Saturday, March 29, 2003

WAR Diary:

1539 Hours: I have not left the house today, I planned it that way. I am drained, mentally and emotionally from this WAR, and it is only a week old. And while I have noticed that I watch the coverage a lot less, I still thirst for the latest news of the carnage. I surfed over to ( today and read a serious of short story’s about the WAR very different from those found in the American media. I recommend the site.

And I have to admit that I am anxious waiting for the next shoe to drop in the form of a terrorist attack. Where is it? We’ve all heard that it is coming, where is it, bring it on, so we can all stop wondering and waiting. Perhaps the terrorist are playing a mind game with us, much like we continue to play on the Iraqi’s. Get us to forget the horror of 9/11, long enough to pull off a strike that will once again catch us unawares, complacent, normal.

Anger and hatred of America and American is growing across the globe, especially in the Arab world; a quick read of almost any Arab daily will bear out the truth in of the statement. They seem to blame the “West” for all of their ills, spanning the last century, and we (the United States) is now the symbol of the west. But I find myself building up my own animosity towards them, despite my claim to enlightened thought. I wonder what kind of men would blow themselves up for a cause, however fleeting. To know in ones heart that the man I fight for is evil, but to give my life for him nonetheless; I can’t reconcile this in my mind. Or is it that they don’t think he is so bad, that because he is a fellow Muslim and we are the infidels, he is the worth of dying for. What kind of a mind thinks like that? How does one get to such a state of stunted intellectual growth?

The seeds of ignorance grow best in the fertile minds of the uneducated and unenlightened. And an uneducated mind is always easier to control and manipulate with fear and assault, by those with evil intent. And fear breeds mistrust in the proffered hand. Paradoxically, we sowed the seeds of that mistrust of our intentions at the end of Persian I. One need look no further then the strange circumstances in Iraq as proof of the proceeding statements. They say that hindsight is 20/20, but the U.S. government seems to lack this attribute. They keep repeating the mistakes of the past, over and over. We should have helped Iraqi’s when they raised against Saddam us in 1991. If we had, would we be fight this WAR now?

Food for thought…

WAR Diary:
1000 Hours: Beginning of Week Two and life for us ordinary Americans goes on, while our soldiers fight, die, and are wounded in an increasingly hospitable foreign land. It all still seems surreal to me despite the fact that I watch, and read, and listen to reports about the WAR almost every waking minute. NPR, CNN, MSNBC, The BCC, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Los Angels Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post; these are just some of the news outlets I drink my daily dose of murder, mayhem, and madness from. I find myself listening to the daily 6:00am est., briefing from CENTCOM (Central Command), and marveling over how truly useless it is. No real information is passed out; the reporters there would gather a broader, more developed picture of the WAR from reading my sources.

But like I said above, life goes on, and I have to try and pull my thoughts from this maddening affair, and turn them instead to work, school, and family. I finally received and offer letter from EDS. I have been waiting forever it seems. Now I can get healthcare, and get my teeth cleaned! My off-spring are straying and like the Shepard I must bring them back into the fold; again! “Why can’t they just act right,” I find myself asking, well, myself, over and over again. I was never, well hardly ever, a problem for my mother when I was a teenager. I did what I was supposed to do when I was supposed to do it. The world I knew owed me nothing, and I expected nothing from it; I had enough disappointments in my life, without expecting the world to come knocking with riches and solutions. Now days it seems, most of the teenagers want to be grown, but want their parent to take care of their needs; i.e. food shelter, transportation, clothing, spending money, etc. In other words, they want to make their own decisions, but want Mom and Dad to back-stop them with they fuck it all up, which invariably they do, because they know only a fifth of what they think they do! And yet, despite the time we (parents) have put in on planet Earth, we know less then nothing about the way it, and life work. Isn’t that amazing!?

Sometimes I become so tired of it all. I want to shout at the top of my lungs, “GET OUT, LEAVE US ALONE, LIVE YOUR LIFE AS YOU WILL, AND DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT, EXPECT US TO BE HERE WHEN YOU FALL!” But of course I don’t, I have to keep it together, I’m the father, the man, the rock, a moniker I wear with pride most of the time, but occasionally wish to discard with extreme prejudice. So go on, plodding, one day at a time, repeating the same old mantra into ears that only half listen, and mind that care not at all, about the real world. Did I say I was tired? But I know I cannot rest until the last of my off-spring is out the door for good. Then can I divorce them? But I digress…

2200 Hours: No plan survives its first brush with reality! I said the two days ago, and it is proving very true as the second week of the WAR slides into the timeline. The critics have been blooming on the airwaves like buds on a tree in early spring. All have a problem with the U.S. battle plan, but it was a gamble and we lost! Our venerable and barely tolerable Secretary of Defense distanced himself from the Battle Plan yesterday, laying it formation, and execution at General Tommy Franks doorstep! I wonder if General Franks has removed the considerable shank from his backside yet? Make no mistake; General Franks was following the dictates of his civilian head and his foolhardy quest to open the chapter on a new type of warfare, one which relied too heavily on gee-wiz munitions, and not enough on tried and true stratagems of war fighting. Seeing the writing on the wall Rumsfeld’s mentor in all of this mess, Richard Perle, resigned yesterday as chairman of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board, an independent group that advises Rumsfeld on defense related matters. He says he resigned because of conflicts of interests, but I think he stepped down rather than stand by the plan the two had championed in the considerable months leading up to the war. “Perle, a strong conservative advocate for the Bush administration's hard-line approach to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, said he was resigning because ‘I cannot quickly or easily quell criticism of me based on errors of fact concerning my [business] activities.’ CNN On-line (

The pieces of the Iraq warfare jigsaw puzzle plan did not all fall into place like a well written Hollywood movie. This is real life, and “shit happens” it was hard to slip the (23?) millions Iraqi’s a copy of the scrip, though we tried hard enough, and harder still to get them to follow it, so that we could have an easy, and clean victory! WAR is never clean and never easy, and it should be, less it become even more commonplace then it already is.

But the U.S. and British forces have adapted to the changing conditions admirable. They are now clearing out the cities little by little, trying to avoid civilian casualties, but they have to be mindful of the seasons…

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Wednesday, March 26, 2003

WAR Diary; End of Week One: no plan survives its first brush with reality! The situation from the outside looking in, look, while certainly not hopeless, or even disastrous, let’s just say troubling. We (the United States), have seemingly put too many eggs in one basket. We relied erroneously on the bulk of the Iraqi forces giving up without a fight—well almost without a fight—as they did in the last Persian Gulf War, now called Persian Gulf I. But then, unlike now, we pounded, assaulted, battered, and mauled the Iraqi Army with bombs and missiles to such a degree, that by the time the land war started in earnest, they had had enough, and gave up in large numbers. Now these Iraqi troops in contrast, are putting up a fierce illegal fight, giving the Army and especially, the Marines, no rest, harassing supply lines and whittling away at the nerves and (confidence?) of our troops.

Then too, we relied on Turkey allowing us to open a second front with the 4th Infantry Division (the 4th ID) to the North. And when that didn’t happen, instead of bringing the 4th ID’s heavy tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and armored personnel carriers, south out of the Mediterranean Sea and into the Persian Gulf, we let them linger close to the Turkish coast for almost a month wasting precious time. Now the ships have sailed, but they will not be able to off-load until at least the end of next week! Adding in time to prepare the vehicles for battle and we’re looking at the middle of April before the 4th ID can contribute to the push towards Baghdad.

Further, the lack of sufficient Human Intelligence (HUMIT), on ground in Iraq in the months leading up to this war has proven fatal, because we were caught unawares vis-à-vis the Iraqi irregulars, and militia or so called Saddam Fedayeen. Accurate and timely HUMIT might have shed considerable light on the numbers and concentrations of these civilian guised thugs and marauders.

Lastly, the strategy of playing leap-frog over heavily populated cities based on the forgoing has proved fool hearty, and is contrary to the stratagems of past wars of this magnitude. And while I can certainly understand the desire by U.S. war planners to want to shun the sort of fighting that would be necessary to secure these cities, not doing so has proved problematical to the long supply lines needed to prosecute this war. That, together with the constant and ongoing threat of the irregulars (paramilitary) and Saddam Fedayeen has slowed the progress of this war considerably.

All of these miscalculations and missteps have led to the current situation: troops from southern to central Iraq under constant attack from roaming bands of guerrilla fighters hell-bent on throwing out the invading infidels; supply lines under constant assault from along roads impossible to quell without a campaign of scoured earth warfare; a lack of true American military presence in Western and Northern Iraq, and the forward advance of the tip of the spear, the 3rd ID stalled fifty miles southwest of Baghdad. Reinforcements to subdue the opposition in the cities along the supply route, and a second front in the North are needed. Bottom line: Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Sec. of Defense Wolfowitz’s rolling start doctrine of ground warfare has serious flaws!

But there is hope; deployment of the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions give me hope that soon the 3rd ID will soon get the reinforcement it needs. And the recent drop of 1,000 U.S. paratroopers from the U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade which parachuted into Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq under the cover of darkness, in order to secure an airfield so that elements of the 1st Infantry Division, out of Wurburg, Germany, equipped with Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles, can be airlifted into Northern Iraq gives me reason to believe that given time we can triumph in a significant way. And let us not forget the 4th ID which already has orders to deploy, albeit from Kuwait, but deploy nonetheless.
Busy day, can’t wait to see what the night has to bring.

Monday, March 24, 2003

WAR, day seven. My mood is dark! This WAR has darken it considerably, more specifically the death of the Army and Marine soldiers and the capture of the other American serviceman, has cast a cloud over my mood that is almost palatable. I got very little sleep last night. Visions of men in camouflage lying dead in their own blood, a bullet hole through their heads haunted my sleep, chasing my dreams, making sleep almost unbearable.

My dark mood coupled with a lack of sleep, joined with the pure sometimes insanity of work, plus an incident that happened to me and mine a week ago, and life in general made me want to scream at the top of my lungs most of the day. The weight of it all was oppressive! I could think of nothing else but the WAR all day; I have a Legal Writing assignment due, past due as a matter of fact, and I couldn’t write it. I couldn’t form the thoughts, the words, the syntax, the rhyme, the reason, the logic…

I have slid gingerly out from under it now; the late afternoon warmth and an uneventful nap helped dispersed the cloud. This is a feeling I rarely experience, and one I loath to feel again.

I hate this WAR, I want us to win and win overwhelmingly, but I hate the fact that we are there. But there we are, and seemingly for the duration. We are not conducting an all out war as we should and that is what bothers me most. Politics and WAR DO NOT MIX! Lives are lost, honor betrayed, promises and trust broken, and American fight men lied to. It happened in every WAR since Korea, and it’s wrong! I state again, Politics and WAR DO NOT MIX!

No one wants civilians to die in the course of conducting a WAR, but oftentimes to achieve the ends of the pursuit, innocent people will die; it is why the institution of WAR should be avoided at all cost. That being said, we should not allow our fears of civilian fatalities and the ignorance induced backlash from the world at large it would cause, to temper our thirst for overpowering victory, and put our men under arms in undue harm. I know I spoke to this point last night, but it bears repeating for as long as necessary for the message to reach our Accidental Presidents’ feeble mind.

And soon the battle for Baghdad will be joined; the body count will rise…

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Sunday, March 23, 2003

Bad news today my fellow Americans, confirmed 10 American Marines death and an untold number wounded. Tis a dark, dark day, and my heart is heavy. Even though I am no longer in the service, I still feel a deep kinship—that I find hard to explain to my wife—for the men and women in uniform; when they take casualties I morn as well, as I sure millions of veterans across the nation are. And it appears as though the Iraqis are violating the Geneva Convention on Armed Conflict. Parading dead American soldiers on television, possibly executing soldiers who have surrendered…

I knew in my gut that it was a mistake to simply by-pass those cities in our race to Baghdad. I have a feeling that the Bush Administration is playing politics, just as his father did before him, trying limit civilian fatalities, which is laudable, but it is not worth putting those charged with directly prosecuting this WAR, in harms way unnecessarily just because they wear a uniform. They too have families; they too have loved ones; they too have those who will miss them when they are gone; they too have a right to life and the American dream!

And now comes word that the Iraqis at An Nasiriya send women and children out into the street under Marine artillery fire. No doubt they had in their minds to stop the shells. If true, this is a shameful and reprehensible practice. What sort of men under arms sends innocent, defenseless, women and children out to protect them? Certainly, they are not men I would be obligated to respect, or greet as a man! Where is their honor? Have the Iraqi men none to wear? Appears not!

And the battle rolls on…
WAR, fifth day, the ground troops advance towards Baghdad, by way of many, many small and medium sized Iraqi cities. I am watching to around-the-clock coverage of the WAR on MSNBC for the most part; they seem to have the best coverage, certainly since CNN has been summarily relieve of duty in Baghdad. The U.S. Marines and Army continue to advance apace, taking out opposition, sometimes fierce, as they barrel toward Baghdad.

They story of the U.S. soldier tossing hand grenades into tents of the 101st Airborne as it continues to unfold tragic. . The soldier whose actions were cowardly tragic, sad, and treasonous, was identified as Muslim American, who had voiced opposition to the WAR. One has to wonder if this incident will now cause a backlash against other Muslim American in the ranks of the U.S. Armed Forces. Our men and woman arte professionals, and that will help temper their response, but they are after all human. And let us not forget that save two recorded incidence of domestic terrorism all of the terrorist attacks against the U.S. have been perpetrated by peoples of the Islamic faith. It is sad but true happenstance, one which can not be denied or explained away with irrational indignation.

As the WAR progresses and the protest around the world continue apace, my mind is shifting as one solidly against the prosecution of this WAR to one who can see the necessity of its action. The protests stir up emotion and memories. The emotion of indignity is fueled by the staggering hypocrisy of most of the world’s people and governments, many of which would not enjoy the freedom they do if not for the military prowess, mastery and bravery of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Europeans, who have watched as their power waned after the bloodbath of WWII, used to hold sway over most of the worlds trouble spots. Their rule in the 16th – mid 20th centuries was often brutal, self serving, and by no means, democratic. Indeed, they have been responsible for the destruction of more civilizations then any other group of peoples in the history of the world. And yet, they now raise their voices in protest now as America attempt to remove an evil. Yes, they have a right to protest, but perhaps that protestation should be tempered by an acknowledgment of the part they and their governments have historically played in the shaping of the world, and the conflicts and strife that sprang from their disengagement from imperialism.

My memories call into focus the great evil of this man Saddam Hussein, who has in the past gassed in the thousands, his own people, without a single sign being raised in protest. This is a man who started two wars with barley a voice being raised in protest, nor fist in anger, by the European people, even as Saddam again gassed Iranian soldiers and civilians and instigated missile attacks on populace Iranian cities. This is a man who sent his soldiers to rape a country, and not an angry word was uttered by the worlds Muslims, despite the fact—or because—he had invaded a fellow Muslim nation. Times after time this man has proved his evil intent, but the worlds people, have scarcely noticed or given air to protest.

But now, the world’s populace is indignant; now they are angry; now they are taking notice; now they are concerned, even the Americans, most of which drove to their respective protests in SUV’s or other means of transportation that guzzles gas as you and I would consume a bottle of Gatorade after a football game of a hot summers day in Atlanta, GA.

My wife and I had an animated discussion about this very subject last night. She was against the WAR leading up to its commencement, but now she is wavering…more later.