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A letter from an American Soldier

I received a well written letter yesterday from an American Soldier. It was addressed to me, but I thought I’d post his arguments for general comment.

Mr. Verlo,

I stumbled upon your website by a pure stroke of accidental misfortune while searching for current news on the Fort Carson Installation.. My wife, my son and I are from Colorado, and I am an American Soldier. I am college educated and studied Middle-Eastern history, and I am well versed as it pertains to Mesopotamia, global-terror and global insurgencies.

I have deployed to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once. In 2003-2004 I served in Al-Fallujah and Ar-Ramadi in the Al-Anbar province, and in 2005-2006 in Tal’afar in the western Ninewah province with the 3d Armored Cavalry from Fort Carson (maybe you heard about the letter that Najim Abdullah wrote to George Bush about my unit?).

I spent seven months in Afghanistan training Afghani Security Forces, and would go back again to either country to serve for one reason only: to support my Soldiers. Although I am career-military, I do not now, nor did I ever support the Bush Administration or the pretenses under which we invaded Iraq. But, unfortunately, our elected officials thrust us into this mess, and we (Americans and American Military alike) are essentially left to deal with it. I am writing to you to comment on a few articles that you have authored, and provide my own opinions and citations.

First, in your article titled: “It’s in the Percentages”, you note that “apparently” 30% of Soldiers don’t have a high school education, 30% are returning with PTSD and 25% percent of their children are considered “special needs”. These are very interesting statistics, yet, you provided no citations. You go on to state that (and I quote): “I find it an absolute nightmare to imagine soldiers in positions of authority, making life and death decisions over others, who don’t know right from wrong, history from high stakes poker, or intelligence from drunken stupor. How do you reason with someone whose only motivation is their next beer?” and “It’s a war crime to subject civilian populations to rule by incompetents”. Again, very interesting. Here are some solid statistics for you, as well as citations. I chose to contrast military service members to college students in this case, but the same could be applied to any demographic (i.e., individuals who were recently laid off nation-wide, or illegal immigrants).

– 40% of college students who come from middle to upper class families engage in binge drinking on a regular (weekly) basis, as opposed to 26% of military personnel who have recently returned from combat tours overseas, where they suffered some sort of physical and/or emotional trauma (ABC news poll, 2007/2008). In addition, over 22,000 service members have called suicide hotlines in an attempt to get help (VA poll, 2008).

– 20% of college students engage in heavy drug use, as opposed to less than 5% of military personnel (ABC News Poll, 2007).

Here’s my favorite one:

3% of all college women report sexual assault at some point in their college career. In 2007, there were 2,212 reported cases of sexual assault on military installations by service members. In a military that exceeds roughly 2,000,000 people, that’s less than 1%.

Second, in your article titled: “Turning out to support fewer Troops”, you allude to Soldiers “riding in on a black cloud”. Hmmm, I’m not quite sure I understand that one. Is this a reference to the environmental damage we do with our vehicles, or the perceived “evil” that we bring with us because we are all, in fact, rapists, murderers and psychopaths?

Third, in your article titled: “Colorado Springs Military Community”, you state that (and I quote) “FIVE MAJOR MILITARY INSTALLATIONS ALREADY AND THE CITY AND COUNTY ARE BROKE”. El Paso County is broke? Since when? I would love to see a citation in reference to this one, because I have “Googled” it to no end and have found nothing that would lead me to believe anything but the contrary. The Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation reports that: “Colorado Springs has a 3.1 million labor force within an hour radius, a Fast track permitting and planning program (30-60 days), 27 Fortune 500 Companies and a quality of life which is 70% the cost of coastal communities” (CSEDC 2008).

Sir, I have read your opinions on the media (many of which I share with you, by the way), so I would presume that you think this is a fabrication. Here’s the bottom line; the military presence in Colorado (the big, scary war-machine that we are) boosts the economy of the area due to its service members buying cars, houses (and paying taxes on their properties), shopping at local businesses, applying for and receiving loans from local banks, etc. There is no doubt in my mind that if the military left Colorado Springs, the city would continue to thrive, but the economy would noticeably decline anywhere that 30,000 people leave, military or not.

Fourth and final, in your article titled: “On Jan 14 let us not expand Fort Carson”, you state that more military in the area would make (and I quote) “Colorado Springs even more dependent on poor paying jobs, predatory businesses, and skyrocketing social problems. Only developers, car-dealers, pawn shops, strip clubs, liquor stores, social workers, jails and mortuaries benefit from a higher soldier population”. Wow, seriously? These are only issues tied to the influx of more military in the area? So, if 3,000 recently released convicted felons chose Colorado Springs as their new home, it would have less of an impact? Or how about 3,000 illegal immigrants, or 3,000 pregnant teenagers?

Well, let’s go ahead and analyze this a bit further. Developers and car-dealers will benefit from ANY new arrivals to the area, not just military. In reference to pawn shops and strip clubs, the owners of these businesses know exactly what they are doing by placing them outside of military installations. Service members are targeted by these establishments. That’s why they are placed where they are in the community. The same can be said for pay-day loan houses and used car dealerships on Powers and Academy blvd. But if you placed strip clubs next to colleges, would it still be the military that held the higher attendance record? It’s all about business strategy my friend, not the assumption that all military service members are sex-crazed, alcoholic lunatics.

Social workers, jails and mortuaries benefit wherever there are people with problems, criminals and people who have died. I suppose that again, it’s only military who fall into these categories. Ah yes, and our children are even more screwed up than we are. The fact that you said (and I quote): “The rest of us suffer increased crime and their children’s behavioral problems in our schools” vividly displays your utter incompetence and lack of any compassionate notion. You realize that less than 30% of military children who have been separated from a parent experience behavioral issues (USA Today poll, 2008)? The percentage of non-military children who experience behavioral issues as a result of a parent’s incarceration, or divorce, or even domestic abuse is almost twice as high.

Sir, I will be the first to admit that military service members are not perfect. But we are human beings, who are susceptible to the same things that civilians are. We are an easy target, because so many of us are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan with severe problems, after having served in a war that has lost most of it’s public support (and rightly so).

What I have a hard time understanding is why people such as you exercise your freedoms of speech, protest, religion, etc, and then malign the very people who provide, protect and preserve those liberties? I am as anti-Bush as the average American left-wing protestor, but to blame service members for the actions of their elected leadership is immoral. You are essentially grouping us with Nazi’s, which is absolutely ridiculous. The Nazis’ goal was global domination, and they had no clearly defined rule of engagement. They knew that what they were doing was wrong, and did it anyway.

Does the US Military have people who behave in this manner? Absolutely, and they are dealt with within the justice system for their actions. We are in fact “just following orders” with our presence in the Middle-East. As I realize that this was also the defense of Nazi war criminals at Nurnberg, allow me to elaborate. The US military has clearly defined Rules of Engagement, and our greater mission is to stabilize an unstable region, not global control as conspiracy theorists would have everyone believe. Unless you have a solid understanding of counter-terror and counterinsurgency doctrine, you are in no position to presume anything about the US Military in the Middle-East (unless YOU have been there) other than the fact that we invaded Iraq under false pretenses. I’ll give you that one, and take it for myself as well.

Sir, have you ever held a young Iraqi child in your arms, returning him to his parents as they kiss you and your Soldiers’ cheeks, after he had been treated at a US facility because terrorists sodomized him and cut out his tongue? Have you ever looked straight into the eyes of a terrorist, who swore allegiance to Zarqawi and proclaimed himself a “holy warrior”, and seen pure evil? And while your medical personnel treated him for burns (which were sustained when he poured kerosene on a child and his father and attempted to set them on fire publicly, only succeeding to set himself on fire) he spoke perfect English and vowed to remember your name and kill your family? I presume you would view this as our fault, correct?

But here’s the difference between the American Soldier and everyone else: when it is our fault, we acknowledge it, and DO something about it. We help people, good and bad, bottom line. Do bad things happen? Of course. Are all Soldiers and Marines upright citizens? Of course not.. That’s why one Marine out of 30,000 threw a puppy off of a cliff, and four Soldiers out of 121,000 raped a 14-year old girl and killed her family. These actions were inexcusable and tragic, and the individuals in question were/are being dealt with. To generalize every American service member based on these isolated incidents vividly shows your lack of any rational thought.

So in closing, allow me to say that whether you care to acknowledge it or not, it is the MILITARY who grant and preserve liberties and who TRULY make a difference, not politicians, protestors, or half-minded anti-war bloggers. And understand (or don’t) why we are involved in the Global War on Terror, it is because it doesn’t matter whether or not you are white, black, Canadian, American, gay, straight, blind, deaf, or how many anti-Bush websites you manage or protests you attend, there are fundamentalist extremists who want to murder you and your family because you represent western culture.

I want this war to be over so badly that it consumes me at times. I do not want my son to have to see what I have seen as a result of a failed administration. Sir, we are human beings also, and I gladly serve to protect the liberty and freedom of individuals like you who don’t support me at all. So at your next rally, or the next article you write which slanders US service members, take a moment to reflect on your freedoms, and understand who it is that truly grants them. I wish you all continued health and happiness.

Sincerely,

[D.]

27 thoughts on “A letter from an American Soldier

  1. Thank you for your letter. You may contradict my sweeping generalization of typical soldiers, but your arguments and misdirection offer simply a more sophisticated vintage of Kool-Aid. We are fighting neither Terror, nor Evil.

    Human rights are neither gained nor protected by soldiers. What you have done in Afghanistan and Iraq has been for US domination [of the profit] of world resources, nothing more. I owe my freedoms to brave citizens who stood against the unthinking armed enforcers of oppressive rulers to insist on their rights as human beings.

    While I appreciate your militant patriotism, I’d like to point out you stated you’d return “to serve for one reason only: to support my Soldiers.” Sounds to me like the conquest of other countries and the slaughter of other peoples, is more about a team sport.

  2. ‘So in closing, allow me to say that whether you care to acknowledge it or not, it is the MILITARY who grant and preserve liberties and who TRULY make a difference, not politicians, protesters, or half-minded anti-war bloggers.’

    No, GI Joe, it is not the MILITARY who grant and preserve liberties at all. You guys love to pat yourself on the back so much and claim some sort of grand moral superiority to all the rest of us who did not go into the US Army of slaughter, torture, and occupation, but it all falls real flat, Dude. Get a real job and stop hurting others!

  3. To both of you two feeble minded little twits (tony and eric) who probably never stray far from you momma and poppas security strings, I will say this. When, not if and many say if, but when the next terror event occurs in this country, I only pray that you are near the epicenter. This event I’m certain will make 9-11 appear like a small car accident. Therefore I pray that you get to experience the trauma, and evil that brings such events to a civilized people. I pray that you are there only so you’re pitful existance will come to a close. But if by chance you should be lucky enough to survive, I hope that you at this point in you pitiful existance come to realize who it is that will in all probability take your sorry butt to safety and protect you and yours. It will not be the local police, I can guarentee you. It will be you US military. They will not care that you are a anti-military, bleeding heart liberal who blames all the ills of the world on his country, (the most benevilant in the world). They will pick up your crying, pitiful, useless ass and take care of you. Because it is not only their job, but their nature to help the helpless.

    Doug Smith
    Reitred US Army
    Conservative and supporter of
    McCain/Palin

  4. DUDE!
    You wrote cogently, but built your arguments on fallacious assumptions. Now we’ve drawn you out for the spiteful war-making apologist you are. Let’s not wish any more 9/11 crap on anyone. 🙂

  5. I’m always amazed how much love these Christian soldiers really carry around inside themselves for others. It must be hard to go around supporting a God who condemns folk to a punishment of burning for an eternity, Doug? Get some help, Pal. You are one sick guy.

  6. Mr. Verlo,

    Well, I have finally lived to see my words in print!

    First, allow me to apologize for sending my letter directly to you. On the list of contacts, you were acknowledged as the editor, so I assumed that you were the gentleman to correspond with. I would have preferred that you responded directly to me, but posting them in this medium will do adequately. I also apologize for giving the suggestion of “militant patriotism” as you depicted, because that certainly was not my focus. There is only so much emotion that can be demonstrated in a letter, well written or not. I feel that if we were to have a conversation physically, we would both walk away from it without any enmity. What can I say, I’m an optimist.

    I sincerely appreciate your intelligent response to my letter. However, you and Mr. Logan continued to provide no substantiation for any of your statements. On the contrary, what you did provide was a typical anti-war, anti-military, anti-anyone-who-doesn’t-think-as-I-do sentiment, coupled with Mr. Logan’s affectionate display of ad-hominem.

    We ALL owe our freedoms to those who initially stood against all forms of oppression. But who preserves and protects those freedoms? I never once in my letter to you suggested that you OWE me anything, least of all your freedoms. But our military is the sentinel for our great nation, and if we are not to protect what it was that we fought so hard for in 1775-1783, who will do it? Would you and Mr. Logan stand to protect this country? My guess is that in your protestation, you probably feel as if you already do, but despite my mixed sentiments towards individuals such as you, I truly feel that people like yourself are a portion of what makes this country so great. Can you visualize for a moment what would happen to people like you in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan or any other country that practices Sharia’a Law?

    My comment in reference to returning to the Middle-East to support my Soldiers was apparently taken out of context. Here’s the concealed meaning: I have never deployed, nor will I ever deploy because an elected official directs me to; I would deploy to support my commander, and to ensure the safety, security and morale of my Soldiers, who depend on me to provide them that leadership. I would not expect you gentlemen to understand that, because unless I am horribly mistaken, neither one of you has ever served. Therefore, you cannot understand what it truly means to serve. My Soldiers and I were never once involved in an incident where innocent civilians were harmed, so your reference to our presumed exploits being a “team sport” is nonsensical.

    Your supposition of what we are not fighting is on the foundation that you have never actually seen it first hand. Sir, you have never directly witnessed the aftermath of a suicide bomber in a crowded marketplace, where the target wasn’t Coalition Forces, but civilians. The screaming of civilian men, women and children joined with the smell of burnt flesh is something I have attempted to strike from my memory with no success. Sir, I have seen the face of evil, and it does have a name. The Bush Administration can apply the Al-Qaeda moniker to everything he deems necessary in order to keep this muddle popular, but it is much broader than that.

    Mr. Logan, for your information, I pay federal taxes and state taxes to the state of Colorado. So as far as the IRS is concerned, I do have a real job. What I might suggest you get is a more comprehensive approach to discrediting another human being. I mean seriously, “Dude, get a real job and stop hurting others!”? Who are you, Dennis Hopper? Give me a break. I do not feel any “moral superiority” over you. On the contrary, I am proud to serve when others would not; I serve you Sir, and the certainty that I have that you despise my very existence only gives me that much more of a powerful sense of service to those like you. I also take sincere placation in the fact that for every person like you who would slander a US Service member, there are one thousand that unconditionally support us, regardless of what moron started this war. I wish you both the best; enjoy the Kool-Aid Mr. Verlo

    Sincerely,

    Daniel

  7. “But here’s the difference between the American Soldier and everyone else: when it is our fault, we acknowledge it, and DO something about it. We help people, good and bad, bottom line. Do bad things happen? Of course. Are all Soldiers and Marines upright citizens? Of course not.. That’s why one Marine out of 30,000 threw a puppy off of a cliff, and four Soldiers out of 121,000 raped a 14-year old girl and killed her family. These actions were inexcusable and tragic, and the individuals in question were/are being dealt with. To generalize every American service member based on these isolated incidents vividly shows your lack of any rational thought.”

    Is that why you have Immunity-In-Advance for any crimes committed?

    And there is plenty of evidence for those crimes.

    Your comrades who got hanged on the bridge at Fallujah, for instance, really were only reaping what your president has sown.

    If you want to take pride in being a Slave, a gladiator for the New Empire, so be it, but maybe you could figure a way to be a slave without giving up everybody else’s freedom along with your own.

    Your President started this war based entirely on Lies. Subjugating people, robbing them of them of their National/Natural Resources for the profit of a very few wealthy individuals, helps neither Them nor Us.

    You’re not fighting for the freedom either of Iraqis or Americans, and you should stop pretending to do so.

    Our nation is in such ruins from the prosecution of the Mass Murder Campaign started not by Saddam Hussein but by George Walker Bush, that we lost the use of a major American Port City to the neglect of basic infrastructure.

    We lost a strategic bridge in Minneapolis, again due to the neglect of Basic Infrastructure.

    The response to these disasters, and the Tornados in Kansas and Iowa in the past year, was so delayed, due to the majority of the first responders and their equipment being In Iraq, killing people at the request of Your King George, cost more lives than the initial disasters themselves.

    All in all, Soldier, it was a masterful piece of propaganda, but that’s essentially all that it is.

    Might I remind you that continued support of your Dictator In Chief will only lead to a situation wherein the Soldiers don’t have any choice but to serve his replacement, nor in fact any choice as to whether they should actually become Soldiers… No “?’ because the question really wasn’t a question.

    Do the patriotic thing and rebel. Refuse. Mutiny.

    Dragging our nation and the name of My God in the mud and garbage generated by Your Leader cheapens and defiles everything.

  8. Daniel, (I shan’t call you ‘soldier’ again, it replaces a human being with a title)

    George Washington and the entire military, and militia, who were under his command and the command of Benedict Arnold and Ethan Alan, et al… Were on April 19th 1775, BRITISH Soldiers.

    Until they were fired upon by their fellow BRITISH soldiers.

    We are, despite the assurances of your Commander, NOT monsters, nor traitors.

    Telling us that we weren’t there, thus are not qualified to say that the actions of your government are wrong, is Bullshit.

    You should be ashamed of that. We weren’t in Nazi Death Camps either, but we’re qualified to say that particular military action was wrong…

    And that’s not a Non-Sequitur. The officers and guards in those camps said they were doing their duties as Soldiers.

    We have, Daily, right here in Colorado Springs, people on the radio, people in the Local Daily Newspaper, fewer people on the street, but yeah, people on the street as well, telling us that they and we (having never “Been There”) are fully qualified to Support the War, yet we’re not qualified to question it.

    There’s a logical disconnect there.

    Sure, I’ve never been up close to a suicide bomb.

    You’ve also, no doubt, seen the damage done by the tumbler rounds fired by an M16.

    Or the Vulcan electric-motor-driven Gatling gun… perhaps you’ve been treated to the sight of what one of those rounds, like the 20mm one, does to a human body.

    Or even the .50 caliber one. For those reading this who have no experience with firearms, that’s a bullet an inch and a half long and half an inch across.

    And a Vulcan fires 120 times PER SECOND.

    Maybe you’ve also been treated to the sight of what an aptly named HellFire missile does.

    I know the argument that the “Iraqi Resistance hide behind the civilians” but look what’s right next to Fort Carson… one of the largest cities in Colorado.

    Ft Bliss? TWO cities right next to it with a combined civilian population of 2 million.

    When an Attack Helicopter is firing the Vulcan and the HellFires into a neighborhood, in order to exterminate PEOPLE, how does a round travelling twice the speed of sound discriminate between a Militant and a Baby?

    How does the HellFire barbecue only the militants and not the kids next door?

    I had a pleasant little anecdote told to me about an Air Force pilot, flying in the Northern No-Fly Zone, the one set up to protect the Kurds, firing on a flock of sheep.

    Because with all the Super Duper Zoomie High Tech “target” acquisition equipment he couldn’t tell the difference between sheep and humans.

    The two Air Force Sergeants, one of whom I’ve known Literally all my life, were laughing about it.

    Yeah, the pilot was feeling Sheepish, because he was having a Baaaahhh day.

    Real funny, right? They thought the whole thing was hilarious.

    But tell me something, Daniel, you’ve seen domesticated sheep, right? Since you say you’re an expert on Mesopotamia and the near east.

    You ever see a flock of sheep without a shepherd, usually two?

    The pilot assured them that there were no humans killed by his use of HellFire and Vulcan…

    Couple of things WRONG with that…

    One is that the Vulcan and the HellFire are so very destructive, according to your Pentagons own boast, that nothing would survive such an assault.

    The other is that the Pilot couldn’t tell the difference between Human and Sheep in the first place.

    Incidentally, since that was in Kurdistan, the shepherd who got barbecued was undoubtedly a Kurd…

    But hey, we’re not qualified to dissent?

    You, also, are qualified to dissent. If you insist that your military status prohibits it, I once again give you the example of the difference between April 19th and April 20th.

    On April 19th, George Washington was a Colonel in the militia under BRITISH command.

    What was he on the 20th?

    When you say we’re not qualified to dissent, you come dangerously close to what we heard for the past almost 6 years from the Right Wing Lunatic Fringe, who believe they have the authority (from God, no less) to tell us that we’re Forbidden to dissent.

    You do choose your words carefully, but the extent of it is, and the intent of it, is to tell us that we ARE forbidden to dissent.

    That’s not the actions of a government based on, or defending, Freedom.

    Daniel, did the TotenkopfSchutzStaffel have the patriotic Duty as soldiers to do what they did?

    Your military said no, in tribunal, trial after trial, hanging after hanging.

    The ‘just following orders” defense didn’t pass muster with your own Army when Jodl and Goering and the others tried it.

    It doesn’t pass muster at the Military Kangaroo Tribunals at Guantanamo either.

    Why are we therefore morally or legally required to accept it from you?

  9. Jonah,

    Okay man, let’s slow down here and take a deep breath. Please forgive me, but I am just perplexed to some extent in reference to your reply. Did you even read my previous letters, or did you merely examine them to the point where I identified myself as a Soldier and a veteran? Based on your counter, I would have to assume the latter.

    First, the four men who were burned and hanged on the west bridge in Al-Fallujah were not my comrades. They were not military, but Blackwater Mercenaries, and if by “comrades” you meant “Americans”, then my friend, they are as much YOUR comrades as mine. And to say that they were only reaping what George Bush has sown is a spiteful and detestable assertion. Sir, as despicable as their (and my, apparently) existence is to you gentlemen, those men had families who watched their loved ones murdered on national television. I am by no means protecting the actions of Blackwater mercenaries, because they have committed severe crimes in Iraq. But murder is murder, despite who’s on the receiving end. To say that places you on the same echelon as the Soldiers you gentlemen claim to detest, who brag openly regarding the amount of “ragheads” the have killed. I am as opposed to them saying that as I would be to anyone saying it.

    If you could, I would enjoy it if you would elaborate further on this comment, which to me makes utterly no sense: “maybe you could figure a way to be a slave without giving up everybody else’s freedom along with your own”. Honestly (and realizing that I am no genius), I have no suggestion as to what that means. First, I am not a slave to the Bush administration, nor are any of my Soldiers. You evidently feel that we are because we have deployed to the Middle-East, and that is your entitled opinion. But that entirely aside, how is my perceived “slavery” placing “everybody else’s” freedoms in jeopardy? Please, this is not a criticism, I am genuinely curious to your intended point.

    In reference to your statement: “Your President started this war based entirely on Lies. Subjugating people, robbing them of them of their National/Natural Resources for the profit of a very few wealthy individuals, helps neither Them nor Us”. Well my friend, this is where I do agree with you. Had you truly read my previous letters, you would recognize that I do not support the president and acknowledge that we invaded Iraq under false pretenses. I also firmly consider that someone in that administration, or with close ties to it, is getting ridiculously wealthy from all of this. I also happen to feel the same way in reference to the current cost of crude oil, but that is neither here nor there. You also repeatedly refer to George Bush as “your (my) president”. Well, you’ve got me there. I am in fact an American citizen, so he is my president by US election protocol, as unfortunate as it is. By the way, he’s yours as well (Shhhhhhh…I won’t tell anyone). You have chosen not to accept this, and I respect that. I have also elected not to accept this, but have also elected to continue with my duties and responsibilities as a Soldier. Yep, I’m as brainwashed as they come.

    You mentioned that I am not in fact “fighting for the freedom either of Iraqis or Americans, and you should stop pretending to do so”. You’ve got me again. I fully acknowledge that we are not fighting for these freedoms; Americans have been a free people since 1783, and Iraqis have been free since they elected a democratic government. Sir, just divulge that YOU have absolutely no idea what we are fighting for. Again, I am amazed as to how a group of people who do not receive their information from firsthand experience but rather from a media with existing bias’ can possibly presume to know so much about counterinsurgency doctrine. You gentlemen must be clairvoyant. Iraq and Afghanistan is not “cowboys and Indians” warfare Sir, but rather a graduated level of warfare, where the political factors and the local people are the center of gravity. If any of you gentlemen would ever care to be cultured on this topic, I would be more than pleased to do so.

    In reference to the natural disasters, I again must agree with you. If our National Guard weren’t exhausted to the four winds right now, there may have been a better outcome. But honestly, bridge 9340 in Minneapolis would have collapsed regardless. That bridge was identified in 1996 as being extremely dangerous during winter months, and in the summer of 2001, engineers from the University of Minnesota found cracking in the trusses and cross girders where the bridge subsequently collapsed. These timelines are well within the pre-9/11 era. Something could have been accomplished during these time periods, but wasn’t. However, did you know that over 1,000 Soldiers and 400 Airmen were redeployed from Iraq and Afghanistan in September of 2005 for the principal purpose of aiding in the Katrina relief efforts, and then later in the Rita efforts? Also, over 600 Louisiana National Guardsmen, who had just returned from Iraq (and whose unit had suffered mass casualties), VOLUNTEERED to assist in the relief efforts. My God, this is without question the work of mass-murderers!

    You referred to my letter as a “masterful piece of propaganda”. Sir, that is what this website is in its entirety; the Webster’s definition of Propaganda. NONE of you gentlemen have refuted any of my letters with actual citations. I on the other hand provided an entire list of my citations and references. So you tell me, who is the true propagandist? One man’s interpretation of propaganda is another man’s formulated opinion, and opinions are as unique as those who bear them.

    “Might I remind” you that patriotism is established in many different forms. You believe you are a patriot because of your anti-government/establishment views, while I feel that I am a patriot due to my continued service to a country and a people, not a president. No “?” on my part either. For the next response you give me or anyone with an opinion that contrasts yours, I challenge you gentlemen to do some research beforehand. Again, I wish you all the best.

    Sincerely,
    Daniel

  10. Jonah,
    Let me apologize. I posted my last reply before I had read your most recent one.
    First, let me say THANK YOU for finally providing something in the form of a citation within your writings. This reply is going to be brief, because we are obviously wandering nowhere.

    I never referred to any of you gentlemen as traitors, nor have any of my previous commanders. I usually ignore narrow minded individuals, be they military or civilian. I merely asked Mr. Verlo why he exercised his freedoms, but maligned the very people who protect and preserve them. There were never any “traitorous” mentions. If you can find where I said that, I’ll eat my boot.

    My Pointing out that you “weren’t there” is a reference to your presumptions of what is really going on in the Middle East (by the way, ‘Near East’ is a reference to the Mesopotamian regions during the Bronze and Iron ages. Most Muslims refer to it as the Middle East and have done so for quite some time), and what our military is doing. Blame the government until you are blue in the face, you’ll get no resistance from me.

    Of course you are qualified to have your outlook and opinions, you are ruled by the same great Constitution that I am, and unless I am mistaken, are as American as I am. The freedom of speech and the right to protest are as American as my right to exercise my religion (although I’m a bit “out of shape” these days).

    Here are some facts for you: the 5.56 millimeter round that is fired from the M4, M16 and most other NATO weapons was designed to enter the body, and ricochet off of the victim’s bones. The intent was to create a “one-shot, one-kill bullet. It was approved for use by the Geneva and Hague conventions in the 1950’s as a generous replacement for the 7.62mm Winchester rounds that were essentially ripping people’s limbs off. So, I’m sorry about that one, but I had nothing to do with it.

    The Vulcan series Gatling guns to my knowledge are no longer in the US Army’s inventory. The M163 Vulcan Air Defense System was deactivated after the first gulf war. I was only 13 years old then, so I had no direct contact with one. The M61, M197 and M167 are all variants which the Air Force uses (Hey, YOU were in the Air Force, right?). I have thankfully never seen the resulting devastation from one of the weapons. The Army, however, does use the M134 “Minigun”, which is issued to US Special Forces and Special Operations Aviation units primarily. Again, I’ve never seen one up close.

    I have seen the result of a Hellfire” missile strike, more times than I wish to discuss. I can’t speak for any other elements currently operating, but I know of no collateral damage being inflicted by one of these weapons at the hands of a pilot from my previous unit.

    I have seen my fair share of domesticated animals in the Middle East, and yes, they are most certainly ALWAYS accompanied by a single shepherd at the very least. I feel the story you presented is without question very tragic and sickening, and is the type of behavior I have constantly attempted to educate my Soldiers against. I never said I was an “expert” on Mesopotamia, I verbally stated my credential in Middle Eastern Studies and went on to say that I am “well versed” in reference to Mesopotamia, Global-terror studies and counterinsurgency studies. I am far from an expert. If you feel that I am full of swagger, I would be more than open to discussing with you my comprehension of these subjects.

    I fully realize that I too am qualified to dissent. I choose not to; not out of fear of persecution or banishment, but because I serve the people of this country (not the president), and I owe it to my Soldiers to do my utmost to protect them. THAT’S why I do not. As a History buff myself, I appreciate your illustration of Washington and his men. But there’s quite a bit of contrast between the Continental Army of the late 1700’s and the Army of today.

    I apologize for the misinterpretation of my previous letters, but I never said anything remotely resembling a notion that you are “not allowed to dissent”. On the contrary, I unmistakably stated that I believe it is your right to do so, and that people such as you are what make this country so great. I am beginning to feel again as if you never truly read my letters.

    You are not morally or legally required to accept anything from me. You do so willingly, or you don’t. My life will not change either way. The “just following orders” defense was not substantial for Nazi war criminals because they had acknowledged that what they were doing was wrong, yet continued to do it anyway. Again, the US Military has clearly defined Rules of Engagement, the Nazi’s did not. The Nazi’s were positioned on global domination; the US Military is in the middle of a very delicate counterinsurgency. Certain Nazi leaders were convicted of “Crimes against Humanity” (i.e. using Jews as human lab-rabbits and burning and gassing people alive); There have been no charges on US Commanders that even resemble the ones that the Nazi’s had perpetrated.

    As with most things in this life that are worth arguing about, this is open to your interpretation. Your opinions, while they vastly differ from mine, are your opinions, and I fully respect them. My point from the first letter I wrote has completely vanished. You gentlemen have completely misinterpreted everything I have said up to this point. I feel the only solution to resolve this matter is for me to come and talk to you in person when I travel back to the Springs during my Christmas leave. Until then, take care.

    Sincerely,

    Daniel

  11. No, it’s merely that the points you made in your first letter were many.

    one of the first is that you objected to the notion that the Army is being filled with high school dropouts.

    You seem to object to that characterization, however…

    For the past two years the Army in particular and the Pentagon in general (Get it? Pentagon=General? I slay me!) have been actively recruiting teenagers.

    Not kids with college, not even High School diplomas.

    The focus of these ads is “hey, parents, allow your underage sons and daughters to join the service”

    The only people who would have to gain permission from their parents to enlist are 17 year olds.

    I got my GED as soon as I turned 17, but that was under exceptional circumstances.

    Thus, Army recruiting 17 year olds = Army recruiting high school dropouts.

    And, that’s only the FIRST point you addressed.

    Your letter looks to be about 3000-5000 words, maybe more.

    If printed out it would be 10 pages.

    I hope you make the Christmas Leave.

    There’s a Dutch intelligence report that says they’ve pulled out their intelligence services from Iran because sometime in the next two weeks air strikes are to begin against Iran.

    Seeing the effects of Shock and Awe over the past 5 years, you realize as well as I do that the matter is Not Going To End with the Iranians laying down their arms and surrendering.

    people don’t tend to do that, regardless of nationality or ethnicity or faith.

    There are other neighboring nations who covet the oil fields, Turkey for one.

    Long national memory, and I don’t doubt for an instant that Turkish children are taught in their public and private schools that the oil fields were stolen from their nation in World War One.

    When I was in 7th grade in Texas we had a Texas history course that virtually claimed victory for the Confederacy.

    Ok, they acknowledge that the South lost, but to read the way it’s written, not by much.

    I imagine they teach a very different course of history in Colorado.

  12. Jonah,

    I realize that I made several suggestions and references in my first letter to Mr. Verlo. Had I known that it would have opened the nature of dialogue it has, I would have paced myself accordingly. Although my points were numerous, my general point (elusive as it may have been) is that service members are people, and are responsible for protecting the freedoms we so deeply cherish. I wish to argue this no further; this is my opinion, which I view as a truth, and yours differs immensely. I’m disposed to agree-to-disagree at this point.

    I never “objected to the notion” of the Military being staffed with High School dropouts. The comment I posed to Mr. Verlo was that I found that statistic very interesting, but wondered where the citation was. In fact, in a CBS News Poll dated 28 August 2008, it is stated that in 2007 there were just over 71% of active duty Soldiers (Army only) with a High School diploma. In 2008, that number has risen to 84%. I may be misinformed, but a GED is still the equivalent of a High School diploma, correct? The Army has required a minimum of a GED in order to enlist into active service since 2002. This is the year that they began to have serious recruiting problems, so naturally, good ole’ Donny Rumsfeld took it upon himself to gradually lower the enlistment standards in order to fill boots. Not our best move, by any means. When I joined the Army in 1996, you had to have actually received a High School diploma; GED’s weren’t an accepted currency. I had a Soldier in my unit two years ago who was a convicted felon in the state of New Jersey. Needless to say, he didn’t last long….

    You are correct in your assertion that the Army actively recruits 17 year olds. But, unless I am mistaken, they always have. 17 years olds to my knowledge have always had the option to join the military, provided they have a High School diploma (not a GED), and parental consent. If you don’t mind my asking, what were the “exceptional circumstances” with which you received a GED at 17 years old?

    I’m not sure I buy the AIVD intelligence report, because it sounds like typical flame-fanning rhetoric; no citations, no sources, just smoke and mirror technology. But if Bush is that dense to further exhaust our military in the middle of two existing wars, this is the point where I allow my arms to fall at my sides and I declare: “serenity now!” All Iranian resilience aside, I could only hope that our government has learned its lesson by now, and will continue on the road of diplomacy, rather than military action with regards to Iran. Like I had stated in a previous letter, I’m an optimist.

    I hope I am able to make my Christmas leave back to Colorado as well. The Alps of Southern Germany are quite beautiful, but damnit if I don’t dearly miss those Rocky Mountains. Again, I wish you the best.

    Sincerely,

    Daniel

  13. I was in Job Corps in Oklahoma.

    In Texas, I would have had to wait until my high school class graduated before taking the GED.

    That would have been June 7th 1979.

    I graduated from Basic Training on June 5th.

    It’s not a ticket to success. But neither would it be a ticket to failure.

    I don’t know what they tell you over there. Over here they say the surge is working.

    Then a week ago they buried a kid who was stationed at Carson, based at Carson actually. Spec 3 was his rank.

    One or more of his buddies said that he had been told that he didn’t need to wear body armor, that he was in a “Safe Zone”.

    Mr Bush and his annointed successor call the whole country a “Safe Zone”.

    The official Army position, as of when they refuted the unofficial statement related to his parents, is that there is NO Safe Zone.

    It’s three different stories.

    If the surge had worked, there wouldn’t be any need to send more, not just replacements, an increase in troop levels.

    You might get in trouble just for reading this.

    It’s not anywhere near being beyond the Historical performance of the Army to do that.

    I know that from experience, both mine and many of my friends.

    I hope your commander recognizes that I’m not, nor is anybody here, attempting to “turn” you.

    Some have what’s known in Texas as “plenty good sense”.

    And, of course, some don’t.

    Garden of the Gods will still be here, come December.

    The view from Rampart Range looking down, right at the edge of the Park, Pike National, and the twin abominations (i’m indian) of Cedar Heights and the Navigators properties but…

    The view will be spectacular, as always.

  14. Jonah,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to my question, as irrelevant as it was to our previous conversation.

    I am fully aware what our elected officials are saying in reference to the surge and perceived “safe zones”. In my opinion, the surge has had some level of success, but I suppose that all depends on your definition of the word. Violence in areas that were once hotbeds for salafist insurgents and terrorists has now plummeted to lows that rival the initial invasion, Iraqi Security Forces are grabbing the reigns within their own areas of operation and Tribal leaders are taking charge of their neighborhoods to deny sanctuary to these individuals who would hurt their families.

    However, there is not now, nor will there ever be a “safe zone”. I’d love to get my hands on the individual leader who told this young Soldier that he didn’t need to wear his body armor, subsequently resulting in his death. That is essentially manslaughter.

    Again, I go back to people who presume to know what is really happening with our military over there, basing their opinions entirely on erroneous assumptions, rather than a concrete understanding of insurgency dynamics and counterinsurgency doctrine. Insurgencies may at some point reach a stalemate of strategic operations, but they will NEVER reach a stalemate of evolution. The Iraqi Security Forces will be dealing with some form of it for years to come, and I firmly believe that they will experience their own version of a revolution, much as we did, where the choice is to fight for their continued freedom, or allow islamists and salafists the venue to institute their own brand of Sharia’a law under a modern caliphate.

    Please don’t be bothered with the thought of a potential dilemma on my part for reading and responding to the letters you gentlemen have posted. There are certain articles of the UCMJ which prohibit me from making statements in reference to politicians while in uniform, but I have never been silent (when asked) about my feelings towards the Bush administration. I can also appreciatively say that I am fortunate enough to be at a juncture in my career where it would take an act of congress to remove my rank.

    What I do on my personal time is of no concern to anyone I work for or with, so my commander taking issue with this exchange is of little importance to me. I am not in violation of any codes of the UCMJ for having an intelligent conversation with another human being. What’s important is that I know you gentlemen are not attempting to “turn” me; A). I would never abandon my beliefs so effortlessly, and B). I feel that there probably isn’t much dissimilarity between the two of us as it presently situates. We are both Americans who appreciate our freedoms to exercise our Constitutional rights. The vehicle we use is vastly different, but a vehicle nonetheless. Again, the fact that an American Soldier and an anti-war activist can have an intelligent conversation via this medium is exactly what makes this country so great.

    I lived on Fillmore and Mesa, and miss those views dearly (minus the Navigators property as well, which is a different conversation altogether). I have not lived in Colorado since January of 2007, and have not visited since December of 2007, so I am looking forward to breathing that thin air later this year. Again, I wish you gentlemen all the best.

    Sincerely,

    Daniel

  15. ‘I hope I am able to make my Christmas leave back to Colorado as well. The Alps of Southern Germany are quite beautiful, but damnit if I don’t dearly miss those Rocky Mountains. Again, I wish you the best.’

    Have a nice vacation in Europe, Daniel. That’s what the US military is all about, isn’t it? …vacations and career, better pensions and universal health care… oh! …and higher profits for your dandy local multi-national business community, too! Us paying-for-it-all civilians who are not worthy to walk in your anointed footsteps wish you the very best.

  16. I also appreciated the soldier’s well written article. The part about going back only for his buddies, yet not supporting the war (or not really caring enough not to go) reeks of serious mercenary machismo: the warrior’s life. Maybe he’d be happier in the French Foreign Legion or Blackwater, where buddies are everything and no concern whatsoever is given to who decided what and where to go nor especially why.

    As for this phony blowing up the world in order to save democracy in America, one only needs to take a look at the “democratizing effects”, such militarism has had on the American experiment over the years. Wasn’t Eisenhower right on the money with his closing speach? Whoops! Guess America forgot to listen. Even worse, imagine the millions of fanaticized Muslim freaks you are creating which will be unleashed upon the world as soon as your war machine/economy collapses, leaves Iraq and they all start to spread out. This is exactly what happened after the CIA cranked up these fanatics in Afghanistan in the first place. They subsequently slaughtered tens of thousands in Algeria and went on to blow up trains in Paris, etc… Maybe one day you’ll realize just how totally crazy Muslims can get when you start messing with them, and what the French were trying to say during the run-up to the war.

  17. Daniel and Jonah, keep talking. There are some of us for whom war is an abstract. To see intelligent men with an organic understanding of the military carry on a respectful well-wrought conversation is an education in itself.

    I want to be part of the Christmas meet-up! I’ll make cookies and we’ll drink cider and do a white elephant gift exchange….

  18. The one comment to which you didn’t respond, is the one which was made by one alleged retired lieutenant Colonel.

    Wishing that we would die in a terror attack.

    I suppose Col. Doug would be one of those who tried to incite the police to FURTHER violence last year at St Paddy’s. He might have been one of those hiding in the crowd yelling for us to be run over.

    I did confront a few of them with a not very gentle reminder that their views were Anti-freedom, and since they were urging the killing or assault against Americans they must be anti-American terrorists as well.

    Some of them tried to chant propaganda at me but that was the extent of it.

    You won’t be able, Daniel, to ever change the Islamic world. Nor was that the purpose for your being deployed.

    The “leaders” here made it plain even before the 2000 coup that they want Iraq simply because of the oil fields. And having bases where the Military could be used as a terrorist force to influence the distribution of oil simply by being within striking distance of every oil field there.

    Beyond that, the problems you mentioned, of various sects vying for control, have been made worse over the past 700 years by way of not only our allies such as Turkey, but our allies such as Britain trying very hard to manipulate that factionalism to their profit.

    The point being, the Turks had power, the British had power… but none had authority.

    Neither do we in general nor you in particular.

    There’s a simplistic Right Wing slogan, very wrong historically, “These Colors don’t run and never have”, perhaps you’ve seen it?

    All my personal response is “Twice in less than a year at Manassas Junction!” but I digress.

    The other side is, “These Colors don’t run —the world.”

    Assuming that America is so vastly superior, intellectually, morally, physically, to the rest of the World that we deserve or have some sort of God-given moral obligation to change the rest of the world is rather arrogant.

    But that’s the shifting policy of the ones who sent you over there.

    It’s a mirror image of the policy of Manifest Destiny.

    Your moral code makes no difference to them, as long as you are there, as long as the Iraqi oil fields are secure, they’re content.

    But Secure for whom? There are more abuses at Abu Ghraib, more at Guantanamo, and now we face prison camps here in America, where, if Col. Dougie-boy and his masters gain full control of America, they can send Americans…

    rather than sending them to Guantanamo.

    There has always been torture and murder in American politics, committed in the NAME of freedom and the Name of God.

    It’s just now coming to the light, and…

    I’m one and Tony is one, and Eric is one, of those who are going to keep that light shining.

    You’ll wind up with a “pacified” Iraq, but it would be somewhat on the lines of the “pacified” Indian Reservation system right here.

    And then your pacified Iraq will turn on you. You can’t dictate to the people anywhere in the world how they will behave. There’s a few uglier words that describe the concept of “Nation Building” much more vividly… Imperialism, Colonialism, Subjugation, Conquest…

    If you yourself don’t think in those terms, those who direct your actions DO.

    To more Historical references, the British did much the same thing in Ireland, for 400 years. And Scotland. “Civilizing the Natives” they called it.

    They’ve long ago lost Ireland, the “troubles” with that particular insurgency came mostly by means of the British trying to suppress it.

    And people who didn’t possess a well financed, well ARMED highly organized Military Power fighting back against those who did.

    The won full independence for the entire island just last year.

    You might notice, in the Koalition of the killing forces around you, Not the Republic of Ireland.

    Somewhere around half my ancestors were Irish. That might sound kind of generic, like saying Arab without mentioning the differences in factions. Or the much broader generalizations of “Islamist” without mentioning Turk, Arab, Kurd, Pathan, Farsi, Berber, Filipino, Malaysian… Hanafi, Sufi, Shia, Sunni, Ba’hai..

    Your fight in Iraq right now is the spawn of the British inspired partitioning scheme, where the British felt more comfortable dealing with Arabian and Persian royalty rather than independent groups.

    I could see that, you know, IF I were to accept the royalist notion that we or they have an absolute duty to unify the world under one king.

    As a Christian I realize exactly who that one king would be.

    In America, even, the name Irish means different things to different people.

    in my family alone, there are Orange Irish who support the British, Green Irish who support Independence, people who are Orange by faith and Green by politics, “Lace Curtain” Irish whose side of the family came over with Lord Baltimore about the same time as the Pilgrims… and people like the Kennedys who came over much later.

    And that’s just one extended family in America. In Ireland, the dynamics are even more complex than you’re facing in Baghdad.

    The British tried, for 4 centuries, to suppress that and change that, and failed.

    They tried in Arabia as well, you see first hand how well that worked.

    I’m sure there were many British field commanders who actually tried to reconcile their individual consciences to what they were commanded to do by their King or Queen.

    The net result was always the same, from the Irish point of view, or from the Indian (subcontinent) point of view, from the Arab point of view, the African nations, the Chinese, the footprints or should I say Boot-prints are still visible.

    if you stay on, ‘stay the course’, your war in Iraq will expand, and everywhere it expands to, there will be those Boot-prints.

    Since neither the British nor the Americans surrendered in 1814, but rather formed a Mutual Non-aggression pact,

    Since that time American bootprints are all over the Failed Conquests of the Failed Empire of Britannia.

    And you’ll run into the resentment of those attempts the British pulled, year after decade after century, to “build nations”.

    Your Army tried, in fact, to suppress the IRA many times in our lifetime.

    if you really need a clear and clean example of where you are right now, and where you’re headed by “staying the course”.

    God gave each of a conscience, some suppress it on their own initiative, some have it drilled and trained out of them. But it will always be there.

    You mentioned a difference in the level, the percentages, of PTSD reported by your Pentagon, and that reported by various other sources.

    PTSD is disputed by the Pentagon mostly because they don’t have the budget to treat it. The money is being spent on the Surge.

    It’s caused by the suppression of the Human Conscience more than any other factor.

    In most cases, when somebody leaves the Military, the military leaves him.

    it often takes years, sometimes decades.

    For ten years after I left, Reveille would have me pulling on my trousers and boots before even realizing that I was awake.

    And that’s just a small example.

    When you leave, if you leave, you’ll go through the withdrawals.

    Organized Collective thought is as emotionally addictive and physically, as tobacco or Heroin or Alcohol.

    You’ll remember after 5 or 10 years out of the Service what I’ve written here.

    There are a few organizations, very loosely knit of course, which are sort of an Alcoholics Anonymous for Militarism.

    VVAW, IVAW, just to name a couple.

    We had another Lieutenant Colonel, retired,posted here about his love of Militarism, said that PTSD could be ‘cured’ with corporal punishment.

    Sure, it would be cheap, but guess what, suppressing PTSD for fear of punishment only makes it worse.

    And the physical deterioration is far less immediately obvious than the acute mental dysfunction that Some, but not anywhere near Most, PTSD patients display.

    I’ve seen it in action, you know, i’m a life member of both American Legion and VFW.

    My grandfather got that for me when I was 11. Auxilliary membership “sons of–”

    “Sure, the War doesn’t bother me any, no sir, proud of what I did, no regrets or problems with it whatsoever” while they consume two or three pitchers of beer with whisky shooters in between.

    The funerals where the guy would be like 35, maybe 40, in apparently good health, and just drop dead of a stroke or heart failure.

    It’s very very real, and much more prevalent than Military Statistics would have us believe.

    I would assume, (dangerously) that since you mentioned your rank as being sufficient that only an act of Congress could over-ride anything, you must be at least Lt Colonel.

  19. Wow, 10,000 keystrokes with only 5 errors.

    i’m good, oh yeah…

    Not counting the sticky right-shift key which makes some of my letters lower-case when i mean to type capitals.

    But I once again digress.

    Perhaps your being of Flag rank would make a subtle difference in what you can do about the continuation and inevitable expansion of the war.

    My rank when I went in was Airman Basic and my rank when I left was and is Civilian.

    Technically, as they taught me in Basic Training, that means I outrank every man-jack in the military, and every political leader as well.

    Con su permiso…

    There’s a couple of really scary scenarios that Daniel alludes to, subtly.

    One is that rebellion against ones “superiors’ (always did have a problem with that term, it implies personal inferiority to have a “superior”) could cause a backlash that would involve the mutineers being killed or imprisoned, and their leaders most certainly would be killed.

    a General Mutiny that actually includes, well, Generals, or Colonels, would be really really close to a Coup.

    Either one could leave us stuck with Martial Law with God only knows who on top.

    At which point, all bets are off, we won’t have Democracy at all anymore, and the only option left to tyranny would be resistance, both personal and organized.

    That’s where this election comes in as vastly important.

    As awful as Bush is, McCain is worse, and some of those with whom he has familial ties in the Pentagon are worse yet.

    Let’s not forget that while he was a Lieutenant, his Dad was an ADMIRAL.

    Some of those in the Pentagon, virtually all of whom had some VietNam in their resumé, feel that the American Left cost them the war.

    Which they magically reconcile with the opposing notion that we’re a “cricket-chirp chorus”.

    That just shows how well they can Orwell themselves, BlackWhite a dichotomy like that.

    And, they’re eager to punish.

    A General Mutiny even after McCain gets defeated is always something, a possibility, that should be considered.

    Some of them were involved in a similar coup in VietNam, and similar coups in other nations. Pakistan for example.

    It’s not like they’re morally above such doings.

    Maj. George and Col. Doug wear their feelings like they wear their rank, That’s why they’re not in the Pentagon and have to put the (Ret.) after their rank.

    Daniel refrains from using his rank that way.

    For those who love livin’ on the edge, this is where the edge begins.

    Even those in the Pentagon who MIGHT be so disposed, one way or the other, are waiting for the election results. 57 days and counting…

    There’s a Confucian saying “May you live in interesting times”.

    Sometimes I wish for boring times.

    Bilbo Baggins said the same thing “Adventures are great when you’re sitting around the fireplace telling them, but they’re a nasty uncomfortable thing to be IN one..”

    For those on all sides, Col. Doug, Major George, Daniel, any of us, don’t write anything off just yet.

    Oh, and clarifying something, since this is Eric’s thread and i can’t moderate it, or change it..

    I misidentified Major George’s rank as Lt Colonel when I cited “Corporal Punishment as a treatment for PTSD”.

  20. “Third, in your article titled: “Colorado Springs Military Community”, you state that (and I quote) “FIVE MAJOR MILITARY INSTALLATIONS ALREADY AND THE CITY AND COUNTY ARE BROKE”. El Paso County is broke? Since when? I would love to see a citation in reference to this one, because I have “Googled” it to no end and have found nothing that would lead me to believe anything but the contrary. The Colorado Springs Economic Development Corporation reports that: “Colorado Springs has a 3.1 million labor force within an hour radius, a Fast track permitting and planning program (30-60 days), 27 Fortune 500 Companies and a quality of life which is 70% the cost of coastal communities” (CSEDC 2008).”

    This one I can cite.

    The Tax Base might be hugely rich, according to the CSEDC, but thanks to TABOR and the Reaganite policies of Bush, McCain, and former governor Bill Owens, El Paso County AND Colorado Springs are between them 15 million dollars in the red.

    The Fortune500 companies cited are ALL military contractors.

    They are literally getting a Free Ride in El Paso County and Colorado Springs.

    The rest of America too.

    My source for the budget shortfalls is of all Creeples the Gazette.

    It’s been front page news for the past 4 months.

    One of the companies, Hewlett-Packard (and I bet you have at least three HP products right there on your desk…) is pulling out of the Springs, but they assure us most vigorously that their decision isn’t in any way related to the anticipated cuts in services. Or the increasing demands that their Corporate Free Ride be paid for with increased taxes.

    The EPCSD is cutting Sheriffs Deputy patrols unless they’re actually called to respond to an emergency.

    Due to gas prices and the budget shortfall.

  21. The soldiers themselves, those who don’t live in Base Housing, pay rent and therefore property taxes.

    The Daddy Warbucks profiteers pay significantly less per capita in local taxes and fees.

    I don’t know about you, Daniel, but the very thought of these bastards getting wealthier with every soldier who gets killed or every piece of equipment that gets deployed, and/or Destroyed then Replaced…

    Just finish the sentence for yourself, I don’t want to lose myself in a rant right now.

  22. Jonah,
    Again, you have managed to translate intelligent personal thought into words. I appreciate your reply, as always. I sincerely feel at this point that we have trampled this unfortunate “horse” beyond anything recognizable. I will reiterate a point I had made in a previous letter, where I asserted that I wished to argue this no more, and was of the disposition to agree-to-disagree.

    Also, in reference to the comment from Doug which you said I didn’t respond to, I felt I did respond to it when I stated that I ignore narrow minded individuals, be they military or civilian. Although I feel Doug mad a decent argument, I could distinguish that his letter was driven more from his frustration and anger than his rational thought.

    Jonah, your opinions are respected by me, due largely in part that you have made an excellent debate, and have carried forth with you to the table the absolute foundation for case making: research and evidence to support your claims.

    I never gave my own percentages to the reported levels of PTSD by the Pentagon in my original letter, I only asked Mr. Verlo for a citation to support his statement and the percentages he listed as accurate. My comments revealed alcohol, drug abuse and rape percentages.

    I often wonder what I will feel once I separate from the military. My guess is that it will be along the lines of me missing the friends and organizational structure I once felt I had. But that’s eight years away (when I reach 20 years and am eligible, you bet I’m taking the first chance I get, for my family’s sake). I have much more imposing objects on my dinner plate between now and then. By the way, I sincerely appreciate the promotion to LTC; however, the Lord blessed me with common sense at an early age, so I am, in fact, enlisted. In any case, I thank you for the intelligent conversation.

    To the following individuals:

    Mr. Logan,
    Again, it appears you didn’t take my suggestion into consideration. Your approach to making a substantiated argument is….no approach at all. You have never ONCE provided any unyielding evidence for any of your claims, only your antagonistic, “attack the man” ad-hominem bullshit. I have read your previous posts from various letters, and your technique is always the same: demean and disparage the arguer, because if you debase him enough, he might not actually discern that you are extremely unintelligent and have provided no logical evidence to support your discussion. Unless you can talk to me like a human being, and make legitimate, applicable argumentation, I wish to have no further discourse with a person as narrow minded as you. Oh, and I am FROM Colorado, and STATIONED in Europe, NOT on vacation.

    Mr. “Foreign Guy”,
    Thank you for the appreciative opening remarks in your response. To answer your ridiculous question: No, I wouldn’t be happier in the Foreign Legion or contracting for Blackwater. I am an American; I am currently working in the capacity that I should be, which is serving people such as you who mock my very service. I can vividly see from your post that you have a limited understanding of the Muslim world, and probably know very few Muslims, if any. The “Muslim freaks” with the “crazy” behavior you cited are the very people who do not need any provocation from the West in order to justify their violent activities, as you indicated we were accountable for. Islam is not a religion to these people Sir, it is LAW, and it is GOVERNMENT. The Sharia’a is the only logical approach for these people, which is why the Middle East has been in turmoil since the beginning of time. Do some research for yourself. Examine what was happening in the Middle East when Mohammad began writing the Qu’ran, or, if you’re lazy, rent (or buy) the movie entitled: “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War With the West”; look up the words “Salafism, or Dhimmitude, or Jizya, and see what you find.

    To Miss Walden,
    Ma’am, thank you for the kind words, I do sincerely appreciate them. As I am the bane of everyone’s existence within this forum due to my service, I would have to assume that we will be the only people exchanging gifts and drinking cider when and if I am able to make it home. But you’re absolutely correct; there is something very special to be said for the form of conversation being exchanged between two intelligent (and I use that word loosely on my end) human beings, regardless of which side of the spectrum they fall on. Thank you again, and God bless.

    Sincerely,

    Daniel

  23. ‘(Marie) As I am the bane of everyone’s existence within this forum due to my service, I would have to assume that we will be the only people exchanging gifts and drinking cider when and if I am able to make it home.’

    Daniel, you’re welcome to sip tea with any of us any time if you can just get over your sense of victimhood and entitlement? Can you now?

  24. Then it wouldn’t take an Act of Congress, more like the Act of a particularly vindictive commander.

    Hope you don’t have one.

    I did, on the first week of Basic, get promoted to Major General myself. Major Disappointment and General F… err,,, Disaster… yeah, that’s the ticket, “disaster”…

    I did notice, too, it used to be that some college automajically got you the ButterBars.

    Not any more apparently.

  25. Jonah,

    You are correct. A commander would be the individual who could ultimately initiate any category of reduction for me, but it does in fact take the signature of a congressman to make it so. That’s not to say it wouldn’t or couldn’t occur, but I doubt that anyone is going to make a fuss about one opinionated Soldier. There are, believe it or not, several
    who feel the same sentiment as I do. Trust me; we are NOT all flag waiving republicans by virtue of our service!

    Tony, Tony, Tony……where did you get the notion that I feel victimized? Where in any of my previous letters did you construe that I feel my service grants me entitlement? Where, within any of my previous letters did I suggest that I am owed anything? On the contrary, I believe I avowed that “I serve you, Sir” and “I serve a people and a country, not a president”. My comment in reference to being the “bane of everyone’s existence” had sarcastic overtones that were apparently not conveyed properly by me. In any case, thank you for the invite; as long as Jonah is in attendance, I would be happy spend some time with you all, provided we are capable of celebrating our diversity and having a great conversation.

  26. Daniel, in all fairness to you I think that we did get off to a bad start in this discussion, and partly due to confusion. The original letter was signed [D.] and then a rabid retired Right Wing vet, Doug Smith wrote in leading me, at least, to think that Doug was the [D.] you had used in your original comments. Also, having just endured being outside the McCain rally in protest of US militarism for four hours on Saturday morning, I had gotten rather fed up with the America, Love It Like I do or Get Out crowd. And I had gotten rather snarky by then.

    Rereading your comments I think that I was unfair to accuse you as I did. My apologies and I wish you the best. I hope to hear from you again, and we do realize that there are some good and sincere people in the US military and that many of them certainly have all sorts of various opinions just like all the rest of us out in the civilian world.

  27. Tony,

    I logged in last night just prior to bedding down for the evening (it would have been about 3 p.m. your time), and was pleasantly surprised to read your letter. I was in such a remarkable mood after reading it that I went to bed and slept like a lotus-eater. Thank you for your apology, I could sense that it was very genuine.

    I had signed my original letter “Daniel”, so I could only assume that Mr. Verlo posted it under the identity of “[D.]” in order to shield my proper name for my own sake. It was totally unnecessary, but appreciated nonetheless.

    I feel as though I need to apologize to you as well. In a previous letter, I made a reference that suggested you are unintelligent. I was writing out of my own frustration which stemmed from what I perceived to be an attack from you. On the contrary, you are OBVIOUSLY very intelligent. An unintelligent individual would not speak out at all, for or against anything he felt so passionate about. I realize that courage has much to do with it as well, but you and I both know that it begins with an idea. All views and emotions aside, my participation in this forum over the past week has been a great experience, and I thank all of you for allowing me the opportunity to voice my arguments in a discussion-centric, intellectual medium. I hope that when I am back in the Springs (to visit or for good), and have the opportunity to extend my hand, you all will gladly shake it in return. I wish all of you the best and I will certainly be a frequent visitor.

    Sincerely,

    Daniel

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