Friday, July 21, 2006


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Support the troops but not the war?

COMMENT: Letter from Iraq: They're not supporting the troops
By Anthony Ippoliti
The Ridgefield Press

Almost every week, I open The Press and find an article or letter to the editors denouncing the coalition effort in Iraq. Invariably, the individuals behind these anti-war letters and rallies mask their political agendas by asserting that they support the troops but not the war.

They read off the names of the dead and claim to show support for our troops while urging lawmakers to bring them home. They believe that the U.S.-led coalition should never have entered Iraq. What they are really doing is using our lives and the issue of our safety and well-being as a means to achieve a political end.

Supporting the troops but not the war is like saying that you support filmmakers but not making films. One cannot claim to support an individual in a given profession but not support what the said profession entails. This is essentially a slap in the face to those in the service.

I have never once received a letter from an individual who claims to support the troops, not the war. Not a single Marine I know has received anything that could be considered remotely supportive from any of these people or the groups they represent. We have received phone cards, hygiene supplies, food, etc. from members of state and local government, radio stations, schools, private individuals and organizations, but never once from any group claiming to support the troops, but not the war.
How can they support us if they are essentially saying that our blood and sacrifices have all been given in vain? How can they support us if they say that our comrades and brothers who have been wounded or killed in action have done so for a hopeless and morally questionable cause?

They can't. I see the Iraqi people every day. The protesters do not. I speak with the Iraqi people every day. The protesters do not. I dont sit behind a desk and do paperwork or resupply efforts in the military. I am an Infantry Marine and I walk the sewage-filled streets of this city every single day.

In Fallujah, the people watch Al Jazeerah. However, they also watch CNN. A lot of them fear that the United States will soon cut and run. The people of Iraq see when our country is divided. When they see rallies to Bring The Troops Home, they see that as a sign that we will end our efforts prematurely.

Furthermore, they know that the insurgents will not end their efforts early. That leads them to the conclusion that when we leave, the insurgents will still be there. Therefore, if they help us, their lives and the lives of their loved ones will be in great jeopardy the minute we leave ó if we donít finish the job. Much that they see on American television leads them to believe that we intend to abandon our efforts before the new Iraqi government is capable of defending itself and its citizens.

The actions of these aforementioned organizations and the heavy media coverage their rallies often generate serves as fuel for the insurgency. Insurgents believe they can drive us out through the idea of death by a thousand cuts. The longer they persist in their efforts, the more the American public becomes disenchanted with the coalition effort.

The insurgents aren't fighting simply to drive America out of Iraq. They are fighting to destroy any semblance of the Iraqi government so that they can impose their will on its people.

Publicly protesting our efforts in Iraq fuels the insurgency. Doing it under the pretext of supporting our troops is disgraceful. Using deployed service members as a mask to serve your purely political purpose is downright shameful. If your desire is to protest the war, then protest the war, but don't use me or any reference to our troops as a tool to bolster your purpose.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Soldier slams the NYT

A word from Lt. Cotton

Lt. Tom Cotton writes this morning from Baghdad with a word for the New York Times:

Dear Messrs. Keller, Lichtblau & Risen:

Congratulations on disclosing our government's highly classified anti-terrorist-financing program (June 23). I apologize for not writing sooner. But I am a lieutenant in the United States Army and I spent the last four days patrolling one of the more dangerous areas in Iraq. (Alas, operational security and common sense prevent me from even revealing this unclassified location in a private medium like email.)

Unfortunately, as I supervised my soldiers late one night, I heard a booming explosion several miles away. I learned a few hours later that a powerful roadside bomb killed one soldier and severely injured another from my 130-man company. I deeply hope that we can find and kill or capture the terrorists responsible for that bomb. But, of course, these terrorists do not spring from the soil like Plato's guardians. No, they require financing to obtain mortars and artillery shells, priming explosives, wiring and circuitry, not to mention for training and payments to locals willing to emplace bombs in exchange for a few months' salary. As your story states, the program was legal, briefed to Congress, supported in the government and financial industry, and very successful.

Not anymore. You may think you have done a public service, but you have gravely endangered the lives of my soldiers and all other soldiers and innocent Iraqis here. Next time I hear that familiar explosion -- or next time I feel it -- I will wonder whether we could have stopped that bomb had you not instructed terrorists how to evade our financial surveillance.

And, by the way, having graduated from Harvard Law and practiced with a federal appellate judge and two Washington law firms before becoming an infantry officer, I am well-versed in the espionage laws relevant to this story and others -- laws you have plainly violated. I hope that my colleagues at the Department of Justice match the courage of my soldiers here and prosecute you and your newspaper to the fullest extent of the law. By the time we return home, maybe you will be in your rightful place: not at the Pulitzer announcements, but behind bars.

Very truly yours,

Tom Cotton
Baghdad, Iraq

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Sunburn....I really dont have an answer so don't ask

Ok there are a few things wrong with the picture right above me. I'll start out with the obvious, it makes me feel gayer than a football bat just looking at it. Why post it on the net for everyone to see? I don't know...I really don't have an answer. But the guy is my roomate, and his girlfriend took the picture. The second thing wrong with it is those stupid hand signs we're making. This is the kinda stuff I imagine seeing on some idiots myspace that makes me wanna gouge my eyes out. If you ever see me make this hand sign again, please kick me hard and aim for the trachea and/or teeth. After writing all that i'm sorta debating wether or not to delete it, but I just spent 15 minutes writing and I don't wanna waste my time. I'll let the Army take care of that.

But the deal with my back is just nonsense. I can actually tell you what happened, I tried to be all independant and refused help to have someone put sunblock on my back. Maybe it was pride, or maybe it was not wanting some other guys stupid hands all over my back... but as you can see I payed the price...and it feels about as good as it looks, believe me.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

(I cant think of a title)

Lately i've been noticing small things that have really been pissing me off around you can probably see from the previous topics. One huge example that i'm actually trying to get acknowledged is our BAS and food situation. You see, we get paid 270 a month for a food allowance, but the govt. takes back basically all of it, forcing enlisted Soldiers to eat in the chow hall. Now, thats fine with me, if I had time to eat in the chow hall all the time. The reality is I don't, and that's not changing anytime soon. I'm constantly pulling medical coverage on everything from ranges to railheads. In other words, by not taking advantage of the meal i'm paying for, the govt is STEALING money from me, and I have no choice. The reality is that in order to ward off starvation and/or malnutrition, i'm forced to purchase food from my own pocket. This adds another 10-20 bucks a day to the 10 that was already stolen from me.

So in this case I actually have a plan of action. I've started a detailed spreadsheet of every meal i've missed and it's cost to me and what I was forced to purchase instead. My plan is when I feel justified enough to make a case, to turn it in at the lowest level and work my way up. Eventually (if I don't find a fitting resolution) I plan on contacting Congressman Mark Green, a Republican with strong military backing from WI. What must be remembered however is that my unit isnt at all a contrubuting factor in my argument. It's a DOD policy im blowing the whistle on, not any wrongdoing by my leadership.

I won't stand for Soldier abuse or robbery, and thats what this DOD policy is.

Date of meal missed Reason Cost to Soldier(Per Diem) additional money to eat

June 12 2006 Medical coverage from 7.10
Breakfast 0500 till 1830 on railhead +12.50

June 13 2006 PT Test from 0515 till 0906 1.40
Breakfast +2.00


Congressman Mark Green
Washington, DC
1314 Longworth Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
(202) 225-5665

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Another interesting thought

Weapon safety is a huge concern here in the Army. An accidental discharge that puts someone down will earn you a trip to leavenworth and a DD quicker than you can say sorry. I agree with this policy...

The other day at a range however a Captain was sluggin around with a cocked, loaded, and unsafe weapon. I guess since it was in a hip holster it was ok...fine, great. If I was to make that same mistake I would have been councled...As I should be for such a serious mistake....and possibly given a company grade...which I probably should be. In fact I probably should be initially buttstroked in the face.. Thats fine, I guess thats why we have medics at ranges, to plug bulletwounds from accidental discharges

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I had an interesting thought...

While sitting in the back of a humvee today I came up with an interesting thought, a conundrum of sorts. We have a policy here that if you have a female in your room at the barracks, ur supposed to keep the door open. Now seriously, I'de take an article 15 before I followed that guidance but the thought still is very troubling. But that itself isn't what pulls at my common sense. What gets me is the conflicting set of orders given out. We have been told that we must keep our doors locked at all times, when we are in the room or not. I guess this is to prevent a break in, rape, or soviet nuclear attack but it doesnt make any sense if the "open door female" policy is in effect. So if i'm here alone or with my 190 pound angry roomate, the door must be locked to avoid a written counsling (because by god, its a safety concern). The second a female walks in, the brigade rules call for that door to be open wide. Interesting... whoever made these rules up obviously spent plenty of time thinking it over.

The argument can also be made that if i'm living in government housing, I have to obey the rules set forth. One of them would be the "open door" nonsense. I guess it makes sense because the govt. is paying for my room water electricity etc. BUT, the govt is also paying millions in BAH and just as much for on base housing. This too is considered "governemnt housing". So the same rules should apply, an E-7 should have to keep his door open when he has company. The bullshit meter is past the high mark and its spinning out of control.