but thank you all for your kind words.
My military service was rough on me. It's kind of weird for me to look back on it now. Some parts seem like it was so long ago, but other parts seem like yesterday. I loved much of the military (well, all of it except for the war). Would I do it all over again? I don't know.
The pain of the loss has faded quite a bit. There are other things that I did/happened to me that are much more troubling to me about Iraq. When my unit returned back our home base, the military paid for the families of the deceased to visit us at our base in Germany. I had a chance to meet and speak with 4 of the 5 families of the deceased. One of the families was very angry at me and asked me some tough questions and some of the things really troubled me, however they deserved to have that opportunity to speak with me. I hope that I was able to provide them some closure and a better understanding of what had happened. The other families were very warm and happy to be able to meet me and the rest of the Soldiers in our platoon.
I was an Infantry Platoon Leader in Iraq and I lost a Bradley Fighting Vehicle on 24 JAN 2005, killing 5 of the 7 guys in it. This picture was taken during a memorial ceremony on our base after the event. 47% of these guys also had an entitlement mentality...
I already had a lot of disdain for Romney after hearing about his "service" in France for his church while the rest of his "peers" (as if you could call yourself a peer to a rich privileged guy) faced Vietnam. This thing really got to me - and I made sure that anyone who I knew who was likely to vote for Romney knew it.
My war was different than yours. Many guys in Vietnam were drafted and had no choice about service (I know that you mentioned you enlisted). I too volunteered for my military service. I didn't know what I was getting myself into and when I joined (1997) I thought that we'd never see a war like Vietnam again. I believed in the causes I saw in Iraq in 1991 (to a moderate degree) and I fully believed in our mission in the for country of Yugoslavia in the mid 90's. I think I drank too much of the koolaide and I fully believed that the Army would only be used for good and to spread justice to the world. Then I found myself going to Iraq in 2004. I came home broken and a shadow of what I was.
Without repeating my story yet again, the war and what it did to me is very personal to me. I have no tolerance for anyone who attacks or criticizes me and my service in any way. Like the title of my reply says, perhaps I'm just a whiny bitch. But unless you've served, you probably will never really "get it" like a veteran does.
and my wife got me into a meditation program that is helping too.
PTSD is PTSD. It doesn't matter where it comes from. Everyone thinks that it only aflicts people in war.
Even though I loved the military and the people I worked with, I hated the war. Granted, I did completely volunteer for military service. However, I had no idea what I was getting myself into or what war was really all about until I experienced it first hand. I'm appauled by what I saw in Iraq and I want to do everything I can from preventing something like this from happening again. And that is the reason I post stuff like I posted above.
It also doesn't hurt that I was drinking a little last night and that helps me get the words out...
People need to know the truth and how much war affects you after you make it home. They need to abandon the idea that war is glorious and the only people who are killed are the people who fight in it. I like how we acknowledge and remember our veterans with memorials and monuments, but at the same time I hate seeing monuments because I see them as a tool used to present war as glorious. Instead of building monuments to the Soldiers, we should build monuments to the widows and children of the Soldiers as well as the civilian victims of war. Memorial day and Veterans day should be days of national mourning for the pain of wars inflicted on both sides of battle.
I don't want to see a memorial for the war in Iraq with statue of a bunch of American Soldiers holding weapons looking proud and ready to kill. I think it'd be much more appropriate to have a woman in a burqa holding her child and crying at the side of her dead husband and/or a statue of an American woman and her child standing next to a shattered and decrepit veteran. We need to be shown that wars break people in our memorials. Not immages of strength and power. In a local town around here there is a memorial that I love. There is a Soldier standing next to a big granite stone (with names on it) stooped over and crying. It's very powerful to me and it chokes me up most times I drive by it.
Just shooting from the hip, I'd argue that the first gulf war in 1991 was justified. Sadam Hussein invaded Kuwait and was getting ready to invade other neighboring countries after that. We defeated his military quickly, pushed his forces out of Kuwait, and ensured that he wouldn't be able to ever conduct offensive operations again. If I remember right, we destroyed something like 4-5,000 of his tanks! We didn't keep pushing the war and we didn't get ourselves mired into a 10 year long occupation where we attempted to build a half-assed democracy.
The whole mess in the Balkans was justified in my opinion too. I hate for our military to be used as a police force for the entire world, but some aweful stuff was going on there in the 90s. Seeing what Clinton was using our military to accomplish there was one of the major driving factors in my decision to join the Army when I was 17 in 1997. i honestly believed that we had learned our lessons from Vietnam and that we'd never fight another war like that again. I also believed that the military was a tool used only for good and to help people.
In 2001, I believed Afghanistan was justified as well. Then we got ourselves mired into a failed attempt of nation building for 10 years. We should have never attempted the nation building thing.
2003, Iraq, total waste. I spent 13 months there and I don't even want to talk about it right now.
Obama's 2011 deployment of 100-150 Special Forces operatives to Africa to assist local forces in defeating the Lord's Resistance Army is exactly what we should be fighting too. Do a quick read on Joseph Kony and you don't have to make it too far into your reading to figure out that this guy is a sinister evil person. His militia goes to local villages, abducts children, and forces them to fight in his militia.
I receive a pension for a 70% disability rating for PTSD from the VA. It's worth about $1,520 a month tax free plus medical care relating to my PTSD is covered.
I made the mistake of joining the Army when I was 17 years old thinking that I would actually be doing something good in the world. I went to basic training between my junior and senior year of high school and served in the Army reserves while I was in college. I received an Army ROTC sholarship and switched over to active duty in 2002 as an Infantry Officer. I busted my ass in the Army and gave my all and went through Airborne School and Ranger School. I arrived to unit a few months they were getting ready to deploy to Iraq in Feb 2004 and I spent 13 months in Iraq as an Infantry Platoon Leader. I went on patrol and gave everything I had for a war I never agreed with at least 6 days a week. In fact, There were only 2 patrols that my platoon went on without me the whole time I was in Iraq - and one was because I was sick as hell and the other was because we had a standing policy in my platoon that you weren't allowed to go on patrol the day before you go on your two week leave (bad luck). I led my platoon through numerous large and small scale combat events resulting in a confirmed 46 enemy killed (which appauls me, but that is the topic for another thread).
I honestly don't know how I came home alive. In one incident I had a hand grenade blow up no more than 15 feet in front of me and in another incident I had bullets hitting the ground next me while I was crossing the street (the rest of my patrol ran for cover, but I was crazy and kept walking because I was looking to die rather than come home). 5 of the 46 Soldiers in my platoon were killed on 24 JAN 2005 when I lost a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
I've never told anyone in person this, but I almost commited suicide while I was in Iraq. I felt hopeless and the last thing I wanted to do was come back home. To this day I still don't know why I'm still around. If I didn't have kids and I didn't know that they'd be devastated if I weren't around, I probably wouldn't be alive right now. I'm completely stuck in the war even though I've been out of it for almost 8 years. I just can't move on and it pervades itself into every aspect of what remains of my life. Honestly, other than my kids, there isn't a thing I give a f**k about or live for.
I go on periods of time when I get fired up and I just want to get back to the war. If I could drop everything and be back in Iraq tomorrow, I would. I miss the feeling of holding a rifle in my hand, the danger, and ther murder. As aweful as it sounds, fighting in war is a feeling that you can't beat.
I hate being a shadow of what I was when I was in the Army. I was capabe of leading a platoon in combat! Now I can hardly even go to public places like McDonalds without turning into a bumbling idiot. I can't get around to paying my bills on time (even though I have the money) and I can hardly hold a job if it wasn't for the charity of my boss and my employer and their sense of duty for helping guys like me.
I work for the federal government. If I didn't have a huge veteran's highering preference, I would have never gotten the job that I have now. Basically, you need to be really messed up to one-up me on the hiring list. Not to sound sorry for myself, but I'm pretty bad off.
Yup, I'm a mooch and a drain to us all. I should have died in Iraq like I wanted to.
Sorry for posting immages of my awards from Iraq. I'm not that full of myself. I just like to prove that I am who/what I claim to be. I'm not looking for sympathy or thanks for my service. It's just more of a point of the type of scumbag that makes up the 47% that Romeny despises.
I have a nifty 70% disability rating for PTSD courtesy of the VA and I'd be screwed if I didn't get that check every month. I mentioned this in a lot more detail in a post I wrote yesterday on another thread about this topic.
Do I feel entittled to it? You bet! The government and their war broke me and I think they owe it to us disabled veterans.
What is funny is that the Republicans will be quick to point out that Abraham Lincoln was a republican president. Didn't Abraham Lincoln preach something about public responsibility for taking care of veterans? What happened to that belief of the Republicans? It's funny to me how the republicans claim to be the only party that supports and loves our military, but I absolutely get more love from the democrats and their policies.
I did some time in Iraq and I learned a lot about people from my daily patrols and meetings with various local leadership. Just like here, about 99% of the people in the middle east are good people. Also, like here, you have that one small portion of society that is purely evil and wants nothing more than power and money.
If I saw anyone wounded or dieing I'd risk my life to help them - and I believe most people would do the same. Cultural bounderies make no difference. People are people and usually the good prevails.
I hate that the right wing of our politics is so eager to pin all Muslims as evil blood thirsty thugs. At the root of it, they all want the same thing as us: relative security for their families, enough food to eat, and shelter.
I tell everyone that it is a volunteer army. Although I didn't know what I was getting myself into, I did volunteer for the Army and to be an Infantryman. As messed up as it may be, I volunteered to be an infantryman. The guys I feel sorry are the Vietnam guys who were drafted and served their country despite their better judgement.
Anyways, thank you for the sentiments.
Profile InformationMember since: Wed Aug 15, 2012, 01:17 PM
Number of posts: 3,557