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Registered: 01/21/02
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Military families grow angry with state of Iraq war
    #2055540 - 10/29/03 11:24 PM (20 years, 6 months ago)

Posted on Tue, Oct. 28, 2003
Military families grow angry with state of Iraq war
Chicago Tribune

DENVER - (KRT) - They are angry and disillusioned, frustrated and full of doubt. This war is not going the way they hoped it would.

They are wives and husbands of the 129th Army Reserves Combat Transportation Company, stationed in Kansas, and they are terrified for spouses who are conducting missions in Iraq.

A month ago, these family members launched a "bring our soldiers home" petition drive when, with no advance notice, the 129th Company's tour of duty was extended.

Today, after a string of recent suicide bombings in Iraq, they stand with a growing number of military families who are convinced that the war is going awry and who think the American public isn't getting a straight story on the conflict.

Cherie Block, 29, could barely contain herself while watching President Bush's news conference Tuesday from her home in Sac City, Iowa, especially when he insisted the vast majority of Iraqis are with Americans, not against them.

"Look at everything that's going on there this week," Block said, "And (Bush) still has this perfect picture in his head that they want us there. To me, they're already against us."

"Either he doesn't really understand what's going on, or he's not telling it the way it really is," said Block, whose husband Wallace is a sergeant with the 129th Company.

Around the country other military families are increasingly voicing concerns over the war, some through organizations such as Military Families Speak Out, a Massachusetts group that claims support from about 1,000 families nationwide. Some marched in protests against the war in Washington, D.C., last weekend.

While many of these families are adamantly anti-war, others embrace the administration's rationale for going to war in Iraq, while criticizing its conduct in the post-war period.

Among them is Trisha Leonard, 27, of De Soto, Kan., who declined to name her husband, a captain in the 129th Company Army Reserves. "I think taking out Saddam's regime was a good move. But there is no post-war plan or exit strategy. It's a mess."

To be sure, the vast majority of military families support the war, at least in public. They don't want their wives and husbands, sons or daughters to return home to a country that has adopted a negative view of the conflict, like that faced by soldiers who came home from Vietnam.

Overwhelmingly, families are against a massive pullout of troops that would leave Iraq destabilized and vulnerable. The U.S. has to finish what it has begun, or risk an even greater surge of terrorism, they believe.

But reservists like those in the 129th Company, which operates huge trucks that haul tanks and other heavy equipment into Iraq, are in an especially tough position. Planning for their service in the Iraq war has been particularly chaotic, families charge, insisting that the military has given them inadequate information and assistance.

Initially, most of the 129th Company reservists believed their tour of duty would be three to six months. Then they were told it would be a year from the time they arrived in Iraq, not including the three months they spent prior to be deployed.

Finally, last month, they were told the 270-member 129th Company might not come home before 2005. That's when Rachel Trueblood, 42, of Lees Summit, Mo., a mother of three whose husband Rony is a staff sergeant with the company, went from "sucking it up," as she puts it, to getting mad.

Her bottom line: no National Guard or reservist should be deployed for more than 12 months at a time. After e-mailing other families in the company, Trueblood mounted a petition drive last month that has already gathered almost 13,000 signatures.

"Once-proud Army Reserve families are being disillusioned by the decision to keep reservists beyond their original orders," the petition reads. "We ask for your help in getting our loved ones home by the end of their 12-month tour of active duty."

As for the war, though her husband supports it, Trueblood has serious doubts. "We've committed ourselves to something that's bigger than any of us ever bargained for," she said. "My feeling is, we can't leave, but this might be a cause we'll never win. We're trying to lead something that should have been led from the inside (of Iraq)."

Every time Bush gets up and says the U.S. won't back down until it wins the war against terrorism, as he did Tuesday, Trueblood wonders "How? We're already stretched to the absolute limit. Where are you going to lead us next, into Iran or Syria?"

For Jodie Holm, 38, faith is the answer to the nagging questions she tries to keep at bay as violence in Iraq escalates. Every day, she prays her husband Jeff, a sergeant with the 129th Company, will return home safely, and tries not to imagine how she would survive if he didn't. Her pride in his service is mingled with anxiety about his welfare and a feeling of constantly being on edge.

"If it wasn't for God, I'd be a basket case right now. ? I'm so scared," said Holm from her home in Council Bluffs, Iowa, breaking into tears over the phone. "More and more, it seems the Iraqi people don't want us there. My husband says don't worry, but I can't help myself. It's the not knowing what is going to happen next that's killing me."


? 2003, Chicago Tribune.

Visit the Chicago Tribune on the Internet at http://www.chicago.tribune.com

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.


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Ganja Goddess

Registered: 02/12/99
Posts: 1,617
Re: Military families grow angry with state of Iraq war [Re: Zahid]
    #2055988 - 10/30/03 01:40 AM (20 years, 6 months ago)

I've been toying with an idea of what organization I wanted to be involved with for some time.  Typically, I just operate on the fringe of whoever seems to be organizing at the moment.  ANSWER, UFPJ, Code Pink...  I make the rounds :smile:  However, Ive finally made my decision and you'll be seeing alot less of me around here.

I finally decided to align completely and since I dont do anything half ass.. It's come to that point where this is it.. live it, breathe it.. sleep it.  Im going to make a difference in the world, look for me at as a speaker @ the Aug 04 rally in NYC during the Rethug national convention.  Maybe CSPAN will air it, like they did the march last week and Ill get my 5 moments of fame.  :smile: 

Im desperately trying to help organize an event not ruled by ANSWER as I feel their missions are way more radical then I feel paramount at this time.  Contrary to what many may believe, I love this country.  I love the people in it... I want to fix it, even if I do have dreams of running away because the task seems so large.  In the immediate scope of problems, freeing Mumia and Palestine are not my biggest issues.  Freeing America is.

I believe that bringing our troops out of this clusterfuck is one of my responsibilites.  I know  that also means bringing home some of the assholes that kill innocent people.  Fuck them, they will get their just rewards from a much more fearsome judge then I... but, I also believe many soldiers are waking up.  They did have good intentions.  They were trying to do the "right" thing and they are seeing that this is a dishonorable and facetions war fought for none of the reasons they were led to believe. 

Come the time to relieve these soldiers, we will have to bring in replacements and our forces are stretched painfully thin atlready.  We are preparing for that time, when a draft makes it nessecary for the people to act.  There is alot to do!

The 129th illustrates what is being done to a RESERVE unit.  If it is nessecary to do this to reserves, then what does that say about our needs come January/February?

In anycase, if you do feel like donating time or money to an organization,  NotInOurName.net is a fantastic one, focusing on our issues here at home.  Trust me, Ill get the website fixed up soon.

Now, to get to the point of relevance to this thread..

Above is a link to some interviews with soldiers home on leave.

Here is a snippet from one:
CFTM-- ?Did you see a lot of your buddies get killed? How did it affect you??

USA-- ?How the hell do you think it affected me? I saw over 30 of the men I had to keep safe die, and over 100 get wounded and not come back. I still don?t know if some of the wounded men made it or not. I was never told before I came back home.?

CFTM-- ?So it really was awful and as bad as some returning troops have claimed??

USA-- ?It was like a long trip to hell that you knew you might return from. Of course it is as bad as the soldiers say it is. Hell it?s even worse if the truth has to come out. It?s a constant fu..ing nightmare trying to figure out where the guerillas are going to hit, how to keep the civilians calm, and also getting enough water and food to eat. That is one thing the media never really told the Americans about, how bad it was when our convoys weren?t getting through. We had to go to some Iraqi people and trade socks and underwear for some food and a little water.?

CFTM-- ?You really did get that desperate because I saw it in the foreign media that the Iraqi civilians had stepped in and fed a whole bunch of troops that had been days without food.?

USA-- -?Yeah, that ain?t no joke about getting help from the civilians right after the invasion. We had a pretty good laugh about that and how the army owed them some money for reimbursement. We would not have starved probably, but when we got the food from the people it made sure we could still operate as a functioning unit. It was a near thing that several guys almost died of dehydration because we ran out of clean water for a few days.?

CFTM-- ?Just keep going, I want to hear more about the hardships the military and Bush made you go through. I want the American people to know what a nightmare this war has become and what it?s doing to our service men over there.?

USA-- ?Okay, well I can bitch about the problems like food being short and water going bad, but I want to tell people about how bad the attacks on US and coalition forces have gotten in the last month. In the last two weeks I was there we were attacked at least 20 times a day if you count all the shots we heard from random sniper or opportunity attacks. We were losing at least five men a day to injuries and there was at least one of our unit killed every twenty four hours.?

CFTM-- -?So you were getting one a day killed and at least five injured? Did you know many of the guys killed??

USA-- -?That?s a real dumb fu..ing question to ask me. You know what my rank is, of course I knew them, I was the head NCO for years in our unit. I knew most of the guys who died and I held a lot of hands as they were dying. You tell me that?s not gonna to give you nightmares!?

?I had one guy tell me all he wanted was to see his little daughter; she was born three days after the war started. He died in the sand holding my hand and crying because his daughter would never know him. Tell me that?s fu..ing right. Where was George Bush when this kid was gasping for air and spitting his blood on foreign soil??

Here is another story about a soldier from Chico, CA:
His letters to his sister are published and they give a telling look into what is happening in Iraq.. and how this man's life is being changed forever.  I think one of the most touching stories he tells is this:

"Here's the part that gets me. Here's what this is all about. This isn't a new story. I'm sure that as long as there's been a war, this story has followed it. This is my shining example, a fresh and still dripping recollection of why war is one of the most stupid, irresponsible, and depraved things we've managed to do as humans. As we're talking, this man Amar tells us that he was in the Iraqi army. He was a conscript like most Iraqi soldiers, and he deserted when the U.S. invaded. This is a man that tells us how Saddam ruined Iraq, that when he heard the coalition was coming, he was happy.

This is a man who extends the barest and most honest friendship, who is willing to offer any of his meager possessions to us if we were to ask. This is a man who we laugh and play dominoes with. We, as a human race, need to get our priorities straight. We need to figure out what the problem seems to be. Of course it won't happen, I'm sure this story has had little or no effect for thousands of years. I'm sure that it won't for thousands of years to come. But the point of the story is that if Amar hadn't deserted, if we had met as tools instead of men, we would have impersonally tried to kill each other without reserve. I would have willingly killed this man, this human brother. Instead we drink tea and laugh. "

Some words from our soldiers:
?I?ve got my own ?Most Wanted? list. The aces in my deck are Paul Bremer, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush, and Paul Wolfowitz.? ? Anonymous Sgt., 2nd Battle Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Brigade, stationed at BCT?s HQ.

"The way we have been treated and the continuous lies told to our families back home has devastated us all." ? Anonymous soldier in a letter to Congress.

?I just want to get out of this country, which, by the way, the Iraqis can have.? ? Sgt. Michael Baroni, 3rd Infantry Division, Fallujah, Iraq.

"I've been in the army eight years and I can't do it any more, not after this. We're sitting here like targets and the Iraqis are getting bolder. They're taking a pop in broad daylight. ? When I heard we might get another six months I wanted to cry." ? Anonymous reservist from Houston, Texas.

?We are the only division still in Iraq. ? ?The quickest way home is through Baghdad? they told us. So we took the city, and here we are still.? ? Staff Sgt. Anthony Joseph, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

?Our motto is ?Send Me?. We are adding the word ?Home.? Hinesville is the armpit of the world. Right now, I?ll take the armpit.? ? Staff Sgt. Anthony Joseph again.

?As soon as we can get the hell out of here.? ? Staff Sgt. Charles Pollard, 307th Military Police Company, on leaving Iraq.

?There is no real reason for us to be out here!!! We?re protecting oil is all, and as far as the supposed war ending, it hasn?t.? ? Private First Class Mary Yahne, 4th Infantry Division.

?If one of my sons was dead, I?d want somebody to pay for it.? ? Sgt. Colin Frederick, 23-year-old armored scout, on Saddam?s sons? deaths while on patrol in the ?Sunni Triangle?.

?They have frozen all redeployments, so no one is going anywhere anytime soon, and our Congress goes on vacation July 25 so nothing is going to happen until mid fall. Not what we all want to hear out here. We are under siege out here, without supplies, without a mission and we can only roll the dice so many times and not get our asses shot. More and more body bags and amputees will be coming home.? ? Brett Hunt, 2nd Lieutenant, 11th Signal Brigade (Army), north of Baghdad.

"Most soldiers would empty their bank accounts just for a plane ticket home." ? Anonymous Army soldier in a letter to Congress.

"U.S. officials need to get our asses out of here?I say that seriously. We have no business being here. We will not change the culture they have in Iraq, in Baghdad. Baghdad is so corrupted. All we are here is potential people to be killed and sitting ducks." ? 43-year-old reservist from Pittsburgh 307th Military Police Company.

"What are we getting into here? The war is supposed to be over, but every day we hear of another soldier getting killed. Is it worth it? Saddam isn't in power anymore. The locals want us to leave. Why are we still here?" ? Anonymous Sgt., 4th Infantry Division.

?If he [Donald Rumsfeld] was here, I would ask him why we?re still here, why we?ve been told so many times [that they?d go home] and it?s changed.? ? Pfc. Jason Punyahotra, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

"If Donald Rumsfeld was here, I?d ask him for his resignation." ? Spc. Clinton Deitz, 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division.

Soldiers are getting frustrated to a point that wasnt seen until after the Tet offensive in Nam.  Many are writing to ask why we arent do anything about it.  Many more are absolutely incensed at what is being done to their benefits while they are out there putting their lives on the line.

For Halloween, we are tackling suburbia, dressed as bloodied wounded soldiers, handing out their stories.  Bush said, "Bring Em On", but what we really need to be doing is bringing their asses home.  This is not what many of them signed on for and we as people are responsible for holding our government to accountability and respectability in their uses of OUR military.


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Two inch dick..but it spins!?
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Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 34,247
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Re: Military families grow angry with state of Iraq war [Re: PsiloKitten]
    #2056249 - 10/30/03 03:17 AM (20 years, 6 months ago)


However, Ive finally made my decision and you'll be seeing alot less of me around here.

While I rarely agree with anything you say, I can admire someone believing in a cause strongly enough to devote their time to it.

You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers

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Registered: 09/24/00
Posts: 2,287
Re: Military families grow angry with state of Iraq war [Re: PsiloKitten]
    #2057363 - 10/30/03 01:56 PM (20 years, 6 months ago)

Well, feel free to drop in anytime. I leave and come back on a regular basis.

btw, I'm not sure you saw the post, but if not, then sorry about getting your Moussaui thread all wrong. Everyone has their head up their butt sooner or later, and that was just my turn.

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Ganja Goddess

Registered: 02/12/99
Posts: 1,617
Re: Military families grow angry with state of Iraq war [Re: wingnutx]
    #2057460 - 10/30/03 02:21 PM (20 years, 6 months ago)

"btw, I'm not sure you saw the post, but if not, then sorry about getting your Moussaui thread all wrong. Everyone has their head up their butt sooner or later, and that was just my turn."

No problemo :smile:


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