Thursday, December 31, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
As someone who is at Fort Hood, and was there that day, and has had to work very hard cleaning up the aftermath, I appreciate President Obama's thoughtfulness in this matter. I was at Fort Hood, in lockdown when the shooting was going on. I proceeded to work for nearly two days straight with little rest. My job as a public affairs officer is to answer media requests, do interviews, and set interviews up. Believe me there was no time for rest in the first day.
I was there when everyone from Pres. Obama to the CJCS visited. My wife was at the hospital when former President G.W. Bush made an unannounced and low-profile trip to visit the wounded simply out of care, respect, and concern. I was there answering phone calls, emails and letters from people all across the world sending their condolences to our military community. The calls came from Germany, California, Nebraska, Indiana and New York. I was there as I watched Senator John McCain, a hero himself, and Senator Al Franken sit next to each other at a ceremony to honor our fallen. But most importantly I was there as an American to watch as politics and parties were cast away to show respect for the fallen and support for the families and comrades left behind to deal with the aftermath. I’ve heard the amazing life stories of the Soldiers we lost and saw the respect given to those left behind. I have watched as those morals, values and laws that service members have defended with their life are put to the test as we allow the law enforcement officials and courts, not the court of public opinion, to determine guilt or innocence of the accused in such a heinous crime. That is what America is, that is what makes America great. I watched as hands were reached from inside our protected compound to the Islamic community outside our gates to share in our grief. I watched as a battle-hardened Sergeant and combat medic cried as he tried to come to grips with why a religion that gives him peace and the solace to deal with combat was being perverted to justify and laud the actions of the accused killer.
Let’s remember the fallen but let’s not forgot those left behind. The units those soldiers came from will still deploy to combat environments and will return. Ironically and hopefully, never having to encounter any situation of this magnitude on their deployment. Let us not forget the peaceful part of the Islamic community that wishes for justice the same as everyone else and considers this actions deplorable by any human being. My hope is that we will be able to move through this event while showing those great American values of equality, justice, compassion and fairness. My hope is that America’s true colors shine through the clouds of this tragic storm.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Sunday is dress up day for the crazies. Here they go, in and out of the Starbucks to get the caffeine they’ll need to stay awake while some person stands in front of them and talks about Aesop’s fables and good standards of conduct. They have to do it. They have believe. They have to be good under punishment under eternal torture. Let us not be good for decencies sake but only if I get something out of it in the end.
The more they dress-up the more they are telling the people around them how devoted they are to the idea of an imaginary man in the sky, that had an imaginary son, that died for the things the people in charge of talking to the imaginary man call sins. So, the more dressed up the more crazy. I mean, I just saw a guy with a suit and bow-tie. Bow-tie, really. Is that necessary. probably not, but I have to admit it did look sharp.
That’s another thing. I’m intimidated by stores. I went into J. Crew yesterday. They had some pretty snazzy looking outfits on mannequins. I’m trying to branch out of cargo pants and jeans. After all, I get to wear cargo pants everyday why wear them in my off time.
Yesterday I went to get my uniform fixed. We get to put stripes on our right arm for overseas service. I asked for 5 and the Privates in line behind me looked at me like I was a God. And that’s good because I am. Not really, just kidding. But I did have to explain what they were and why you get them. You have to admire they young kids. And they’re young too. Think about it. People born in 1991 are now joining the military. They don’t even know who Nirvana is. They’ve been raised on computers, Britney Spears and pop-junk culture of brain-dead reality television.
I have to admit television is making a come-back. House, Bones, Mad Men, alot of good shows and not enough time to watch them.
I wonder if Alissa will make me watch Bones when I get home? Oh, Curb starts today I need to remind Alissa to record it.
Yeah Curb and Seinfeld will be on it. I can’t wait.
Pink Nikes really. that’s a bold statement. An untied tie hung around the neck, I don’t know what’s going on with that. I think he’s waiting to tie it, but it looks cool like that.
Sipping coffee through a straw everyone knows real men drink coffee hot, with whipped cream.
Boy or girl? Boy or girl? Boy or girl? Shit!! Uhhhhh, BOY! Yesssss, initial instinct was correct.
Brushguard on a Yukon. In Texas, OK. But I don’t think you need it between Baltimore and D.C.
That guy is tall. He plays basketball. Lady just laughed at how tall he is. He must be 6’7“.
I must look angry because people look at me an turn around. These people are hilarious. Uh, bow-tie. I wish I could wear a bow-tie. White people and bow-ties don’t work though. You better be going to a wedding, debutante ball or Presidential Gala. Black guy with bow-tie some reason works.
Mocha is getting cold, must drink it. PAUSE>>>
Almost choked on aforementioned mocha.
This place is odd. The racial mix seems to be about 50/50. Very unlike Texas and Indiana. Indiana they try though.
Redskins Hats are big here. For the longest time I thought the redskins were in Washington not D.C. I hate sports. ESPN is the largest waste of electromagnetic spectrum. People could do so much more if they didn’t spend their time memorizing completely fucking useless sports trivia. Or maybe it’s good people don’t do more. I am a cynic after all. People should do less, way less. Or more. Maybe smart people that I agree with should do more and the people I disagree with should do less. So, it’s settled then. Less is more. Exactly. Time to go to Barnes and Noble to find a book about Afghanistan an it’s history.
Very interested in their past. That’s what connected it for me and Iraq. Of course, I had visited places the book talked about so it was very tangible. Be careful what you wish for. Looks like there is no limit on the amount of lives, blood and treasure we will soak into propping up a puppet government there. Ergo, I will probably be there before too long.
Did you know that when you write lists example: ”The dog is black, white and brown.” You don’t put a comma before the conjunction. I was taught just the opposite in school. Have I been alive long enough that the English language has evolved an evolution or was I taught wrong.
I will be fucking surprised if anyone reads this whole thing.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
I was participating in a project to streamline logistics systems in the Iraq theater when the group of us working on the project were visited by the general in charge of the project. He looked at us very sternly and said, “This war is bankrupting our country and we can’t plan on fighting it the same way we have in the past.” I use quotes because it struck me so hard that I remembered exactly what he said. I have to be honest, until that moment I thought we had an unlimited amount of money to fight and win these wars.
It was very sobering to hear someone that high up the chain say those words. Essentially, he wanted to focus on getting the most bang for our bucks because the bucks are running out.
That leads me to this.
The CBO is looking for ways to cut money from the military budget. They’ve made suggestions ranging from cutting pay increases to increasing taxes.
I would like to point out a few things I have noticed. First, when dealing with logistics I am appalled and never surprised by the amount of money that we spend hiring a single contractor to do the job of one soldier in theater. The cost per capita for a contractor is way more than a soldier. We need to use fewer contractors. We can do this two ways: 1) allowing soldiers to do the job we pay them to do. This is an unpopular option, especially with the current OPTEMPO already faced by Soldiers. This would lead to making soldiers deploy without proper dwell time. The thought is not appealing to me either, after having done 2 extended deployments. 2) Begin cutting contractor provided services in theater. This would mean that Soldiers would have to do without certain amenities currently afforded. Those amenities would be clean water, electricity, billeting, warm food, vehicle repair and parts etc. Again not appealing to me either. This would mean once again asking the service member to sacrifice. This would mean an overall drawdown of the infrastructure we have spent so long building.
Other than asking more sacrifice from those already risking life and limb, we could ask the American people to actually pay for the wars that we are fighting for them. That is code for raising taxes by the way. We have actually done the opposite of what every country in recorded history has done, lowered taxes in a time of war. Considering no more has been asked of the American public than that they continue shopping since the beginning of these campaigns. If the American people actually consider not paying for the war then we withdrawal. We are the American Army this is supposedly a war to protect them, if they don’t want to pay then we can’t play.
This especially struck as I watched the Teabaggers yesterday in D.C. Their messages were inconsistent. I would see a sign that said, “Don’t Raise My Taxes,” next to a sign that said, “Support the Troops.” These people, the anti-tax advocates, seem to be oblivious that China is paying for the troops to fight these wars because they can’t be bothered to pay more taxes, and asking people of any political persuasion to pay more taxes is unpopular and a death-knell for a politicians career. If the American people and our Representatives are serious about supporting the troops, I think it’s time they prove it by not asking us, ‘the troops,’ to sacrifice anymore than we already do daily. It’s time for us to be realistic that fighting wars isn’t cheap and we can’t put it on the credit card without destroying our country. We have already spent enough money to pay for healthcare for all Americans ten-fold. I would also like to see these people with the Chinese-made yellow-ribbon magnets put their money where their magnet is.
The military should, of course, be good stewards of the equipment and supplies under our purview. Even with 100% efficient systems there will be waste. Not to mention, nation-building is not cheap and doing it in two countries also raises the cost significantly. One of those countries not having any great infrastructure compounds an already significantly expensive operation.
The bottom line is that this war is bankrupting our country, and it seems the country, our representatives and civilian leaders have no problem asking us, the service member, to sacrifice, more and more and more. If America as a whole wants to continue these wars they should be forced to pay for them. They should be forced to feel the sting of sacrifice for these things that are, supposedly, so important to them. Once that sting hits them we’ll see how important these exercises in nation-building are to them as bridges collapse in Minnesota, aging, out-dated power grids fail in California and state governments shut down because they no longer have the capital to provide services to their citizens. Really where should their sacrifice be going?
Thursday, September 10, 2009
First of all my condolences to the family and all those affected and effected by the loss of someone close to them in these wars.
The AP editor’s recent decision to show a dying Marine on the front page may be morally reprehensible to some but to me I find it refreshing. It’s about time someone shows the unvarnished truth of sacrifice from this war on terror, or global contingency operations, or overseas contingency operations or whatever the new term is today. It is strange that in the age of media we are getting less information like this from the press due to America’s willingness and ignorance to sop up fluff peddled by Generals, Presidents, and Representatives. I guess it’s OK to say that 4 soldiers died so long as Americans don’t have to actually witness it. Don’t impugn their ivory castles of flat screen TVs and big, gas-guzzling SUV’s to show the actual sacrifice being made on their behalf. I think the outrage from the general public is not one of horror that something like this could be shown to them, but that it was, and this picture reminds them of what they too often forget. It reminds them of what is actually meant in those crushed seconds between the GM and Bank Of America commericals when the anchorperson says that X number of service members died today in some far-off land that most of them and their children can’t point to on a map. Do you not want to know how they die? Is all that matters to you is that we sacrifice? Would you rather wash the gory details from your conscience with your yellow ribbon magnet on the back of your SUV?
Let’s not even get into the hypocrisy of the Marine dying for ‘freedom’ as we would like to censor the press for doing it’s job. If I die in the combat zone, which is likely as my luck runs out from two extended deployments, I want the picture of how I died on the front page of every paper. But unfortunately the deaths of service members aren’t big news. We’ve been dying for eight years and we’ll die for eight years more, and after. I think the biggest bone of contention here is that we don’t know for what that Marine died. Maybe, that is finally permeating the conscience of America. That we have citizens dying overseas and we don’t know for what end, especially if we Americans, out of a sense of false outrage to protect us from our own ignorance, are going to usurp the jingoistic and Orwellian reasons of freedom and the spreading of Jeffersonian democracy that we use to send combat forces to these exotic lands at the drop of a hat. A little inward introspection of our own outrage may be in order.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Libertarians and Ron-heads
Are selfish and mentally lazy. It’s just easier to say leave each to their own. The work that would go into fixing society’s problems is just easier to ignore and leave to each individual hiding behind the patriotic veil of individual liberty. These problems are a result of living in a modern world of which they are a part. If you don’t like the modern world then please go to the woods and live in your bunker. Please don’t use the clean water that society with its evil taxes and collectivism provides you. But even then you can’t own land because ownership is a function of government bureaucracy and if you fall into using that part of the bureaucracy the next thing you know the President will be knocking on the door to take your guns, euthanize your mother, and give your wife an abortion.
Republicans are great obstructionists. I mean great. They are able to obstruct while in the majority and the minority. Anytime there is an attempt to modernize, revolutionize, or fix any societal system they just stand up and say no. However, unlike their libertarian cousins they don’t hide behind a moral philosophy. They hide behind money. Everything is always too expensive, except for when the DOD wants to strap laser beams to sharks, we’ve always got money for that. Or when the Air Force wants to buy billions of dollars in jets and aircraft we don’t need, we always have money for that. Or corporate welfare combined with tax cuts for billionaires and corporations. Or invading and occupying a sovereign nation for years on end with no end in site, we’ve got unlimited money for that apparently. But we don’t have the money to provide US citizens protection from health insurance con-men who have no desire to provide the service people are paying for.
Republicans are saying, yes, we need healthcare reform. They had both houses of the legislature and the Presidency for eight years and did nothing about healthcare. The instant Democrats get a bill going all they can say is no. Where were you the past eight years with your great ideas? They obstruct with money. Wait a second is this the party under which deficit ballooned from a surplus to nearly $4 trillion in debt? Yes, yes it is. Then they obstruct with the libertarian argument of a growing government. Wait a second, is the same party under whose control the government bureaucracy grew exponentially? Yes, yes it is.
And if the government is a failure at everything it does why are they so afraid of it being so successful at providing a HEALTH INSURANCE OPTION and argue that it will be a burden on the corporations? Survival of the fittest, right.
I know, I know, if there was no collusion between the companies, which is ILLEGAL, and we actually enforced Sherman Antitrust laws, then insurance CEOs wouldn’t be able to make $105,000 per hour. Then people might actually be able to use their insurance, and here’s a novel idea, to actually receive health care. And if CEOs aren’t making $105,000 per hour they aren’t going to spend that money, and all the GOLD TOILET SEAT making factories and money-pool making factories will have to close and all of those workers will be laid off.
Republicans are people who like living in the good ol’ days. They reminisce of the days gone by and long for the 1950s and ‘60s. You know the good ol’ days when the US was great when we had Jim Crow Laws, McCartyism, prevalent societal sexism and racism. A great democracy that relegated blacks and women as second class citizens. I don’t know what was so great about that time.
I pick on the republicans because they have a certain level of xenophobia, paranoia, schizophrenia, and anti-social behavior that is usually only found in the mentally insane.
My favorite bunch of spineless politicians. Usually, on the side of the majority of the United States but too afraid to voice the facts at the risk of looking partisan. They are so afraid of being called Socialist. My Advice: Democrats rename your party and beat them to the punch we are the Socialist Democratic Party. Go ugly early. You get that out of the way you can stop defending and start going on the offensive. You are on the side of the majority of the people, who cares what you call yourself. Part of the Democratic platform is, by fact, Socialist. Say, so what, and move on. Nearly every modern democracy has a Socialist Democratic party, there is nothing wrong with that. Most countries have communist members of their parliamentary bodies. So what, it adds to the debate.
Don’t get me wrong I am absolutely a Darwinist. If I were a politician my ticket would definitely be pro death. I am PRO death-penalty, pro abortion, pro necessary war, pro guns, and pro euthanasia. If you want to die, that should be your choice. If you want to kill a parasite that is living inside your body that is your choice. I would not like for my significant other to have an abortion but if that is the decision she comes to, which I doubt she would, I have no right to stop her. She is not my property and not a cow for producing young.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
As of June 2009 I will have been on Active Duty as an officer for 5 years here are a few of the stats.
5 years=60 months
Deployed: 30 months (50%)
School: 11 months (18%)
Field: 7 months (12%) (preparing to deploy)
At home in garrison with unit: 12 months (20%) (preparing to deploy)
My career has been schoolhouse, prepare to deploy, deploy, schoolhouse, prepare to deploy, deploy, schoolhouse (July 2009)...
It's beginning to get monotonous.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Shitting in a fucking coffin sized shitter with another guy less than 12 inches away from you.
Pissing in poorly designed Arab pisser that splashes the piss all over you.
Handsoap that smells no better than the latrine I just shit in.
Seeing contractor's making 2-3 times more money for doing less than I do and putting up with 1/3rd of the bullshit.
Rubbery chicken breast served everynight lukewarm for 455 days.
The TCNs with the shit-eating grins that don't understand when I say I don't want any fucking rotten ass tomatoes. I don't want any fucking rotten ass tomatoes.
Rotten fucking lettuce.
The same fucking food served every day like fucking clockwork, piss warm, with no flavor, and covered with an extra side misery as you think about the meals you could be having at home.
Desert. Sand. Sun. Heat. I don't want it anymore.
Spending 12 or more hours a day stuck in a cubicle, crammed in a fucking dusty, noisy, hot-ass tent staring at a computer screen not doing shit. Not accomplishing anything but making my bosses feel like they are actually important and have a critical mission, when they don't.
Taking on every stupid daunting task, that everyone has passed up by everyone before us, in an attempt by my bosses to get another bullet comment for their fucking evaluations.
Pretending like we are actually important, like we matter, because we don't.
The mental diarrhea that gives birth to the abortions of ideas and thought, and the lack of thinking that goes into all of them.
The hopeless feeling of marking another fucking day off the calendar to realize that the next day will be just as meaningless and empty as the one just finished.
To realize all of those black dashes across that calendar are days that I will never get back. Days, that have to turned to weeks, and months and now over a year that I have LOST and have disappeared, to me, my son, my wife, and my family. For What?!
And I've done it twice.
Friday, February 06, 2009
The number could surpass January combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan
That's the headline from MSNBC. Really? We're going to investigate why people are committing suicide in record numbers? Do we need an investigation? The investigation sounds like a bunch of CYOA beauracratic bullshit to me. Do the senior leaders care? I'm sure they do, I mean afterall they are human.
Let me save you the time and money: We're spending 3/4 of our lives in COMBAT ZONES conducting dangerous operations. Even if you're not directly in the combat zone and you get deployed there is still separation hardships, troubles and problems back home, etc.
Why are suicides spiking now? Because the largest group of people are beginning to come back from their 2nd 15 month deployments, including me. I'm still in the shit for a few more months but my wife and I have both spent 30 of the last 42 months deployed.
The unfortunate thing is that the damage is already done and there is no problem to be solved. These things can't be fixed. The officer divorce rate is around 60 percent. Spousal abuse is at an all time high. More and more soldiers are having to enroll in substance abuse programs. This is your Army of empire people. Those that aren't doing illicit substances or abusing the legal ones are getting prescriptions for mood altering medications to combat depression and PTSD. Welcome to the Army. Is it all of us? No. But it's enough to have us wondering what the hell is going to happen to the Army in the next 3-5 years.
There is nothing you can do to get that soldier's wife to come back because their relationship fell apart while he spent 3/4 of the last 5 years in the combat zone. What are you going to do? You can't give them that time back. You can't give soldiers back the 3 or more years they've missed of their children(s') lives. That time is gone. They are already guilt-stricken for missing that. And what did they miss it for. To go liberate a country that didn't want to be liberated. To free a bunch of people that just want to kill us. To go watch their fellow Soldiers get blown out of their fucking trucks and then burn to death.
Fuck you and your beauracratic CYOA bullshit. There's nothing you can do. The damage is done and as more of us return from our second EXTENDED deployment therewill be more suicides, divorces, spoual abuse, spousal homicide. We don't know how to live in that world anymore. Home is here in theater where we spend 3/4 of our time. Home station is just a place where we go to fucking train for the next deployment. Some of us have a hard time adjusting to that life. We can't be in crowded rooms, noisy places, or around loud bangs because our reaction to those things back there is not normal. When I hit the ground here that's the norm that's what you are supposed to do. My behavior has been modified for the combat zone, and just as I start to adjust, guess what, I'm back on a plane bound for this shithole again.
We now have to deal with the conflict of not wanting to stay here but not wanting to be home. Sounds a bit crazy doesn't it. That's because it is. It's crazy to spend 3/4 of your life over the course of 4years in a combat zone.
My son is nearly 4 years old and my wife and I have spent 18 months of his life with him. How do you solve that problem? How do you give me that time back? Bottom line is, you can't.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
So far, Israel has destroyed two UN buildings and two hospital, both of which are WAR CRIMES and prosecutable under the Geneva and Hague Conventions. The Jews have blockaded the Gaza area and have prevented all access to services and supplies. The Israelis, as the aggressor, again under international law have an OBLIGATION to ensure the safety of all non-combatants, and all civilian facilities to include mosques, schools, water treatment, and hospitals. When engaged from these structures there is an inherent responsibility to ensure that positive identification (PID) of aggressor is made and equal or limited force is used to only eliminate that immediate threat. In other words destroying a UN building because guys fired rockets from next to it, is an extreme use of force and would get commander's relieved from the US military in Iraq. I guess Israel doesnt hold its leaders and soldiers to the same proffessional standards and conduct.
Of course, why would we expect the Israelis to follow the rules now, when they have US looking over their shoulder? And what an example we set by constantly bombing the hell out of villages all over Afghanistan. So, I guess we, as the US, are out of tolerance of the same rules.
Two more soldiers killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan today.
It's time to finish that war once and for all. Afghanistan is the Korean War of my generation and I have no hope for it to end any differently.
Israel would be good to heed the warning of Edgar Watson Howe, "Abuse a man unjustly, and you will make friends for him."