Theodore's World: Soldiers in Iraq Say They Don’t Hear Deliberations Back Home

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August 24, 2007

Soldiers in Iraq Say They Don’t Hear Deliberations Back Home

Half a World Away: Soldiers in Iraq Don’t Hear Deliberations Back Home (and Often Don’t Care)
Popular Mechanics


It never even hits the radar screen. For the troops on the front lines and the colonels in the rear—and just about everyone in between—the big news in Iraq every day is that they’re still alive and healthy. When it comes to Senate votes on the U.S. presence in Iraq, Sunday talk shows thrashing out length of deployment and stateside pundits talking to themselves, nearly every grunt, airman, sailor, soldier and Marine I speak with just doesn’t care.

It’s not negligence or a lack of opinion about how long they think they should stay here; they’re tuned out because the news doesn’t impact their day-to-day operations—and because comms often leave them uninformed from half a world away.

War deliberations and post-firefight reactions back home can vanish during the 12-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week base-line duty of the average soldier in Iraq. So when line troops are swamped carrying gear from street patrol to street patrol, village raid to village raid, for up to 20 hours a day, they often don’t have the time for, or the luxury of, Internet access. And when they do get it, they’re not punching up CNN—it’s e-mails from home they’re reading.

During last month’s heated, all-night debate on Capitol Hill about when and if the U.S. should withdraw from Iraq, I asked several military officers of different ages and ranks about their thoughts on a potential pullout. Nearly every one stressed how important his or her work here has been—and will be.

“If we leave within months, Iraq will be a province of Iran,” one colonel said. “Everyone with any education or skills who hasn’t already left will end up leaving.”

A mortarman with the 25th Infantry stationed in Tal Afar stressed that he thought the American media has not been reporting what really goes on during daily ops across the war zone.

“It’s all about body counts,” he said. Marines out in the former Wild West of Anbar province said the same. They are proud of the job they’ve done in cleaning up what was once considered a lost, Al Qaeda-infested area. They wondered why America hasn’t heard MORE of that news

A sergeant 1st class with the 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, whose unit is attached to the Marines near Habbaniyah, patrols daily around Al Anbar province. This is his third tour, and he’s confident that progress is being made, despite what he calls early missteps in policy.

“I think Americans understand our sacrifice, but they don’t understand that we’re just not ready to leave.”

The sergeant expressed an opinion I’ve heard from dozens of line and support troops and commanding officers about the continuing effort to rebuild, piece by piece:

“We need a little more time—some places are more violent than others. But that’s how things happen. This country can’t be built in five years. And don’t we have a responsibility to help them build it?”

Wild Thing's comment........

Note the source for this story, Popular Mechanics. Nothing against that magazine, Nick subscribes to it, but good lord when is our media going to stop being part of the enemy of our land.

I love how our troops say things, aren't they awesome!!

Posted by Wild Thing at August 24, 2007 12:40 AM


The Government needs to back off and let the kids do their jobs! Our soldiers are awesome and they do a fantastic job. Quit telling us how many have died (as with any war, casualties are going to happen.) It's tragic and sad, but so far, this war is still winnable.
Our kids need support, guidance and the love of all of us to keep them going!
Instead of protests, everyone ought to be making up care packages and treating these kids as heroes, because, baby, they are.
They're doing it so you don't have to.
They're red blooded American kids through and through.
Give them a hand, America! Stand up and cheer!

Posted by: Lynn at August 24, 2007 08:07 AM

To a soldier in a combat zone, only his buddies and the missions at hand matter. The great, endless trivia that is American daily life does not matter. The few thoughts of anything outside the war zone usually are about family.

Posted by: TomR at August 24, 2007 10:58 AM

Those soldiers redefine an old term 'back in the world'. You're too busy to dwell on the mundane that erodes morale, soldiering is a 24/7 job, you have to keep your head straight, unfettered by the petty bickering back home, anything less than the mission and the welfare of your fellow soldiers is irrelevant or people die. It's all about surviving and winning, the media is bent on eroding their morale which is deadly. Sure 3000 plus deaths are too many, contrast that with previous wars where that many were lost in a single day or battle. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than the fighter in the field and they don't need to be harangued by the media about it.

Posted by: Jack at August 24, 2007 01:18 PM

Wild Thing,

I'm sorry but I don't see this story as being something put out by an enemy.

Popular Mechanics is the the only print media that stood up to the looney truthers like rosie pig odumbell and their "Bush attacked the U.S. and blew up all the building at ground zero" nonsense by completely debunking it.

If I was defending this country over in Iraq, or anywhere else for that matter, I would try and disconnect from the "loser" label the greasy pusguts in D.C. try and pin on the troops by ignoring the ignorance that spews out of their mouths without impunity.

All my spare time would be to stay connected to the people that mattered most to me. The dinks in D.C. wouldn't be on that list.

I would love to know what the troops think of this article.

Posted by: Dan at August 24, 2007 01:39 PM

Lynn, I agree, I wish that would happen. I pray every day that the politicians would stay out of this war. Leave our military alone they don't need a bunch of leftie politicians telling them how to fight.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 24, 2007 02:05 PM

Tom, your so right, well said.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 24, 2007 02:05 PM

Jack thank you, that is so true.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 24, 2007 02:06 PM

Dan, LOL that is not what I said.
That is ok, here is what I said....

"when is our media going to stop being part of the enemy of our land.".

I think it is great that Popular Mechanics did this story, but they are not really considered part of the major media, like CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC,FOX, magzaines like Time magazines that has bashed this war to high heaven and things like that. And our major newspapers. Things that the majority of people are exposed to everyday and are not being told the many great things our troops are doing.

I know exactly what you mean and you are right I am proud of Poplular Mechanics for their article.

I guess I didn't say how I felt correctly, I apologize for being confusing.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 24, 2007 02:12 PM