‘I Don’t Think This Place Is Worth Another Soldier’s Life’

In today’s WaPo is a must read post on “soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.” The 1st Batalion just happens to be the same Battalion of the now infamous Scott Beauchamp, who the wingnuts have virtually crucified for months in the blogosphere. Here’s a few quips from the must read of the day:

Their line of tan Humvees and Bradley Fighting Vehicles creeps through another Baghdad afternoon. At this pace, an excruciating slowness, they strain to see everything, hoping the next manhole cover, the next rusted barrel, does not hide another bomb. A few bullets pass overhead, but they don’t worry much about those.

“I hate this road,” someone says over the radio.

They stop, look around. The streets of Sadiyah are deserted again. To the right, power lines slump down into the dirt. To the left, what was a soccer field is now a pasture of trash, combusting and smoking in the sun. Packs of skinny wild dogs trot past walls painted with slogans of sectarian hate.

A bomb crater blocks one lane, so they cross to the other side, where houses are blackened by fire, shops crumbled into bricks. The remains of a car bomb serve as hideous public art. Sgt. Victor Alarcon’s Humvee rolls into a vast pool of knee-high brown sewage water — the soldiers call it Lake Havasu, after the Arizona spring-break party spot — that seeps in the doors of the vehicle and wets his boots.

“When we first got here, all the shops were open. There were women and children walking out on the street,” Alarcon said this week. “The women were in Western clothing. It was our favorite street to go down because of all the hot chicks.”

That was 14 long months ago, when the soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division, arrived in southwestern Baghdad. It was before their partners in the Iraqi National Police became their enemies and before Shiite militiamen, aligned with the police, attempted to exterminate a neighborhood of middle-class Sunni families.

Next month, the U.S. soldiers will complete their tour in Iraq. Their experience in Sadiyah has left many of them deeply discouraged, by both the unabated hatred between rival sectarian fighters and the questionable will of the Iraqi government to work toward peaceful solutions.

Asked if the American endeavor here was worth their sacrifice — 20 soldiers from the battalion have been killed in Baghdad — Alarcon said no: “I don’t think this place is worth another soldier’s life.”

Read it all. Frustrations are high from the troops:

Lt. Col. George A. Glaze, the battalion commander, says his soldiers are playing the role of a bouncer caught between brawling customers. Alone, they can restrain the fighters, keep them off balance, but they cannot stop the melee until the house lights come on — that is, until the Iraqi government steps in.

“They’re either going to turn the lights on or we’re all going to realize they’ve moved the switch,” he said.

I’m frustrated. After 14 months, I’ve got a lot of thoughts in my head. Do they fundamentally get giving up individual rights and power for the greater good?” Glaze said. “I’m going to leave here being skeptical of everything.”

Of course the wingnuts are totally discombobulating themselves over this one, claiming things like, “More Twisted Journalism,” “Fly Located in the ointment,” and “The MSM’s Pessimistic Dogma Dome Decends Once Again.” For an absolute laugh on just how whacked these right wingnuts are, yet again, go read the phenomenal satirical piece from John Cole of BalloonJuice. And as always check Memeoradum for all the buzz.

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5 Responses to ‘I Don’t Think This Place Is Worth Another Soldier’s Life’

  1. Ginny in CO says:

    Alternet has another one:Low Morale Has U.S. Troops in Iraq Pretending to Patrol

    A diffferent way to avoid combat than was done in Vietnam. Maybe it will cut the numbers coming home with PTSD and TBI.

  2. Darrell Prows says:

    (Hi Ginny. How’s life been treating you?)

    What guys like Petraeus and Bush don’t understand is that when troops are ordered to die for the Generals next star, or the Presidents legacy (and I understand that I’m treating his motives too generously), the compliance rate goes way down.

  3. Ginny in CO says:

    Hi Darrell,

    It has been a nightmare I’m very glad to be out of. Missed a lot and it’s great to be able to get back into politics. Looking for a job, again. But I can work agency until something comes along.

    I’m not sure where or who I heard talking about the whole strategy of getting peoople to go to war and kill other people. Ultimately it comes down to building a group of freinds who go into battle and once one of theirs is attacked, they go into response. It very little to do with the values, patriotism, etc.

  4. I served in the tragic Vietnam conflict. That war, like this one, represented a failed policy. It was a political war, driven by politicians whe didn’t give a dam about the loss of life. General Westmoreland, like General Patreous, was a total fraud. He was a lackey of Presidents Johnson and Nixon, as General “Betray Us” is a lackey of Bush’s. President Johnson always assured the American public that there was, “a light at the end of the tunnel.” However, there was never even a glimmer of light. The administration concocted the alleged attack on US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. It has been well documented that the attack never happened. But. Johnson fabricated the attack in order to esculate our involvement. The Iraq war was also concocted based on false intelligence information. Even when “The Decider” was told not to incorporate the alleged sale of African uranium to Iraq, as it had already been proven to be false, he included it in his 2002 State of The Union Address anyway. While in Vietnam, I served in Military Intelligence Corps with the 25th Infantry Division. I saw enemy bodycounts inflated on a daily basis by the military to give the false impression that we were winning!! I saw servicemen get killed because we could not fire rockets back because the enemy was firing from a “no fire zone.” Fire could never be returned in a no fire zone for fear that we might kill an innocent civilian.
    The lessons of history have taught Bush and company nothing!! I note that the continued violence in Iraq is being totally down played by the media. Just today a suicide bomber hit at a downtown Bagdad bus top. Many were killed and injured but there was no mention on the 11:00 news. Bush has the audacity to consider himself a “compassionate conservative.” This sorry excuse for a president has proven time and time again that he has not one ounce of compassion in him. His own mother, Mama Bush, when asked about the horrible conditions inside the New Orleans Superdome were the refugees from Katrina were housed said, “”Well they are mostly blacks and poor whites, so they are probably use to living this way.” The acorn sure doesn’t fall very far from the tree.
    In just a few short weeks the US death count in Iraq will reach 4,000! So, we can then erect another memorial wall in D.C. to rival the 58,000 service people who also died in vain in Iraq. Peter, Paul and Mary in the 1960’s sang, ” How many more must die until they know that too many have died? The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind.” The same lyrics are sadly still true four decades later. Buzz

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