Wednesday, January 26, 2005

<Yellow ribbon here>

No matter what you may think of the Iraq war, one thing I think we can all agree with is that the men and women over there are very brave, sacrificing their own interests for something bigger than they are, and are doing an incredibly difficult job with always-insufficient resources. One thing that really irks me is when neocons and right-wingers say they "support the troops" as if I don't.

There is an excellent New Yorker article on the changing way the military is dealing with fighting an ever-changing war unlike one we've ever fought before. I know it's long, but come on, we're in a war and 1300+ American soldiers have died so far. Think of it as a little bit of sacrifice on your part.

The article does a great job of getting across just how ingenous soldiers have to be just to get their jobs done, and how difficult it is to do them and prevent people from getting hurt. But this quote towards the end, frankly, send chills down my spine:

Thomas White, who was fired from his job as Secretary of the Army in May of 2003 for clashing with Rumsfeld on a number of issues, including how many troops would be needed, told me ... “If I had it to do again, what Shinseki and I should have done is quit, and done so publicly,” he said. White called it a measure of Rumsfeld’s contempt for the Army that he didn’t name a permanent Secretary of the Army to replace him until this past November. “To spend more than a year at war without a Secretary of the Army is unthinkable,” White said. [emphasis mine]

And, considering that many of the soldiers aren't even into their twenties yet, this part at the very end just breaks my heart:

Within the tiny sliver of the war each [officer] sees, examples of brilliance and bravery abound. They’re proud to be a part of “the most beautiful Army in the history of the world,” as one recently returned captain put it ... But they will also tell you that the war is excruciating. Despite their Buck Rogers technology, they are losing friends to weapons made from RadioShack gizmos, and the people they’ve been sent to help seem to hate them more every day.

I was irritated because my cable went out last week. Really puts things in perspective.

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