17 March 2006

Outside looking in

Recently I've started feeling kind of like I'm stuck in an aquarium and some ill-mannered, overweight brat with a cheeseburger in one hand and mickey mouse ears on his head is tapping on the glass near my face. Ironically, I'm the cause for this feeling. With the recent headlines discussing the plot to take over the embassy and the seating of Iraq's new government and the Samarra patrol I've been reading a lot more news and other people's blogs to see what other people are saying about it. I need to stop that. In the military commo world we call it the "10-mile screwdriver", in the sporting world it's called "arm chair quarterbacking". While I was reading these articles and blogs I came across some postings that made me acutely aware of how many whackos there are out there spouting off (I'll pause here for a moment to hope that I don't have three fingers pointing back at me).

It really frusterates me when people start talking about things that are happening here like they were sitting in the room with the planners. Like they were there when PFC Doe was walking the streets of Ramadi with the Iraqi police patrol. Like they were riding shotgun when SPC Smith shot the grill off a vehicle that tried to rush a checkpoint. Like they had been sitting next to some poor staff officer staring at a computer screen for 12 hours at a time waiting for green dots to turn red and then has to file a 10 page report that explains why the green dots turned red. Like they were hiding behind the concrete wall with SGT Jones after he got knocked out of his HMMWV when the IED blew up as he tried to make sure that his driver and gunner were ok at the same time that he was trying to locate the source of the RPG and AK-47 fire. Like they were in the cockpit with CW2 Jackson when he determined hostile intent and fired off a burst of 30mm into what used to be a person.

I made up these Soldiers names, but the scenarios are very real. These are the kinds of events that are faced every day. These arm chair quarterbacks have no idea. I'm not asking that people stop debating the larger political issues, I'm just asking that people don't use troops as fodder for their politics and that people who haven't been here on the ground don't make blanket assumptions of what it's really like or what the decision process is.

Pardon me for a moment please, I need to get back to my tactical roots; if all you know is what you see on TV then shut the !$*& up, you have no %#&*ing clue what you're talking about. Thank you.


Anonymous Brian said...

I see this is a topic you don't feel passionate about at all :0)... anyway thanks for you part. You should know that anytime a report on the green zone or the court room come up I point out that your in charge of communications over there..
See you in 3/4 more time then you have already been there (yay..)

Blogger Rob said...

I may just be cynical about this issue, but I don't think ANYTHING is going to make people stop doing that. A lot of them get their jollies off pretending to be big military experts. They all want to be ex-navy seal/fighter pilot/army ranger/cia spy supermen, and posture themselves to get attention and respect. Hearkens back to that old, "If you were there then you don't talk about it, and if you talk about it then you weren't there," saying.

In short, I agree with you, but I think the only thing that we can do is confront and dime out people like this when we have the opportunity.

Blogger Rob said...

Also, a couple of ideas for your paradise smoking porch:

1. Get a projector and have a movie night. Drape a sheet on a wall, set up chairs and play a dvd. Make popcorn if able, whatever.

2. If everyone pitched in, you could buy an outdoor wet bar. Obviously you couldn't use it in the standard way, but having juice, coke, water and ice and little garnishes like those umbrellas or cherries. Would be fun.

3. Find someone that can paint and have them do a landscape of some lush beach with green trees or beautiful mountains or something non-destertey on one of the walls.

4. Get a big inflatable pool and put it up there.

Let me know if these ideas are usefull or if ya want more. Take it easy. =)

Your Friendly MWR Officer

Blogger Robert F. Griffing said...

Yah, you're right. There are people who have written about many of the bad reports, and also the almost monolithic anti-attitude in the press. They're trying to influence public opinion much more than report news.

One reporter, who is actually often with the forces, pointed out that many reporters never leave their hotel rooms, instead paying locals as "stringers." the locals, meanwhile have discovered what sells. Need I say more?

BTW: A new poll on trusted institutions recently came out. And the winner of the most trusted institution in America award is...

That's right, y'all in uniform!!!

One more bit of news, Iraq's secret document trove, and former top Iraqi official "spilling-their-guts-info" is beginning to be released. What are the first indications? 1. Saddam did have WMD--it went to Syria, etc. 2. Saddam knew that Bin Laden's people were in the country, which the 9/11 commission also said ("connection"). 3. Saddam was training terrorists for action outside of the country.

Be of good cheer--you're part of the good guys. The other side is a bunch of liars.

Anonymous Brian said...

Still can't quite believe my dad said BTW and ya'll... been spending too much time on southern blogs I guess..

Blogger Rob said...

Interesting book called The Secret War In Iraq by Yossef Bodansky. Talks about the WMD going to Syria and some other unreported interesting details. One example was the intelligence the Russians were feeding Saddam to try to avert the war beforehand. Not sure how accurate all of it is - not to imply that it isn't.


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