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  • Real Soldiers, Real Opinions

    For Marines, a Frustrating Fight
    Some in Iraq Question How and Why War Is Being Waged

    By Steve Fainaru
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, October 10, 2004; Page A01

    ISKANDARIYAH, Iraq -- Scrawled on the helmet of Lance Cpl. Carlos Perez are the letters FDNY. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York, the Pentagon and western Pennsylvania, Perez quit school, left his job as a firefighter in Long Island, N.Y., and joined the U.S. Marine Corps.

    "To be honest, I just wanted to take revenge," said Perez, 20.

    Now, two months into a seven-month combat tour in Iraq, Perez said he sees little connection between the events of Sept. 11 and the war he is fighting. Instead, he said, he is increasingly disillusioned by a conflict whose origins remain unclear and frustrated by the timidity of U.S. forces against a mostly faceless enemy.

    "Sometimes I see no reason why we're here," Perez said. "First of all, you cannot engage as many times as we want to. Second of all, we're looking for an enemy that's not there. The only way to do it is go house to house until we get out of here."

    Perez is hardly alone. In a dozen interviews, Marines from a platoon known as the "81s" expressed in blunt terms their frustrations with the way the war is being conducted and, in some cases, doubts about why it is being waged.
    The platoon, named for the size in millimeters of its mortar rounds, is part of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment based in Iskandariyah, 30 miles southwest of Baghdad.

    The Marines offered their opinions openly to a reporter traveling with the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines during operations last week in Babil province, then expanded upon them during interviews over three days in their barracks at Camp Iskandariyah, their forward operating base.

    The Marines' opinions have been shaped by their participation in hundreds of hours of operations over the past two months. Their assessments differ sharply from those of the interim Iraqi government and the Bush administration, which have said that Iraq is on a certain -- if bumpy -- course toward peaceful democracy.

    "I feel we're going to be here for years and years and years," said Lance Cpl. Edward Elston, 22, of Hackettstown, N.J. "I don't think anything is going to get better; I think it's going to get a lot worse. It's going to be like a Palestinian-type deal. We're going to stop being a policing presence and then start being an occupying presence. . . . We're always going to be here. We're never going to leave."

    The views of the mortar platoon of some 50 young Marines, several of whom fought during the first phase of the war last year, are not necessarily reflective of all or even most U.S troops fighting in Iraq. Rather, they offer a snapshot of the frustrations engendered by a grinding conflict that has killed 1,064 Americans, wounded 7,730 and spread to many areas of the country.

    Although not as highly publicized as attacks in such hot spots as Fallujah, Samarra and Baghdad's Sadr City, the violence in Babil province, south of the capital, is also intense. Since July 28, when the Marines took over operational responsibility for the region, 102 of the unit's 1,100 troops have been wounded, 85 in combat, according to battalion records. Four have been killed, two in combat.

    Senior officers attribute the vast difference between the number of killed and wounded to the effectiveness of armor -- bullet-proof vests, helmets and reinforced armored vehicles, primarily Humvees -- in the face of persistent attacks. As of last week, the Marines had come upon 61 roadside bombs, nearly one a day. Forty-nine had detonated. Camp Iskandariyah was hit by mortar shells or rockets on 12 occasions; 21 other times insurgents tried to hit the base and missed.

    Realities on the Ground

    Several members of the platoon said they were struck by the difference between the way the war was being portrayed in the United States and the reality of their daily lives.

    "Every day you read the articles in the States where it's like, 'Oh, it's getting better and better,' " said Lance Cpl. Jonathan Snyder, 22, of Gettysburg, Pa. "But when you're here, you know it's worse every day."

    Pfc. Kyle Maio, 19, of Bucks County, Pa., said he thought government officials were reticent to speak candidly because of the upcoming U.S. elections. "Stuff's going on here but they won't flat-out say it," he said. "They can't get into it."

    Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
    "When the government fears the people there is liberty; when the people fear the government there is tyranny."
    --Thomas Jefferson

  • #2
    ^^^^^
    Uppin

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    Comment


    • #3
      And people say that Kerry is decreasing the morale of troops....
      Originally posted by ethan20
      There's a correlation between cervixal cancer in women and un-circumsized penises. Not to mention it almost cuts your bacteria count on the penis in half.
      Originally posted by reservoirGod
      Ethan sure does know alot about dicks

      Comment


      • #4
        It goes both Way's

        Rep. Garrett: Troops in Iraq Angry at Media Coverage

        U.S. soldiers in Iraq are growing increasingly angry over distorted coverage of their mission in Western press accounts, a New Jersey congressman who recently traveled to Baghdad said Saturday.

        "Every time we met with soldiers, men and women ... they would always bring up the frustration level; the frustration with CNN, BBC and other broadcasting outlets," Scott Garrett, R-N.J., told WABC Radio's Monica Crowley.


        "The first thing they would say," said Garrett, "is 'How come all the good stuff we're doing is not being broadcast back at home?'"
        "And they were just angry about it," he added.

        Garrett, who spent a week in Iraq last month, said that despite the violence of recent weeks, "when you talk to the troops, when you see what's really happening on the ground over there, you realize that we are moving ahead, that we are making progress."

        He noted, for instance, that the Abu Ghraib prison - which for the American press has become symbolic of a mission gone off the tracks - now houses a hospital as well as detention cells.

        "In that hospital, they not only treat American soldiers," said Garrett, "but Iraqi children who have been wounded in all these terrorist attacks."

        http://newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/10/3/230440.shtml


        Iraq Marine: Troops 'Terrified' of a Kerry Presidency

        U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq are "terrified" at the prospect that Americans back home might elect John Kerry president, a Marine and Iraq veteran who is on his way back to the front lines said Monday.

        Asked how Kerry's election would affect troop morale in the combat zone, Lance Cpl. Lawrence Romack told KWEL Midland, Texas, radio host Craig Anderson, "It would destroy it."


        "We're pretty terrified of a John Kerry presidency," added Romack, who served with the 1st Marine Tank Battalion in Iraq.
        The Iraq war vet said he fears that most of the news coverage is being skewed to make the mission look like a failure in order to give the Kerry campaign a boost.

        "What they're trying to do is get Kerry into the White House, because they know he doesn't want us to stay [in Iraq]," he told Anderson.

        Asked if Americans back home were getting an accurate picture of what's happening in the war, the Marine corporal said: "No, they're not. It's not even close. All the press wants to report is casualty counts. They don't want to report the progress we're making over there."

        Romack noted that in the southern part of the country, Iraqis welcomed U.S. troops when they set up an immunization programs for children, opened schools and began distributing food.

        "Almost immediately people were lining up to get their kids shots," he told Anderson.

        Contrary to reports that the general population was too afraid to help ferret out insurgents, Romack said, "We had Iraqis pointing out former Baath Party members for us to arrest."

        When the KWEL host opened up the phone lines, a member of the 82nd Airborne who had returned from Iraq in March was first on the line.

        He agreed with Cpl. Romack that media reports coming out of Iraq were often inaccurate and sometimes even dangerous.

        "The news media sometimes I felt like I had as much to fear from them as I did the Iraqis," he complained.

        http://newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/9/28/125438.shtml

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by StereoType

          "In that hospital, they not only treat American soldiers," said Garrett, "but Iraqi children who have been wounded in all these terrorist attacks."

          http://newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/10/3/230440.shtml

          [/URL]
          Iraqi children wounded in all these terrorist attacks" They act like they aren't wounding any Iraqi children.
          Last edited by #1GROUPIEBITCH!; 10-11-2004, 11:42 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            You know the terrorists are wounding way more children than the US is.

            Comment


            • #7
              So our soldiers are killing children on purpose and the terrorists are saving them.

              Go back to your Alan Jones Left-Wing sites, whatever makes you sleep at night.

              Comment


              • #8
                I know this how Stereotype? Are the terrorists dropping bombs from planes or shooting people indiscriminately?

                Comment


                • #9
                  They strap bombs to there chest and blow themselves up, killing all the people they can. Soldiers, Men, Women, and Children they don't care kill everyone.

                  Look I cant believe I'm defending Soldiers over the Terrorists on whose better.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by StereoType
                    So our soldiers are killing children on purpose and the terrorists are saving them.

                    Go back to your Alan Jones Left-Wing sites, whatever makes you sleep at night.
                    If you were living in reality you would KNOW that the innocent civilian casualties caused by the occupation is FAR greater than that done by terrorists.
                    Last edited by #1GROUPIEBITCH!; 10-11-2004, 11:56 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would think that Iraqis flat out don't have the technology or the desire to kill children to the level that cluster bombs can and do. Iraqis don't bomb houses of civilians which kills more children I'd bet, than suicide bombers, who are new to Iraq and moved in with our troops in protest of our troops. In a way, you can say we brought that with us. It wasn't there before us. So, even though suicide bombers can't kill as many children as skies full of fighters dropping bombs indiscriminately, even the number that they DO kill would have been ZERO if we never attacked the region for oil.

                      Good article. I'm still reading it....
                      Would you let the system sit (shit) down on your head again? NO, DREAD, NO.
                      Would you let the system
                      make you kill your brother man? NO, DREAD, NO
                      .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by StereoType
                        So our soldiers are killing children on purpose and the terrorists are saving them.

                        Go back to your Alan Jones Left-Wing sites, whatever makes you sleep at night.

                        Oh NO! It's....it's.....it's........ALEX JONES!!

                        Is it just me or does the man see Alex Jones everywhere? Stereo, you really NEED to at least ease SOME of your bodyweight off of the poor man's suffocating nuts, he can't carry you everywhere. I notice anything you disagree with has slowly shifted from being characterized as "Democrat" to now "Alex Jones". Hmmmmm..........does demonism qualify as a religion, cos it sure does NOT fly as an argument.....

                        Down with partisanship........
                        Would you let the system sit (shit) down on your head again? NO, DREAD, NO.
                        Would you let the system
                        make you kill your brother man? NO, DREAD, NO
                        .

                        Comment

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