on, can only delay the process of reconciliation that the numerous Iraqi groups will have to go through. And in the meantime our broken army just becomes more and more broken. What if a real theat came along? Would we have enough military left to deal with it?

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