Monday, September 18, 2006
Apology Of My Blog
Ok so here’s the deal: I am not a “front lines” type of soldier who happens to be stationed where all the reporters and news cameras are. I am just your run of the mill soldier doing a job that doesn’t make the headlines unless something goes wrong. I am right near a major city, Mosul, which just happens to be a place where all the news cameras have left hence no one hears much about it anymore. I have my opinions of course and like to share them with anyone willing to listen. My blog has and remains to be a collection of thoughts and opinions from the “common” soldier. As I have noted before I am not a “cool guy” soldier doing “really sweet” stuff that books and movies are written about. Perhaps the only book you would ever read about someone like me is if I wrote one.
I regret the decisions that lead me to my current job because I know I could be better used elsewhere. I often struggle with the daily grind of the army because it really isn’t my cup of tea. I like serving in the military but the menial jobs that make up so much of the military just don’t do it for me. If I would have known better, or just known someone who knew better, I would have followed a different path in the army and would probably have done something that would have allowed me to send Jihadists to paradise each day. Now that I have spent 2 1/2 years on deployment though, I often wonder if I would have the energy to do it all over again performing a new job.
My blog has always been from the perspective of someone who is in the theater but not on center stage. I think I have always been a little down stage right which doesn’t lend my blog that air of “freaking awesomeness” that others might have who tell tales of running to and fro from the shower under raining down mortars, or those who sit and contemplate life in the midst of a firefight. I came, I saw, I drove a truck. I had my share of non-regular-civilian-world occurrences but nothing that many other soldiers hadn’t already gone through themselves so I didn’t find it pertinent information to share with everyone. There are a number of blogs out there where people can read this type of blather all day long and I didn’t want mine to be another one of them.
I started my blog with the intention of sharing the truth about what is going on in Iraq as I see it and how it relates to me. I have a particular interest in politics and some of my focus has been there also. I tend to be sarcastic because I believe the world needs a little sarcasm with all of the serious idiocy going on today. I wish I had a more central role in the war right now so that I might better be able to share with everyone the truth on the ground, however, all viewpoints need to be shared and are of value to the overall picture. If everyone blogging were and infantry soldier, or a company commander for instance, the whole picture wouldn’t make it out. I believe that milbloggers in theater have a unique opportunity to share real time updates and give readers an on the ground insight into the fight. I liken milblogs to the letters soldiers have written in past wars and believe they will have an historical significance in the future for anyone wanting to learn about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would and do encourage soldiers with half a brain to write about their time here in country and value what they have to say more than most of what the media does. I have never accepted any help or advertisements to my blog in order to remain independent and above reproach from haters.
I by no means pretend that I have all the answers about this war. There are a lot of people who use me as a way to vent their criticisms about the Bush administration and their handling of the war. Have we made mistakes in Iraq? Sure. Have we made positive strides in Iraq? Yes. I do not think it is or was possible for the government and military leaders to predict all of the problems and exact outcomes of our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan every step of the way. The belief that such a thing is possible and the blame that follows as a result is unfounded and dangerous. Hindsight is 20/20 especially when Americans are dying. If only our government was as perfect as everyone expects it to be and the soldiers on ground were physically and mentally capable to handle every problem that came their way despite an unwillingness to cooperate on behalf of those they are helping and with the negative criticism coming from every angle from the armchair generals back home.
My friends and I have a saying here that goes “Don’t talk about it, be about it.” Most people love to talk big boy talk like “Oh yeah well if I was there I would do this and that and nobody would hold me back.” Or “If I was president I would do this and that and everything would be just peachy.” The problem with those people is that they have words with no actions and no qualifications. I can sit in my room on Saturday and yell at Ohio State’s football coach all I want and tell him he needs to bench this player and give more time to that player but until I invest the amount of time into doing his job that he has I have no room to talk. Sure I can comment as a fan all I want and have the right to do so but when I start thinking that I know better than he does I start to overstep my bounds.
I have always believed that the war in Iraq was the right war at the right time. I have constantly defended that belief and I don’t see it changing any time soon. Despite all I have seen and read I still agree with this war, maybe not everything we have done along the way but the fact that we did it in the first place. I believe that over time we will see achievements on par with what we hoped for at the outset of this war but things take time and we need to allow them to unfurl before we damn them as failures. As I have said many times before patience is a virtue that is seriously lacking in the world today. Perhaps the guiltiest among us are the politicians that represent us. Politicians are so worried about not rocking the boat that they lose sight of doing the right thing. Their main concern seems to be doing what will keep their constituency happy so they can keep their jobs not what will be best for our country in the long run.
I am a pro-victory conservative and want nothing more right now than to see our country do the right thing in Iraq and Afghanistan, which in my opinion is to stay and get the job done. We are at a pivotal point in our history and the world, as usual, is looking to us to do the right thing. Other countries might not agree with us but they sure rely upon us to clean up the messes in the world. We are often damned when we do and damned when we don’t. The good thing about the operations we are in is that we are not in them alone. The help we receive from other countries is often downplayed and underreported by our media but is of immense importance especially in Afghanistan where we would be lost without them.
When all is said and done I don’t think I nor anything that I said was in any way more important than anyone else. I am just here to share my thoughts with those who want to listen. My only hope is that I have given some insight into the life of a deployed soldier and have helped people understand what it is like in Iraq. I think the reason that I am unique is that I am happy to be deployed to this god-awful country helping people who often aren’t thankful. I believe in what I am doing and am glad to have had the opportunity, twice, to act on my beliefs and not just sit at home and talk about them. I am not a mindless drone doing as ordered, I think for myself and form my own opinions all the while doing the job I am supposed to do. I realize I am only a pawn in the larger scheme of things but also realize that without pawns there would be no defense.
I will continue to bring it to you throughout the rest of the time I am in Iraq and hope to keep writing on my return home. I ask that you read my blog for what it is worth and for those haters out there quit blaming everything and anything on me. I am fighting for what I believe in, what are you doing?