Thursday, March 30, 2006

I have poster board, can I come too?

So I know this is a week or so late but I wanted to post it nonetheless. I think it is still relevant even though it doesn’t have the timing of an expert blogger.

On the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion a lot of people chose to voice their opinion about the ongoing “war” in Iraq. People took to the streets in different cities across the world to gain media attention to their cause while at the same time chanting catchy anti-war slogans. They held up signs pleading for the war to end, Bush to be impeached, Mumia to be freed, and Palestinians to finally be allowed to return to their “rightful” home. The day turned out to be an all-encompassing rally cry for all causes extreme left.

What I noticed about these protests continues to disturb me as it always has before. There is a pervasive ignorance throughout the whole thing. Not one cause people were rallying behind could stand on merits alone. “Sure that Che Guevara shirt might look good on you but he will always be known as a mass murderer and a typical anti-intellectual communist.” “Palestinian rights you say? Ah sounds good, just get them to quit blowing themselves up, killing innocent Israelis, electing terrorist governments, spreading lies and hate etc. and we might consider what they have to say.” “Free Mumia, ah give me a freaking break.” “Bring the troops home huh? Do you even know a ‘troop’?” “Pro-Choice…wait a second…what was this rally about again?”

Are these protestors serious? Not a single person with a working brain (‘working’ being the key word) would listen to them. So right now you are thinking to yourself “But Boggs that puts a lot of people into the non-working-brain category” and my response is “Yes it does.” I believe there is an objectively true or false position on all of the protestors' causes, be it the merits of the U.S. Military being in Iraq or Palestinian rights to Israeli land. What is there to protest? I would rather see a debate instead. Give us your best anti-whatever person and we will give you our best you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me-they-still-believe-this guy and they can duke it out. I am willing to bet that the truth will win out and the anti-guy will cower under name calling and murmuring something about blood, oil, and imperialism.

Buck Sargent had a great idea: Lets find 25 million of these anti-war protestors and trade them for the 25 million Iraqis. Then the protestors can live in a terrorist laden country while the Iraqis take advantage of their newfound freedoms in other countries.

After the surface arguments of the protestors are gone what do they have left to grab hold of? What is there besides ignorant claims and made up arguments? I believe when any one of their arguments are broken down to it’s base form there are only feelings instead of facts. The major thing I have found with aging hippies and hip college students is that they are overwhelmed with feelings. Feelings of the way they think things should be, feelings that if only we did this or did that then the world would be perfect. The fundamental problem is that I do not think the world will or can ever be perfect. I believe that we have, and will continue to have evil people in this world, and I am not afraid to call them evil. Some people get upset when someone mentions that one thing or another is evil but tell me what I should call someone who murders and tortures innocent people. Tell me what I should call the political hit man Che Guevara besides pure evil.

Now I know this is going to be unpopular and hopefully it gets me linked to a bunch of anti-brain using sites because I love hate mail, but I believe that there will come a time when it will be proven that Saddam had WMD or at the very least was very close to having them. I wrote an article about WMD findings about a year or so ago which you can find here, and it is kind of cliché to get into it now so I wont. My point is that these anti-war protestors are fighting against established facts. Lets get Marx and Chomsky out there to help in the fight against facts. Marx spent his life ignoring the truth and Chomsky apparently is spending his doing the same. The media is also doing it’s own part to wage a war against the truth and that is why the whole WMD thing is off limits to discuss now that it is “established fact” that there weren’t any in Iraq.

I guess my point here is that I believe in what I am doing here. Not only for the kids and the future of Iraq but also for the safety and security of America and the Allied countries. Nobody these days wants to believe that Iraq had much to do with the security of America but due to recent intelligence about terrorist connections to Iraq and WMD connections between Russia and Iraq, I question the sentiment of the anti-war crowd. If they simply think killing is wrong for all reasons then at least they have one semi-valid point but if they want to attack the core reasons for why we are in Iraq then I think they are going to run into trouble. I have found Frontpagemag and Powerline to be the best sources of info concerning the new intelligence coming out of Iraq so be sure to frequent those sites.

I think the real question that needs to be asked about the anti-war crowd is why is the truth so elusive for them? I’ll leave that up to better men like Dennis Prager.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

True Reporting from Iraq

I feel like I am in the middle of a five-minute chess game right now that has been taking place so fast that I don’t have time to completely plan out my next move before the time runs out. In this chess game I am a pawn with the hands of someone much bigger controlling me, and with a panel of analysts describing the game. Sure I can move two spaces on my first move but after that I am relegated to moving one space at a time on the front lines while protecting the more important pieces and fighting it out in the middle with my enemy that is just like me. Those pieces behind me are more powerful, more mobile, and can do much more damage than I can, but-and this is a big but-they wouldn’t be safe if it wasn’t for me and the other pawns like me. We definitely don’t do anything too special, just our job, one space at a time. Once in awhile one of us gets lucky and turns into a queen but those occurrences are few and far between. For the most part we are the sacrificial pieces on the board and merely watch from the sidelines as the war at large is fought after we have come and gone.

The “chess” game I have in mind is the current battle going on between the MSM and outspoken MSM critics like Hugh Hewitt, Tim Graham, and Laura Ingraham to name a few. The big wigs are criticizing the media for misrepresenting the current conflict in Iraq. The media claim they are only showing the reality of the war on the streets and are better equipped to present the whole picture then the troops are. However, in this chess game the pawns are starting to speak up and make themselves heard. Where else would the Kings, Queens, and Bishops get their info about the front lines if it weren’t for the pawns? So with the chess board set lets see what one of the pawns has to say.

Of course if you have been a follower of my blog you already know what I think about the MSM and their reporting about Iraq, but incase you are a new reader let me fill you in on what I believe to be the truth about the media coverage on Iraq. I believe the media are following the age-old adage that “if it bleeds it leads.” Nobody wants to watch a normal boring day in Iraq: “So nothing to report today, everything was calm and even the weather was nice. Now back to you Chris.” How boring is that? So the American people want a little more from their news and blood and guts keeps a lot of them watching so that is what the news feeds them. News providers are out there to make money, pure and simple. If they don’t have viewers then they don’t sell ad time/space, if they don’t sell ads then they don’t get paid, if they don’t get paid then they are out of business and hungry. So they do what they can to make money, fine and dandy. The problem a lot of soldiers have, and a growing number of Americans have with the news lately, is that it does not show the whole picture of what is going on in Iraq. The problem with that is the rest of the world gets their information about the conflict in Iraq from the news, and if the news tells only the bad, then everyone gets a skewed picture of the reality in Iraq. This in turn leads to hatred towards the U.S. and spurs on our opposition. Just take a look at the way media propaganda was used in Vietnam.

This is primarily the problem soldiers have with the media. However, I believe there is another problem that hasn’t fully been looked at yet. When the media willingly chooses not to cover positive stories coming out of Iraq like infrastructure rebuilding, free medical care being provided by soldiers, complete changes for the better in cities like Tal Afar, and the kindness shown towards the children of Iraq by soldiers everyday to name a few, then soldiers feel slighted by the media. It is almost as if the media is saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, those are all great things but they don’t sell so I am not reporting them.” Soldiers tend to feel that media types do not care about what they are doing and do not care about telling the truth. These sentiments often lead to believing that the media has an agenda whether they actually do or not.

Is there any validity to the comment Michael Ware from Time magazine made on CNN the other night that the media are better equipped to present the whole picture about Iraq then soldiers are because soldiers are confined to one area? Well maybe, but I disagree that the media are at all better able to report the truth then soldiers are. Sure I might only be able to tell you about my area in Iraq but I bet I can identify a terrorist when he is sitting on the side of the road. I bet I can tell you what rocks have been moved and what signs just went up on my daily route. I could tell you about the different smells in the air and where exactly they come from. What I am getting at is that I know my area like the back of my hand. Reporters, I would argue, do not have the kind of expert knowledge that soldiers who are outside their base everyday do. Sure you may need to get a group of us together to get the full picture about what is going on in Iraq but you will learn a lot more from us then you would from any journalist who went through a three day Iraq survival course prior to reporting from Iraq.

Of course as with anything there are exceptions to what I am saying. There are some fine reporters out there who are doing a good job in such a hostile area as Iraq. There are some reporters who actually care about what happens in the world today and who care about getting the truth out. However, I do not believe the majority of reporters to be this way. I wont even start on “reporters” and “journalists” who purport to inform others about Iraq when they have never left their offices, never talked to a soldier, and never bothered to do any real research.

Keep in mind this isn’t just how I feel, check out the two previous interviews I did with soldiers in my platoon. Check out other soldier’s blogs like Buck Sargent. There are a growing number of us out there who are speaking up and will continue to do so until we see the truth about Iraq on the news. A lot more then soldiers feelings are at stake here, the future of Iraq is on the line and I don’t want the whole world believing that nothing good has come from our presence here.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Media Does It Again

The caption for the first photo reads-Reuters - Wed Mar 22, 5:45 AM ET
Iraqi government supporters raise their weapons as they stop traffic near the Iraqi town of Samarra, 96 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad March 21, 2006. REUTERS/Stringer

The caption for the second photo reads-Reuters - Tue Mar 21, 1:43 PM ET
Iraqi insurgents raise their weapons as they stop traffic near the Iraqi town of Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad March 21, 2006. (Stringer/Reuters)

Some people ask me why I distrust the media and think I am over the top for doing so. Well these pictures are the perfect example of why I have no faith in the MSM. As you can see they are the same picture but with completely different captions. Why is that you may be asking? Well my answer is that there is no accountability for media coverage about Iraq outside of the bloggers who happen upon these things like I did today. How can we believe anything the media says after they have proven time and time again in the past 5 years that they cannot be trusted? They cannot accurately label photographs and they cannot leave their hotels in Iraq to find out what is going on for themselves. Could these two captions, describing the same photograph, be any more different?

I found these photos on as part of a photomontage about Iraq and all things anti-war. Most of the pictures are of the "Christian" Peacemaker Team people and the rest seem to be of dead Iraqis with no explanation as to what happened to them. For all we may know they were killed by terrorists, but the collection of photos would lead you to believe they were killed by evil American soldiers.

If anyone knows the policy about posting AP or Reuters photos please let me know.

*UPDATE* Well so I had a bit of a time deciding whether or not to actually post the photos here but then due to DSOTW, commenting on the post I decided to go ahead and put the pictures up. Well when I went back to Yahoo to make sure I had the photo captions right the photos had been switched from their original spot and the captions had been changed to both say the same thing. I would probably be naive to believe that I had something to do with it but in the back of my head I will go around believing that I affected the media for the better today.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Who's Fighting For You: 2

Here is the second interview in the Who’s fighting for you series. The interview is with 20 –year-old Specialist Jodrey. I hope you find him as good as a guy as I do. He is a genuine and caring soldier and I think everyone will be able to tell from the interview.

Q: What is your name?
A: Spc. Jodrey

Q: When and why did you join the military?
A: Well my Grandfather served 32 years in the military. He served in Vietnam twice and always talked with pride about it so I guess it was on the whim kind of a thing. I talked to a recruiter one day and was joining the next.

Q: What is your job in the military?
A: I’m a truck driver, an 88M. I drive a truck and deliver fuel.

Q: What do you do at home?
A: At home I did construction. Within the last year I have been on active duty quite a bit, since November of 04 I have been on active duty on and off. I have been home every four months so it has been hard for me to keep the same job. Right before I left I got hired at the Sheriff’s department so I will fall back on that when I get home.

Q: Do you have family back home?
A: I have a wife and a little girl who was born September 1st 2005. I was on active duty when it happened but I was able to go home for three days and see my wife give birth.

Q: What did you think about Iraq before you were deployed?
A: Well I thought it was going to be a lot worse then what it actually is. I thought it was going to be a big war zone but now I see that it is a cross between a peacekeeping mission and a war zone I guess.

Q: So you don’t think it is that big of a deal now that you are here?
A: Yeah its not that big of a deal, I guess you get comfortable with your surroundings and get used to everything.

Q: What do you like most about being in Iraq?
A: Well I enjoy having a part in history I guess, a part in establishing the future of this country. It makes me feel prideful about what I am doing.

Q: What do you like least about being here?
A: The separation from my wife and little girl.

Q: What do you think history will say about what we did here?
A: Well I believe it will say that we had a good part in, I guess, in establishing a good government. I think that the country does have hope and I think history will say good things about what we are doing. Right now a lot of people may not agree with what we are doing but the same thing happened in Vietnam.

Q: Do you think that being deployed will change you in any way?
A: I think it has made me realize how important my marriage is to me and how important family in general is. I appreciate life a lot more, not just my own but other people’s lives also. Whether I like a person or not I do appreciate their life and tend to respect people more in general.

Q: How would being deployed again make you feel?
A: Well I think it is my job but I think it depends on my mission. I think if I came back I would want to come back doing something else. Maybe as civil affairs so I could get around the people more. I would want to have more interaction with the people and with what is going on as opposed to military operations like running fuel. So I could do it if my job changed but I don’t think I would like running fuel again.

Q: Who is your role model?
A: My grandfather is my role model. Like I said he served 32 years in the military and did 25 years in the sheriffs department. He is a hard worker, provided for his family always so I guess if I had a role model it would be him.

Q: What do you like to do in your free time here?
A: In my free time I like to talk to my wife. I like to write about things that are happening here. I like to read Boggs’ weblog (shameless plug) to see what people have to say and I guess I am happy to hear that people actually care about what is going on over here.

Q: Have you hear a lot of support from people back home?
A: I have heard a lot of support. A lot of support about what we are doing, people saying that they are proud of us and a lot of prayers are coming out to us.

Q: How does that make you feel?
A: It makes me feel good that people actually care. We should be a lot more appreciative of people in past wars because they weren’t that lucky to have the support of people back home. I think the United States has learned from that and you know I think we are growing.

Q: What do you think people should do for soldiers when they come home?
A: Give them a nice welcome home and say thanks for their service. Just show that they care because soldiers are making a big sacrifice for them whether it is being away from their families or just putting their life on hold to serve their country. I mean people got degrees back home that they are trying to get and trying to advance their future back home and they gotta put their life on hold for the betterment of the world.

Q: A lot of people back home consider us heroes, do you consider yourself a hero?
A: I don’t think I am a hero, I just think I am doing what any other joe would do. I’ve joined the army, I am serving my country and I am proud to. I didn’t go active duty because I didn’t need a job and I didn’t want it as a job, I am doing it for duty, honor, and service.

Q: Do you think that people should listen to celebrities like George Clooney, Sean Penn, and Susan Surandon? Do you think that they should have the influence that they do?
A: No I don’t. I think they are using their public influence in the wrong way. I think they should educate themselves a little bit better before they start talking.

Thanks for the interview I am glad you that you care enough to get the word out.

Well I hope you enjoyed the interview with Spc. Jodrey. Like I said before he is a great guy and a good soldier to serve along side with. It is regular guys like him who make our country great.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Interview at The Real Ugly American

I did an interview at yesterday so everyone be sure to check it out. The Ugly American has a great site going and has done some good interviews lately. Be sure to check out his site. Speaking of interviews the next installment of the "Who's Fighting For You" series will be coming any day now so stay tuned.

Monday, March 13, 2006

What We Do

A lot of people ask me what I do in my free time while I am here so I think it would be a good idea to give people a little look into a soldiers life while on deployment.

First off I am sure we work a lot less then everyone back home thinks. As anyone who has been in the military before can tell you the standard motto across the different services is “Hurry up and wait.” Sure sometimes we work hard and for extended periods of time but we do get time off and we do our best to maximize that time. Of course the amount of time off depends on your rank and your job but everyone gets some time off. Now to what we do with that time off.

When I first got here in 2003 there wasn’t much to do besides sweat. Well sweat and play cards. We played spades and hearts till we wore finger marks into the cards and then we would get a new deck and do it all over again. Once we started getting established we got a dartboard, a ping-pong table, and some horseshoes. We played basketball on a court we made out of 2 by 4s and plywood. The court had several dead spots and several spots where the ball would jump on its own. Home court advantage for sure. We set up a softball field with donated baseball equipment and the season lasted for months. We played flag football for what seemed like an eternity too. Those were the days. Things were simple back in OIF I. Only a few people had computers at first so we would all get together to watch movies. At the end of the deployment we finally got things together though. We made one tent our gaming tent and put in four 20 inch TVs and played 16 player Halo which is a video game for those of you who don’t know.

Near the end of the deployment we got an MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) tent at our base. The MWR had gym equipment, a pool table, a couple of TVs with military cable, and some movies. The workers at the MWR put on volleyball, table tennis, pool, and horseshoe tournaments that we all had fun competing in. The week before we left our camp the MWR workers (civilians) put on a party for us since we had been at the base the longest and were good friends with everyone. Some of the people in my unit formed a band with donated instruments and the whole base came out for the festivities. Awards were handed out for the winners of the sporting events and the new soldiers bid us farewell. All in all my first deployment was a great experience with little modern day technology for us to have fun with. Those definitely were the days.

This deployment is the same but different. I still go to the MWR in my free time but this time around it is located in a gigantic tent-like structure. The gym is amazing, there is a full length indoor basketball court, aerobics room, movie theater, internet and phone service, putting green, library, TVs for video games and cold water for all who are thirsty. I sit in my room on my Turkish satellite internet while watching my own 20 inch TV with cable. I listen to my Ipod and sometimes connect it to speakers when there aren’t too many people around. I flush the toilet and take showers with hot water. I love being an American. Soon I will move into a trailer with its own air conditioning unit. My roommate and I will use our fridge and microwave while sipping coffee from my coffee pot. We still like to play games but instead of playing cards we play poker online. Instead of waiting in line for the phone we hop on instant messenger and chat with friends and family back home. Yeah we have it good.

We have chow four times a day for those who choose to go and deal with being around higher-ranking people. I choose to go as late as possible to avoid confrontations that arise from my “Damn the Man” attitude. I get a to-go plate so that I can bring food back to my room so that I limit my trips to the chow hall to once every other day. If one chooses he or she could go to the Turkish restaurant or Subway on base to eat. You could stop by the PX/BX and buy food too. You can shop for a new suit, carpet, watch, movie, jewelry, or leather jacket at any one of the three Turkish malls. Hell you can even buy bootleg movies before they come out in the states: that is if you don’t mind people talking and walking in front of the movie screen.

I spend most of my time blogging or corresponding with people I meet from my blog. I read and listen to music. I work out. I drive. That is my life. Very exciting. Don’t you wish you were on the front lines of the war on terrorism? Well front lines or second string you be the judge. I am a dork though so I am sure there are a lot of guys having a much better time then I am. Just kidding.

So that is a little look into what we do in our free time, any questions?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Future of Iraq

After spending a deployment and a half in Iraq I have come to a conclusion about the future of Iraq. Many people speculate whether or not Iraq even has a chance to survive the current turmoil and become a full-fledged democracy. People often say that a democracy will not work in a predominately Muslim nation. People say that civil war in Iraq is inevitable. Well people say a lot of things, and just because they do so doesn’t mean that what they say is going to come to pass.

When considering who to believe on a certain topic you must first establish whom you can trust. All people are to be trusted at first unless there is some known reason not to trust them. If we all went around doubting everything we heard then we wouldn’t be able to function as a society. If you constantly called the weatherman into question then you wouldn’t have a clue what to wear each day or wouldn’t know when to evacuate your city when a hurricane was predicted. If you doubted your math teachers in school then you would never learn math. Until someone has proven that they are not to be trusted then some type of trust must be given to them.

In the case of the news media I believe they have given viewers enough cause to distrust them. Dan Rather comes to mind for many of his stories i.e. Abu Gharib, Bush’s National Guard documents. Chris Matthews, Geraldo Rivera, Lou Dobbs, and the whole lot of them that report from the hotel with the blue mosque behind it in Baghdad come to mind also. Not that they have out right lied but rather, real news (from soldiers) from Iraq contradicts what they say on air.

My point in saying all of this is to build up credibility for what I am about to say. I do not believe that I have given anyone cause to distrust me as of yet (if you disagree let me know). I used to write a weekly column for a college paper at Ohio University and my initial intent with my column was to present indisputable facts that everyone could agree on. The conclusions that I drew from the facts was where people could disagree with me but no one every called me out for lying about the facts of each column. I have the same intent with this blog. If you ever catch me lying or misrepresenting the truth then please call me out on it, I would be grateful for your doing so.

Ok so back to my conclusion about Iraq. My conclusion is this—the future of Iraq lies with the children of Iraq. The children of Iraq are the hope of all the countries that want to see freedom and democracy in the Middle East. It is up to the younger generation to learn how to protect their own country, to fight for freedom in the face of democracy, to remember the sacrifice of so many foreign soldiers that earned them their freedom, and to yearn for freedom and liberty above all else.

I place my hope in the younger generation of Iraqis for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that they most likely do not remember the hard times under Saddam. Of course they will hear the stories and feel some of the after effects of his evil regime but more likely then not they were too young to know why life under his rule was rough. Thus said I believe that since they are growing up in a “free” country they will become accustomed to freedom and resist any type of dictatorship or religious Taliban-like type rule. Unlike their parents who grew up under Saddam’s rule, or at least were alive for all of it, the younger generation will not be as likely to put up with not being a completely free people.

Secondly I believe that the kids in Iraq have been the recipients of the greatest kindness shown by soldiers. I don’t know a soldier here who doesn’t have a heart for suffering children. The amount of work that has gone into helping the children here has been amazing. Schools have been rebuilt and stocked full of supplies by soldiers and their families back home, toys have been sent by the tons for soldiers to hand out to the kids, soldiers give kids food and water everyday, and soldiers just generally show kindness and gentleness towards children. All of these things help Iraqi children see the softer side of the soldiers whereas some of the older generation deems the soldiers to be a necessary nuisance for the time being. I could go on and on about the good deeds of soldiers towards children but you guys get the point, right?

In the children I place my hope. Not that I do not see hope for the near future of Iraq. I believe the older generation will set the stage for a true democratic society, but I believe as the children grow up in that society they will yearn for more. More to come on this topic later.

The picture is of me on my first deployment with a couple of Iraqi children that lived right next to my tent. They spent a lot of time with us and came to love American soldiers for the same reasons that I mention above. I guarantee that they grow up to remember the sacrifices that we made for them.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Who's Fighting For You: 1

My first interview is with a fellow soldier from my platoon. His name is SSG Newton and he is a squad leader and overall great guy. What follows are a few questions I asked him so that you guys could get a better idea of who is fighting for you. This is the first in what I hope to be a series of interviews. If anyone has any questions they would like me to ask in future interviews feel free to ask.

Q: Where are you from?
A: Ohio.

Q: How far have you gone in school?
A: 12th Grade.

Q: Did you play sports?
A: Oh yeah, all sports. Football, baseball, track.

Q: What sports was your high school known for?
A: Football big time. It’s division six; a small school but we have big heart. We are always in the division running.

Q: When and why did you join the Army?
A: Yeah it’s a funny story. I dated a girl for three years in high school and after high school, a year after, we were actually in an argument because she was moving away to college and I didn’t like losing her there and uh the phone rang and it was the army recruiter, the army reserve recruiter. He said “What’s your thoughts on the army reserves?” and I said “I’ll do it.” He said “Uh excuse me.” I was thinking to myself well I’ll show her you know and uh here I am twelve years later. I’m married to her and still here in the army.

Q: So you have family at home?
A: Yeah I have three kids. One boy and two girls.

Q: This is your second deployment correct?
A: That’s right. Voluntarily.

Q: Why did you come back for a second time?
A: The unit I am assigned to got deployed. If it had been another unit I possibly wouldn’t have came but I figured you know all my friends and everything in that unit are going and maybe I have some knowledge or something that could help them out so I figured I would go over with them.

Q: Since you have already been here what do you think of Iraq so far this deployment?
A: Uh, well I think it is a lot different, not just from just the military base standpoint but how the Iraqi people act around the soldiers out and about. There is a lot more respect, they aren’t badgering them all the time. The traffic is amazing, they (Iraqis) all get over to the side of the road and let you pass now. Its just a lot different then it was in the beginning.

Q: Since you have been here once do you see any hope for the future now that things have progressed and changed?
A: Oh yeah, yeah I do. You can tell when you got here the fanciest thing they probably had was a white robe that they had been wearing for 15 years but now you run around and see that the clothing they are wearing is better, they look cleaner and they are getting haircuts. The infrastructure is getting better too. There is water here and electricity there that you didn’t see before. You know even the cars look better then they were in the beginning. It looks like their whole lifestyle has improved.

Q: How long do you think it will take for their lives to start getting a lot better?
A: I would say a number. I would say we have basically won the hearts and minds of the younger generation, the kids of this country. I think is going to be until they grow up that we are going to see any difference.

Q: How long do you think it will be until the media starts reporting positive stories about Iraq?
A: I think probably it is going to depend how much pressure is going to be put on them. You know they have obligations to fill and they are just telling what sells. Unfortunately the bad things sell but I think they need to learn that the good things do too.

Q: What do you think about your leadership and/or do you think you could do a better job?
A: Well, huh, I think my leadership is a little confused. A lot of them are in slots they aren’t real familiar with. They got a little bit of training and came over here and now they are running companies. Our company is an exception, we switched MOS’s (*Jobs. We were originally fuelers now we are a transportation company.) I think they are out of their league but given a little of time I think they will come around. The battalion, ah well I don’t know what they battalion is thinking exactly. As far as me doing a better job I don’t know. I know that there is always two sides to every coin and there is probably a lot of stuff that we aren’t seeing, you know the part of it that we don’t understand.

Q: What do you do in your free time here?
A: I like to try to get to the internet and email home and I like to relax. I got my laptop and I like to turn the music on and type up emails and try to communicate with home a little bit.

Q: What is the first thing you are going to do when you get back hom?
A: Do something with the family. No beaches and no camping trips right away but you know, do something with them to get reacquainted with them.

Q: What do you miss most about home?
A: My family. I would have to say that is it.

Q: Who do you think would win in a fight, Bruce Willis or the entire cast of Brokeback Mountain?
A: Bruce Willis, he is a bad ass.

That concludes my first interview. SSG Newton is a great guy and all the soldiers in my unit are lucky to have him along. I am glad he chose to come back a second time and help me show these young punks how to save the world from terrorism.