Patterico's Pontifications

10/16/2007

12 Former Army Captains Say “Get Out Of Iraq”…. Now the rest of the story.

Filed under: General — WLS @ 6:28 pm



[Posted by WLS]

1.  These 12 individuals are owed the gratitude of their country for their service in a time of war.

2.  These 12 individuals are owed serious consideration of their thoughts.

3.  Those thoughts would be much better received had they revealed their own ideological leanings (i.e., their biases) when making their arguments.  Now, about those authors:

Jason Blindauer:  Xavier University, 2001.  Served in Iraq as a US Army Ranger, 2003 and 2005.  But here is something he wrote in Nov. 2006:

http://www.xavier.edu/newswire/editions/061108/oped.htm

Last week though, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki ordered U.S. Forces to shut down checkpoints around Sadr City and halt the operation aimed at finding a kidnapped U.S. solider, and our commander-in-chief acquiesced. Why? ….  Some supporters of the president have intimated that the soldier deserved his fate because he snuck out of the Green Zone without authorization, only to be kidnapped shortly thereafter in Baghdad’s Karada neighborhood…. U.S. servicemen have been suffering the foolishness and bad decisions of this resident and his Secretary of Defense for the last five years. I believe that loyalty should be repaid in kind…. As for our president, what did he get out of this Faustian pact? Perhaps he gets to hold Iraq together for a few more weeks and steer his party through the November elections. Then what? Do we continue our failed strategy? “Search and destroy” and “in and out” didn’t work in Vietnam, and of course it hasn’t worked in Iraq…. Like most Americans, I have that 1968 kind of feeling. Even if the president changes our Iraq policy after the election, anything less than passing some form of conscription and pumping the active-duty Army up to well over a million soldiers is a half measure.

Capt. Elizabeth Bostwick:  Hasn’t been in Iraq since 2004.

 Capt. Jeffrey Bouldin:  Was promoted from Lt. to Capt. on March 3, 2006.  http://blogs.usatoday.com/iraq/2006/03/mosul_iraq_jeff.html 

Meaning he was a platoon leader prior to his promotion, suggesting he maybe didn’t have quite the geopolitical view of the war suggested in the column.

Capt. Jason Bugajski:  Served in Diyala Province in 2004.  That is one of the Iraqi provinces that has been most dramatically impacted by the force surge this year.

Several other bloggers have now focused on the outdated nature of the observations made by these 12 former Army officers, so I’m not going to cover each and every one.  

Its amazing that the WaPo would find this Op-Ed newsworthy due to its untimeliness, in the face of its own front-page newsreporting yesterday from two of its most war-wary skeptics.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/14/AR2007101401245.html 

101 Responses to “12 Former Army Captains Say “Get Out Of Iraq”…. Now the rest of the story.”

  1. Hasn’t Blindauer’s criticism been mooted by the strategy/tactical change inherent in the surge?

    But, when suffering from BDS, any port in a storm.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  2. Could you please post a link to the column these 12 have authored? Or am I missing it?

    Thanks.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  3. How about linking the op-ed? Helps determine if the “Get Out of Iraq” headline is merited:

    There is one way we might be able to succeed in Iraq. To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service. Short of that, our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/15/AR2007101500841.html

    steve (a0c86f)

  4. Thanks for the link, Steve.

    That is one compelling piece.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  5. Some quotes from the article:

    As Army captains who served in Baghdad and beyond, we’ve seen the corruption and the sectarian division…And we know when it’s time to get out.

    Yup, it is time to withdraw from New Orleans.
    Italy is corrupt 62 years after we liberated them, evidently to these captains WWII was wasted effort.

    What does Iraq look like on the ground? It’s certainly far from being a modern, self-sustaining country. Many roads, bridges, schools and hospitals are in deplorable condition.

    Just like Democrat controlled Oakland.
    The good captains should have seen South Korea or Japan after their respective wars. I was going thru my mother’s 1950 pictures of Germany, where large parts of Berlin were still ruble five years after the war.

    To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service.

    So the problem can’t be solved by 160,000 soldiers who volunteered, but it can be solved by 160,000+ draftees who don’t want to be there? With strategic thinking like this, it is little wonder none of them rose above Captain and none them remain in the Army.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  6. I question the timing!

    I really wanted to say that, just like a lefty. It makes me feel, all, tingly, like. I agree, WLS. Then again, there have often been disconnects at the WaPo between front page and editorial page content on the same day. Curious.

    With Nancy Pelosi all set to terminally piss off the Turks with the Armenian genocide resolution and harm our ability to support our troops, the Democrats are really behind the concept of victory in Iraq.

    Hold that thought – Pelosi’s co-sponsors are deserting. Murtha doesn’t want to bring it to a vote. Nancy now says she won’t bring it to the floor unless it’s supported by a majority.

    The Democrats cannot get out of their own way. This is a circus. They’ve already gone to the trouble of publicly pissing off an ally and now are potentially backing down at the last minute. A nice gesture, but more rational people might have thought through the consequences a little more thoroughly ahead of time.

    These are the people who want to be trusted with our foreign policy!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  7. Perfect Sense, No disrespect to your mother, but Japan and Germany weren’t rife with sectarian violence and general chaos like Iraq presently is… so the rebuilding and reshaping of those 2 countries was rather uninhibited.

    As for 160,000 additional troops, we’ve hit a wall with 15-month deployment rotations. Officers are getting $30,000 lump-sum bonuses to re-up and you can now enlist with a criminal history. The Army issued 12,057 “moral character waivers” for new recruits in fiscal year 2007. Tells you how out-of-hand the status quo has become.

    steve (a0c86f)

  8. Steve – Specifically what kinds of criminal records are they allowing if I may ask?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  9. daleyrocks #6:

    backing down at the last minute

    You mean sort of like Dennis Hastert in 2000?

    For some more background of Armenian genocide politics:

    K Street Cashes In
    (partial article for nonsubscribers)

    Itsme (ac0560)

  10. If only these 12 Army captains had read right wing blogs instead of actually serving in Iraq, they’d see the light?

    alphie (99bc18)

  11. Itsme – Pelosi said on Munchkinopolis on Sunday that we’ve been putting it off for so many years that this year has got to be the year – plenty of other Democrat controlled years to point to – 2000 unique in some way? Care to explain?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  12. alf

    No

    if only they’d been there post surge… or in some cases if only they’d been there since Kerry was defeated

    SteveG (4e16fc)

  13. Perhaps they didn’t find Petraeus’ slide show as inspiring as the true believers did, Steve.

    alphie (99bc18)

  14. If only somebody would listen to Alpho and Itsatroll! Why then everything would be happy and wonderful in the gulags and the new politboro would dictate to the serfs.

    Ah yes the wisdom of those who have never been overseas nor served their nation and need the love and attention their parents never gave them because the family kitty was so much more deserving.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  15. Send Gore in if they need a slide show.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  16. Sorry, I meant a side show.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  17. Yup, alphie is back at it. These gentlemen soliders deserve our respect. However, it is my understanding that they have not been boots on the ground for over a year, and the situation on the ground today is vastly different than the one they are referencing. But, since these soldiers disagree with the administration, the Left will declare them beyond criticism, just like Mother Sheehan, yet would never dream of extending that type of respect to people that disagree with the Dems.

    JD (a481bb)

  18. I don’t think anyone said they were beyond criticism, JD, but when was the last time “Captain” Ed served in Iraq?

    alphie (99bc18)

  19. Chickenhawk arguement? Come on. When was the last time you volunteered to go to Afghanistan? Or Bosnia? Or the Sudan?

    JD (a481bb)

  20. JD #17:

    Well, that is to assume that they’ve been locked away in sensory deprivation tanks for the past year or so, with no contacts incountry and no current information.

    Can you tell me what exactly what has changed in Iraq that makes this article inapplicable? For instance, is the government now functional to the point where this article is not valid? Electrical service and infrastructure improved to the point where this article is not valid? Are Americans safer outside the Green Zone? How about sectarian violence?

    Itsme (ac0560)

  21. You don’t know the first thing about me, Thomas. Not the first thing about me or my family or who has served and who is now serving, but that doesn’t stop you from being a jerk, does it?

    Itsme (ac0560)

  22. #7
    …and reshaping of those 2 countries was rather uninhibited.

    Your missing the point Steve. Rebuilding infrastructure takes years after wars are completed. In the case of Germany at least five years after the war was completed. Yet these officers want Iraq’s infrastructure to be perfect before the war ends and to them, imperfect infrastructure is cause for the USA to withdraw.

    Using that standard, we “lost” WWII because many of Japan’s, Italy’s and Germany’s bridges, tunnels, water supply and electrical grid were neither functional during the war nor functional for years after the war ended. So because Germany’s infrastructure was broken, rather than cross the Rhine in 1945 and finishing the job, these captains seem like they would have gone home allowed Hitler to stay in power Likewise, maybe these captains would advise to keep Mussolini because he made the trains run on time. Not exactly logical or strategic thinking from these officers.

    Also, it would be nice to know the history of these 12 captains. Why are they out of the Army? Were they passed over for promotion, or relieved of command? Were they company commanders or were they support staff? Were they members of the combat arms, or other branch? What was their service in Iraq, where they out in the field or inside the wire. It seems suspicious that this information is omitted.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  23. Not “chickenhawk” JD.

    Just that people who have never been to Iraq saying the 12 captain’s knowledge is “out of date” is…ironic.

    The only thing that I can see that’s changed since they were there is the Bush administration’s ad campaign…and spokesmodel.

    alphie (99bc18)

  24. alphie…to point out someone’s information on something is 2 or 3 years old, is not “ironic”…

    It’s factual….

    And, that the only changes you see are ad campaigns and spokesmodel just shows you can’t see….

    reff (4e3fcd)

  25. Itsme – is the electrical service better since a year ago? Yup. Is it safer? Yup. What has changed in the interim? Well, that little thing called the Surge that Harry Reid decried as a failure before it even started. In parts of Iraq the citizens are turning against AQ and the rest of the insurgents. And on, and on, and on. These arguements have been rehashed countless times.

    By your metrics, things do not change, even over the course of a year. In this type of environment, that is simply not the case.

    JD (a481bb)

  26. alphie – I have been to Iraq, so explain the irony to me. Both of my younger brothers as well.

    JD (a481bb)

  27. reff,

    Are you really saying bloggers who have never been to Iraq and better able to judge the situation there now than 12 US Army captains who have served there?

    alphie (99bc18)

  28. alphie – Then why would you dismiss Michael Yon out of hand?

    JD (a481bb)

  29. Because Yon announced in a recent article that he has stopped being objective about Iraq and will now be a partisan cheerleader, JD.

    alphie (99bc18)

  30. JD #25:

    Thanks for your response. However, my question was whether things had changed to the point where the article was inapplicable or not valid.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  31. Can you tell me what exactly what has changed in Iraq that makes this article inapplicable? For instance, is the government now functional to the point where this article is not valid? Electrical service and infrastructure improved to the point where this article is not valid? Are Americans safer outside the Green Zone? How about sectarian violence?

    Hell, Itsme. You could be talking about New Orleans here. Just change “Green Zone” to “Bourbon Street”.

    Nothing like raising the bar, is there? The definition of winning is rebuilding. Damn. Why do we need two words in the dictionary when they both mean the same?

    nk (6e4f93)

  32. Itsme – Yes, they have changed significantly.

    JD (a481bb)

  33. The level of violence in Iraq is about the same as it was in the summer of 2006, JD.

    So at least for Captain Jeffrey Bouldin, things are almost exactly the same in Iraq now as when he was there.

    It is much worse than when the other captains were there.

    alphie (99bc18)

  34. JD, I actually decided to look up a few things the article mentioned.

    From what I can see, their information looks pretty current.

    For example, electrical service. The article says,”Baghdad is averaging less than eight hours of electricity a day.”

    According to the Brookings Institution, that’s exactly right. Baghdad averaged 7.6 hours of electricity per day in September 2007. More than a year ago, but much less than two years ago. And exactly what the article said it was.

    So I don’t know how accurate it is to say the claims in the article are too dated to be relevant.

    Brookings report

    For example, is this information so outdated as to be irrelevant?

    Iraq’s institutional infrastructure, too, is sorely wanting. Even if the Iraqis wanted to work together and accept the national identity foisted upon them in 1920s, the ministries do not have enough trained administrators or technicians to coordinate themselves. At the local level, most communities are still controlled by the same autocratic sheiks that ruled under Saddam. There is no reliable postal system. No effective banking system. No registration system to monitor the population and its needs.

    The inability to govern is exacerbated at all levels by widespread corruption. Transparency International ranks Iraq as one of the most corrupt countries in the world. And, indeed, many of us witnessed the exploitation of U.S. tax dollars by Iraqi officials and military officers. Sabotage and graft have had a particularly deleterious impact on Iraq’s oil industry, which still fails to produce the revenue that Pentagon war planners hoped would pay for Iraq’s reconstruction. Yet holding people accountable has proved difficult. The first commissioner of a panel charged with preventing and investigating corruption resigned last month, citing pressure from the government and threats on his life.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  35. Sorry, the Brookings link should go below the paragraph about electrical service.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  36. Itsme – And how much were they getting before the war? Never mind, this is like going down into a rabbit hole. First it is electricity, then roads, then levels of violence, then number of troops, and on, and on.

    Millions of dollars in work on the electrical grid can be set back months, if not years, by some homicide bomber with 50 bucks worth of explosives, and infrastructure is one thing that they specifically target (since it does not shoot back). Iraq did not have constant and consistent power in all areas before the war, so to expect them to have that after the war is silly.

    JD (a481bb)

  37. alphie – I take your assertion as nothing more than an assertion. My 5 yr old has a better chance of being correct than you.

    JD (a481bb)

  38. Don’t take my word for it, JD, look at Perky Patraeus’ slide show:

    http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/pdfs/Petraeus-Testimony-Slides20070910.pdf

    alphie (99bc18)

  39. Looks like their information on the problem of corruption is pretty current too:

    The departure of Iraq’s top corruption investigator is “a real blow to anti-corruption efforts in Iraq,” the U.S. government’s Iraq reconstruction watchdog said.

    Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, told USA TODAY that Judge Radhi al-Radhi, the former head of Iraq’s Public Integrity Commission, had complained about receiving death threats before resigning last week. Iraqi officials announced he would be replaced by his former deputy, Moussa Faraj.

    Al-Radhi’s departure is the latest sign that the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is not doing enough to fight corruption, Bowen said. He called the problem the “second insurgency” for its destabilizing effects in Iraq.

    Al-Radhi’s departure comes as the Bush administration prepares to update Congress and the public about the results of the U.S. troop buildup in Iraq. The increase in U.S. forces was meant to give al-Maliki’s government the opportunity to reconcile Iraq’s warring factions and make political progress.

    Corruption is hampering those efforts, recent independent reports say. A commission on Iraq’s security forces headed by retired Marine general James Jones concluded last week that the Interior Ministry was crippled by sectarianism and corruption.

    The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, acknowledged the problem in a message to troops last week: “We operate against a backdrop of limited Iraqi governmental capacity, institutions trying to rebuild and various forms of corruption.”

    USA Today

    Itsme (ac0560)

  40. JD #36:

    You make some good points.

    However, the argument that these former soldiers just don’t have current information or don’t factor in the impact of the surge doesn’t wash, in my opinion.

    Of course it’s a long, hard road, filled with immense obstacles. That seems pretty clear from what they write themselves. But here is the point they want to make about it:

    Five years on, the Iraq war is as undermanned and under-resourced as it was from the start. And, five years on, Iraq is in shambles.

    …..

    U.S. forces, responsible for too many objectives and too much “battle space,” are vulnerable targets. The sad inevitability of a protracted draw-down is further escalation of attacks — on U.S. troops, civilian leaders and advisory teams. They would also no doubt get caught in the crossfire of the imminent Iraqi civil war.

    Iraqi security forces would not be able to salvage the situation. Even if all the Iraqi military and police were properly trained, equipped and truly committed, their 346,000 personnel would be too few. As it is, Iraqi soldiers quit at will. The police are effectively controlled by militias. And, again, corruption is debilitating. U.S. tax dollars enrich self-serving generals and support the very elements that will battle each other after we’re gone.

    ……

    There is one way we might be able to succeed in Iraq. To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service. Short of that, our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.

    They may be making a good argument or they may not be making a good argument. It’s worth discussing.

    I just don’t see what’s so easy to dismiss about it.

    Itsme (ac0560)

  41. this post made me laugh, and i thank you for its surely unintentional effect.

    12 former army captains have come out against the war, and some neocon pantywaist blogger known only by the initials “wls” is now questioning them, measuring and parsing their service, seeking to minimalize their accounts. this should not and does not surprise me after max cleland and john kerry, but it still makes me laugh.

    those thoughts would be much better received had they revealed their own ideological leanings…

    no, those thoughts would not have been well received in any event, but thanks for the quip. in the spirit of playing by your rules, i must confess that i have never served in the military, never worn the uniform of our country, and any hostile fire i’ve been threatened with was a personal thang, not a government/international thang. my ideological leanings tend toward peace, prosperity, freedom, good food and wine, good sex (as a goal, not a present fact), gardening excellence, big fish…you get the picture.

    meaning he was a platoon leader prior to his promotion, suggesting he maybe didn’t have quite the geopolitical view of the war suggested in the column…

    comedy gold. he was almost certainly a lieutenant prior to his promotion, and commanding a platoon is what army lieutenants in the field do, but this apparently does not qualify them to have an opinion, as opposed to lieutenants in the pentagon who will never face hostile fire and intend to spend their careers polishing the handle on the big front door; only they have proper geopolitical perspective and are entitled to speak. never forget that fighting makes you dumber, so shut up already, you soldiers!

    i have that 1968 kind of feeling too, but it’s a lot worse this time. our economy is about to blow up and our global moral standing is shredded, the land of the free and the home of the brave is now an ironic, hollow punchline, but we’re still leading the world in irony and surrealism, which is the only thing left after childhood fables of american righteousness have been dashed, so for this, america, george w. bush and patterico.com, i thank you.

    assistant devil's advocate (2e1b4f)

  42. http://arablinks.blogspot.com/2007/10/badger-goes-out-on-limb.html

    News from anbar for you idiots from the badger who reads Arabic (the one you don’t read). The ‘awakening’ was supposed to be on our side right?

    blah (f887f5)

  43. And I think we can also stop arguing about what general Sanchez thinks. He’s made it pretty clear recently.

    But informed logic means less to you than hopes and fantasies .

    blah (db3598)

  44. …and some neocon pantywaist blogger known only by the initials “wls” is now questioning them…

    Isn’t dissent the highest form of patriotism? Evidently, being morally superior, only the left has the right to question and dissent.

    …and our global moral standing is shredded…

    Only among those who do not celebrate establishing democracies. What is it about that providing brown people to the ability to vote makes liberals so indignant and angry?

    …but we’re still leading the world in irony and surrealism…

    Nope the UN is far ahead. The UN’s child abusing “peace keepers” and their “human rights” committees comprised of Cuba, Iran and Libya are tragically ironic and surreal.

    i have that 1968 kind of feeling too, but it’s a lot worse this time.

    Yep, those LSD flashbacks can be a real bummer.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  45. There’s a difference between dissent and cannibalism, PS.

    alphie (99bc18)

  46. A good way to determine how much weight to throw behind the 12 captains assessments would be to poll all the army captains who have served in Iraq and are now out of service.

    It would put things in context. I’m sure it’s in the works….

    Just Passing Through (ff997a)

  47. And I think we can also stop arguing about what general Sanchez thinks. He’s made it pretty clear recently.

    No. Actually, what was made pretty clear was the left’s interpretation of what he thinks.

    But informed logic means less to you than hopes and fantasies .

    Project much?

    Just Passing Through (ff997a)

  48. Read much?
    How about the last thing in stars and stripes. He was very clear this time.
    And follow the goddam link.

    Goddamn what motherfucking idiots.

    blah (db3598)

  49. At least these anti-war commenters are being consistent. When General Patreus was criticized my Moveon.org, they made snarky comments about how the Moveon.org people had never been in Iraq so they had no business contradicting someone who had actually been there. Remember that, everyone? Me neither. And of course when General Patreus was accused of having an agenda, they all defended him and said that we should trust him because of his experience. Everyone remember that? Me neither.

    I can’t quite figure out the rules about who is worth listening to and who isn’t, but whatever these rules are, the anti-war types have a remarkable –nay inhuman– record of only the people who agree with them being credible. I mean, if it’s a general against some random woman who lost her son, then the woman has absolute moral authority except for the women who lost sons who favored the war, those women were just blinded by their loss. And whenever it’s a general who approves the war against one who doesn’t, the one who approves the war always happens to be in the pocket of the evil administration while the anti-war generals are always pure souls, untarnished by any political agendas, men with pristine knowledge and wisdom who dare not be questioned by anyone who hasn’t actually been to Iraq. But when someone who hasn’t been to Iraq criticizes a pro-war general, then that’s OK, because the pro-war general is a vicious cad who probably tortures prisoners.

    Really, the way that us pro-war types can’t come up with a credible spokesman and the way that every single anti-war spokesman is the Second Coming (except the ones who turn out to be frauds and silently vanish off stage left), you would think we would eventually have to agree that our position must be wrong. Otherwise you would think that at least one person on our side –at least once in six years– would have some credibility.

    We should thank all of these anti-war types for their selfless sharing of their these mysterious powers of reasoning always showing us when experience counts and when it doesn’t, when moral authority counts and when it doesn’t, when integrity counts and when it doesn’t, when scholarship counts and when it doesn’t. The rules are quite incoherent to us mere mortals.

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  50. The rules are quite incoherent to us mere mortals.

    There’s no rules, Doc. The anti-war types use MAGIC!

    Paul (d71395)

  51. Lets compare the comments of these former Army Captains and their experiences circa 2003-2006 to the comments of US Marine Major Omar Sanchez, 1st Battalion, 12 Marine Regiment, just back YESTERDAY from 7 months in Iraq:

    “Maj. Omar Sanchez, executive officer for the unit’s Task Force Military Police, which included several hundred Marines from outside Hawai’i, said the task force operated out of Al Asad Air Base, Fallujah, Ramadi and two locations in far western Iraq, Waleed and Trebil.

    Sanchez said four members of the task force were killed by roadside bombs. Among the losses was Lance Cpl. Robert A. Lynch, 20, from Kentucky, who was killed July 24 in Diyala province. Lynch was part of a convoy security team that was attacked.

    But Sanchez, who also was in Iraq in 2003, said an alliance of sheiks that rejected al-Qaida in western Iraq has led to a safer environment for U.S. Marines.

    “Ramadi used to be the wild, wild west,” Sanchez said. “Fallujah, Ramadi — you hardly hear of any significant incidents there anymore.”

    http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071017/NEWS01/710170416/1001/NEWS01

    wls (fb8809)

  52. Let us compare the comments of these 12 former Army Captains circa 2003-05 to the comments of US Marine Corps Major Omar Sanchez, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, upon his arrival back YESTERDAY after a 7 month deployment to Iraq — Fallujah and Ramadi:

    “Maj. Omar Sanchez, executive officer for the unit’s Task Force Military Police, which included several hundred Marines from outside Hawai’i, said the task force operated out of Al Asad Air Base, Fallujah, Ramadi and two locations in far western Iraq, Waleed and Trebil.

    Sanchez said four members of the task force were killed by roadside bombs. Among the losses was Lance Cpl. Robert A. Lynch, 20, from Kentucky, who was killed July 24 in Diyala province. Lynch was part of a convoy security team that was attacked.

    But Sanchez, who also was in Iraq in 2003, said an alliance of sheiks that rejected al-Qaida in western Iraq has led to a safer environment for U.S. Marines.

    “Ramadi used to be the wild, wild west,” Sanchez said. “Fallujah, Ramadi — you hardly hear of any significant incidents there anymore.”

    http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071017/NEWS01/710170416/1001/NEWS01

    wls (fb8809)

  53. The soldiers didn’t say “We were in Iraq here’s how Iraq looks now to us,” they said “We were in Iraq here’s how it was when we were there it was shitty we should have a draft and pour troops into the country or just leave now.”

    Their opinions are irrelevant and invalid as evidence for decisions about Iraq now.

    The deep emotional need of lefties to be living in a United States in terminal decline is hilarious. They need to come out with a new DSM for these people, it’s a mental illness. Maybe if they hadn’t been predicting the exact same nonsense – economic collapse, creeping fascism, destruction of our influence over international relations, etc. – for six years now with none of it happening we’d be more inclined to listen to them rather than point and laugh.

    How many times do you have to whine that fascism is coming without being thrown into a dungeon before you admit that fascism just ain’t on the way?

    chaos (2a6b46)

  54. Well said, Doc. Very well said.

    nk (6e4f93)

  55. I think I understand. The opinions of the antiwar captains, I thank them for their service, who have not been in theater in some time are valid. The opinions of prowar officers currently in theater are not valid.

    Whether they are in theater or out of theater apparently makes no difference from reading the comments above according to the left – It’s the fundamental conclusion that matters. If you are antiwar your opinion matters. If you are for the war your opinion doesn’t.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  56. According to WAPO, the column was written by 12 former Army captains: Jason Blindauer served in Babil and Baghdad in 2003 and 2005. Elizabeth Bostwick served in Salah Ad Din and An Najaf in 2004. Jeffrey Bouldin served in Al Anbar, Baghdad and Ninevah in 2006. Jason Bugajski served in Diyala in 2004. Anton Kemps served in Babil and Baghdad in 2003 and 2005. Kristy (Luken) McCormick served in Ninevah in 2003. Luis Carlos Montalván served in Anbar, Baghdad and Nineveh in 2003 and 2005. William Murphy served in Babil and Baghdad in 2003 and 2005. Josh Rizzo served in Baghdad in 2006. William “Jamie” Ruehl served in Nineveh in 2004. Gregg Tharp served in Babil and Baghdad in 2003 and 2005. Gary Williams served in Baghdad in 2003.

    When I read the Op-ed, I noticed that most of them had been out of Iraq for a while, so I discounted somewhat what they had to say. It’s quite possible, however, that they’re still in touch with friends currently serving in Iraq and getting the current scoop.

    JayHub` (0a6237)

  57. Wasn’t John Kerry, as a Navy lieutenant, the equivalent of an Army captain?

    nk (6e4f93)

  58. At least these pro-war commenters are being consistent. When General Petraeus was criticized by Moveon.org, they made snarky comments about how the fact that he was a General shouldn’t shield him from criticism. Remember that, everyone? Me neither. And of course when General Petraeus was accused of having an agenda, they all acknowledged that a General can be politically and professionally invested in defending the job that he’s done, and that might color the report that he gave. Everyone remember that? Me neither.

    I can’t quite figure out the rules about who is worth listening to and who isn’t, but whatever these rules are, the pro-war types have a remarkable –nay inhuman– record of only the people who agree with them being credible. I mean, if it’s a retired general against some random woman whose sons are serving, then the woman has absolute moral authority except for the women who lost sons who opposed the war, those women were just blinded by their loss. And whenever it’s a general who approves the war against one who doesn’t, the one who opposes the war always happens to be in the pocket of George Soros while the pro-war generals are always pure souls, untarnished by any political agendas, men with pristine knowledge and wisdom who dare not be questioned by anyone who hasn’t actually been to Iraq. But when someone who hasn’t been to Iraq criticizes an anti-war general, then that’s OK, because the anti-war general is a barking moonbat who was probably completely incompetent.

    Really, the way that us anti-war types can’t come up with a credible spokesman and the way that every single pro-war spokesman is the Second Coming (except the ones who turn out to be frauds and silently vanish off stage right), you would think we would eventually have to agree that our position must be wrong. Otherwise you would think that at least one person on our side –at least once in six years– would have some credibility.

    We should thank all of these pro-war types for their selfless sharing of their these mysterious powers of reasoning always showing us when experience counts and when it doesn’t, when moral authority counts and when it doesn’t, when integrity counts and when it doesn’t, when scholarship counts and when it doesn’t. The rules are quite incoherent to us mere mortals.

    Moops (444e9b)

  59. Opinions are pretty well settled on the Iraq War at this point. Twelve captains or seven NCOs will not change many minds. Twelve hundred or seven thousand, maybe, but only if they were opposed to the war, and if that were the case the signs would be much, much more obvious that Iraq is a fiasco.

    As it is, the trends show that pace of violence in Iraq is decelating rapidly. As Alphie points out, the sectarian violence brought on by the Samarra mosque bombing has largely abated; McClatchey news services had an article about how the business of death in Iraq-gravediggers, body preparers, etc.-is in a bust.

    My guess is that the anti-war folks will always have an attack, or a web posting, or some ministry official’s statement, or something to hang their hat on to prove that Iraq is an unmitigated disaster. In the meantime, Iraq will continue to heal and develop with US support, and will quietly take its rightful place as a civilized nation.

    MartyH (52fae7)

  60. Marty,

    US military leaders, from Petraeus on down, are saying America needs to be in Iraq at least another 10 years for the occupation to even have a chance of “working.”

    The short-term dip in violence in some of the less-populated areas of Iraq have been used to buy a few more months at best for the pro war industry.

    alphie (99bc18)

  61. Alphie-

    Is that why the leading Democratic candidates cannot commit to removing troops before 2013?

    That sounds like a few years, not a few months…

    How long before a short term dip becomes a long term trend? With anyone else, Alphie, that would be a serious question. It’s rhetorical in your case, and anyone who has read your comments for any period of time will understand why.

    Furthermore, the decrease in violence is in Baghdad as well. Through October 15th of last year, 265 bodies had been found dumped in Baghdad. This month to date it’s a third of that-87 bodies found in Baghdad so far, and 325 violent deaths overall. Deths in Baghdad a year ago were running higher than deaths in all of Iraq today.

    MartyH (52fae7)

  62. Marty,

    The pro war industry had to finally cough up some objective (sort of) measures of progress to have a chance at getting another $190,000,000,000 to gamble in Iraq this year.

    If the trend continues, all is good for them.

    If it doesn’t, they’ll have nothing left.

    As for the number of attacks happening in Iraq, they are still at over 1000 a week.

    How many attacks a week would Americans find acceptable?

    alphie (99bc18)

  63. It’s nice to see the pro-war crowd looking at the ulterior motives of the 12 captains. Pity you weren’t so skeptical about convicted swindler Ahmad Chalabi and his drunken liar sidekick “Curveball”, back when it would have helped.

    The 24-percenters will always find some milepost to claim victory is just a few years away, whether it’s (another) change in the Iraq govnerment or (another) temporary reduction in the still-horrific death toll. Yes, deaths are down. Some of that may come from the unsustainable “surge” (troop rotations guarantee that the number of forces on the ground will eventually decline—wanna bet what happens then?) and some from the depressing fact that the ethnic cleansing process has advanced so far that sporadic violence is less necessary.

    From a long-term strategic standpoint, we have already lost, even if Petraeus hits his draw to an inside straight and manages to arm the Sunni, Shia, and Kurd factions just enough that a precarious balance stops an official civil war. Remember Bill Kristol’s prediction?

    There’s been a certain amount of pop sociology in America … that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular.

    Iraq isn’t secular any more (outside Kurdistan). The Christians (protected under Saddam) have fled. The middle class, fled or internally displaced. The status of women won’t recover for a generation, if not a century. And as far as modernization, the great “triumph” ini Anbar Province consists of getting Saddam’s uncles and cousins to turn on a transnational terror movement that didn’t even exist in Iraq when we started this folly.

    Our geopolitical goals didn’t fare much better.

    [Chalabi deputy] Qanbar said he believes good relations with Israel are possible under a new regime, because Saddam was the one who had a problem with Israel, not the Iraqi people.

    Pretty funny, eh? Does anyone see Moqtada Al-Sadr making nice with Israel? Paradigmatic con-man patter, telling the marks what they wanted to hear! And of coursed we were going to use Iraq as a bulward against Iranian influence in the Middle East, but in the real world, we now deal in Baghdad with factions that are Teheran’s friends, or their good friends, tkae your pick. (I love the part where we complain Iran is meddling in Iraq. Who said irony was dead?)

    But were not getting out of the quagmire, not because our prospects in Iraq are good, but because President Bush believes that as long as he doesn’t admit defeat, then the defeat didn’t happen. Too bad Al Qaeda doesn’t listen to the Supreme Court as placidly as Al Gore did. And as long as we’re stuck there, a certain class will retain its auto-erotic combat fantasies.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (264fb9)

  64. Alphie-

    Do you think the Rockies care how many base runners the Diamondback had? Or the Patriots care how many first downs Dallas got?

    Americans care about casualties. Newspapers report casualties. Attacks that don’t result in casualties don’t make the paper so don’t show up on our radar screens. And the US casualty trend is dropping.

    Without looking at the data, I’ll bet that those attacks have decreased in both frequency and severity since the beginning of the year. So the IED destroying a Hummer followed immediately by an ambush that may have counted as a single attack a year ago is now a badly aimed mortar round or a potshot or an unexploded IED (which, according to Totten, counts as an attack even if we disarm it.)

    MartyH (52fae7)

  65. Without looking at the data, I’ll bet…

    Nice.

    The “public” may not care that much about how many Iraqis are dying, but the metrics to measure success or failure in Iraq have now been established.

    alphie (99bc18)

  66. “Ah yes the wisdom of those who have never been overseas nor served their nation”

    – Thomas Jackson

    To which everyone not already ignoring you immediately replies, “Where and when did you serve, Thomas Jackass?”

    And even if you did serve, you might want to be careful painting with that broad brush of yours: you (and I mean YOU, specifically, being a moron and all) never know who might fall into the “no military experience” category in this great big government of ours.

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  67. “When General Patreus was criticized my Moveon.org, they made snarky comments about how the Moveon.org people had never been in Iraq so they had no business contradicting someone who had actually been there. Remember that, everyone? Me neither. And of course when General Patreus was accused of having an agenda, they all defended him and said that we should trust him because of his experience. Everyone remember that? Me neither.”

    -Doc Rampage

    That is a perfectly legitimate, well-spoken grievance, and one that I agree wholeheartedly with (although the inverse is true as well, as Moops pointed out).

    For what its worth, I’m getting sick of people on either side of the aisle trying to turn soldiers into the proverbial Praetorian guard: assassinating (in a political sense) their leader in order to further an agenda. Leave the soldiers out of it altogether, or respect their opinions universally.

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  68. that is, “one with which I agree wholeheartedly”.

    Gotta be on the lookout for the Grammar Police in this day and age.

    Leviticus (3c2c59)

  69. Levy:

    I need not parade mycredentials before a cretin such as yourself who’d only deny them. Further given the depth of your ignorance (amply demonstrated in every comment and highlighting an lamentable lack of education) you’d have neither the wit nor experience to accept the demonstrated experience of your betters.

    I’ve served in Iraq, have you? I have also served in various other countries and understand the issues better than your fatuous and self dulgent comments, which demonbstrate that honesty, intelligence and a firm judgement are not exactly your lingua franca.

    But just to demonstrate how dull and trollish you are please define the following terms for us as they relate to intelligence:

    NOFORN
    ICEBERG

    Now :evy go among your trolls and eat an Eloi and tell us about your vast experience and knowledge.

    Troll.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  70. Hi Alphie-

    You asked how many attacks per week are acceptable. I said that Americans care about casualties, not attacks. And that’s why I said that the number of attacks per week doesn’t matter, just like the number of baserunners or first downs doesn’t matter. In no case did I say that the public does not care about Iraq deaths; you’re the one who brought up the phony metric of “Attacks.”

    Regarding the data, point me to any raw data listing attack and type and I’ll compare the first seven days in October this year to last andmop this place up with you. There will be fewer car bombs, fewer IEDs blowing up, fewer mortar barrages, fewer firefights. There probably will be more potshots and IEDs defused. I don’t need to see the raw data to tell you that-the downward trend in casualties either prove that attacks are down, or they’re a lot less effective.

    MartyH (52fae7)

  71. Read much?
    How about the last thing in stars and stripes. He was very clear this time.
    And follow the goddam link.

    Goddamn what motherfucking idiots.

    blah, you asswipe. I did read the article. The original text. Did you? Did you read the follow up? How would you say he felt about the relative importance of the problems sourcing from the main players he was talking about? Any thoughts on why the followup articles around the various medias stressed some of the players he criticized and downplayed or ignored the rest. If you read it, the original text, you’d know. So exactly what do you think is the revelation here? Who exactly is he criticizing? Or better put, what institutions is he criticizing and what exactly is he saying about their culpability and implying about their agendas?

    Badger…Georgia and the Sandwich Islands resident. But…he reads arabic. But so do Yon and Totten. And they are…shall we say…a touch closer to Iraq than Georgia or the Sandwich Islands.

    So which is it? Sanchez with all the credibility since he’s been there or Badger with all the credibility because he’s not there. Or is it credibility of the day for you as long as it agrees with what the folks doing your thinking for you say it should be?

    I don’t think anyone who reads this site with the exception of a bare handful of other marching morons considers you anything but a braying jackass.

    Or, slightly paraphrasing your latest projection, a goddamn motherfucking idiot.

    Just Passing Through (ff997a)

  72. Moops, your reversing of my comment makes it false. The pro-war types as a group have not used the kind of fake sensitivity that the anti-war types use. We didn’t claim absolute moral authority for anyone nor truck bereaved mothers around the country so that we could use the “How dare you?” argument in defending their hysterical rantings from criticism. When we defended Petreus, it wasn’t against simple disagreement, but against vicious and unfounded character assassination.

    If WLS had attacked these captains and called them traitors and if you were defending their reputations, then you might have the beginnings of a point. But that’s not the case, is it? The pro-war types here are pointing out political bias and questioning the purported expertise of the captains. Both points are legitimate and if that is all that Moveon.org had done then there would have been nowhere near the backlash. Of course questioning his expertise would have been silly, but they could have said: “Look, we respect General Petreus, but he has been given the most important job in the military and making it a success is extremely important to him personally, so we question whether he can be perfectly objective in his assessment.” If you guys had just said that, then we could have had a civilized argument. But that’s not enough, you had to make it personal and vicious.

    Similarly, for example, the pro-war crowd has not demonized honest anti-war military men or claimed that they are in the pocket of Soros or anyone else. If they lied about their records or about events, then sure, we let them have it, just like we let liars have it in areas unrelated to politics (I had a lot of fun with James Frey), but if it was just a disagreement, then we have mostly been reasonable as this post and the comment chain displays. The thing is, conservatives tend to be honest people who genuinely dislike liars. Leftists, on the other hand, tend to view lies as just another rhetorical tool.

    Doc Rampage (ebfd7a)

  73. “For what its worth, I’m getting sick of people on either side of the aisle trying to turn soldiers into the proverbial Praetorian guard: assassinating (in a political sense) their leader in order to further an agenda. Leave the soldiers out of it altogether, or respect their opinions universally.”

    Levi,

    Extremely well said. hats off to you.

    voiceofreason (b58fd1)

  74. wls #52:

    Okay, let’s compare a 20 second sound bite obtained in an airport with an opinion piece written by 12 veterans.

    Sanchez says he lost several men to roadside bombs, one in Diyala province. He thinks the alliance of sheiks in western Iraq that rejected al Qaeda makes it safer than it used to be in Fallujah and Ramadi.

    Fair enough.

    From the opinion piece:

    “Though temporary reinforcing operations in places like Fallujah, An Najaf, Tal Afar, and now Baghdad may brief well on PowerPoint presentations, in practice they just push insurgents to another spot on the map and often strengthen the insurgents’ cause by harassing locals to a point of swayed allegiances.”

    How does the first negate the second?

    Itsme (689e6f)

  75. How long will it take?

    When will we withdraw from Germany?
    When will we withdraw from Japan?
    When will we withdraw from Korea?
    When will we withdraw from Bosnia?
    When will we withdraw from Kosovo?

    BTW, there was a significant amount of “insurgency” in Germany in the post-War period. The occupation did not technically end until IIRC 1954, with the assumption of civil control by the Adenauer administration (and there was still rubble in some of Germany’s major cities).

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  76. Actually, there was almost no insurgency in postwar West Germany. The Bush Devotion Syndrome victims made it up to assuage their feelings of incompetence. (Partisans assassinated one German mayor: in Iraq, sometimes more than that die in a week.)

    Are we still in combat in Germany, Japan, Korea, Bosnia, and Kosovo? We invaded Iraq 4½ years ago. What did WW2 look like, that long after Pearl Harbor?

    It’s remarks like those that make we wonder if the pro-war remnant really care what they say.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (264fb9)

  77. Lazarus-

    4 and a half years after WWII started there were over four hundred thousand dead American soldiers. Is that the comparison that you are looking for?

    MartyH (52fae7)

  78. Andrew,

    As I recall my post-WWII history (circa 1948-1949), Germany had been partitioned into zones and the free zones were encircled by the eastern/Russian zone and subject to Stalin’s blockade. Those unfortunate enough to be East Germans were walled in and subjugated and the rest survived because of American airlifts. So I wouldn’t describe Germany’s post-war period as a happy place.

    DRJ (67ced6)

  79. I think you’re thinking of Berlin, DRJ.

    alphie (99bc18)

  80. DRJ: East Germany had a full-scale insurrection against the Soviet occupation in (IIRC) 1953. The East German reaction to Stalinite repression isn’t, however, very germane to Iraq, unless you’re suggesting that our occupying force and the puppet government we tried to establish are comparable to the Soviet model. I would think that argument would be more appealing to me than to you. Another Drew is probably echoing Condi Rice’s attempt, early in the quagmire, to minimize the bad situation on the ground with a false comparison to Germany. (I wonder how much better Iraq would look if the Administration had taken such warnings seriously instead of believing its own propaganda.) Then the right-wing blogs wrote justifications with forgeries released via Fox News (same link).

    MartyH: Yeah, and what’s worse is FDR raised taxes to 91% instead of the Bush Tax Cuts. But you tell me, is it better to lose more lives and obviously win the war, or to do it on the cheap in both troops and money (although I suppose we could have saved all those billions that went to failed reconstruction) and lose?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (264fb9)

  81. Poor Andy braindead. There was a very limited insurgency because the USA killed the insurgents immediately as they did any Germans found to be violating the rules of war. Perhaps you may have ignored the fact that Germany had been reduced to a smoking ruin after six years of war and millions dead.

    Perhaps if measures like this had been used in Iraq there would be no insurgency either. Somehow one gets the feeling that ole braindead wouldn’t like to either serve; sacrifice; nor do what his forebearers did to insure his freedoms. He’d rather whine and point out how our military doesn’t match his brillance or how we’d have no problems if only he were in charge of the government.

    Somehow if his wishes were granted his reign would look and result in the same conditions that existed under Saddam. Sad to see people rationalizing evil. Of all the suicide cults America confronts none is more demented nor lethal than the disgruntled leftists at home.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  82. “I’ve served in Iraq, have you?”

    -Thomas Jackson

    This may sound a little blunt, Tommy Boy, but I don’t give a fuck where you’ve served. Can’t you read? “Leave the soldiers out of [the war debate] or respect their opinions universally.” Since the latter isn’t going to happen, let’s go with the former and stop pretending that “service” entitles anyone to a position beyond reproach.

    It’s admirable that you served, and totally irrelevant. I call you a moron because of the things you’ve said, not because of the things you’ve done.

    Leviticus (b987b0)

  83. So Lazarus-

    You’d prefer almost half a million American soldiers dead, Muslims in internment camps, nukes dropped on Tehran and Riyadh, and a 91% tax rate? ‘Cause that’s the way WWII ended.

    How did we “lose?” Last I checked, casualties-US, ISF, and civilain are down significantly. Gravediggers are running out of work. AQI has lost its provisional capital-twice. Kids are wearing soccer shirts with US Army unit designations on the streets of Baghdad.

    I’m not syaing that the war is over, or that Iraq is Eden-what I am saying is that the current trend is positive, and there is no way you can say we lost.

    MartyH (52fae7)

  84. Considering the trends are the other way in Afghanistan, Marty, have we lost there?

    alphie (99bc18)

  85. You don’t lose until you quit, Alphie.

    You, of all people, should know that.

    MartyH (52fae7)

  86. The costs can exceed any reasonable possible value of the undertaking though, Marty.

    alphie (99bc18)

  87. MartyH, IMHO our dialogue has looked sort of like this:

    Pro-war: We’re winning in Iraq.
    Anti-war: No, we’re making no progress in Iraq.
    Pro-war: But we won WW2, and at times in WW2 we weren’t making progress.
    Anti-war: In the amount of time we fought in Iraq, er actually finished WW2.
    Pro-war: Iraq shouldn’t be compared to WW2.

    The current trend in Iraq is “positive” only at the edges. Worst of all is that it’s positive towards what exactly: a theocratic state friendly to Iran? That prospect is so unappealing we’re now working with Sunni warlords (in good ol’ Anbar province). Second worst, the alleged indicators of “progress”, e.g. lower death toll, have unpromising alternative explanations (e.g., ethnic cleansing has been completed in many Baghdad neighborhoods) and have occurred in the past only to prove ephemeral.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  88. You don’t lose until you quit, Alphie.

    Las Vegas pawnshops are littered with the ex-possessions of fools who tried repeating double-or-nothing until they hit the table limit.

    The math-inclined can Google “martingale”.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  89. Alphie #79 – Yes, I was. Good point.

    Andrew J. Lazarus – I must be missing something. In your comment #76, you asked where Germany and other WWII reconstruction countries were 4+ years after WWII started. I responded regarding Berlin’s status at 6-8 years. Why isn’t that germane?

    DRJ (67ced6)

  90. OK, DRJ, but if it’s germane, it doesn’t cut in your direction. Berlin may have been short on food and fuel, but there was no “insurgency” against the Western allies going on.

    Rather than confront the poor planning (reconstruction billions ripped off, expected troop withdrawals impossible due to violence, Chalabi puppet government untenable, etc.), the Bush devotees haul out excuse after excuse.

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  91. Lazarus-

    I don’t think Iraq is just getting better “around the edges.” I think that the first necessary condition to Iraq being a stable partner is close to being in place-reduce the violence to an acceptable level. It’s a lot easier to get people to talk if they aren’t shooting at each other.

    You label yourself as anti-war, but your arguments relating to WWII arguments call for more war, not less. I’m sure that you are opposed to raising taxes to 91%, instituting a draft, and invading Iran and Pakistan, but that’s the logical way to end this war quickly-or step on the path to Armageddon.

    MartyH (52fae7)

  92. Las Vegas pawnshops are littered with the ex-possessions of fools who tried repeating double-or-nothing until they hit the table limit.

    And only idiots would attempt to win something that is specifically rigged for them to lose.

    And only blind anti-war zealots like yourself would make such a ridiculous comparison.

    Paul (d71395)

  93. Andrew,

    Berlin’s situation was so precarious it didn’t even have a secure food supply until 1950, and your own comment #80 admits there were East German insurrections in the 1950’s. The parallels are not identical but I think both Germany and Iraq show that post-war reconstruction takes time.

    DRJ (67ced6)

  94. DRJ,

    My father and I had the opportunity to visit east and west Berlin in the late seventies. The contrast between the two was shocking. While in the western side at the place where they left one of the churches in ruins as a reminder, we were approached by a German woman in her 80’s who asked my Dad “Are you Americans?” He replied yes and she said “I just want to thank you for what your country did for West Berlin. Without your country we couldn’t have survived”. She then went on her way.
    I’ll never forget that two minute encounter.

    Voice of Reason (10af7e)

  95. VOR,

    That is a memorable experience. I’m glad you shared it.

    I also visited West Germany in the 1970’s (30 years after WWII ended) and the moment I most remember was on a tour bus when we were inspected by very serious German troops in uniform and carrying weapons. This was normal routine for Germans. It’s easy to think everyone lives the way Americans do but they don’t, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn this first-hand.

    DRJ (67ced6)

  96. Are their two Voices of Reason on this site (voice of reason and Voice of Reason)? If not, well… the fluctuation is messing with my head.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  97. The total cost of the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe was about $13 billion.

    When converted to today’s dollars, that amount wouldn’t even cover the tab to keep our troops in Iraq for 6 months.

    alphie (99bc18)

  98. Levi,

    There are two. Someone else prior to me must have been using the moniker. I checked via google and found a post from April of this year. The only way to discern the difference was that his or her name linked to their blog – mine has no link.

    Voice of Reason (10af7e)

  99. Ok. Also, you use capital letters.

    Leviticus (35fbde)

  100. Good idea!
    P.S. A U realy girl?

    Memmorium (67a8ff)


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