Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Different Perspective

I feel that is the first time I have visited Iraq. Deploying to a place during a time of war and playing a part of that offensive operation, it is impossible to have any point of view besides the constant assessment of threat and responsive force. You can't appreciate landscapes or city streets. You are more preoccupied with observing the fine elements of city life and not the larger picture of community and family. You could deploy me to the Guggenheim and I wouldn't comment on anything other than the job at hand. Infantrymen are vigilant, quick tempered toward the enemy and always focused. Today I feel none of those things and that really is a great feeling. [snip]

Hanging out with journalists you tend to overhear all the belly aching and complaints leveled toward 22 year old privates, who have about as much to do with why planes are late as they do with why your tent's air conditioner broke down last night. Still the unwashed complain and the young soldiers apologize and smile. At one point in my life I was on the other side of that complete disconnect and I was the one smiling and apologizing. Today I appreciate that the Army I left is a better one today. And the Army my son will serve in will be even better tomorrow.

With barely a snap hand shake and first name introduction, those without weapons and uniforms huddle together and sip coffee while the uniformed men and women stay in their group. It is almost humorous to hear some of the expectations of the media or civilian contractors that we travel with on route to our destinations This one photographer who claimed that a Marine stabbed him at some point in the past, I wasn't really listening. To his credit there was a long story attached and I was nodding repeatedly but not listening to one word of this man's "war story". I find more and more the morale is lower with the media and the civilian contractors then with the soldiers.

Read the rest.
Vets For Freedom: A Different Perspective

The best lines?

There are many times when the systems simply shut down from over use or malfunction. From my experience, when you hear the phones are down and the internet is off, you instantly suspect that someone is simultaneously getting horrific news, news no family deserves to hear. How amazing that never even occurred to this fool who wants to check on the Czech Republic Ghana world cup score?

I could've shared that with my belly aching civilian, that someone may have been killed and he needed to slow his roll. Then I thought perhaps his Marine story is true and maybe this guy invokes rage in even the most passive souls.

Now you know why there is such a "disconnect". Some folks come from this world and visit that world expecting New York accomodations while others live in that world, see it daily, look at those who will continue to live in that world when they leave or those who have been injured or killed and know they've got it good.

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