Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The In T View: American Soldiers: Was Iraq Worth Your Time And Effort?


Tank Silhouette


Tank Silhouette - Photo Appears Courtesy of Dave's Not Here


Updated!

Happy Fourth of July - Today We Are All Americans.


The Iraqi Conflict.

The Media, in an Ideological Confrontation with the Bush administration, of whom, they don't regard as possessing the legitimacy to lead the nation, has framed the Iraqi Conflict as an unjust action, a dispirited cause, a quagmire of bombings and killings among the Iraqi citizenry, and an ever present collection of Grim Milestones of American Soldiers lives forfeited in Iraq: 500 gone; 1,000 killed; 1,500 lost; 2,000 dead; 2,500 extinguished, trumpeted throughout news headlines, in an unceasing meme of death and destruction.

But the American Servicemen and women, who are currently stationed in Iraq or whom have already served there, are not merely statistics to be bandied about by the Media, seeking to influence the American Public on their perceived unjustness of the conflict. No, these American Soldiers have their own opinions and ideas of the Iraqi War and aftermath, having first-hand experience of the conflict, unlike the majority of the Media.

In this In T View, we sought out American Soldiers perspectives of the Iraqi conflict, rather than the Media's biased and flawed portrayal of events in Iraq, asking the servicemen and women:

In the end, do you feel that Iraq was worth your time and effort? And could you tell us why?

And here are their responses...


Mister Ghost,
Thanks for the e-mail. I'm out of the sandbox now, and while security is always important, I have no problem with revealing my name, etc. now.

I'm 1st Lieutenant Lee Kelley, and I was in Ramadi for a year.

To answer your question:

In the end, do you feel that Iraq was worth your time and effort? And could you tell us why?

I do think Iraq was worth my time, for a lot of reasons. To put it simply, any way I can take part in the fight of my generatiuon, this global conflict against terrorists which is currently most predominant in thge Middle East, I am happy to help. I think it's important that we remember the truth of our history - that we had to carve America into what it is today, and that it came at no small price and no small amount of war or blood - and to keep in mind that the military is a necessary evil. And someone has to do it. I was more than happy to be one of them, and I'm proud of the work I did with my unit, and the work that all branches of the military continue to do.

I won't say it was easy. Often the work is thankless and sometimes quite shocking and frightening. Being separated from family for months, 12 of which were spent in Iraq, was the biggest mental challenge of all. I personally believe beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Army is shooting itself in the foot for deploying National Guard, citizen soldier units for so long. Recruiting and retention will not be able to keep up with the losses. I myself am considering an end to my military career in the next few years. I spent four years on active duty, and I fully expected to get deployed, just as the Actice Army does today, but I do believe in the concept of citizen soldier and I think 18 months is too long.

Iraq was worth my time and effort because of the humanitarian missions I was able to participate in. We're giving a country in need a chance at a type of freedom they may naver have had, and that's a truly humane thing to do. I could go on and on, but I'll just say Yes, I think the war in Iraq is necessary, and I'm glad I went.

I wrote about this subject at the following link:


http://www.wordsmithatwar.blog-city.com/essay2.htm


Thanks for all you do, Lieutenant K


Lieutenant K blogs at the renown Wordsmith at War

Hi just thought I would answer your questions since they seem well worth the time to answer because this is a question that alot of people who have been over there get asked...

In the end, do you feel that Iraq was worth your time and effort?

In a way I do but for the most part I think that it was stupid.... this is my own opinion and as no reflect on the military at all.... I lost one of my best friends on April 22 2005 outside of Tal Afar and I was in the truck with him when it happened... so I do think that it was a waste look at all the families and soldiers that have lost loved ones over something that the government cant even prove. maybe it was Iraq that started 9-11 but how can you prove that they werent working for some other country... alot of the Iraqi people are happy that america is there and then you have the ones that arent. Same as Americans. I dont think it was worth it at all. it is a waste of time effort and human life being over there.

Iraq is such a beautiful country, it has loving people in it that love America and are wondering why we are destroying their lives. I once talked to an Iraqi soldier who asked me "Why is America doing this to our families?" He lost his wife and kids when a bomb fell on his house. see how sad is that.. we go over there blowing shit up and kill innocent civilians tring to get one man... who I think is not even in Iraq since we attacked. So yes it is a waste to be there..

But than again it is good we are there.. they know that we mean business when you decide to fuck with America on our soil.... we are showing them that they messed with the wrong people and that we are going to punish those who were in charge of fucking with us.


Name Witheld By Request


Mister Ghost,
Thanks for your email! Every generation has a war in their lives, something hthat either the public is for or against. I lost a friend on Sept 11th, who flew KC 130's with me in the Marines. To me, this Jihad stuff is personal and I will do everything in my power to help put an end to it. Would I do it again? Yes in a heartbeat!! Would I go over to stop a country like Iran if we had to? Yes, and twice on Sunday. Take care and thanks for writing.
Semper Fi,
Taco


Taco aka Tacobell is located at Sandgram, formerly al AnBar, Iraq.


Armour


Armour - Photo Appears Courtesy of Dave's Not Here



Iraq wasn't worth my time nor my effort because my talents were not used and I didn't even perform the job the Army trained me to do. I was called back from the IRR and extended beyond my terminal ETS date to do something that anybody with any MOS could have done. I don't feel I was used to help in any significant way. It bothers me because I know I could have done more.
Thanks, Bobby LaRon


Bobby LaRon is at
Gypsy Life
.



Mister Ghost,
Happy to oblige.

In the end, do you feel that Iraq was worth your time and effort? And could you tell us why?

I was a strong supporter of our efforts against Saddam Hussein specifically as a supporter of terror against the US, and in his defiance in the face of repeated injunctions by the UN Security Council. I knew he had weapons of mass destruction, and a proven willingness to use them against ethnic minorities and opponents. I never expected to be part of that effort in the National Guard, but I was proud to be called upon to serve in this way.

I think of my time in Iraq as service. I served my country, which I believe is the responsibility of all of our citizens. I also performed a service for the Iraqi people. This service involved sacrifices, on the part of me and my fellow soldiers, but also from our families, friends, and communities. It also has involved great sacrifice and expense from the Iraqi people themselves.

They were, are, and will be worth the sacrifice. They deserve the opportunity for freedom from brutality and oppression no less than any citizen of the world. They have shown remarkable courage in the face of grave dangers, and they have risen to all the challenges they've faced, from surviving one of the world's most brutal and corrupt regimes, to ignoring a largely ambivalent world audience, to forming the a new Democracy in the heart of the Middle East when few gave them any hope of doing so.

They will be great allies in the Middle East, against the many enemies we still have there, who's days are numbered in less quantity, thanks to the Iraqi People.

Personally, my time in Iraq was a time of tremendous spiritual growth for me and my family. I started to spend more time with the Bible, and shared thoughts and insights on Holy Scripture with friends and family and fellow believers back home. I found gifts I never knew I had. My wife grew in faith as well; not having me to lean on in a physical sense, while we were in regular contact, she found strength and ways to minister to others. My son also came to a better understanding of God's faithfulness and provision, and even the absence of his earthly father caused him to rely on our Heavenly Father in a way he had not known before.

We are a stronger, more knit together family, more focused on God's Will for our lives.

My job in Iraq was relatively safe, and we were blessed to serve 10 months in Iraq and bring the 200 soldiers in our unit home without injury or death. Some return with physical problems, most related to the hardships and stress, given that the average age of our (National Guard) unit was about 38, with a few Vietnam Veterans among us.

But I did complete about a dozen or so convoys. I remember those vividly, I wouldn't call them a "best" memory, just vivid. You take things like the pre-convoy brief very serious, you practice drills, how to respond to accidents or injuries, and of course improvised explosive devices (IED). You are never more alive as you sit in the seat, loaded down, locked and loaded, weapons ready, scanning every piece of trash, every person, every vehicle for potential threats. Then, getting where you're going, pealing off the layers, soaked in sweat, standing there alongside the clearing barrels or later over at the post exchange (PX, or military store), just breathing deep with "we made it" satisfaction.

That was part of God's provision, as well. I read and was reminded often of Psalm 91 in the Old Testament, where the Psalmist says, "I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust." (Psalm 91:2)

Beyond that, my time in Iraq was the impetus for me to start blogging. I posted an article about Why I MILBLOG. I explained that MILBLOGGERS like Greyhawk, Citizen Smash, and Blackfive had an excellent opportunity to comment on all things military from their blogs. Most importantly, their perspectives, insights and commentary stood in sharp contrast to what passes for "Journalism" on the part of mainstream (news) media (MSM).

In my view, the most important function of the MILBLOG is to provide information. On-the-ground reporting, and the perspective of those closest to and part of the action. Relatively few soldiers conduct direct combat operations, although more and more are subjected to potential conflict and violence. Still, everything that happens can potentially be a part of history. In many ways, we have only scratched the surface on capturing what it means to be a soldier, sailor, airman, marine.

Somewhere along the way, early on in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), I realized that I would have few opportunities to do the "shock and awe," real-time, heart pounding and heat of battle war correspondent kind of reporting. I could, however, pay attention to the many fine men and women around me in combat service support roles, serving their country with quiet honor, dedication, and a fair amount of good humor. Thus were Dadmanly Profiles born.

I believe it is times of sacrifice, of trials, of taking risks for purposes greater than our own comfort or physical well-being, in which God allows us to experience more fully His power.

So was my time in Iraq worth it? Absolutely, for in it and through it and out of it, flow blessings too numerous to count. My heart desires that God will bring the good Iraqi people through their long struggle and tribulation of these many decades, and bless them for their courage and faith with a brighter, free, more peaceful and prosperous future.

Dadmanly


Dadmanly is the very fine blogger at
Dadmanly
.



Do I think Iraq was/is worth it? Pardon my use of the language, but, FUCK NO. These kids are forced to say that shit when a camera is stuffed in their face, or when the media is speaking to some FOBBIT who never once left the damn compound. I was a DUSTOFF pilot who threw a 16 ½ year career away because of my beliefs. I officially left the military this month. So that should tell you how strong my conviction to this question is.


Robert R.


Blackhawk Cabin


Blackhawk Cabin - Photo Appears Courtesy of Dave's Not Here


In the end, do you feel that Iraq was worth your time and effort?

Absolutely

And could you tell us why?

There is no doubt in my mind that the Iraqi people appreciate what we have done for them. The people I talked to and encountered on the streets of Baghdad were fearful of us leaving prematurely.

Iraq when I left was a different country than when I arrived. The Iraqi Army had made substantial improvements... both in numbers and performance. The Iraqi people began siding with the Coalition Forces. Zarqawi's biggest mistake was to target the Iraqi populace. He only strengthened our relationship with the people of Iraq. I am extremely proud of what I did in Iraq and the progress we made there. Iraq is improving daily. I cannot believe we have accomplished as much as we have in only a few years. The people of Iraq will stay with me forever. Their perseverance in the face of adversity and their continuous resolve has changed the way I look at life.

Hope this helps.


-Mark Miner can be found at Boots In Baghdad.


I don't think I really know enough about what's going on in Iraq to know if my efforts were worth it, and I also think it's too soon to tell.


Akino L.


At the end and to this day I feel that my time in Iraq was absolutely worth the time and effort. I sacrificed a lot during that time but years from now when history shows how Iraq escaped and rose from the depths of tyrannical leadership I will have been a vital part of that.

It will take a great deal of sacrifice for this to work out, but in the end it will be a much better place for all involved.


Gordo C. can be found here .


Mister Ghost, Sure... here are my two-cents:

I was hoping you could answer the following brief questions, and I would post your response: In the end, do you feel that Iraq was worth your time and effort?

YES. I see this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a truly representative government in the Middle East. It also is a chance for our two vastly different cultures to gain respect for each one's strengths, and learn from each one's weaknesses. For generations, we have allowed the entire region of the Middle East to continue on a corrosive path of self sustaining isolation, corruption, and oppression. Saddam Hussein's incalcitrance in over 12 years of UN violations to the 1991 Cease-fire agreement demanded a clear & response. The United States, which is often held responsible for providing World-Wide stability, made the decision to change the status-quo and take a risk at setting the conditions for a catalyst for political change in the greater Middle East.

Critics have enumerated their list of mistakes made during this venture. My own view is that many of these "mistakes", while not prepared for, were unavoidable. These mistakes only prove the difficulty of the challenge - the value of the mission and the benefits of a successful outcome remain clear. I do regret that more effort was not spent gaining support in the International Community. This lack of support for us has not only hampered the efforts to build a stable Iraq, but has also fomented the insanity of providing support (implicit & explicit) for continued instability in the region. This dynamic has encouraged some of the most heinous violent acts against Coalition & Iraqis simply because of a stubborn anger at the decision to remove Saddam.

This conflict has been agonizing, heartbreaking, exacerbating, and demoralizing. However, it has been so difficult because of the historic opportunity it represents.


The very articulate GI. John is at a secret location somewhere in the Euphrates Valley.


1. DO I FEEL IRAQ WAS WORTH MY TIME AND EFFORT?

Yes - despite the blood shed on both sides of this conflict, it is very important that the US continue to remain in Iraq until such time that the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense are strong enough to take control of the major cities and fight the insurgency on their own without the need for US logistical and operational support. Currently, the Iraqi Army and police forces do not have the ability to effectively commit their own forces into major operations without US military and logistics support. Overall, they lack the logistics capability in transportation, communications, equipment, and command and control to effectively engage in battle and coordinate large scale operations among different units of the Iraqi security forces.. Small units are doing very well on an individual basis, but there is still a need for additional training, equipping and practice before the Iraqi security forces can effectively provide security without US intervention.

If the US departed now, many of the Iraqi security forces (both Police and military units) would rapidly deteriorate and fall apart due to the lack of support. There is still a problem with corruption in certain ranks, as well as individuals in the security forces who are sympathetic to the insurgency. This will take time to get control of and eliminate. The flow of foreign fighters into Iraq would increase, as well as seeing an increase in ethnic crimes (Sunni vs. Shiaa) between the 2 dominant religions in Iraq. None of the US Soldiers and Marines want to be in Iraq any longer than necessary, and all hope that the Iraqi forces continue to grow stronger daily, in hopes that we can eventually turn over the security efforts to them without worrying if the forces will be able to stand against the insurgents and terrorists killing the innocent Iraqi citizens, as well as coalition soldiers.

Until the new Iraqi government can provide security, the insurgency will continue to fight the coalition. Only time will tell if the insurgency will continue once the coalition withdraws and the insurgents have only the Iraqi security forces to attack. As it stands, the security forces cannot effectively stand up against these attacks on their own. We improve this situation slowly every day, but time and effort must still be expended to ensure the new Iraqi government meets with success in the future.


Name Witheld By Request


Biapterm3


Biapterm 3 - Photo Appears Courtesy of Dave's Not Here



MG,
Happy to oblige... and probably giving you more than you've asked for...
_______________________

Unequivocally yes, every moment I spend in Iraq is worth the time and effort and I will continuously volunteer to return.

Our forefathers and those who fought on their behalf secured our Blessings of Liberty. It's now our obligation to secure these same Blessings for our Posterity, whether that means our children, our neighbors, or our fellow man.

Perhaps those who don't care to return the favor to our fellow man ought to have to trade just one day of their pampered and free lives with those who weren't lucky enough to be born in the United States or anywhere else in the free world. Then, maybe then... they'll get the hint.
Armand


Armand T blogs at Un-common Sense, The Red Voice, and 1000 Words.


In the end, do you feel that Iraq was worth your time and effort?

Yes.

And could you tell us why?

The United States can no longer pretend that failed states halfway across the world have no effect on our national security or world stability. 9/11 proved that. Saddam refused to partner with the free world against state-sponsored terror, and in many ways supported it himself. Thus, he left us with no choice but to remove him. The U.S. could have then packed up and left Iraq to it's own internal squabbles, but another tyrant would have just assumed power and put us and the Iraqi people right back where we started. We owed it to them to stay and try to win the next generation of Iraqis a future of self-determination. I will never regret fighting for the principles of freedom anywhere in the world, whether it be my own or someone I've never met. It's a shame that it has to come at such a high cost for everyone involved, but there's a reason why the National Mall in Washington D.C. has a granite inscription that says "Freedom isn't Free."


Buck Sargent examines the Politics of War and American Military History at American Citizen Soldier


In the end, do you feel that Iraq was worth your time and effort?

That's a great question... I've met numerous Iraqis, and I find them to be very hard working, intelligent, and friendly, for the most part. The media generally portrays the Iraqi people in the wrong light. Like many people, a few bad people give the rest of you a bad name. Same with the US effort in Iraq.

I feel that Iraq needed our help, and I still believe we've done many positive things here. There have been some bad decisions made, of course, and some people forget that we're here to help the Iraqi people. Overall, though, I'm glad to be here, and I try to do my part every day to be positive and friendly with the local population. I like to shake hands with Iraqis, talk to them, ask them about their hopes, dreams and futures.

The effort in Iraq has been hampered by setbacks, and is not going as well as we had hoped. The key to this effort lies within the Iraqi people themselves, and I love seeing progress there. For example, I heard of an Iraqi army unit conducting a very good counterattack on insurgents in the southern part of the country, using great tactics, and it was very fluid. This was different than my earlier impressions of the Iraqi army, and I like seeing them get better, and take a more active role in their country's security...


Name Witheld By Request


medivac chopper


Medivac Chopper - Photo Appears Courtesy of Dave's Not Here



Yes Iraq is worh my time and effort.

Why? Because this is what America wanted the military to do. The time to debate going to war passed us long ago. It is hardly my place to question what to do, now is the time to do my best. Iraq still needs help and that is what I will do while I am here.


Johnny Dolittle



Hey there sure I'll answer.

In the end, do you feel that Iraq was worth your time and effort? ----

Very much so. Unlike what the news reports I know that while we were over there the US military accomplishes alot for the populace. In my AO (near Buquba) we set in 2 new polling sites from the Refeorandum vote to the dec elections. Countless number of schools received devlopment work, re-fixed the bridge going across the river in Baquba and helped establish the 2-2 IA battalion. While I didn't enjoy being deployed, its my job and every soldier who has joined the Army since 9-11 has known this is thier job.


Randy P.

My thanks to all the Soldiers who responded and to
Dave's Not Here for use of his fine photos.



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