Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Shop the Truthdig Gift Guide 2014
December 20, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Get Truthdig's headlines in your inbox!


A Win for the Cuban People






Truthdig Bazaar
The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949

The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949

By Benny Morris (Author), Roger Owen (Editor), Edmund Burke (Editor), Michael C. Hudson (Editor), Walid Kazziha (Editor), Rashid Khalidi (Editor), Serif Mardin (Editor)

more items

 
Report

Ugly Americans in Iraq

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Jun 27, 2006
U.S. occupying forces
Nir Rosen

This was the scene in October of 2003 after U.S. soldiers nearly broke the arms of a fragile elderly Iraqi man (in pink head-covering) as they tossed him ?zip-tied? to the ground during a raid in Husaybah, an Iraqi town near the Syrian border that is a suspected entry point for foreign insurgent fighters. (This is not a photo of the U.S. Special Forces soldier described in the article.)

By Nir Rosen

Editor?s note: The following is an oral history of a U.S. soldier who served with the Army?s Special Forces during the allied occupation of Iraq in 2003 and 2004, as told to journalist Nir Rosen.

It is a companion piece to Rosen?s essay ?The Occupation of Iraqi Hearts and Minds,? which describes his experiences as an American reporter who sometimes passed as a Middle Easterner during the occupation.

The oral history is composed almost entirely of e-mail correspondences that Rosen received from the soldier, who wished to remain anonymous.

About the soldier: He served in Iraq during 2003 and 2004 as part of a Special Forces unit whose job, as he told Rosen, was to ?hunt enemies and destroy their networks?—to go after ?former masterminds and leaders of Saddam?s Baath Party.? His targets soon morphed into members of ?Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia? and insurgents—?a broad term that extended to criminals, influential gangs, bomb-making masterminds and generally pissed-off Arabs across the Sunni Triangle laid off by CPA Order #2—which dismissed all Baath Party members.?

The soldier left the Army in May 2005 but can be recalled in case of a ?national emergency.? He joked to Rosen that ?the day we invade Iran or North Korea is the day that I become a Canadian citizen.?

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
Rosen met the soldier in Washington, D.C., during the spring of 2006 and struck up a friendship, ?feeling a bond,? in Rosen?s words, ?that all who have served in Iraq in some way must feel.?

About the soldier?s wish to remain anonymous, he wrote the following to Rosen:

If my friends from the army even knew I was corresponding with a journalist, I?d probably lose a lot of respect. I am bound by legal contract and personal loyalty to protect the operational security (OPSEC) of my former unit. Because of the sensitivity of their work, their insane burden in Iraq (I still have friends in the military), and the oath of my contract, it is illegal for me to discuss many things—units we work with, equipment, locations, technology, and activity within the country, etc. Furthermore, as I was raised in the community of special operations, I am skeptical almost to the point of paranoia about talking to anyone about Iraq outside of my former unit and family. There is a good reason for this—namely: Loose lips sink ships.

Nir Rosen’s account of the soldier’s oral history begins below.






My friend wanted to begin his recounting of his time in Iraq by discussing ?the character of the American men fighting this war.? He joked that ?it might be a shock to some of the architects of this war that our fighters don?t read magazines like The Weekly Standard or The New Republic or give a rat?s ass about where our occupation in Iraq is headed.? He continued: ?The reason most of them signed up for service (me included) was to get some action, destroy Al Qaeda and come home with a body count to brag about at a local bar. Who gives a fuck about the rest? I think it can be best summed up in a conversation I overheard at my recruitment station. When one kid was asked why he joined the infantry, he didn?t have any doubts: ?I enlisted to kill towelheads.?

“The very nature of special operations and the infantry is to kill and/or capture dangerous people, destroy shit and prevent attacks. Creating rapport with the local population isn?t really part of the vocabulary—especially if the local population is as insanely dangerous as Iraq. In the eyes of many fellow soldiers who signed up because of 9/11, and because of the Bush administration?s portrayal of Iraq as part of the ?war on terror,? many of the guys fully believed that they were in a hunt [for] men responsible for the blood bath in lower Manhattan.? My friend added that regardless of where soldiers are, ?be that a foreign country or a local bar in a military town, they usually wear out their welcome anywhere they go—they?ve perfected the skill.?

My friend stressed that ?our officers took extra special care to fully explain the Rules of Engagement (ROE) in formal briefings to men in my company, and over the course of 140 missions they practiced professional restraint with their actions. But there is also a golden explicit rule with everything you do in war: Make sure that your ass comes home alive. This necessitates aggressive infantry platoon behavior on the part of the U.S. military that ultimately results in something quite the opposite of our stated goals: ?building democracy? and winning ?hearts and minds.? While we were largely successful in hunting the men we were pursuing, my personal impression was that we probably created two times more insurgents than we caught, not to mention the communities we greatly angered with our raids. Our actions were a direct contribution to, as [allied commander] Gen. George Casey said in September 2005, an occupation that is ?fueling the insurgency.? ?

He told me a story about his platoon?s return to the U.S. after its second deployment to Iraq, when its members went to see the premiere of the film ?Team America.? Made by the creators of television?s ?South Park,? ?Team America? was a comical marionette action flick about a jingoistic fire team whose utter recklessness was matched by their righteous yahoo attitude that America must preserve the very fabric of civilization. No film has more accurately depicted our presence in Iraq; it was a looking glass and it instantly became a platoon favorite. There is a classic scene in the movie where Team America?s overbearing red, white and blue helicopter lands on top of a bazaar in the Middle East, crushing an Arab?s cashew stand. The side of the helicopter read: ?We Protect, We Serve, We Care.? That scene hit so close to home, it was scary. Later in the movie, in a high-speed chase against terrorists, a missile gets misfired and destroys the Sphinx (in Egypt). ?The movie theater, packed with guys from my platoon, was howling with laughter. We even sarcastically recited lines from the theme songs ?Freedom Isn?t Free? and ?America, Fuck Yeah? before and after missions on our third tour in the winter of 2005. By then the disconnect between the lofty rhetoric of our leaders and the crap we dealt with on the ground couldn?t have been greater. The mentality of soldiers in Iraq is compounded by a group of factors—wrecked relationships, senselessly drawn-out deployments, sex/alcohol deprivation, and getting mortared on a nightly basis, to name a few.? He added that ?Iraq is a scary fucking place. Every hard-hitting thing we did there was due in large part to our fear of that place.?

My friend explained that over the course of his three deployments to Iraq he discovered what he described as a ?breakthrough method of communicating in foreign languages. It was so cutting-edge that Rosetta Stone [the language-training program] doesn?t even know about it. It goes something like this: The louder you yell at an Arab in English, the more the Arab will understand you. I?ve seen this done by my brothers in arms on a hundred-plus occasions. Hell, even I did it. And let me be the first to exclaim that it works wonders. The language barrier has done irreversible damage to our entire occupation.

“On the rare occasions that we?ve had men who speak the language with us, it has yielded key information—in one case it almost resulted in the capture of a high-value target. I can?t begin to imagine the kind of miscommunication damage we could have avoided had we had interpreters during two of our three deployments. Nothing adds to the disconnect between U.S. soldiers and the Iraqi populace like absolute miscommunication. We are astronauts and they are Martians, plain and simple. The average soldier looks like Buzz Aldrin, loaded with enough high-tech gear to land him on the set of a sci-fi flick. Every night we descend unexpectedly upon Mars from helicopters. Under the cover of darkness we prowl across mud-hut villages on the search for wanted Martians that communicate with each other in weird, harsh sounds. As a matter of fact, the glow on our eyes created from our night observation devices earned us a nickname by Sunni Arabs across Al Anbar; they called us the ?men with green eyes.? ?


Next Page:  “His mom cried and pleaded with us that her son was innocent (at least that?s what I thought she said—none of us had an Arabic vocabulary besides ?Shut up? ?Stop or I?ll shoot? and ?Get the fuck out of my face?). ”
<


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By Martha, June 25, 2008 at 8:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I really don’t know what to speak, I was surprising with this post.

Report this

By Martha, June 25, 2008 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I honestly don’t know what to speak, I was surprising with this post.

Report this

By youssef, July 20, 2007 at 4:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

saddam zamel oboch hta howa o usa kolha m9awada alah in3al zamel ta3 bokom awlad la97ab kolkom ohna m9awdinha .
  welcome to the soldier side people all grow up to die in this wold

Report this

By SFC "Just A. Soldier", March 6, 2007 at 9:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I doubt the guy is really true SF - as in a “Green Beret”.  He is likly a Ranger as more and more there is a lot of reference to Rangers and certain Ranger Bns or Regiments as “special forces”.

If they guy was SF he’d have been talking about “ODA’s” and “Teams” and not platoons and such.

Also most SF guys are not as totally out of touch as this soldiers peers are described as being.

However that said, I’ve been “boots on the ground” and have also been in the military for over 16 years… the stories that this soldier recounts pretty much reflect the general experiences and attitudes of many, but not all, soldiers.

For instance in a casual conversation that took place off-post with an active duty Colonel the subject of Iraq and the potential for stability and security came up.  He bluntly stated that if he was in charge he’d, “start by implimenting marshal law and would round up anyone who didn’t comply and have them publicly executed…”

He went on to state that Middle Easterners and Iraqis in particular are, “...nothing but barbarians that only understand crushing brutal force…”

Just your average infantry officer? Naw.. just a medical doctor.  So much for Hipocrates and “...first do no harm…”

Is this the majority view?

No, I do not think so based on my experience.

But it’s likely that between 25-35% of the average enlisted men and officers have at least a _somewhat_ similar attitude.

But even if it was only 5% that is 4.5% too many.

You can not possibly “free” a people and/or expect them to help you out if you first can not, do not, or will not view them as human beings first and empathize with them and the situation(s) that they live in.

SFC “Just A. Soldier”

Report this

By TOM CHASTAIN, January 15, 2007 at 9:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

this is a very fasinating murder mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat. the writer is by norman c. chastain. An unsolved murder is discovered by a sister in flordia and
wants to head off to atlanta to find the real mysterious murderer before its too late!!!!!

Report this

By TOM CHASTAIN, October 25, 2006 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

GREAT BOOKS
CULTURE WARRIOR BY BILL O REILLY
REDISCOVERING GOD IN AMERICA BY NEWT GINGRICH(GREAT TOUR AND BIO AND ABOUT WASINGTONS MONUMENTS)
THE SHADOW PARTY BY DAVID HOROWITZ
GUNS UP BY JOHNNIE M CLARK
GUNNERS GLORY BY JOHNNIE M CLARK(2 GREAT BOOKS ON NAM)
STEEL DYNASTY BY BILL CHASTAIN(GREAT BOOK ON THE STEELERS)
AFTER THE GAME BY NORMAN C. CHASTAIN(GREAT MURDER MYSTERY)
PAYNE AT PINEHURST BY BILL CHASTAIN(GREAT BOOK ON PAYNE STEWERT/GOLF BOOK)
CONDI VS HILLARY BY DICK MORRIS

Report this

By Bill Chastain, October 22, 2006 at 2:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While the rest of the world grieved with us on 9/11, I remember the celebrations in the streets of Baghdad that were ordered by Saddam.  Saddam apparently believed he wasn’t accountable to anyone else on Earth.  Saddam’s kind of evil just grows, so he had to be deposed.  I’m glad he’s in jail. 

My uncle(s) by marriage, originally from Baghdad, are exiled Christians in the U.S. (an unpopular religion in Saddam’s Iraq) but still in communication with many friends back home.  Since we first entered Iraq during 2003, we have heard continuous first-hand accounts like those reported by Rosen.  I notified U.S. Government officials about these stories and complained vigorously that the “tactics” being employed routinely by our soldiers there are wrong! 

It appears nothing was ever done to correct the situation and our soldiers have now become completely defensive.  Whether it’s good for Iraq or not, we need to immediately get our people out of harms way.  The situation there will worsen and, under the present circumstances, there’s nothing we can do to stop it.  On our way out, we should offer anyone wishing to leave Iraq an opportunity to live elsewhere.  Maybe this approach will start to defuse the tensions and create some sort of equilibrium there. 

I am disgusted by what is happening in Iraq and for our role there.  While Saddam’s actions were evil, we haven’t set a better example.  The truth, only beginning to emerge now, will certainly tear us apart.  Here at home, it is time to take action against those in power before it’s too late.  The entire world is watching what we do about the breach of trust we’ve been experiencing in D.C. since 2000. 

People here are waking up and it’s a good thing.  I’m ready to do whatever it takes to make our own officials accountable for their bad behavior since, like Saddam once did, they apparently believe they aren’t.

Report this

By Ola, July 29, 2006 at 5:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reply to Comment #15570 by Fadel Abdallah

* I expected that you look back a little bit into your own backyard and your great imperialistic history and tell us a little bit that you’re a little ashamed and feel guilty for the atrocities your country committed in the past and continue committing in the present.

Sorry, you’re off-target here. I’m a Black Londoner from an immigrant background. As such I don’t feel responsible at all for Britain’s shameful colonial history. Although born in the UK, I don’t even define myself as ‘British’. I’m quite pleased to remind English people who don’t know about consistent imperialist disgraces like the British bombing of Mesopotamia in the 1920’s (http://tinyurl.com/k3g24), the Berlin Conference, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Conference) Also worth googling the Chagos Islands, the Suez Crisis, Opium Wars etc. I didn’t mention my opinion on Israel, as I wanted to stay on-topic, but I will note that the British once offered the Kenyan Highlands as a Jewish homeland. Zionists turned it down, but we could easily have been talking about violence around the Rift Valley instead of the Beqaa Valley, as the East Africans would likewise resent displacement and occupation.

* Since you know so much about the evils of America under evil Bush and gang, what about the evils of Tony Blair, known universally as Bush’s poodle?

It is not a contest of evils between Bush and Blair. I never voted for or supported Blair and the New Labour Project. It doesn’t bother me when British or US occupiers are killed in Iraq. Nobody pays much attention to Blair any more, because you are right, he is Bush’s poodle. Why discuss Blair when he is completely discredited, and never had any influence over Bush. Blair wants to withdraw UK soldiers, but he knows he must resign on the same day he does this unless the US is already withdrawing. Note that the only reasons Blair got re-elected was that the two biggest political parties were both in favour of the war in Iraq! People therefore voted on other issues.

* Since you say that so many British were against the war in Iraq, what have you done, other than cheap talk, to force a withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, or even defeat Blair in his last election?

This is insulting to me and others. I have marched against the war, distributed leaflets against the war (and mindlessly pro-war media reporting), picketed against the war, graffittied against the war, and even rioted in a minor way against the war. When I meet anyone in favour of the war I destroy their arguments. What else can we do?

* Actually, since the British street was more against the Iraqi war than the American street, and yet you could do nothing about it, that makes Britain worse than America.

I don’t agree. Many people in the UK had no quarrel with Iraqi people, and protested heavily. The government preferred to ignore them and follow Bush. Blair now is confused and desperate. He has converted to Roman Catholicism, and is in fear that history will condemn him as a stupid crusader and point out his ill-fated agreement to any and all US misadventures. In one country democracy was too weak for the people’s will to be heard, in the other country the people were ignorant and fearful, so they were in favour of war. Which is worse? It has even been said that strategists in the British military advised against invading Iraq. So far as US soldiers go, I don’t hate ‘farmboys’, but I have met some of them, and it seems clear that they are proud of their lack of communication and understanding. It’s ‘gooks’ in Vietnam all over again.

* Sad to say that when the bombings in London of a year ago took place, I found myself saying, “You got a taste of your medicine.”

I believe you don’t know much of London and the UK. The government claimed the 7/7 bombers were mindless terrorists, but many of the public disbelieved them. In TV studios some shouted ministers down - saying, ‘If you don’t want to get bombed, don’t bomb other people’. The media is covering ‘anti-terrorist measures’, ‘intelligence failures’ and spreading fear. The people are saying ‘what did you expect?’ and ‘probably it will happen again’. Google or see http://tinyurl.com/feyzt

Report this

By Mike Sparks, July 28, 2006 at 6:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Let’s stay on TOPIC here, which is Iraq, not Israel.

If you say Israel is connected to Iraq, its only as follows; PEOPLE WHO WANT TO LIVE IN FREEDOM FIGHT FOR IT, AND AFTER THEY GET IT THEY STOP FIGHTING.

I’m sure most Iraqis after we Americans leave want to stop fighting and live in peace were it not for the Sunni vs. Shia civil war underway. We should have toppled Saddam’s top government officials, kill/captured him/them and rehired the Iraqi Army, police and government workers immediately, then left Iraq. Having a John Paul Vann style stability corps in the U.S. BEFORE we have a war would insure we don’t have “amateur hour” again after nation-state war.

The Israelis after the British left immediately stopped fighting whenever they were not fending off attacks and have made a beautiful country lined with trees and shopping malls. They are FREEDOM FIGHTERS.

Now the Palestinians have a large piece of land for their homeland.

Are they irrigating the land? Are they planting trees? Are they building shops and small business industries…ARE THEY MAKING THINGS?

Why no.

They have not put their guns, RPGs and bombs away….they are lobbing rockets over a clear leave-Israel-alone-and-we-will-leave-you-alone WALL and kidnapping IDF Soldiers. Too many Palestinians do not want to face the fact that they have no “life” and that they need to stop using Israel as a convenient scapegoat, put their childish weapons away and build their nation-state into something worth living in. This means hard work like going to school and learning agriculture and building skills not ego gratifying destruction skills that we all agree we Americans have shown as nothing to use as proof of one’s manhood.

Lastly, we have Hezbollah, another group of sociopaths who hate Israel rather than economically develop the southern part of Lebanon they have taken for themselves. They are not “Freedom Fighters” because they already have land to be free on and they are using it to kill and hate, hiding like cowards behind the civilian populace to try to avoid Israeli air strikes.

So the message here is clear: IF YOU GOT LAND TO LIVE FREE ON, DO IT.

No one is stopping you, least of all the Israelis. If you wanted economic help the entire peace-loving U.N. is eager to help with economic aid and college scholarships.

If you do not, and use the land to kill/capture and terrorize you are no “freedom fighter”, but just another shameful example of humans who just like to kill and run around in hoods and AK-47s no different than some like to run around with M-16s and kevlar helmets, except the latter are part of a nation-state we at least have some HOPE of reining in, the former are sub-national groups with no “adult supervision”.

My advice to the Palestinian poster is to get a business degree, get some sponsors and go to the Gaza strip and BUILD A FACTORY THERE THAT WILL OFFER PEOPLE JOBS so they will not have to live off hand-outs from Syria/Iran to shoot AKMs into the air (Responsibility: ever thought where all those bullets will LAND? What about if those bullets land on a Palestinian mother or child and kill them?) in front of TV cameras for them.

Report this

By Fadel Abdallah, July 27, 2006 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ugly Americans in Iraq
Comment 15513, Ola in London, UK

Since I read your comment about two hours ago, I’ve felt an impulse to respond, but been resisting it. But here we go, if I want to sleep tonight, I must respond.

The irony of all this is that I concur with much of what you outlined about the U.S. I agree that much of American patriotism is chauvinistic and crude. I, too, lament that my adopted homeland is increasingly becoming militarized and its policies and politics are increasingly becoming fanatic and satanic and controlled by merchants of death. I also agree about your condemnation of the U.S., UK and South Africa’ mercenaries in Iraq. However, you forgot the Israelis. I really liked your advice about Americans catching English Aljazeera for truth reporting and balance.

However, since you’re possibly a highly- educated city lady who have great scorn for “farm-boys” who join the military, I expected that you look back a little bit into your own backyard and your great imperialistic history and tell us a little bit that you’re a little ashamed and feel guilty for the atrocities your country committed in the past and continue committing in the present. Since you know so much about the evils of America under evil Bush and gang, what about the evils of Tony Blair, known universally as Bush’s poodle?

Since you say that so many British were against the war in Iraq, what have you done, other than cheap talk, to force a withdrawal of British troops from Iraq, or even defeat Blair in his last election? Actually, since the British street was more against the Iraqi war than the American street, and yet you could do nothing about it, that makes Britain worse than America. I hope you understand the logic!

Then, if you are history conscious, you should remember that all the current chaos in the Arab and Muslim world originated with the evil British Empire! Remember the evil Balfour Declaration of November 2nd 1917, when evil Britain gave what did not belong to her to the evil Zionists. Actually what happened to the Iraqis lately and what has been happening to the Palestinians, the Afghanis and the Lebanese are the fruits the evil sowed by your so beautiful and enlightened country many years ago. As an American of Palestinian origin, my life has been shattered by the British evil, and this is something I will never forgive or forget. Sad to say that when the bombings in London of a year ago took place, I found myself saying, “You got a taste of your medicine.” Sorry to be harsh in my respond to you, but I don’t tolerate hypocrisy and split vision, and there is much of that in Britain and Europe as much as there is in America.     
In case the Balfour Declaration has bee erased from the British history books, please find below the full text:
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
November 2nd, 1917
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
Yours sincerely,
Arthur James Balfour

Report this

By Ola in London, UK, July 27, 2006 at 11:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m in Europe, and it’s hard to explain to you how unpopular the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq always was here - even in the UK that has plenty of troops in Iraq. The politicians agreed, but the people didn’t - the Iraqis weren’t bothering us, and weren’t likely to. You Yanks need to think about what your army is actually for. The United States presently occupies 702 military bases in 132 different countries. The US military is known to have bombed 24 countries since WW2. Nobody’s perfect, but your record is appalling. The way you carry on, no-one loves you except those wish to share your money and power. And you’re still supporting the Saudis, Mubarak, King of Jordan etc. More problems in the pipeline. I remember when 9-11 happened, I thought at first it was the Columbians because you were Agent Oranging half their country.

Dare I say it, your patriotism is too strong. It’s common even for Americans to oppose the war to support the US military, under the guise that soldiers are ‘defending the country’. All they’ve managed to do is depose Saddam Hussein (good), trash the US’s international reputation (not good), destroy the infrastructure of Iraq (bad), and trigger a civil war (very bad). My cat could have told you that you were going to mess up in Iraq. How you gon’ leave? If you leave, the supposed government (no elections ok under occupation, remember?) will melt down.

Those who have posted here are missing the point in wrangling about Paul Vann’s Stability strategy, communication problems, and the minutiae of army unit structure and roles. The US army is largely composed of poorly-educated farmboys, jail-dodgers and immigrants who want citizenship papers, not forgetting the sprinkling of psychopaths who joined up just because they like killing people. Yeah, we have them in the UK army too. Don’t believe their moms, many soldiers ain’t nice people. They are also notably a PS2 and MTV generation. Check out http://www.militaryspot.com/multimedia.htm to see what they get up to. See here also: http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=91318
Check an Iraq veteran in a bar near you to see snapshots that can’t be posted.

On top of that, there’s the unsupervised US, UK and South African mercenaries that have flooded Iraq. You’ve heard of the Aegis ‘Elvis’ video right? You heard about many US soldiers swapping war pictures for porn at NowThatsFuckedUp.com right? That site shamed America and was a disaster for the Iraq mission, so it suddenly got taken down, but the same soldiers have the same attitudes still.

Generally US soldiers lack understanding and the slightest cultural empathy. They also believe that only they are real human beings with real blood. I believe that the only reason many Americans are turning against the war now is because it’s going badly. It was illegal and immoral from the first day. What was ‘Shock and Awe’ if not terrorism? You didn’t just invade Saddam, it was an entire country. Don’t blame Bush - you followed him too easily, because Iraq didn’t have bombers and heavy weapons to bomb your country back. In case you don’t have a cat to warn you, whenever you invade another country, the people *will* hate you; they *will* fight back anyway they can; there’s a breakdown of law and order, they *will* have internal power struggles, and they *will* rate the people who work with you as traitors. If you watch CBS, you should also catch english.aljazeera.net - you have *two* eyes, don’t you?

Report this

By ww rutland, July 26, 2006 at 4:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

1: The soldier or the writer lied about being SF. SF does not have platoons or Strikers. The mindset is right about combat soldiers they did not join to be school crossing guards, they joined to kill ragheads or any other bad guys. It gets scary in a combat zone and you have to be alert about the locals who may be trying to kill you , it is better to kill than be killed. SF retired

Report this

By Fadel Abdallah, July 22, 2006 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Sometimes I’m ashamed to be an American.”

Thank you jukief # 14807 for your thoughtful short response to Veith whom I responded to at length earlier. But what I am interested in here is to comment on the quotation above from your piece.

Newcons and truth-haters have a way to wrap themselves up in the American flag, claiming for themselves an exclusive monopoly on patriotism, while dismissing people like you and me as unpatriotic. In fact, your words above express the most genuine patriotism there is, because you’re truly concern about the reputation of your country and the principles it should stand for, whereas for the other guys patriotism is an empty cliche they use only to wip with those who say the truth even if it hurts.

Many times before I said the same words you said and was viciously attacked by people of the type of Veith. And today again, I say I am increasingly becoming ashamed and feel guilty for what this evil administration is doing in our names and with our tax-payers money. And as if Iraq was not enough a quagmire, those evil ones are giving terrorist Israel the green light and moral-financial support for a new front of terror in Palestine and Lebanon for free killing, destruction and untold savegery, not possibly recorded by the standards of Miedieval times.

It gives me a little consolation to find like-minded genuine human beings, and I just wanted to thank you for being a true patriotic American and a free thinker.

Report this

By jukief, July 22, 2006 at 10:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Veith, I suggest you immediately go to the nearest recruiting center and sign up. The military needs men like you! May you thoroughly enjoy your time winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people while you’re over there for endless years.

Look, whether or not this article was accurate, it’s impossible to ignore the truth. Every day we maintain the occupation in Iraq, we create more insurgents. The entire world, not just the Arab world, distrusts and dislikes us—all thanks to George Fuckup Bush and his buddies. We’ve created a gigantic mess, and I personally don’t see any way out except for the way we exited Vietnam, with our tail between our legs.

Sometimes I’m ashamed to be an American.

Report this

By rtdrury, July 22, 2006 at 1:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article is intended to inflame hatred against Americans, in general.  The only thing you accomplish with that is helping build the U.S. president’s following.  Way to go!!! (applause)

Report this

By ANTHONY LEE, July 21, 2006 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is one of the deepest most disturbing articles on the Iraq war I have ever read. I would like to think the soldier for providing me with some insight to what’s really going on over there.

Report this

By Mike Sparks, July 17, 2006 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

1. While the Soldier lied to Rosen that he was a “Special Forces” Soldier, its clear what he told of his experiences as an infantry narcissist in a stryker truck is true.

2. Some of those who have posted here foisting the “he-didn’t-have-an-adequate-penis-to-make-it-into-SF” crap is exactly the “pyramid of ego” narcissism we have created that has elevated KILL/CAPTURE by SMALL UNITS as the epitome of military self-validation, which is total BULLSHIT. America needs a military that can do other things than small unit commando actions, like large-scale nation-state war and stability operations and its wrong to elevate a small group of egomaniacs doing a small set of missions as the ultimate end state when planet earth is still very large and small groups CANNOT defend human freedom since they cannot offer enough military terrain control. Its also increasingly obvious that SF units cannot do large nation-state “hearts & minds” stability operations and kill/capture at the same time if they are all committed to the latter. Details:

http://www.geocities.com/militaryincompetence/militarismsucks.htm

What’s NOT mentioned in the story is that SFOD-D “Delta force”, the numbered SF groups, Rangers are so busy doing ego gratifying “kill/capture” in Iraq/Afghanistan that they are not available to do FID to train the Iraqi Army to use all those “cultural skills” they allegedly have so in this vaccuum the “young, dumb and full-of-cum” conventional nation-state war Soldiers are training the Iraqis to be cheap imitations of foot and truck bounds easily ambushed lightfighter narcissists. In fact our lust to kill/capture a mythical minority of “bad apples” (truth is OUR POORLY EXECUTED OCCUPATION IS CREATING THE REBELS) is so across-the-board in Iraq, we don’t have enough “special” troops to do it so VOILA! the wannabe Delta Force Soldier in a Stryker truck gets to knock down some doors after “stacking” by the door and going into the “fatal funnel”.

Since we did not learn from Vietnam and are botching Iraq, its high time we learn how to stabilize a country larger than what a SF Group could handle; WE NEED A NON-LINEAR BATTLEFIELD STABILITY CORPS composed of adults, not narcissistic egomaniacs with scores to settle and manhoods to prove:

http://www.combatreform.com/johnpaulvann.htm

Anything less than creating a Stability Corps and we will just repeat the same mistakes we made in Vietnam, but with Iraq listed as another failure to our resume.

Report this

By Charlie Cole, July 13, 2006 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The excellent story “Ugly Americans in Iraq” by
Nir Rosen which I read a few days back but must
question the source, is coming under fire from the
Special Forces community. Rosen is a very young
journalist, not yet 30 years old, who I suspect
has little formal training but is long on street
wise experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. There’s
no doubt that he would’ve benefited greatly from
having some senior editors look over his piece to
advise on authenticating his source. That should
have been a minimum requirement of the publisher
and we’re still waiting for that. I read Rosen
religiously and have gained much from his
reporting. It is excellent. But I’ve also worked a
lot with US Special Forces in various parts of the
world and I have severe doubts as to the
authenticity of this source, not so much because I
doubt that these events might have happened but
rather as #12882 by John and #12736 by ODAChief
point out the language isn’t right and neither is
the time frame.

I ask Robert Scheer, who I greatly respect, and
Blair Gordon to verify the facts and source of
this story.
Sincerely,
Charlie Cole

Report this

By Ga, July 13, 2006 at 10:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What do you people do? Judge the entire War based on one report?

I’ll give merit to comments #12930 and #12882 to indicate that one needs to contemplate “sloppy writing” on behalf of the author. Anyone who reads a lot shoul dknow that not every goddamned word or phrase is an exact one, mistakes happen, missunderstandings occur, and people sometimes exagerate or even make shit up (alas for that, not that I am saying that Nir Rosen has, I don’t know).

But I will take issue with the line from #12930: “I have not met one single soldier or Marine who can tell me that what they see on TV is what is going on in Iraq.” With is a dumb thing to say.

I have seen clips in TV of soldiers in Iraq. Not very often, mostly only a few seconds, mostly only after 10:00pm (like when CNN does much international coverage) and on the BBC. Also, try wating FRONTLINE sometime!

One must take in all available coverage of happenings in Iraq! Otherwise, one’s bias stands out like a sore thumb for all to see.

I have seen footage of soldiers being sick bastards. This also happens outside of soldiering, too, doesn’t it? I have seen footage of soldiers yelling at Iraqis in English! Many times. They shout and shout and the Iraqis obviously are perplexed.

I have also seen and read about extremely valiant episodes in Iraq.

Here is one story from the New Yorker: the writer observed a group of soldiers walking in formation down a street among an ever increasing, hostile acting Iraqis following them and starting to surround them. Things looked bad.

Until the leader of the soldiers commanded the troop to stop, lower the guns to point to the ground, and kneel. The Iraqis, quieted and then began to disperse, letting the troop continue on in peace.

Report this

By Vlad, July 12, 2006 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I honestly don’t know what to say.  I am deeply saddened that my tax dollars are going to support the war.
The only solution I can think of is mass education - for everybody.  Americans need it just as much as the Iraqis.  Non-Violent communication, sociology, languages…so much to learn and from learning hopefully we can avoid raiding each other’s houses to little avail. 
It would feel pretty shitty to have your house broken into, yourself hurt, and your family tortured right in from of your eyes, with the full knowledge that if you do anything about it, the guys doing it are likely to shoot you.

Report this

By may, July 9, 2006 at 8:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sick, sick America.
Pathetic.
Sick,
I hope there is cosmic justice.

Report this

By The Wood for the Trees?, July 6, 2006 at 7:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We can doubt the detail or even veracity of many things, we have that luxury, but surely we do not doubt the self-evident fact that this war and occupation in its current manifestation is a filthy shameful mess, a credit to none and burden to all?

Report this

By native child, July 4, 2006 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our troops in Iraq are doing what the Puritans did four centuries ago in Massachusetts Bay, when they set fire to a Pequot Indian village, killing six hundred people, mostly women and children.  The Puritan occupiers committed this nass-murder because the natives were getting restless and were resisting foreign occupation of their homeland.  And the Puritans used the bible to justify their crime. Sound familiar?

Report this

By ODAchief, July 4, 2006 at 10:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The author admits to signing up after 9-11.  He statesthe following quotes:

“The reason most of them signed up for service (me included) was to get some action, destroy Al Qaeda”

Al Qaeda was virtually unherd of prior to 9-11, certainly, noone enlisted in the military with the intent to ‘go after’ him.

“I think it can be best summed up in a conversation I overheard at my recruitment station. When one kid was asked why he joined the infantry, he didn’t have any doubts: ‘I enlisted to kill towelheads.’”

He was obviously at ‘his’ recruitment station after he heard that kids were joining to ‘kill ragheads’.  I suppopse he could have joined in 1991 during the first gulf war, but then that would make his statement irrelevant.

The author uses the jargon of an infantryman, not Special Forces (there is quite a difference).

People often wonder why there is so much hatred for ‘journalist’ by American soldiers….they lie in order to sell. 

I have not met one single soldier or Marine who can tell me that what they see on TV is what is going on in Iraq (myself included).  You people need to listen to someone who has ACTUALLY BEEN TO IRAQ, instead of a ‘journalist’ who wants to interpret his story.

Report this

By Fadel Abdallah, July 4, 2006 at 7:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#12877 seems a perfect coward; that’s why he does not even use his real name. In my opinion if one is convinced of what he / she says, then he / she must put his real name to it and bear the responsibility of what he / she says!

Then, you are also a moron hateful savage, bound on sick revenge with no end. Assuming the 9/11 was done by a bunch of fanatic Muslim extremists-though I believe and have evidence that it was an internal staged thing- is’nt there a limit for the hateful revenge you advocate?! For the 3 thousand Americans who lost their lives in 9/11, George Bush and his evil junta have killed an equal number of Americans, and caused at least 30,000 others to be crippled for life. Isn’t it enough of a revenge the, at least, 30,000 Iraqi civilians killed and possibly the same number in Afghanistan, and the total destruction of two countries’ infrastructure?!
***
To my comment above, I attach another by the brave Rosemary Molly:
***
Comment #12890 by Rosemary Molloy on 7/03 at 3:54 pm

#12877 seems a perfect moron—illogical, illiterate, and just plain creepy.  WAIT A MINUTE, 12877!  You were born rich and you live in a big white house in Washington, and your initials are G.W.B., right? 
Yep, he’s the man…

Report this

By Sam, July 3, 2006 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I lived in Vietnam with ROK Tiger Division and can attest as can many others that what is asserted in this article is no worse and actually not as bad as what I saw going on there.  We were in such a hurry to invade Iraq to validate George Bush’s manhood that we ignored the remote possibility of an insurgency.

The actions of the individual in this account aren’t representative of most service members but they are representative of poor planning and bad leadership.  After all when leaders of this country condone torture what can we expect all the way down the ladder?

Report this

By Rosemary Molloy, July 3, 2006 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

#12877 seems a perfect moron—illogical, illiterate, and just plain creepy.  WAIT A MINUTE, 12877!  You were born rich and you live in a big white house in Washington, and your initials are G.W.B., right? 
Yep, he’s the man…

Report this

By John, July 3, 2006 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ll risk losing my temper to answer this article. 

For starters, those of us in Special Forces operate on teams, designated as an Operational Detachment Alpha.  No team guy would EVER refer to his unit as a platoon. I’m throwing a bullshit flag on that one.  Geez guys, Discovery Channel could have told you that.

Building rapport is a core Special Forces mission, hence the reason our medics go out and treat the populace, our engineers help with plans to build schools, and we all work closely with the host nation military and police forces, not to mention the local politicians. 

Now, on to not speaking the language.  Kind of funny how when I went through training, we had to do 6 solid months of language training.  That was a non-negotiable must pass or you don’t go to a team.  Along the same lines, you NEVER, EVER, went on a mission in Iraq without an interpreter. 

As for missing loved ones, blah, blah, blah.  We are selected for this job because we are mature.  We’re not momma’s boys who can’t function when you take us away from home and hearth.  We get paid all the hazard pays and hardship pays and proficeincy pays because what we do is dangerous, what we do is usually far away, and we are good at it.

Now, I’m not sure who this “Unnamed Special Forces soldier” is, but I am guessing he is just a regular army schmuck who couldn’t make it in the leagues where the big boys play.  We refer to these fellows as “Wannabes.”  They try to talk themselves up like they are actually cool and tough.  On the off chance that this “Unnamed Special Forces soldier” is actually a former member of the community, I’m glad he is gone.  We don’t need whiny boy crybabies. 

I’m throwing the bullshit flag on this whole article.  Talk about pathetic.

Report this

By Sam, July 3, 2006 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The soldier never said that he signed up post 9-11. The quote was: “In the eyes of many fellow soldiers who signed up because of 9/11…many of the guys fully believed that they were in a hunt [for] men responsible for the blood bath in lower Manhattan.” He didn’t say that HE signed up on 9/11 but that some fellow soldiers thought they were going to make a difference and track down those responsible.

So many people who read these articles/reports and post comments refuting the truth of what someone says based on their own inability to thoroughly read the information that is given to them. The ones who tend to make comments in that manner tend to also be the people who refuse to make up their own ideas on a subject, blindly following our leaders unquestioningly and regurgitating what they say as if it were gospel.

Between the bible and our fair leaders, too many Americans have given up the gift of Free Will and individual thought for the “Safety” of being told how to think and feel by a man pretending to do good deeds.

Anyone who has picked up a newspaper, watched the news, or perused the internet knows full well that this stuff is going on.  It doesn’t take an expose by an anonymous soldier to let you know that faulty intelligence is causing innocent people to get caught up in the fray over there and those innocent deaths and detainments affected the people who loved them. Heck, the whole reason our boys are over there was based on faulty intelligence that there was a 100% chance of there being WMD in Iraq.

We can pretend like everything going on over there is on the level but pretending doesn’t help the killing stop or the soldiers come home.

Report this

By See the big picture, fools!, July 3, 2006 at 11:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ah well, don’t worry about the children rosemary, they’ve witnessed far worse under saddams rule, but that’s ok right?

Anonymous soldier souce? *snicker* like the new york slimes?  Or a mikie moore production?  Dan blather still supporting those that are trying to kill Americans?

Love this stupidity:  Its good to see that someone realises that killing people and blowing up their stuff is not a good way to make friends.  If your country gets invaded you resist, its just that simple.

Are you forgetting about 9/11?  What the hell do you call that?  Oh wait, forgot it’s the joooos fault and Americans deserve it.

United you stand, divided you fall.
The terrorists are winning with the democrats on their side.  Seeing it happen every day, more and more.

Report this

By Dan Lee, July 3, 2006 at 1:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“In the eyes of many fellow soldiers who signed up because of 9/11, and because of the Bush administration’s portrayal of Iraq as part of the ‘war on terror,’ many of the guys fully believed that they were in a hunt [for] men responsible for the blood bath in lower Manhattan.” 

The writer doesn’t say this guy signed up after 9/11.  It is sloppy writing, though, so I can see how somebody looking for evidence of fraud could interpret it that way.

Report this

By cogmick, July 2, 2006 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

well, there is not much to add to this article whether it’s from a real US soldier or not.  I know from my time in the PARA’S, British Army that it certainly sounds true. It definitely isn’t about wining the hearts & minds of the Iraqi people, in fact I must add from the manouevres we did with the Yank’s they are the most ill-disciplined bunch of oiks that I ‘ve ever met and you can be sure they are bound to fuck up wherever they go. Eventually after they have totally fucked up the whole of the world they will realise that it is utterly pointless
what they (coalition forces)are doing and go home.

Report this

By No Preference, July 2, 2006 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Either the author or soldier fraudulent.  The story is about a soldier who enlists sometime after 9-11. . .”

Did the soldier say he enlisted after 9-11? I don’t see where he does.

Report this

By Elliot Smith, June 30, 2006 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Veith, you’re the man.  The right and left sides are both so very blind to the realities of life and the harshness of the world.  My hats off to you for an awesome display a wit and sarcasm.  Fuck the idiots you think guns are evil.  Fuck the idiots who only communicate with guns.   

Elliot

Report this

By ODAChief, June 30, 2006 at 11:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Either the author or soldier fraudulent.  The story is about a soldier who enlists sometime after 9-11, then makes it through the Special Forces program AND three tours of duty before leaving the Army in May of 2005.  Since I am in Special Forces, I can tell you all that it takes two years to complete all of the phases of training. 


The only way for this man to enlist in the Army after 9-11 and make it through Special Forces in time for a single tour in Iraq was to go through the 18X program. 


The U.S. Army Recruiting Command began recruiting 18X Soldiers in January 2001. Training for an 18X lasts for more than two years. A Soldier enlists in the Army as an 18X and attends Infantry one-station unit training and airborne training at Fort Benning, Ga. He then makes a permanent-change-of-station move to Fort Bragg, N.C., to attend Special Forces Assessment and Selection. If he is selected for SF, he attends the SF Qualification Course. Following the SFQC, he will attend language training and the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape Course before being promoted to sergeant. The first 18Xs (approximately 150) began arriving to SF groups during FY 2004.

Somehow this soldier managed to complete three tours in Iraq between the start of FY 2004 (Nov 2004) and when he left the Army in May 2005.  The tour he claims to have completed in 2003 was apparently accomplished while he was in the qualification course at Ft. Bragg.

Report this

By Frank, June 29, 2006 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: comments on soldier yelling to increase comprehension.

Read the paragraph again people! The soldier is fully aware that yelling at people to make them understand is idiotic and counterproductive. Chris Veith is so impervious to irony he doesn’t get the joke.

Report this

By The Jew, June 29, 2006 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My brother mentioned a simple solution to the problems described here:

The language barrier has done irreversible damage to our entire occupation.

“On the rare occasions that we’ve had men who speak the language with us, it has yielded key information—in one case it almost resulted in the capture of a high-value target. I can’t begin to imagine the kind of miscommunication damage we could have avoided had we had interpreters during two of our three deployments. Nothing adds to the disconnect between U.S. soldiers and the Iraqi populace like absolute miscommunication. We are astronauts and they are Martians, plain and simple.

Jew#2 imagined that some flashcards on a key ring with some important arabic phrases in english on one side and written in arabic on the other would improve the situation significantly. Things like “Lie Down”, “Halt”, “We won’t hurt you”, “Be calm”, “Who”, “What”, “Where”, “When” “How” and “How many” could be included. Also responses from the Iraqis would be as important if not more. Giving a response card with words and short phrases arranged next to translations of those phrases to the Iraqi so he can point to answers like “Yes”, “No”, “Certain”,  “Meter”, “Kilometer”, “Hour”, “Day”, “Before”, “After”, “Injured, sick, disabled”, and “Help” (operating under the assumption that arabic numerals are common knowledge) would also probably help. In addition, a short FAQ could be prepared for Iraqis who are being raided. Something like:

We apologize if we are rough, but we are trying to protect ourselves and you from harm.

We are here because we have some reason to believe there may be people who are assisting the insurgents in this place. If you remain calm and follow our instructions we will not hit you or harm you.

We are sorry for the intrusion if you are not involved, we try our hardest but do sometimes make mistakes.

We may have to detain some of the young men with you. This may be simply to take them to a translator who will be better able to sort out the situation. Please direct all inquiries as to their status to xxxxxxxx. Inquiries written in English will receive priority. Please include your name and the name of the detainee you are inquiring about, as well as your relation to the detainee. Comments should be contained on one side of a single page.

All other comments and complaints can be made to XXXXX.

I have a little more to say, but I’ll put it in a post on my blog.

Report this

By Fadel Abdallah, June 29, 2006 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Chris Veitch:
I don’t know who you’re Chris Veitch! But whoever you are, judging from your mocking style in accepting universally known truths about the ugly Americans in Iraq and elsewhere, your brain must be made up of fucken shit. Where is your fucken memory about the world news made at Abu Ghreib, Guantánamo, secret prisons all over Europe, and most recently the Haditha massacre, to mention only few? And yet you have the audacity to mock a man who is reporting facts, that, I am sure, been diluted and watered-down.  It is not only what evil Bush and Junta have done that’s disgracing for America, but also truth-haters like you who will always give America and Americans a bad name!
Nir Rosen’s reports on the American callous and criminal occupying force are highly disturbing, even though they are still limited and only partial versions of the total ugly and disturbing picture about this criminal war and its subsequent occupation results. So, let me take my hat off to Nir Rosen’s honesty and courage in reporting the limited side of the situation he witnessed in a short period of time.
I, for one, never believed the official story, and will never believe any thing officially reported about the war and occupation in Iraq. I never believed the official story for the simple reason that the “King” of the official “Junta” -George Bush- turned out to be a pathetic chronic liar. An Arabic proverb says, “People follow the standards of their kings.” Hence, the standards of all official Americans, who have Bush as their “King” and so-called Commander-in-Chief, must all be liars.
Just imagine if we had in Iraq ten or twenty journalists of the type and caliber of Nir Rosen, each reporting honestly one angle of the ugly story in a different part of Iraq for an extended period of time, then the total picture to emerge would indeed be a very ugly and disturbing level of crimes and atrocities, not recorded even by Medieval times standards.
I, as an American citizen and tax-payer, feel that I carry some innocent blood on my hands for not being able to stop this savagery, which was done partly in my name and with my tax dollars; and yet I have failed to do anything concrete about it, besides just writing. I will go to my grave with this shame and guilt.
The only thing that would bring a measure of justice to balance the crimes in Iraq is if Bush and Junta would be brought to justice as war criminals. We might want to add to those Bush’s propaganda machine, such as you Chris Veitch. Any thing short of that will bring a lot of shame and disgrace to all of us who are really conscientious human beings.

Report this

By B. Roche, June 29, 2006 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“How could America have fallen so low?” Please explain the rationale. In a nation whose territory was gained by genocide, its citizens would best be served by serving themselves, and that means learning the truth of our history.

It’s impossible to understand “why they hate us” if we don’t know who we are. This is the dilemma of these soldiers’ Iraq stories, and they’ll have to deal with it for the rest of their lives.

Don’t confuse the people of the U.S. (aka The People, but that’s passé) with the gov’t, the encumbent militarist junta, or the elites served by them.

Report this

By Miss, June 29, 2006 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Loved it when Nir let the soldier go on about how speaking louder helps to communicate when you don’t speak the language.  Nir must have been suffocating himself with laughter when he realized that the “Soldier” was confirming one of the oldest beliefs about Americans and their language skills.”

Beliefs?? I took Arabic in undergrad and in Arabic 101 there were 11 students.  Most were poli sci majors with an interest in international business on Wall Street or a career in diplomacy, or just to be “different” by fulfilling the language requirement with something other than Spanish like everyone else.

For a native English speaker, Arabic is not an easy language to master as the sentence structure and grammar, alphabet and vocabulary are different in practically every way.

I am fluent in English and Spanish, and barely proficient in Arabic even after 2 years and having traveled to the mideast, so I’d like to know if you think most Arabic-speaking Iraqis would understand us better, or have a better impression of our “language skills” if we spoke to them in Spanish instead??

Report this

By Jkoch, June 29, 2006 at 11:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very few soldiers can ever be candid about what is truely a terrifying and ghastly experience.  To make killing seem moral or patriotic really does take Grimm talents.

The article is perhaps 75% Rosen and 35% anonymous informant.  Rosen conveys the informant as knowing far more about the region’s history than the average grunt or junior officer probably does.  However, that does not prevent the article from being at least 75% true.  Rosen is one of the few Western journalists, other than A. Shadid, who has a fair mastery of the spoken language.  Language is a serious obstacle to US operations and community relations.  However, it is not, like some people might like to think, anything that can be overcome with a quick language course.  A well-intentioned soldier who masters a few questions or commands from the phrase book will NOT comprehend the extended responses he may get.  Fluency in Arabic does not come easily.

Mr. Veith, I’d be grateful to know which journalists you consider “fair and balanced.”  Iraq is a mortally difficult beat to cover.  Might you like to sign up for the task?  Personally, I’d love to know what Rush or Sean learned AFTER they learned Arabic and spent a few months in Iraq outside the Green Zone and uninsulated by any “embedded” cocoon.

Report this

By NoCons, June 29, 2006 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Veith and the rest of the dumb-as-a-tree- stump red-state retards:  If you disbelieve the accounts of the likes of Rosen and believe the happy talk of the Duh/Chicanery administration as to what a garden spot the war has transformed Iraq into, may I suggest that you go there and give us YOUR first-hand account?  I would be glad to pay for every one of you to take a one-way trip there—as long as you promise to get out of the Green Zone and into where the real action is.

Any takers?

Report this

By mike zacchino, June 29, 2006 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. President, I found the answer to your question, “Why do they hate us?”

Mr. Veith, please continue to read the articles on this site, and others like it.  Perhaps one day your eyes may open and you’ll see a different picture, much like the soldier mentioned here.  Please don’t wait until your neighbor’s door is blown off or your friends are detained before you see that something is amiss.

Report this

By ekarhu, June 29, 2006 at 6:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“it might be a shock to some of the architects of this war that our fighters don’t… give a rat’s ass about where our occupation in Iraq is headed.”

Would it shock anyone that the architects of the war don’t give a rat’s ass where the occupation is headed? Afterall, that is for, ahem, “future presidents” to decide.

Report this

By Bill, June 28, 2006 at 8:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To the anonymous soldier: thank you for having the courage to speak the truth about the situation in Iraq within the constraints of OPSEC.  If only more soldiers would do the same the American people would have the information they need to demand accountability from this administration.

Report this

By Allen, June 28, 2006 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

How can America have fallen so low.  For those who follow this site, I can only wonder, do you believe that we are talking only amongst ourselves?  Sinclair Lewis wrote “It Can’t Happen Here”, as a warning decades ago.  Yet, it is very current.

Report this

By rachelle, June 28, 2006 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I can’t even read beyond the first page, it’s too disgusting…

Report this

By boadicca, June 28, 2006 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Veith’s comment No. 14542 shows that he really knows nothing about American behavior abroad.  I have an acquaintance who travels frequently and ignorantly refuses to learn other languages.  When faced with the necessity of communicating with foreigners, she YELLS!  Mir Rosen has confirmed all of the Iraqi blogs that I’ve read about the behavior of most of our troops.  The only exception here was that nobody stole the families’ money and jewelry.  What can we do to make up for the crimes that have been committed in our names?

Report this

By Axel, June 28, 2006 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rosemary et al,
Instead of towel heads’ it was gooks’. This isn’t fabricated. It is history repeated. The soldier’s comment about “winning hearts and mind’s” is true.  It comes down to this. Whether they are gooks or sand n_____rs. The main focus is getting your ass out alive in one piece. You can’t trust anybody but your buddies and fuck anybody else, including the Goddamn politicians with their flagwaving bullshit that have no idea what it feels like to kill another human.

Report this

By Frederico, June 28, 2006 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If only Saddam had taken the deal offered to him by this very regime- give us exclusive rights to Iraqi oil, like we have with the Saudis- we wouldn’t be in this expensive mess.
If he had kicked out the Europeans, started selling oil for dollars again, given the US exclusive rights to his sweet light crude, and capitulated to the Bushie’s whims, he’d still be in power, free to kill whomever he wants…...
Laura Bush wouldn’t have to lie and say she was concerned about the plight of Iraqi women and her husband could have stayed on vacation….

Report this

By Pete, June 28, 2006 at 12:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That goodness for right thinkers like commenter Chris Veith - Comment #12542.  Were it not for his insightful adamance and mocking tone, I personally would have been inclined to believe these perfectly plausible scenarios might have been genuinely experienced first? second? person accounts that could actually take place within the context of this “war” or any war, for that matter.  But then, I am an ignorant victim of the liberally biased press.  Thank you Mr. Veith, for your honesty, perceptiveness and dare I say it, patriotism!  It is people of your measure and timber that keep our boys in the fight! Moron.

Report this

By David, June 28, 2006 at 8:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All for the love of money.

Report this

By New Hat, June 28, 2006 at 7:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

D’oh!  Can’t anybody go back and read “The Ugly American”?  He was just physically ugly, that’s all!  Despite stupid title, fascinating article and wasn’t it oh-so-obvious that this would happen?  These are very scary times, my friend.

Report this

By Fran Greenfield, June 28, 2006 at 6:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That is the most truthful report from an American I’ve yet read.  It adheres closely to what Iraqi’s themselves have reported via blogs and interviews along with reports from Al Jazeera (which I understand is not allowed in America(?).

My hat is off to this soldier for his truthfulness in his talk/report.  It certainly does match the reports on the ground

Report this

By Chris Veith, June 28, 2006 at 6:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My Comment.

Sounds like the sort of fairy tales I have been reading on left leaning blogs for years now.  All anonymous; how convenient.  I wonder if the “Soldier” knew he was being dressed up as Inspector Clouseau by Nir Rosen?  I loved that scene where the door was open, but the soldiers did not know it.  What a howler!

I will continue to read your blog solely for the amusement.  I am disappointed that Nir did not add any sex or violence to this “Journalism”.  Basically it comes off as some American Bozos running around in Iraq.  Loved it when Nir let the soldier go on about how speaking louder helps to communicate when you don’t speak the language.  Nir must have been suffocating himself with laughter when he realized that the “Soldier” was confirming one of the oldest beliefs about Americans and their language skills.  You really had a live one there Nir.  Good for you! 

But please, next time, add some sex and violence!  The two illicit Iraqi gay lovers found on the dunes, just lacked the romance I would expect from a writer of your caliber!

Report this

By Howdy, June 28, 2006 at 4:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Its good to see that someone realises that killing people and blowing up their stuff is not a good way to make friends.  If your country gets invaded you resist, its just that simple.  Its too bad that Bush won’t call it quits and will probably up the ante and attack Iran. This he hopes will get people supporting the troops and vote Republican this fall. Otherwise the Dems get in and impeach him.  All this death and destruction just to win Ohio and Florida, sad.

Report this

By Rosemary Molloy, June 28, 2006 at 3:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I want to believe this is all fabricated, but I know it isn’t.  How could we be doing this?  What will happen to the Iraqi children who are witnessing this horror?  What will happen to the young Americans who are perpetrating it?  Where is our culture, our compassion, and our intellectual worth?  I’m heartsick.

Report this
 
Monsters of Our Own Creation? Get tickets for this Truthdig discussion of America's role in the Middle East.
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Zuade Kaufman, Publisher   Robert Scheer, Editor-in-Chief
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook