My take on the war...I was there.


nospleen

macrumors 68020
Dec 8, 2002
2,332
645
Texas
I just want say that I admire your committment to our Country. Although I am opposed to the war, I am 110% behind everyone over there. I admire that you have the courage to do what so many of us do not. I am also glad you are home safe!! Thank you for all that you do for us!
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,388
7
toronto
thanks for the report, and i'm glad you made it back in one piece.

you hit upon a very important point, in that no one really seems to know a good way to proceed. further, until bush and company admit that the current situation is unworkable, progress seems highly unlikely.

when you get some time, and if you don't mind, i'd like your take on how the media here is correctly and incorrectly portraying the situation there.
 

Thomas Veil

macrumors 68020
Feb 14, 2004
2,435
5,528
OBJECTIVE reality
Great post!

I've little to say, beyond thanking you for your clear-headed viewpoint on the war and for your service to your country.

Your ambivalence obviously declares that you are not attempting to be a cheerleader for either side. Frankly, your comments reflect what a lot of people here at home feel. This war didn't "feel right" going in, our feelings have been validated, but now that we're in, getting out is not going to be easy.
 

tristan

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2003
765
0
high-rise in beautiful bethesda
Thanks for posting your experiences. I'm sorry that you had to put your life on hold and yourself in harm's way. Definitely consider writing more about the conflict and your experiences because your voice is an important one and will carry a lot of weight. Veterans have a perspective on wartime politics and government that the rest of us will never have.

Did your country let you down by mismanaging its foreign policy and/or wartime strategy? You've defended my right to say so, but my opinion doesn't mean much compared to someone who's been through what you have. If anyone's earned the right to public comment, it's you, although it may have to wait until you're completely out of the guard, I guess, which is both ironic and unfair.
 

solvs

macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
5,693
1
LaLaLand, CA
Thank you for your post. Though I've heard mostly the same type of thing from friends and family members who've been there, I still appreciate your honest and forthright post. Hopefully this forum will become cathartic for you as it has for me since my best friend was sent over there. I can't imagine what you've been through, but you seem to be the same age as I am, and I don't even want to think about what I would have done if I had gone ahead with my plans to join the Air Force years ago. I can't speak for the group, but I'm sure we'd be open to your talking about it more, if you're ready, whether we agree with you on everything or not.

Note that some of us who don't support the war are doing so because we support you and the other troops out there in harms way.
 

Dont Hurt Me

macrumors 603
Dec 21, 2002
6,056
6
Yahooville S.C.
Thanks Abercrombie boy for posting what you saw, welcome back. Its becoming clear to the folks 911 was manipulated to further the Cheney agenda.His Chief of staff took the fall for that disgusting man and is now indicted. We have a arrogant president who cant ever seem to admit mistakes. This is a major character flaw. No wmds i say bring em home, not all at once but step by step. Mr president what happen to your promise on Bin Laden? the guy who did 911? We have had our Constitutional rights and guarrantees trampled on by this president in his quest for Saddam.:( 2,000 dead, 15,000 injured and these are blown off limbs, over 300 billion dollars.:mad:
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
28
Washington, DC
Edit: First off. Thanks for your post. You sound a lot like my brother in law who was 6-months in Iraq and 3 in Afghanistan. He's an Army Captain, and he's in it for the long haul, I suppose, but his conclusions and opinions don't seem too different.


I read an article in one of the foriegn policy type publications about a potential strategy for Iraq. It was suggesting (as I recall), trying to create solidified safe zones and then work to expand those safe zones. I don't know much about military theory but it didn't make a whole lot of sense to me because it seemed to be trapped in the idea of a war with a front and ignorant of how insurgencies work. But, this is hardly my field and I undoubtedly misinterpreted some of the ideas in the article.

It's problematic to say the least. I would think that the most important and least antagonistic roles (at least to Iraqis) the US can play in Iraq are border patrol and sort of ethnic/religious fault line security (hold the civil war at bay). Everything else is a catch-22 of engagement leads to resentment but disengagement allows safe-havens for the insurgency. I don't understand the makeup and reliability of the Iraqi police and military forces, but given the chaos I imagine there's a great deal of potential corruption and bias in any given unit in any given location. The military and police need to be committed to the Iraqi state and unfying ideals for this to work, but I imagine that largely isn't happening. I guess the hope now is carving out three de facto independent regions and some sort of arrangement that shares central power and resources in such a way that minimizes conflict. And then the US should patrol the internal and external borders and, I guess, contribute to security in the more mixed cities.

I also think a public commitment to leaving would reduce the will of the insurgency. If we're leaving anyway (even if it's in two or ten years), why put in all the effort to fighting? I'm not saying it would eliminate the insurgency, but even if it cuts its strength by 10%, that's maybe 5 or 10 US lives per month that are saved.
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
19
Chicago, Illinois
A friend of mine from high school worked trauma over their (he's a doctor), and so much of what you said reflects his opinions. Thanks so much for your service. Hopefully, this will get sorted out sooner, rather than later.
 

jefhatfield

Retired
Jul 9, 2000
8,803
0
i am glad that you survived and i got a lot of information from your post

do you think the soldiers you met (who served in both iraq wars) who are/were in this war felt the same about the previous gulf war?

how long do you think this war can continue if many of the soldiers don't fully believe in the course george w bush has laid out?

when i talk to my dad, who was in the us army during the occupation of japan in wwII, he mentions that a lot of the psychological damage done to the soldiers (in vietnam) was due to the fact that their country was not solidly behind them...to him, he was liberated from the internment camps and the japanese americans who fought in world war II regained their citizenship and pride...and the people in america were pretty much behind the war effort to defeat hitler and tojo...the vietnam war was a different story as we all know

growing up, i never heard a thing about my dad's service in world war II, and he never mentioned anything about vietnam when i was growing up in grade school and middle school while the war raged on...but this war has opened him up to become a vocal opponent of bush and his actions in iraq...and he is a republican and has been since the roosevelt years

but he thinks that this second iraq war is more like vietnam (with no clear mission and exit strategy) and will produce a lot of amputees, ex-soldiers unable to find work, and a whole new class of homeless vets...i don't know about that, but he is convinced that this war is shaping up to be another vietnam for the usa and we will all have to suffer the after effects of this war for years to come long after we pull out of iraq

some say we learned a lot from the vietnam fiasco, but he believes that after a certain time, people forget and we are, and will always be, doomed to repeat the past
 

xsedrinam

macrumors 601
Oct 21, 2004
4,348
1
Thank you for such a well written and poignant post. I'm glad you made it back. I could not help, while reading, thinking of some 2000+ bright, youthful U.S. minds along with thousands of young Iraqis who might have shared their post active, service journals and insight but for one fatal moment.
 

solvs

macrumors 603
Jun 25, 2002
5,693
1
LaLaLand, CA
jefhatfield said:
some say we learned a lot from the vietnam fiasco, but he believes that after a certain time, people forget and we are, and will always be, doomed to repeat the past
There is something we learned from Vietnam. We make a distinction to support the troops this time, even if we are against the war. I think if we had gone in, did what we needed to do, and few or no one got seriously hurt or killed (like with Bosnia or Kosovo) we wouldn't have been so against it. There wouldn't have been time to question the motives. But since, as AB said above, we're kinda stuck there now, people want answers. The fact that we aren't getting them and all we do get are talking points is making things worse. Even forgetting the reasons for the war - lack of equipment, no exit strategy, cutting vets benefits... and tax cuts for the rich while we spend, spend, spend - we are stuck. I don't want to believe it's hopeless, but I don't see it getting any better anytime soon. I don't think anyone has any way to figure this out because there is no way out. We are stuck.

Had this turned out better, I'm sure I would have been behind this war just as I was the first Gulf War.
 

tristan

macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2003
765
0
high-rise in beautiful bethesda
Yeah I think it comes down to two questions - did we get into the Iraq war for the wrong reasons, and did we manage it correctly once we got there. We owe the American people, and especially the ones in uniform, answers to those two questions, and if administration officials are at fault, they need to be identified and held responsible.

BTW responsibility and blame will be assigned at some point, by future historians. I believe their judgment will be extremely harsh.

One question I and most people probably have - what are the trends in Iraq? At this point, it seems like we're not winning the war, which suggests that we may be losing it. Could the insurgents mount an offensive? Could an American base be taken by insurgents? Could entire cities or provinces be seized? Could the Green Zone and provincial government be overrun? Or is this destined to be a low intensity conflict for the next decade with peaks and valleys in casualties?
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
19
Chicago, Illinois
I really am surprised there aren't more posts on this thread. Come on guys! We have somebody who's been through some serious stuff for all of us, I think everybody on these forums should be thanking you right now.
 

takao

macrumors 68040
Dec 25, 2003
3,825
432
Dornbirn (Austria)
leekohler said:
I really am surprised there aren't more posts on this thread. Come on guys! We have somebody who's been through some serious stuff for all of us, I think everybody on these forums should be thanking you right now.
perhaps it's just me but your posts kinda sounds weird to me ;)
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
19
Chicago, Illinois
takao said:
perhaps it's just me but your posts kinda sounds weird to me ;)
Just commmenting on the fact that Iraq gets discussed a lot in these forums. Given that this is someone with first-hand experience, I would think that people would be interested.
 

Don't panic

macrumors 603
Jan 30, 2004
5,551
695
having a drink at Milliways
tristan said:
One question I and most people probably have - what are the trends in Iraq? At this point, it seems like we're not winning the war, which suggests that we may be losing it. Could the insurgents mount an offensive? Could an American base be taken by insurgents? Could entire cities or provinces be seized? Could the Green Zone and provincial government be overrun? Or is this destined to be a low intensity conflict for the next decade with peaks and valleys in casualties?
I think it's more likely to be the latter. If they were to take a city, the military would be more equipped to counter it by simply raze the place down felluyah-style (and so long for the civilians living there).
In a way, this is more like palestine than vietnam.
 

Mike Teezie

macrumors 68020
Nov 20, 2002
2,205
1
Great posts Abercrombieboy.

What kind of sick bastard would say that to someone who has BEEN there? Only someone who has no idea what they are talking about.

I'm sorry you had to put up with it.

Thanks for doing all you have.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
Great posts and thanks for your service.


I haven't served, but those people with the yellow ribbions all over the back of their SUV just piss me off. They're so patriotic and want to support our troops, but the second the thought of sending their own kid comes up, they suddenly change their minds. Make up your damn mind already. I want to run into the back of every SUV I see with a ribbon, but my small car v.s. their SUV and my already high insurance, well, I'm better off not doing that ;)

Of course you know the whole problem sometimes with this country is everyone is almost too bent out of shape about politics. I was accused of being un-patriotic at a bar one night by a couple of people that I met through someone else. Why you ask? Because I was a Democrat. Nevermind I just got back from a war they would NEVER go to, but they were more patriotic then I was. You know I actually came home that night, I was a little drunk and I had a tear in my eye. You want to talk about hurting a persons feelings and getting to their bone? That is one way.
So sad and so true. I can't believe anyone would have the nerve to say that. If that would have been me, I would have made sure they wouldn't be talking for awhile, they got off lucky.
Someone needs to teach them that the definition of patriotism is not blindly following your government in everything they do.