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Two's in
7th Oct 2006, 19:19
This is doing the rounds over here. Makes a big change from the left/right spin on what is happening out there, the author is a US Marine Corps officer, just search for "The Secret Letter from Iraq" if you want a source. Anyone who has been in the Military can relate to it, but so can anybody else too because of its easy going style. Good stuff.


All: I haven't written very much from Iraq. There's really not much to write about. More exactly, there's not much I can write about because practically everything I do, read or hear is classified military information or is depressing to the point that I'd rather just forget about it, never mind write about it. The gaps in between all of that are filled with the pure tedium of daily life in an armed camp. So it's a bit of a struggle to think of anything to put into a letter that's worth reading. Worse, this place just consumes you. I work 18-20-hour days, every day. The quest to draw a clear picture of what the insurgents are up to never ends. Problems and frictions crop up faster than solutions. Every challenge demands a response. It's like this every day. Before I know it, I can't see straight, because it's 0400 and I've been at work for 20 hours straight, somehow missing dinner again in the process. And once again I haven't written to anyone. It starts all over again four hours later. It's not really like Ground Hog Day, it's more like a level from Dante's Inferno.

Rather than attempting to sum up the last seven months, I figured I'd just hit the record-setting highlights of 2006 in Iraq. These are among the events and experiences I'll remember best.

Worst Case of Déjà Vu — I thought I was familiar with the feeling of déjà vu until I arrived back here in Fallujah in February. The moment I stepped off of the helicopter, just as dawn broke, and saw the camp just as I had left it ten months before — that was déjà vu. Kind of unnerving. It was as if I had never left. Same work area, same busted desk, same chair, same computer, same room, same creaky rack, same... everything. Same everything for the next year. It was like entering a parallel universe. Home wasn't 10,000 miles away, it was a different lifetime.

Most Surreal Moment — Watching Marines arrive at my detention facility and unload a truck load of flex-cuffed midgets. 26 to be exact. We had put the word out earlier in the day to the Marines in Fallujah that we were looking for Bad Guy X, who was described as a midget. Little did I know that Fallujah was home to a small community of midgets, who banded together for support since they were considered as social outcasts. The Marines were anxious to get back to the midget colony to bring in the rest of the midget suspects, but I called off the search, figuring Bad Guy X was long gone on his short legs after seeing his companions rounded up by the giant infidels.

Most Profound Man in Iraq — an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied "Yes, you."

Worst City in al-Anbar Province — Ramadi, hands down. The provincial capital of 400,000 people. Lots and lots of insurgents killed in there since we arrived in February. Every day is a nasty gun battle. They blast us with giant bombs in the road, snipers, mortars and small arms. We blast them with tanks, attack helicopters, artillery, our snipers (much better than theirs), and every weapon that an infantryman can carry. Every day. Incredibly, I rarely see Ramadi in the news. We have as many attacks out here in the west as Baghdad. Yet, Baghdad has 7 million people, we have just 1.2 million. Per capita, al-Anbar province is the most violent place in Iraq by several orders of magnitude. I suppose it was no accident that the Marines were assigned this area in 2003.

Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province — Any Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (EOD Tech). How'd you like a job that required you to defuse bombs in a hole in the middle of the road that very likely are booby-trapped or connected by wire to a bad guy who's just waiting for you to get close to the bomb before he clicks the detonator? Every day. Sanitation workers in New York City get paid more than these guys. Talk about courage and commitment.

Second Bravest Guy in al-Anbar Province — It's a 20,000-way tie among all these Marines and Soldiers who venture out on the highways and through the towns of al-Anbar every day, not knowing if it will be their last — and for a couple of them, it will be.

Worst E-Mail Message — "The Walking Blood Bank is Activated. We need blood type A+ stat." I always head down to the surgical unit as soon as I get these messages, but I never give blood — there's always about 80 Marines in line, night or day.

Biggest Surprise — Iraqi Police. All local guys. I never figured that we'd get a police force established in the cities in al-Anbar. I estimated that insurgents would kill the first few, scaring off the rest. Well, insurgents did kill the first few, but the cops kept on coming. The insurgents continue to target the police, killing them in their homes and on the streets, but the cops won't give up. Absolutely incredible tenacity. The insurgents know that the police are far better at finding them than we are — and they are finding them. Now, if we could just get them out of the habit of beating prisoners to a pulp...

Greatest Vindication — Stocking up on outrageous quantities of Diet Coke from the chow hall in spite of the derision from my men on such hoarding, then having a 122mm rocket blast apart the giant shipping container that held all of the soda for the chow hall. Yep, you can't buy experience.

Biggest Mystery — How some people can gain weight out here. I'm down to 165 lbs. Who has time to eat?

Second Biggest Mystery — if there's no atheists in foxholes, then why aren't there more people at Mass every Sunday?

Favorite Iraqi TV Show — Oprah. I have no idea. They all have satellite TV.

Coolest Insurgent Act — Stealing almost $7 million from the main bank in Ramadi in broad daylight, then, upon exiting, waving to the Marines in the combat outpost right next to the bank, who had no clue of what was going on. The Marines waved back. Too cool.

Most Memorable Scene — In the middle of the night, on a dusty airfield, watching the better part of a battalion of Marines packed up and ready to go home after over six months in al-Anbar, the relief etched in their young faces even in the moonlight. Then watching these same Marines exchange glances with a similar number of grunts loaded down with gear file past — their replacements. Nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said.

Highest Unit Re-enlistment Rate — Any outfit that has been in Iraq recently. All the danger, all the hardship, all the time away from home, all the horror, all the frustrations with the fight here — all are outweighed by the desire for young men to be part of a band of brothers who will die for one another. They found what they were looking for when they enlisted out of high school. Man for man, they now have more combat experience than any Marines in the history of our Corps.

Most Surprising Thing I Don't Miss — Beer. Perhaps being half-stunned by lack of sleep makes up for it.

Worst Smell — Porta-johns in 120-degree heat — and that's 120 degrees outside of the porta-john.

Highest Temperature — I don't know exactly, but it was in the porta-johns. Needed to re-hydrate after each trip to the loo.

Biggest Hassle — High-ranking visitors. More disruptive to work than a rocket attack. VIPs demand briefs and "battlefield" tours (we take them to quiet sections of Fallujah, which is plenty scary for them). Our briefs and commentary seem to have no effect on their preconceived notions of what's going on in Iraq. Their trips allow them to say that they've been to Fallujah, which gives them an unfortunate degree of credibility in perpetuating their fantasies about the insurgency here.

Biggest Outrage — Practically anything said by talking heads on TV about the war in Iraq, not that I get to watch much TV. Their thoughts are consistently both grossly simplistic and politically slanted. Biggest Offender: Bill O'Reilly.

Best Intel Work — Finding Jill Carroll's kidnappers — all of them. I was mighty proud of my guys that day. I figured we'd all get the Christian Science Monitor for free after this, but none have showed up yet.

Saddest Moment — Having an infantry battalion commander hand me the dog tags of one of my Marines who had just been killed while on a mission with his unit. Hit by a 60mm mortar. He was a great Marine. I felt crushed for a long time afterward. His picture now hangs at the entrance to our section area. We'll carry it home with us when we leave in February.

Best Chuck Norris Moment — 13 May. Bad Guys arrived at the government center in a small town to kidnap the mayor, since they have a problem with any form of government that does not include regular beheadings and women wearing burqahs. There were seven of them. As they brought the mayor out to put him in a pick-up truck to take him off to be beheaded (on video, as usual), one of the Bad Guys put down his machine gun so that he could tie the mayor's hands. The mayor took the opportunity to pick up the machine gun and drill five of the Bad Guys. The other two ran away. One of the dead Bad Guys was on our top twenty wanted list. Like they say, you can't fight City Hall.

Worst Sound — That crack-boom off in the distance that means an IED or mine just went off. You just wonder who got it, hoping that it was a near miss rather than a direct hit. Hear it practically every day.

Second Worst Sound — Our artillery firing without warning. The howitzers are pretty close to where I work. Believe me, outgoing sounds a lot like incoming when our guns are firing right over our heads. They'd about knock the fillings out of your teeth.

Only Thing Better in Iraq Than in the U.S. — Sunsets. Spectacular. It's from all the dust in the air.

Proudest Moment — It's a tie every day, watching our Marines produce phenomenal intelligence products that go pretty far in teasing apart Bad Guy operations in al-Anbar. Every night Marines and Soldiers are kicking in doors and grabbing Bad Guys based on intelligence developed by our guys. We rarely lose a Marine during these raids, they are so well-informed of the objective. A bunch of kids right out of high school shouldn't be able to work so well, but they do.

Happiest Moment — Well, it wasn't in Iraq. There are no truly happy moments here. It was back in California when I was able to hold my family again while home on leave during July.

Most Common Thought — Home. Always thinking of home, of my great wife and the kids. Wondering how everyone else is getting along. Regretting that I don't write more. Yep, always thinking of home.

I hope you all are doing well. If you want to do something for me, kiss a cop, flush a toilet, and drink a beer. I'll try to write again before too long — I promise.

Huck
7th Oct 2006, 19:44
Riveting.

And irrefutable.

Capt. Queeg
7th Oct 2006, 19:45
oops....... cut and paste snafu.

Anyway sounds like things are going better over there than the media like to paint it.

I wonder how those kids out of high school will fit back into society later on. Good luck guys.

haughtney1
8th Oct 2006, 10:11
Wow......just read it a second time..wow

precession
8th Oct 2006, 10:33
This is a joke ? right ? or else some form of spin that we are supposed to somehow accept without question...........:=

The US should not be in Iraq [16 Intelligence agencies recently proved that], ergo, we should not be discussing anythng good out of Iraq that somehow seeks to humanise the US occupation of Iraq, unless it involves the people of Iraq, otherwise its bull**5it.

your bed , you lie in it. have a nice day.

atyourcervix73
8th Oct 2006, 10:51
Precession, whether you like it or not, agree or disagree, the human experience in Iraq will continue.

The article is adequately titled "letter from iraq" I didnt read anywhere this article is here to humanise, actually come to think of it, the Iraqi farmers comment sums up the humanisation rather well.

This is the authors' viewpoint, perhaps you should catagorize it with the correct perspective, rather than tarring it with broad brush strokes:yuk:

8th Oct 2006, 11:06
precession,

The post didn't seem to politicise anything, it was a very human perspective and quite humbling in it's even-handedness (is that a word?). You obviously come into the group of people who can't differentiate between the politicians who start the wars and the service men and women who are sent to do their bidding.

If you don't like it, don't read and go bury your head in the sand.

Capt. Queeg
8th Oct 2006, 11:07
or else some form of spin that we are supposed to somehow accept without question...........

The US should not be in Iraq [16 Intelligence agencies recently proved that

What an excellent sense of irony....

precession
8th Oct 2006, 11:25
it rarely amazes me how a few minor yet heavy shots across a pro-iraq spin boo seems to bring all the latent supporters out of their tents, intent in defending the US human aspect with scant regard to any Iraqi who to all intents and purposes was deemed a a member of a terrorist nation three years ago.

well, what I say is neither here nor there, and what goes on in Iraq, and what will go on in Iraq in the next few month may make the next arrogant western bully think twice about "invading" a country for a made-up reason.

You make your bed and you lie in it, I cannot imagine the Iraqi's wanting to negotiate the "coalition" withdrawal.

and somehow, I seem to think, that there maybe more terrorists , with more conviction, and more agility of thought, and they are more creative than prior 911

good Job USA!!! Good Job ya donkeys.............


now they are more dangerous than ever............:=

Capt. Queeg
8th Oct 2006, 11:37
what will go on in Iraq in the next few month may make the next arrogant western bully think twice about "invading" a country

Hopefully not before they do something about the Iranians....

I'd really like to see the nuclear ambitions of those tossers bombed into rubble.

And the Sudanese.

Anyway, can anyone name the 16 imaginary intel agencies referred to above?

precession
8th Oct 2006, 11:53
well a clever Iranian (and I hope they are reading) would ensure that any site of importance is peppered with Anti-A missiles, and for a good radius thereof , incluing a few throwaway deterrent missiles(nothing makes a jock abort more than a lock sound)

Nothing like a deterrent eh ?

the Imaginary agencies I referred to , are not as such agencies, just simply, the creme de la creme of western intelligence thinking, who now , after all the baloons seem to be up, and the fuse lit some time ago, now appear to be BACKTRACKING AND TRYING TO SAVE THEIR REPUTATIONS.

but you know this, right ? :D

btw , where are the WMD ????:*

Maple 01
8th Oct 2006, 13:08
They have been destroyed in country


Here are some open source versions for you, believe me, they have been found
-even the BBC grudgingly admits it

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3386357.stm

Or this lot

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/01/11/wirq11.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/01/11/ixnewstop.html

No, that's all lies, propaganda and spin isn't it? Your indefatigability does you credit.

BTW nothing in UNSCR 687 to say 'it's OK to have pre-1991 stocks'

Spuds McKenzie
8th Oct 2006, 13:17
btw , where are the WMD ????
In North Korea. :hmm:

Huck
8th Oct 2006, 13:52
we should not be discussing anythng good out of Iraq that somehow seeks to humanise the US occupation of Iraq

Spent alot of time in the military, did you?

Here it is, the reason we are still in this quagmire: the US forces aren't humanised ENOUGH, here in the states. They're calling it the "remote control" war - absolutely no connection to the majority of Americans unless they watch the news. No draft, no rationing, no impact whatsoever.

Actually, more letters like the one from this Marine and we may just turn the tide and get ourselves a new dominant party in November.

precession
8th Oct 2006, 13:54
blahwdhfdhfdfjdgjdsgfdsgfdsgfgggdsgfhjdgfdgsgfdsfgdfgd

Capt. Queeg
8th Oct 2006, 14:31
How dissapointing the US, how superb the Iraqi boys and men who resist

such a man, I salute, such a man I raise as my son.
Does it disappoint you to know that most of the men you're beating your meat over are in fact not Iraqis at all but filth and scum from other nations? Does it disappoint me to think you might be capable of breeding?

Ah yes, I always wondered what sort of lowlife would teach and encourage his own offspring to derive such joy from committing mass-murder in such a cowardly and indiscriminate fashion.

Would you consider posting a snap of yourself on the "photos of everybody" thread? My dart-board needs re-upholstering!! :ok:

Other than that, at best a mediocre wind-up. You need a lot more practice, lest you loiter endlessly at mere 'twaat' status.... :D

precession
8th Oct 2006, 14:50
Ah yes, I always wondered what sort of lowlife would teach and encourage his own offspring to derive such joy from committing mass-murder in such a cowardly and indiscriminate fashion.
Ah, and there you have me, I am a lowlife that would teach his offspring to defend themselves, a lowlife that would teach them to defend their homes, a lowlife that would teach them to do anything that the needed to defend their family and their children.

I make no apologies for what I am , thank you.

and I salute and Respect the Iraqi men and Women who do the same. :D

good on them!!!!, I wish I had their conviction :D

Capt. Queeg
8th Oct 2006, 14:56
oops busted mate!!! :p

Don't you hate it when someone quotes the garbage you pulled outa ya arse before you have a chance to go back and erase it??? D'OH!! :(


Precession: -------> :ugh: , :ouch:


Now say "I'm sorry" to those long-suffering troops in Iraq. Say it.

precession
8th Oct 2006, 15:09
busted ? not really, makes no difference to my last post.


read it and weep as they say............

Ah, and there you have me, I am a lowlife that would teach his offspring to defend themselves, a lowlife that would teach them to defend their homes, a lowlife that would teach them to do anything that the needed to defend their family and their children.

I make no apologies for what I am , thank you.

and I salute and Respect the Iraqi men and Women who do the same. :D

good on them!!!!, I wish I had their conviction :D Today 17:31

Brewster Buffalo
8th Oct 2006, 15:25
..its a moving letter which could have been written, I suppose, by many a soldier in many a faraway war...I do hope that the cause he is fighting and that is consuming so many lives is worthwhile and that in years to come he doesn't look back and regret what was done..:(

................meanwhile back in the USA President Bush is "in denial" according to Bob Woodward..

Woodward says further

Getting to the point now where there are eight, 900 attacks a week," he says. "That’s more than 100 a day—that is four an hour. Attacking our forces."

Woodward says the government had kept this trend secret for years before finally declassifying the graph just three weeks ago. And Woodward accuses President Bush and the Pentagon of making false claims of progress in Iraq – claims, contradicted by facts that are being kept secret.

For example, Woodward says an intelligence report classified secret from the Joint Chiefs of Staff concluded in large print that "THE SUNNI ARAB INSURGENCY IS GAINING STRENGTH AND INCREASING CAPACITY, DESPITE POLITICAL PROGRESS."

And “INSURGENTS RETAIN THE CAPABILITIES TO…INCREASE THE LEVEL OF VIOLENCE THROUGH NEXT YEAR.”

But just two days later a public defense department report said just the opposite. “Violent action, will begin to wane in early 2007,” the report said.

What does Woodward make of that?

"The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,'" he tells Wallace. "Now there’s public, and then there’s private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know," says Woodward.

"Why is that secret? The insurgents know what they’re doing. They know the level of violence and how effective they are. Who doesn’t know? The American public," he adds.

full article here

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/09/28/60minutes/main2047607.shtml

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
8th Oct 2006, 17:25
They're calling it the "remote control" war - absolutely no connection to the majority of Americans unless they watch the news. No draft, no rationing, no impact whatsoever.
I was thinking about this last night as I took a short flight over Texas in a 172. I was navigating via the rising oon and by the city of Dallas spread out under me and I suddenly thought how different t would have been if I took the same flight over London in 1940. Even if I had been able to and even if I had found the petrol to do it with, I would have seen very little in the blackout below.

G-ZUZZ
8th Oct 2006, 17:48
Even if I had been able to and even if I had found the petrol to do it with, I would have seen very little in the blackout belowIs that because they didn't have 172s back then or because it's always raining and miserable?


The rising oon..... :uhoh:

Two's in
8th Oct 2006, 17:57
A caribbean holiday with hot and cold running cheerleaders for all those who saw this thread as an example of the very human face of geo-political madness, and a week in short pants as a congressional Page for all those who saw it as glorifying the imperialist running dog's global oppression of the downtrodden masses. The other line precession, the other line...

G-ZUZZ
8th Oct 2006, 18:52
Whose dog....?? Odd how many people speak in Tongues around here....:uhoh:

MR12
8th Oct 2006, 21:54
"The US should not be in Iraq [16 Intelligence agencies recently proved that], ergo, we should not be discussing anythng good out of Iraq that somehow seeks to humanise the US occupation of Iraq, unless it involves the people of Iraq, otherwise its bull**5it."
Who taught you philosophy ? First clause (before the bracket) is opinion - one which you share with a good many others, many of them pro military; the section in brackets is inaccurate, and you then effectively decree that no one should provide examples of US, British or allied courage, intellect or fortitude in Iraq on the grounds that they can only be bull:mad:.
If you have proof that the letter is spin or a forgery, post it on this thread for all to see. If you've suddenly been made global arbiter of moral absolutes, prove that. If neither applies, admit that you're a mouth on a stick.

MReyn24050
8th Oct 2006, 22:13
Ah, and there you have me, I am a lowlife that would teach his offspring to defend themselves, a lowlife that would teach them to defend their homes, a lowlife that would teach them to do anything that the needed to defend their family and their children.

I make no apologies for what I am , thank you.

and I salute and Respect the Iraqi men and Women who do the same. :D

good on them!!!!, I wish I had their conviction :D Today 17:31

Against whom?
As I understand it the Coalition forces involved in operations in Iraq (as of August 23, 2006) consisted of 23 non-U.S. military forces contributing armed forces. These 23 countries were: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.
These forces along with the USA are trying to support a democratic government elected by the people of Iraq.