what the hell are u fighting for anyway – u know that the government is violating all sorts of conventions by going to war with a country that didnt attack it first – ur breaking ur own rules.
its not hard to see why the gov. doesnt care if u all die fighting for a cause thats not moral, but economic.
Do you really believe we weren’t at war with Iraq until Bush sent troops in? Do you really believe that they never attacked us? This war is the culmination of over a decade of conflict prior to 9/11 remember.
You have a lot of discipline in your writing – I enjoyed your book very much. You may be surprised to know that yesterday is very much like today in the Army. I recently retired with 29 yrs(11 RA/18 TXARNG). You told your story with a lot of the same paradoxical feelings I have about my time serving – full of pride and distain for some of the people I knew and events that I had to partake in or witness. Even in all those years, though, I never once faced the danger that you did. The book and your wrting – very personally insightful without pontificating. You observed honestly from one man’s perspective, knowing that it was one man’s perspective. Great work. I hope you continue to write. And of course, thank you for serving!
I work for your publishing company and I’m proud that I was able to help get this book on the shelves. I’m reading it and I have yet to beable to put it down. When I’m reading it I feel like I’m standing right there watching everything you describe. It’s an honor to beable to share this country with guys like you who put their life on the line. To all the soldiers past,present and future….I thank you
ive read your book and it is nearly identical to the things my unit and i faced over there. the thoughts and feelings you and the members of your unit had echo those of everyone whos been there. thanks for making light of what it is really like. ps. the san an riverwalk hooters is the best ever
I’m sure all the women flingin ass at you has got to be an extra added bonus. Just remember that the only difference between you now and from when you started this blog, is just a book, and maybe some cash and a bit of notoriety. So enjoy the women just don’t forget or get lost or whatever….”never fall for your own propaganda”
HeY YALL well as yall can c were over here waiting 4 yall to come home soon!!!!!! come back home Jason Thrift!!!!! Hurry were waiting !!! dont forget we luv yall with all our hearts 4 giving your lives for us !!!!
Shut the fuck up!!! What the fuck have you done for your country…that’s right, nothing. Quit your bitching and dont ever, ever, ever again put down a soldier! It’s people like you that aren’t worth fighting for, and this is coming from someone who will be enlisting into the military after high school.
First to “SexyBlonde”… shut the fuck up!!! Yeah we all have a right to free speech, but that’s only because men died in some “stupid war,” as you might call it, so while you’re saying this just know its because of Soldiers like Jason, Willy, Ray and the others that you have that right…
Second.. Jason, THANK YOU!!! My brother is in the Army (Blackhawk Helicopter Maintenance) stationed in South Korea, and my fiancé is former Marine of the 2/5 Infantry (since medically discharged) and was among the Marines who first entered Iraq. I’m buying your book for me, the pictures your writings have shown me so much more that I ever could have understood from his random stories. I only wish he would allow himself to be so verbal about his experiences. I can’t even begin to Thank You enough for opening my eyes and showing me through your photos, somewhat what he experienced. I know I will never be able to understand fully, but every little bit helps…
I saw the pictures and read some of the book, you lost your rank because you think that every thing is about you. Do you even mention some of the Army values. You are a good man that in about 10 years will go over your book and say that sounds so inmature. you may respond with who the fuck are you? well I am just another soldier.
Just finished the book. Total garbage!…….Just kidding, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit.
Not that anyone will care, but it was an interesting time for me reading this book. My father went in for a simple surgery and some quack Dr. almost killed him. Anyway I had some time to sit around (3 weeks in the hospital) so it was off to the bookstore. I was undecided as to what I wanted to read, but JAS (figured some of you military boys and girls would love the abbreviation) was there with a couple other newer releases on the current conflict. After taking a little scan of the 3 books I concluded this would be a good way to pass the time in the glum hospital. You know read about something worse to make you feel better kind of logic. I picked JAS out of the others for the one statement “Whether you’re for or against the war in Iraq, this is essential reading” Figured that would be the most unbiased one of the 3.
Well I can’t speak for the other 2 but this book doesn’t disappoint. Totally different from other wartime stuff I have read. It’s gritty , dirty, with no false sense of bravado. Don’t mistake though, there is definite pride there. An honest sense of how things are. And I don’t just mean facts on the ground, but an honest recalling of how one might feel, positive and negative. You read this book and it’s like a buddy you have known for years telling you the story. Unless you have no friends, in which case you probably wont get it anyway.
Again, not that anyone cares, but if someone is wondering what I am writing here comes from someone that most would consider conservative. The only reason I mention this is because some people think it is an anti-war book because of the discipline Jason received for his blog. I don’t see it as anti-war at all. Now it’s not some stars and stripes love fest either. It’s not meant to be either in my opinion. Just some guy telling what he saw. And for those in the military that were upset, don’t worry it didn’t phase my respect and admiration for the armed forces. In fact it was refreshing to get it dealt straight. I mean any honest person can get pissed or sarcastic at work and still love there job. But I have to say it never helps if your boss or forman is a condescending prick to you. Not comparing a job in the regular world to the military, but just trying to make a point.
Anyway, really enjoyed the book. I have suggested it to friends and now to you. My mom even read it (she’s 68) in the hospital when I walked around wondering which nurses were single. I would warn her about certain chapters she was about to read ( a little blunt for her upbringing) but she was as interested as much as I was. And she’s a bleeding heart liberal. See people, we can all exist together.
Ok, I rambled enough, probably too much Miller lite inspired. Funny how that gets me rambling? One more thing, love those Star Wars, Platoon references.
Just trying to keep sanity in the Peoples Republic of Madison
It was nice to get an honest and intelligent perspective in reading your book. One of my favorite parts about the military is the variety of people you meet and how they deal with the sundry of ludicrous situations inherent with military operations. I think you captured this aspect very well.
I just read an article about the trouble you got in because of this blog and as a military wife whose husband happens to be serving in Iraq at this time..I think IT IS BULLSHIT what they have done to you for being honest. I am so sick and tired of these freaking goody 2 shoes officers decideing that my husband and all the other soldiers over there should hold these freaking peoples hand. I say FUCK THAT!!! This is war!! Kill or be Killed!! I don’t hear of officers out humping the pavement. Why not? I would like to think that if my husband has to die he is at least going to go down fighting not because a damn kid he is “being nice” to has a bomb attach to his belly. I am just beside myself that this has happened to you! Our American Hero!! Thank God You Are Home!!! Have a drink for all the soldiers still away!
Thank you sooo much for fighting for our country. Reading your book brought me back to the times before my guys left for Iraq on July 16, 2005. I’ve hung out with, dated, and sadly, yes, LOVED, many guys in the military. From friends in the Navy to ex-boyfriends in the Marine Corps and Army. My daughter’s father is in the Navy, he and I are not together anymore but I respect him so much for the same reason I respect you and all those that fight for you.
Kudos, and keep your head up.
One thing missing is the realization that you guys are suffering for a big lie. Show some inteligence and admit the fact that IRAQ HAD NOTHING TO GO WITH 9/11!!!
How anyone can be proud of destroing a country that posed no danger to us.
Unprovoced invasion of another country shows traits of barbarism and real arogance putting US as the real agressor in the eyes of the World. Ofcause those with IQ’s below 20 don’t know what I’m talking about.
Haven’t read your book yet. Your pictures on this web site remind me of the pics my dad brought back from WW2, Korea and Nam. Yup, he was in 3 of them. The bits and pieces that have trickled from him over the years is a puzzle. I will be getting your book, am hoping it gives me some insite on some of the shadows that haunt my dad.
Thank you for you service. Stay safe.
I appreciate seeing a real honest account of what is going on. You went there because that is your job, I did the same when I was called for what seemed more like a fire drill (Dessert Storm). When we left early with no capture of Saddam, I was confused. A quick trip to hookerville on a non disclosed island, helped all the memorys of war dissapear. My war was more of what could have happened, yours was the full production. I also appreciate seeing you do well in the civillian world, it kicks ass to see an enlisted man hit a home run like your book. Keep up the good work, and thanks for your service.
Leave sexyblonde alone. Whatever your views on this war are, the fact remains that Iraq posed no threat to it’s neighbours or anyone else. If you can’t seem to accept that and the fact that the Bush administration lied to everyone in order to get their hands on Iraqi oil and use the excuses of spreading freedom, democracy, toppling tyrants and protecting the US from non-existent doomsday weapons and horror scenarios to justify it then you are just living in denial. It takes exceptional bravery and strength of character for a man to admit that he was suckered. That’s why so many people bury their heads in the sand and go along with this Iraq tragedy. You bluster about freedoms and defending America and American people yet sit idly by as your country slowly decays into a police state where the court appointed con-men in Washington bypass checks and balances to spy on Americans, search homes without warrants and hold people in custody without charge or due process. And you ease your conscience by falling back on the cowardly glib cliche of “if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear”. But I suppose if the US attacked Tahiti after 9/11 you’d probably convince yourself that they were somehow responsible for it anyway.
I’ll leave you with a quote:
“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
Say what you want about the War on Terror, Invading Iraq, Afghanistan, etc – but in ten years from now all of the critics will agree with the moves that were made miltarily. Last time I checked the US has not suffered a major attack on home soil in nearly five years – take the fight to the bad guys.
For someone who probably doesn’t read about the past, you sure seem confident in predicting the future. Does God talk to you like he does to Bush and Pat Robertson? Oh yeah, what did Robertson say that God told him would happen in 2005? The stock market would surge….it remained flat! That Bush would get his Social Security scam fobbed off on the US public…he didn’t! So either God is clueless or Robertson is a liar. Take your pick. Anyway Matt the same tired worn out predictions were spat out during Vietnam…”future generations will judge us to be correct, blah blah”. Here’s what will happen. The US is going to lose in Iraq…and lose BIG. They are in no better position than the Soviets in Afghanistan 20 years ago….holed up in major towns while guerrilla gunmen control the countryside. A few weeks ago Iraqi resistance fighters took over the center of Baghdad for 4 hours right in front of police and US forces. You won’t read about that though on Fox New…NO! At the height of the Northern Ireland conflict there were about 700 active IRA men, a population of 1.5 million and 20,000 highly trained British soldiers and they still couldn’t keep the peace. In Iraq there are 150,000 US troops, a population of over 20 million and literally thousands of resistance fighters, who have been trained in asymmetrical warfare, explosives, electronics, escape and evasion, etc. Plus the country is awash with weapons and explosives caches and the borders leak like sieves. YOU do the math! Bush declared Mission Accomplish in april 2003, Cheney said the US would be greeted as liberators with flowers, Rumsfeld said it would be a “cakewalk”and I’m sure that cretin Rice had some other wildly idiotic predictions with no basis in reality. Of course all these clowns don’t know the first thing about military campaigns etc. They just like to play soldiers with other people’s blood. On the other hand hugely respected and experienced generals like Zinni, Shinsecki, etc. warned against this clusterf**k from the get-go and were accused of the usual Bush admin crap of being unpatriotic or some other bullshit that these assholes use to try and discredit someone who doesn’t agree with their illusion and can back it up. Still Matt if you believe your own predictions then you live in an even smaller bubble than Bush and his gang of muppets. I’ll see you back here in 10 years and we’ll se who’s right. Chances are though you’ll be too busy working to help pay taxes to foot the 2.6 TRILLION dollar bill that the US population is going to be lumped with thanks to this disaster.
So the reasons to go to war were a complete deception, Matt AND the outcome will be catastrophe. I know you don’t want to hear that. I know you want to be told that everything’s going to work out fine. Well it isn’t. Have the guts and strength of character to accept hard truths and you’ll be well on your way to being a man whose blood is his own and who can’t be busllshitted again by rich-kid politicians and the sheep who worship them.
United states soldieres, what are you doing far away from your contry?playing hollywood heros?I believe you are poorly educated and probably are low income families, besides an stupid patriotism
blind your very basic intellegence. Doing the darty job, don´t be so stupid. You are dying for some richs,criminals that had set it up. Most people on the world think very close to waht I say, most people are specting you all die there.
… just thought i’d drive the conversation to this column from the LA Times:
Warriors and Wusses
January 24, 2006
I DON’T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.
I’m sure I’d like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for anything. If you’re wandering into a recruiter’s office and signing up for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.
And I’ve got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.
But I’m not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they’re wussy by definition. It’s as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn’t to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.
Blindly lending support to our soldiers, I fear, will keep them overseas longer by giving soft acquiescence to the hawks who sent them there — and who might one day want to send them somewhere else. Trust me, a guy who thought 50.7% was a mandate isn’t going to pick up on the subtleties of a parade for just service in an unjust war. He’s going to be looking for funnel cake.
Besides, those little yellow ribbons aren’t really for the troops. They need body armor, shorter stays and a USO show by the cast of “Laguna Beach.”
The real purpose of those ribbons is to ease some of the guilt we feel for voting to send them to war and then making absolutely no sacrifices other than enduring two Wolf Blitzer shows a day. Though there should be a ribbon for that.
I understand the guilt. We know we’re sending recruits to do our dirty work, and we want to seem grateful.
After we’ve decided that we made a mistake, we don’t want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood.
But blaming the president is a little too easy. The truth is that people who pull triggers are ultimately responsible, whether they’re following orders or not. An army of people making individual moral choices may be inefficient, but an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying. An army of people ignoring their morality, by the way, is also Jack Abramoff’s pet name for the House of Representatives.
I do sympathize with people who joined up to protect our country, especially after 9/11, and were tricked into fighting in Iraq. I get mad when I’m tricked into clicking on a pop-up ad, so I can only imagine how they feel.
But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you’re not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you’re willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it’s Vietnam.
And sometimes, for reasons I don’t understand, you get to just hang out in Germany.
I know this is all easy to say for a guy who grew up with money, did well in school and hasn’t so much as served on jury duty for his country. But it’s really not that easy to say because anyone remotely affiliated with the military could easily beat me up, and I’m listed in the phone book.
I’m not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn’t be celebrating people for doing something we don’t think was a good idea. All I’m asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return. But, please, no parades.
i am erics dad–lt brians friend at marist-did much boozing in pfaltz and po town–kept abrest of your experiences thru eric from brian–i love you guys and i thank you-i am avet cold war viet nam era.we have aliquor store here in river city–lambertville nj–if you ever come thru drinks are on me!!!! i am in process of reading your book–i was very saddened at the loss of akintade.good luck with the rest of your life—-again thanks
Just found your site the other day. I’m a sophmore in HS, and I think what you did for us was very courages of you, and that everyone that’s complaining about going to war should shut their mouths. I want to see THEM go in your guys’ places and fight. Ever since this war began, I’ve known that in the back of my mind, there will always be someone who will be complaining, but if and/or when we ever get attacked again like 9/11, they’ll be going to the President crying, “Help us Mr President, save us!!” If I were Bush, I’d ask them why they didn’t support the war in which we were trying to prevent this thing from happening again in the first place, then politely tell them to kiss my ass.
I’m 16 years old. Next year I’ll be able to enlist in any of the Armed Forces. I may be entering the USMC this year because there is an opening for flute/piccolo in The President’s Own, and if I win the audition, then they’ll give me an age waiver. The only thing I don’t like about possibly getting the job is that they don’t require us to go to RT. Most people think I’m crazy for wanting to go to war, but I feel there is a debt that was created by you and others who have served that needs to be repayed. I’d be glad to die for my country and to know that I’ve somehow made someone’s life that much safer/easier because of it.
Thank you for everything you’ve done from us, from the bottom of my heart. Let us continue to hope the God will bless us with more soldiers like you.
16 years old eh? Piece of advice. Go out and get laid before you sign up and go to war. Because nobody’s going to want to touch you when you come back with perhaps only one leg and the other a burnt and mangled stump. Or perhaps your face a grotesque and twisted, scarred death mask with lips, eyebrows and lashes scorched off from when your convoy was ambushed and you were incinerated in the troop carrier. It’ll be very difficult to apply nail polish to the fingers on your left hand if your right arm is missing at the elbow. And if you lose both arms then you’ll spend the rest of your life having someone undress you, sit you on the toilet and then have to clean your backside when you’re finished. Think about that. That’s a nice way to spend the next 60 years of your ruined life. That is of course if you don’t also have to shit into a bag attached to the side of your body and hanging over the arm-rest of your wheelchair.
Here’s some pictures and stories of others who, like you, thought they were invincible and are now nothing more than cripples:
Ah, dear Jackie means well for you Laura (I think)! Just because you are young does not mean you don’t know what you want. The military has evils, but some of them are undoubtedly necessary. Anyway, why not read all of the book this website goes along with! Make sure you get to talk to people (women too) who have served or are serving in the military, including those who lean toward lovin’ it and those who don’t–like you would when pursuing any other job. Maybe you already know this stuff but just in case: Just because you want to be a grunt (or whatever) doesn’t mean you have to be an unprepared dumbass.
Oh, and if you do get anything/s blown off (while it is good to realize this may indeed happen) I would just count it as a people filter. If you had any real friends before, they’ll be able to come to terms and see past it. If you meet anybody new who’s worth your effort (and doesn’t turn and run) they’ll get used to ya. Where there’s life, hope is possible. But yeah, I wouldn’t want to be disemboweled! I’d get tired of telling the story of it over and over.
By the way, I’ve been cleaning somebody’s backside for a little while now. If the wiper/wipee does not try to make it into something pretty, but accepts it as one of those things in life one perhaps must do–it is better. This is the ideal situation:
Wiper (warning the wipee after seeing that he/she is done with business): I am now going to wipe you, ma’am.
Wipee (accepting help): Obligingly attempts to shift into accomodating position.
I just finished reading your book and it has been a great help to me and as a “new-be” to the whole military ordeal as a whole. My boyfriend was deployed to Iraq a few years ago and was just recently deployed to Kuwait. From the little I have experienced, your words have been more than just a story to be, but rather and insight to what my soldier is going threw. You can ask him, I am the most curious person EVER and ask all those questions I was briefed not to. He accommodates as best he can and does one hell of a great job dodging the rest. Your book has filled in many of the gaps to which have gone unanswered. I thank you for your raw honesty. Sometimes, we who are patiently waiting, NEED to hear the truth…not just the bullshit delayed lies of the military. I have recommended your book at all of our FRG meeting and right now there is a waiting list of those who want to read your book (that I have).
I have never been so proud nor have I ever been so patient for someone. Your book reminded me that he feels and goes through a different kind of trauma, but a trauma with the same frustrations as my own. “Just Another Soldier” has given me the visual to what no ones else wants to tell a worried girl who’s patiently waiting for her soldier. Thank you SGT. Hartley!
My Son is a 91W with L Troop, Thunder Squadron, 3rd ACR; and will someone be kind enough to backhand `sexyblonde’? I just about had my fill of her and all those like her. The American Soldier is all that makes it possible for her to run her mouth like that- and it sickens me that this ungrateful, ignorant slug can’t find something better to do with it!
Also, Jackie Baron- you are a bitter and angry little man. As ridiculous as this might seem to someone of your obvious infantile maturity level; what if you found something that was actually productive to do with your misguided hostility, rather than bash others who disagree with you- and take sexyblonde with you. You two would make a fine couple- someplace like Somalia or China.
I know there’s a lot of good guys in the service, wise up man and quit allowing yourselves to hate your fellow Americans. Can’t you see you’re being used? We need each other. Why did you go fight in the first place? Wasn’t it ultimately to protect all of us and our way of life? Don’t forget that. Don’t let the hegelian dialect brainwashing turn you against your fellow Americans.
U.S. Dad, your puerile response is typical of one who buys into a myth and can’t stomach the thought of it being a load of bullshit. As reliable as the sun rising, you say that if it wasn’t for things like America/Americans/American soldiers/whatever then people wouldn’t have a right to voice their dissent or opinions. Get a grib you thundering simpleton. If dropping atom bombs on civilian targets, slaughtering millions of innocent people in South East Asia, dropping repulsive banned weapons like Naphthalene Palmitate (napalm) on civilan centres in Iraq, torturing and murdering prisoners of war, etc. etc. are what you naively think are the necessary tasks to ensure that people like sexyblonde can speak her mind freely then I’m sure she’d gladly trade her right to speak up in return for such atrocities to be avoided. But she is speaking against such horrors and imbeciles such as yourself who see everything in black and white and are mentally ill-equipped to handle the complexities of the real world simply bark at such people and use the ignorant time-honoured trick of trying to make them feel bad for having their views or ungrateful. That childish kind of ploy doesn’t cut any fucking mustard with me, buddy-boy. As for your predictable bleating about going to live in another country such as Somalia or China, I wouldn’t expect anything less from you. I have been to China though not Somalia. You have probably rarely left your own state and probably never ventured beyond the borders of your own country so for you to have any views or opinions about other cultures, nations and societies is positively laughable.
Maybe if you evolved into a person who could defend his position with well-reasoned arguments and concrete facts instead of the tired, pathetic Ann Coulter-style crap like “You don’t like it go live in Cuba”, or “Traitor! Terrorist! Commie! Tree-hugger!” or “If it wasn’t for George W. Bush you’d be living in a death-camp!” blah, blah….then maybe, just maybe you could be taken seriously. Somehow though I seriously doubt it. People like you will continue to wrap yourself in a flag even as your Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid/son’s VA benefits are slashed because these are disgusting commie social programs and that money must be given to the rich in tax cuts.
Suckers like you are what make corruption possible and starry-eyed believe-anything kids are what makes imperial armies possible. All I have to do is tell you that Iran is building a nuke instead of preparing to launch a Petroleum Exchange (oil bourse) that would rival the New York Mercantile Exchange and therefore must be stopped and again you’ll nod your terrified head like a sheep and get in line for the next war.
People like you would sicken a pig.
I’ll leave you with a quote:
“The American military man is simply a dumb animal. A tool to be used for the furtherance of U.S. foreign policy.”
I am so sick of all of you little bitches complaining about the freedoms that our soldiers provide for you. Shut the fuck up and enjoy each day because you never know when it might be your last. And if you think that the world would survive with out war you are mistaken read the fucking bible I wonder if that book was all love and gumdrops, right! More like war, murder and revenge yeah the pres is not the best but would you like the responsibility to run this or any country. My point is that our military is there to provide the people of this country with freedom and security and if that means going to Iraq and kicking the shit out of some savages than so be it. Don’t speak until you know what is or was going on there anyhow Saddam murdered and tortured more of his own people than have been killed in this war. I ask you this question would you defend this land or would you the anti war, anti troop protester fall down into the fetal position and cry until one of our brave soldiers pick you up and bring you to safety and the freedom that you all enjoy so much every day?
Ok I am done with my rant just remember that everyone has the right to speak their mind but you must remember that without the soldier who stepped up to defend that right no one would have it.
Just another soldier from FOB Knee Pad
It amazes me as to how people with just a little bit of intelligence can formulate an entire opinion based on their small insignificant world. To imply that every person in the military is the same mindless drone that follows orders without thought can only be the statements of of someone just ignorant enough to be dangerous. If nothing else, the accounts here, and in many other testimonies of people’s experiences, should suggest that not everyone is as clueless or sadistic as people here would suggest. That is if we are going from an INFORMED / EDUCATED opinion based on all the facts. Some of the people who are in the military are very intelligent, and they choose to follow the orders given to them by their superiors, because they understand something some of you will never get.
I’ve read many comments on this site that suggest that the soldiers should be blamed for carrying out the decisions made by this country’s administration. If I could explain in words how assinine that argument is, I would have produced a book of my own. It is so difficult to explain because to understand it, you would have to serve at least 8 years in in the military progressing up the rank structure, and viewing the many aspects of the military to comprehend it. (Back to the informed opinion argument) I can only attribute an analogy that may be somewhat close. ‘A member of the military not serving their country, because of a decision made by the President is as wrong as a christian becoming athiest because they don’t like the new Pope.’
Know and understand this, there are people out there who would love nothing more than to do a lot of harm to this country. They were there before 9/11 and they are still there long after 9/11. I’m not pretending that the the reason we are in Iraq is the same as what was told to us, but what you don’t seem to understand is THEY ARE THERE NOW. Whether or not it was a lie or a misunderstanding, the US Armed Forces are engaged in warefare in Iraq, right now!
Unfortunately, the only option is to stay and fight to the end. Pulling american troops out of Iraq, would be tantamount to ordering the wholesale slaughter and distruction of the entire country. The civil unrest would wipe out any decent chance those people have to survive.
So yes, I do support the troops for all of their efforts, because they are making a choice to stand and fight. They have the courage, what you see as blind stupidity, to do what they believe is the right thing. We have to make the best of a bad situation. And, save for a few bad apples (that 10% that always exists), they are doing a hell of a job trying to rebuild an entire country physically, politically, emotionally.
If any of you has a solution to this situation that rebuilds their country, resolves the insurgency, brings our troops home, won’t cause the death of miliions of people, and does it quickly, then please let the world know. If not, then be decent enough to either support the best solution we have, or keep your opinions to yourself, until you do have a better solution. The complaining without alternate resolutions, just gives those people that want to cause us harm, the motivation they need to continuing trying.
Providing Iraqi with freedom? Since when was that the objective. The US has tried on countless occassions to STOP elections from happening in Iraq. Cast your feeble memory back to 2002….if those two prissy cowards in the White House and Downing Street, those two effete private school-boys who are so willing to fight to the last drop of someone else’s blood came out and told you that they were invading a sovereign foreign country to topple a dictator (whom they installed in the first place) and that a few thousand US soldiers would be killed, many thousands more would be wounded and the whole shebang would cost hundreds of billions of taxpayers’ dollars, would you have been so supportive of it then? Would you have been so quick to jump on the bandwagon? I doubt it. Bogus WMDs were used as the excuse and it worked a charm on a frightened and ignorant American public who think that war is a quick, cheap 2-hour movie where nobody really gets hurt or does anything nasty. If you think the US is liberating Iraq or bringing them democracy then you are too damn dumb to pour piss out of a boot with the instructions on the heel.
Toppling a tyrant or spreading “democracy” sound more like excuses than reasons…and they still ring hollow. If I was sexually abusing your kids but kept telling you that I was teaching them “family values” or some crap and that you needed to be patient because “great progress was being made” would you just go along with my bullshit or would you decide that my lies and deceit had to be stopped any way possible? Kinda comes clearer when it’s simplified, doesn’t it!
The US didn’t learn the lesson of the French in Indochina and they sure as hell didn’t learn the lesson of the British in Iraq in 1920. Back then the argument was “spreading democracy” or “freeing the masses” as well but the true agenda was occupation and plunder just like today. Different actors, buddy, same old script though.
Open your fuckin’ eyes and stop listening to the infantile reasons you’re being fed by the media for this occupation.
Why does the Bush Administration refuse to discuss withdrawing occupation forces from Iraq? Why is Halliburton, who landed the no-bid contracts to construct and maintain US military bases in Iraq, posting higher profits than ever before in its 86-year history?
Why do these bases in Iraq resemble self-contained cities as much as military outposts?
Why are we hearing such ludicrous and outrageous statements from the highest ranking military general in the United States, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace, who when asked how things were going in Iraq on March 9th in an interview on “Meet the Press” said, “I’d say they’re going well. I wouldn’t put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say they’re going very, very well from everything you look at.”
I wonder if there is a training school, or at least talking point memos for these Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, because Pace’s predecessor, Gen. Richard Myers, told Senator John McCain last September that “In a sense, things are going well [in Iraq].”
General Pace also praised the Iraqi military, saying, “Now there are over 100 [Iraqi] battalions in the field.”
Wow! General Pace must have waved his magic wand and materialized all these 99 new Iraqi battalions that are diligently keeping things safe and secure in occupied Iraq. Because according to the top US general in Iraq, General George Casey, not long ago there was only one Iraqi battalion (about 500-600 soldiers) capable of fighting on its own in Iraq.
During a late-September 2005 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Casey acknowledged that the Pentagon estimate of three Iraqi battalions last June had shrunk to one in September. That is less than six months ago.
I thought it would be a good idea to find someone who is qualified to discuss how feasible it would be to train 99 Iraqi battalions in less than six months, as Pace now claims has occurred.
I decided that someone who was in the US Army for 26 years and who worked in eight conflict areas, starting in Vietnam and ending with Haiti, would be qualified. If he had served in two parachute infantry units, three Ranger units, two Special Forces Groups and in Delta Force that would be helpful as well. And just to make sure, if he taught tactics at the Jungle Operations Training Center in Panama and Military Science at the United States Military Academy at West Point, thus knowing a thing or two about training soldiers, that would be a bonus.
That person is Stan Goff.
“This is utter bullshit,” was Goff’s remark about the Pace claim of having 100 Iraqi battalions when I asked him to comment, “He must be counting the resistance among his forces.”
Goff adds, “That dip-shit [Pace] is saying he has 60,000 trained and disciplined people under arms … 65,000 with all the staffs … and almost 100,000 with the support units they would require. To train and oversee them would require thousands of American advisors. It must suck for a career Marine to be used so blatantly as a PR flak.”
Goff mentioned that Pace “and everyone else” knows that the Iraqi forces, “however many there are,” are heavily cross-infiltrated.
“He [Pace] is saying that the Bush administration is going to empower a pro-Iranian government with 100 ready battalions, when this administration was handed this particular government as the booby prize in exchange for Sistani pulling their cookies out of the fire during the joint rebellions in Najaf and Fallujah,” added Goff.
Further discrediting the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Goff said, “To train 99 [battalions] since last September is a claim only the average American might swallow. The right question to ask is, where are they? Where are they headquartered, and where are they in operation? Claiming operations security doesn’t count, unless they believe they can hide 100 units of 600 people each in Iraq … from other Iraqis … who are often related to them.”
He concludes, “These guys have become accustomed to saying any damn thing, then counting on ignorance and apathy at home – along with hundreds of Democrats who need spine transplants – to get away with it. You can quote me on any of that.”
There’s a good reason why Pace and others are busy spewing smoke – it’s to hide the fact that there are no plans to leave Iraq.
While we’re addressing propaganda, we mustn’t leave out our brilliant military strategist and warrior for protecting human rights, the illustrious Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
On March 8th, Rice delivered the opening remarks on the release of her Department’s “2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.”
The introduction to the report says: “In Iraq, 2005 was a year of major progress for democracy, democratic rights and freedom. There was a steady growth of NGOs and other civil society associations that promote human rights.”
This report is submitted to Congress by the State Department. I’ve often wondered if our politicians are just this ignorant, or simply horrifically misinformed like so many Americans. This report, perhaps, answers the latter.
My point is, if there is a concerted effort by high-ranking officials of the Bush administration to portray things in Iraq as going well, then why are there permanent bases being constructed in Iraq?
This media smokescreen from the likes of Pace, Rice and even “sharp-shooter” Cheney, who recently said things in Iraq are “improving steadily,” conveniently leads the American people toward believing there will eventually be a withdrawal of American soldiers.
But the problem with smokescreens is that pesky thing called “reality.”
And in Iraq, the reality is that people like Pace, Rice, Cheney and their ever-eloquent front man aren’t telling the American public about their true plans for Iraq.
One example that provides some insight into their agenda is the US “Embassy” which is under construction in the infamous “Green Zone.”
As you read this, a controversial Kuwait-based construction firm is building a $592 million US embassy in Baghdad. When the dust settles, this compound will be the largest and most secure diplomatic compound in the world.
The headquarters, I mean “Embassy,” will be a self-sustaining cluster of 21 buildings reinforced 2.5 times the usual standards, with some walls to be as thick as 15 feet.
Plans are for over 1,000 US “government officials” to staff and reside there. Lucky for them, they will have access to the gym, swimming pool, barber and beauty shops, food court and commissary. There will also be a large-scale barracks for troops, a school, locker rooms, a warehouse, a vehicle maintenance garage, and six apartment buildings with a total of 619 one-bedroom units. And luckily for the “government officials,” their water, electricity and sewage treatment plants will all be independent from Baghdad’s city utilities. The total site will be two-thirds the area of the National Mall in Washington, DC.”
I wonder if any liberated Iraqis will have access to their swimming pool?
And unlike the Iraqi infrastructure, which is in total shambles and functioning below pre-invasion levels in nearly every area, the US “Embassy” is being constructed right on time. The US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee recently called this an “impressive” feat, considering the construction is taking place in one of the most violent and volatile spots on the planet.
Then there are the permanent military bases.
To give you an idea of what these look like in Iraq, let’s start with Camp Anaconda, near Balad. Occupying 15 square miles of Iraq, the base boasts two swimming pools (not the plastic inflatable type), a gym, mini-golf course and first-run movie theater.
The 20,000 soldiers who live at the Balad Air Base, less than 1,000 of whom ever leave the base, can inspect new iPod accessories in one of the two base exchanges, which have piles of the latest electronics and racks of CDs to choose from. One of the PX managers recently boasted that every day he was selling 15 televisions to soldiers.
At Camp Anaconda, located in al-Anbar province where resistance is fierce, the occupation forces live in air-conditioned units where plans are being drawn up to run internet, cable television and overseas telephone access to them.
The thousands of civilian contractors live at the base in a section called “KBR-land,” and there is a hospital where doctors carry out 400 surgeries every month on wounded troops.
Air Force officials on the base claim the runway there is one of the busiest in the world, where unmanned Predator drones take off carrying their Hellfire missiles, along with F-16′s, C-130′s, helicopters, and countless others, as the bases houses over 250 aircraft.
If troops aren’t up for the rather lavish dinners served by “Third Country Nationals” from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh who work for slave wages, they can visit the Burger King, Pizza Hut, Popeye’s or Subway, then wash it down with a mocha from the Starbucks.
There are several other gigantic bases in Iraq besides camp Anaconda, such as Camp Victory near Baghdad Airport, which – according to a reporter for Mother Jones magazine – when complete will be twice the size of Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. The Kosovo base is currently one of the largest overseas bases built since the war in Vietnam.
Camp Liberty is adjacent to Camp Victory – where soldiers even compete in their own triathlons. “The course, longer than 140 total miles, spanned several bases in the greater Camp Victory area in west Baghdad,” says a news article on a DOD web site.
Mr. Bush refuses to set a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq because he doesn’t intend to withdraw. He doesn’t intend to because he’s following a larger plan for the US in the Middle East.
Less than two weeks after the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003, US military officials announced the intention to maintain at least four large bases in Iraq that could be used in the future.
These are located near Baghdad International Airport (where the triathlon was), Tallil (near Nasiriyah, in the south), one in the Kurdish north at either Irbil or Qayyarah (they are only 50 kilometers apart) and one in western al-Anbar province at Al-Asad. Of course, let’s not forget the aforementioned Camp Anaconda in Balad.
More recently, on May 22 of last year, US military commanders announced that they would consolidate troops into four large air bases. It was announced at this time that while buildings were being made of concrete instead of the usual metal trailers and tin-sheathed buildings, military officers working on the plan “said the consolidation plan was not meant to establish a permanent US military presence in Iraq.”
The US has at least four of these massive bases in Iraq. Billions of dollars have been spent in their construction, and they are in about the same locations where they were mentioned they would be by military planners back before Mr. Bush declared that major combat operations were over in Iraq.
It appears as though “mission accomplished” in Iraq was not necessarily referring to guarding the Ministry of Oil and occupying the country indefinitely (or finding WMDs, disrupting al-Qaeda, or liberating Iraqis, blah-blah-blah), but to having a military beach-head in the heart of the Middle East.
Note that while US officials don’t dare say the word “permanent” when referring to military bases in Iraq, they will say “permanent access.” An article entitled “Pentagon Expects Long-Term Access to Four Key Bases in Iraq,” which was a front-page story in the New York Times on April 19, 2003, reads: “There will probably never be an announcement of permanent stationing of troops. Not permanent basing, but permanent access is all that is required, officials say.”
Why all of this? Why these obviously permanent bases? Why the beach-head?
A quick glance at US government military strategy documents is even more revealing.
“Our forces will be strong enough to dissuade potential adversaries from pursuing a military build-up in hopes of surpassing, or equaling, the power of the United States,” reads the 2002 National Security Strategy.
To accomplish this, the US will “require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia.”
Another interesting document is “Joint Vision 2020″ from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose “vision” is “Dedicated individuals and innovative organizations transforming the joint force of the 21st Century to achieve full spectrum dominance [bold type theirs]: persuasive in peace, decisive in war, preeminent in any form of conflict [italics theirs].”
US policymakers have replaced the Cold War with the Long War for Global Empire and Unchallenged Military Hegemony. This is the lens through which we must view Iraq to better understand why there are permanent US bases there.
In the Quadrennial Defense Review Report released on February 6, 2006, there is a stated ambition to fight “multiple, overlapping wars” and to “ensure that all major and emerging powers are integrated as constructive actors and stakeholders into the international system.” The report goes on to say that the US will “also seek to ensure that no foreign power can dictate terms of regional or global security. It will attempt to dissuade any military competitor from developing disruptive or other capabilities that could enable regional hegemony or hostile action against the United States or other friendly countries, and it will seek to deter aggression or coercion. Should deterrence fail, the United States would deny a hostile power its strategic and operational objectives.”
In sum, what is the purpose of permanent US military garrisons in Iraq and the implicit goals of these government documents?
Ohh, I see, so it WAS Professor Plum, in the Library, with the candlestick. Who knew? The Conspiracy Theory is in effect here. They are all out to RULE THE WORLD!!! It’s interesting to see that people with some intelligence (and you really do seem to have at least moderate levels of brain activity)… how these people can focus on one point of view, no matter how far fetched, and diluted it seems, and determine that it is 100% true and there’s no other option. Your argument was great until you started to paint the picture of Club Med, for the life of the young people who are steadily becoming ‘casualties’ over there. Remember that you are counting merely 2000+ dead, but there are tens of thousands wounded. They didn’t get that, from the local Starbucks shack.
Is Halliburton an evil empire looking to get rich off this war? Yes. Is Dick Cheney, the criminal Master-Mind with his hand up President Bush’s butt like a sock puppet at a children’s birthday party? Yes. Are all the mouthpieces in DC as pathetically useless as cold-weather gear on the beach? You Better Belive It!
You see, these are all easy things to see. They are a given. But where you slipped up, and lost me, is when you painted the picture of the lazy men and women of our armed forces, ‘lounging by the pool’, ‘sipping on perier’, deciding if they wanna play golf, or go for a little jog about the beach, before ‘dining at Chez Arnold’s for supper.’ The truth of the matter is, I know people over there. I know people who’ve come back from over there. I’ve seen unedited video clips from friends of what life is like over there. And while they paint a similar picture to one another’s stories, none of them really seem to mirror your rendition of ‘life on the front lines.’ I will admit there are a few amenities of home (as if that’s a valid substitute), but don’t, for one minute, think that they are living “the good life.”
I don’t know where you’re getting most of your information from. I would hate to speculate, “Al Jazeera”, but I think you’re mistaken in your assessment of what it’s like for the men and women of our armed services, over there.
And in the end, that’s what this website, the book, and all of the contorversy that surrounds them, is all about. It’s not about The President and his “misguided, at best” reasons to go to war. It’s not about our Congressional mouthpieces’ inept ability to decide on the best way to stop it all. And it’s not about you vs me in some chest pumping, whose the better balker, prattle battle.
It’s about 200, 000 American men and women, over there (For whatever reason), in harm’s way, trying to survive, and do the best they can, in a really bad situation. They made a sacrifice that very few can say they ever would. That’s who we support. That’s why we support them. Don’t forget that as you burn your flag and protest the evil empire.
I enjoyed reading your book, you did a good job!
Thanks for your service to our country, a lot of people don’t understand the kind of sacrifices Soldiers and their families make. Thanks again and keep on writing!
AlthoughtI came from china,and my english was bad.but I read all your book.I konw very well about an American soldier’s life througut your book.Well,I say, you were a goog guy.You and your friends’experience will be remembered for me.
Now,you are out of army and have a comment life.
Althought I don’t like Bush’s govermen.But I think the people in America love peace,expesially the soldiers who left their parents and friends
I obviously like putting my two cents in as much as anyone (well, maybe not as much as ANYONE). Anyhoo, do any of you old guys have your own blog? This is all so interesting. Such creative sparring! (Maybe someone should start a blog on the blog, to be typed up by “various artists.”)
Hi. I am a UK Territorial Army soldier(equivalent to the USNG)and have just finished your book that a friend bought in the US on an exchange with the USNG. Superb.
I was in Iraq at the same time as you but down in Basra City. It is strange and yet oddly comforting, that I had very similar feelings about the war, my tour and life generally as yourself although our experiences were slightly different – maybe because we are the same age more or less and being reservists, who knows? There are several points that i would like to point out as being too similar.
1. The fact that on the whole, you enjoyed your tour. For myself, if i was offered the choice to repeat my tour with the same people doing exactly the same thing including getting blown up by IEDs, and getting mortaed etc I would jump at the chance. My family though, don’t get it.
2. When you finished your RnR, and you were back in Iraq that you felt like you were coming home. I have tried to explain this to my family since then, that I had EXACTLY the same feeling, so much that I felt I was missing out and letting the guys down by not being there.
3. “This is the most interesting and exciting thing I have ever done”. Ditto. I now know why our grandfather’s generation always talked about WW2…for the same reason. Nothing can beat that “high”.
I am proud of what I did in Iraq, helping in some small way to bring the country out of a dictatorship. I hop eyou are too – you should be. Please pass on my regards and best wishes to your unit.
ps every unit in every army has a d1ck like your company commander!!
I had no idea that anyone had written a story about our time in Iraq. Your book is very good and true. Some of the missions you wrote about i was there so tis means alot to me as well thankyou and goodluck!
SGT.CHRIS CHARBONEAU BRAVO CO.2/108 INF
Great job on the book! I’m only on p116 and am glued to its pages. Out of the four personal acounts I’ve read of Operation Iraqi Freedom, “My War”, “Heavy Metal”, “Shooter” and “Just another soldier”, yours is by far the best in a ton of respects.
I was one of those who started to read your blog before you left for Iraq.
At a certain point I quit reading not only milblogs but Iraqi blogs. I was spending an inordinate amount of time in fear for those who I came to care about, as if my bearing witness was going to help keep them alive. My heart goes out to all families involved who have no choice but to hold fast.
I got brave today and looked for you…..and found you made it back and have a book! Am I out of it or what! Honestly, belated though it is, knowing this has made my day.
Jason, enjoyed your book. I was in Basrah with UK 20 Bde for the first part of your tour. Reading it made me feel a little “homesick” for the boring buff colour and the smell of the city!! Are you still serving, curious to know if you re engaged or left? Thanks for the book, nice to be reminded of the good times and the sad.
I am Sarah Pfeffer, a senior design student at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Currently I am working on a book project and am interested in the views on war of soldiers. If you could email me I can email you my set of questions. I would really appreciate it.
Sarah Pfeffer email@example.com
(if anyone else is interested in contributing please send me an email)
People are always stereotypical about soldiers, you can never really get the full story about a war so it’s cool that instead of writing about political views of Operation Iraqi Freedom you just wrote abiyt what happened to you and not what happened to others. Loved the book man.
From Australia with Love
I agree about the book, it was outstanding and I did feel like I was right there over in Iraq and when I stopped reading I had to tell myself that I was never there and that i was reading a book…..it was so descriptive I could picture it all too well, thanks for the adventure that I may also actually be at.
First and foremost I want to say thank you so much for serving this country that half the time does not realize or appriciate the things that you guys do for us! Second I want to let you know that my husband was over there in 4th ID as a gunner the same time you were OIF 1 april 2003-2004, and the things that I have heard and seen from him are, i am sure only 1/4 of the truth of it. I saw a lot of women on your comments asking if you are single and such, which is really disgusting in the fact that they are not appreciating, nor could they appreciate what you are really saying in this. Again, Thank you for your time and your sacrifices I know they were a lot, my husband slept in the open rain or shine and stirred vats of Poo, so again I can not thank you again for protecting the Freedom of AMERICA.
Loved the book. Hilarious! Just one question though (if anyone could help me out). In the section “The Tao of Soldiering” Hartley uses the term “the middle path” to describe what else but the tao of soldiering. Does anyone know what he meant by that?
Great Book. Was your Plt Sgt, 1Sgt, CSM that weak? Where was your NCO support chain, where was the IG, and the JAG rep?
Young man you have a way with words. Give us another book. I was with the Big Red One in Vietnam. I’m a retired Div CSM (40 yrs), Silver Star holder. So I know a little about the military and especially the officer side of the house. If I had been your 1Sg I would have told your commander to go fuck himself A good 1Sg runs the company. Buck SGT/E5 is the best rank in the military, as the old saying, “shit runs down hill” and Sgt catches all the shits.
Job well done son and I salute you. How is your PTSD?
All of you tree hugger, liberals, and pot smoking, drug using hippie’s get your asses out of my country. How many countries would put up with your sorry asses..none…so grow up and do something positive for this wonderful country will live in.
Great site and thanks very much for your service. I also served in Iraq during 2005 in the British Forces as a Sgt in the Logistic Corps and hated every minute I was there. I also passed 3 months working with the USAF in Al Udied, Qatar… which was more enjoyable than Iraq but we worked really hard there as we were with a Squadron of RAF Tornados who were constantly on bombing missions over Iraq and Afghanistan.
Anyway, if you are ever feeling like getting away from things for a while and fancy joining me for a beer in Cancun, Mexico where I now live, please do drop me a line.