Thursday, July 27, 2006

Waiting to Get Blown Up

"It sucks. Honestly, it just feels like we're driving around waiting to get blown up. That's the most honest answer I could give you," said Spec. Tim Ivey, 28, of San Antonio, a muscular former backup fullback for Baylor University. "You lose a couple friends and it gets hard."
That's a quote from this Washington Post article. (HT: Sullivan) It paints a very bleak picture, and depicts morale of US forces as pretty low. (Of course, this wasn't a scientific survey, so usual caveats about reporting bias apply.) This other quote caught my eye:
"At this point, it seems like the war on drugs in America," added Spec. David Fulcher, 22, a medic from Lynchburg, Va., who sat alongside Steffey. "It's like this never-ending battle, like, we find one IED, if we do find it before it hits us, so what? You know it's just like if the cops make a big bust, next week the next higher-up puts more back out there."
I'm glad the soldier sees the absurdity and futility of the ridiculous "War on Drugs", and I'm sad (but not surprised) that he discovers the same futility in what we're doing in Iraq.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this article on the Metro about an hour after receiving a call from our son who is in Iraq. He was supposed to be coming home this week but instead, will be held in Baghdad indefinitely.

In the phone call, he was very calm and didn't bitch about his utter disappointment with not being able to return to his life. He was more worried about how we would take the news.

So, I don't think a single article can capture the true morale of our soldiers in Iraq. These kids deal with more than we'll ever know or want to know.

Let's give them a break, ok?

A soldier's Mom.

12:18 AM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous John Ackerman said...

A soldier is trained to follow orders without question, to trust the judgment of his or her superiors and to take pride in self and unit. It is thus remarkable when you get a comment like "we are just driving around waiting to get blown up." If nothing else, this exposes a failure in leadership - a failure to define a mission - a failure to have a plan that makes any sense to anyone.

2:06 AM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

Thank you for taking the time to post here, soldier's Mom. First, let me say I hope your son comes home safely. I'm impressed that your son could react to his indefinite extension with such equanimity and care for your well-being.

I did not mean to imply with this post that all soldiers felt like those in the article. This was just one reporter talking to one group of soldiers. I tried to indicate this when I made my remark about "usual caveats". But perhaps that was too glib. Many of the articles I've read have emphasized the high morale of American troops, despite the deteriorating strategic situation.

Our soldiers have to deal with so much, and I think they deserve every possible break. I have never intended to give any of our troops a hard time, and I hope nothing I've written here at Internal Monologue makes anyone think that. I do intend, however, to give US military and political leadership a hard time. But that in no way applies to our troops on the ground. If some construe my attacks on the Bush administration as attacks on our troops, I kindly ask them to realize that for me, they are two very differnet entities. Too often, our political leadership attempts use the honor and sacrifice of our troops, people like your son, as a shield to render themselves impervious to criticism.

I think that if some of ous soldiers are suffering from poor morale, their superiors and the American public need to know about it. I don't think posting an article about their frustrations constitutes making things hard for them. I don't blame the soldiers depicted in that article one iota, and anyone who does stikes me as rather heartless. I blame the horrible situation in which they've been placed, and the people who placed them there. I sympathize with the soldiers enormously, though I only have a faint notion of what they are going through.

At any rate, I can understand if you don't want to debate Iraq with some strange anti-war blogger. But if you care to talk more about your feelings about the Iraq discussion here on Internal Monologue or elsewhere in the blogosphere, I'd be very interested to hear what you have to say. I'm sure my readers would be as well.

10:31 AM, July 28, 2006  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

Thanks for stopping by and posting, Mr. Ackerman. I agree that getting these kinds of quotes from soldiers is unusual and does not bode well. As I told the previous commenter, many of the articles I've read have emphasized the continuing high morale of American forces, despite the worsening conditions. That's why I found this article so striking.

10:33 AM, July 28, 2006  

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