Thursday, July 17, 2003

It sucks to be remote.

I'm glad someone brought this up.  Jeff Jarvis, of Buzzmachine fame, is bothered by some of the complaints coming out of Iraq by our troops who are tire of being there.  First off, I'd like to point out that the journalist (via Buzzmachine) that quoted the bitching never bothered to be unbiased with any positive quotes.  It's an entirely biased, one-sided slam on the Bush Administration AND on our men and women over there.  I'd bet that there must be at least on GI there who knew why there were there and knew that they had a job to do that they haven't finished doing yet.  Finding one of those was probably too much effort for Mr. Kofman. 

The first-termers quoted in the article are understandable.  Some people volunteer without really knowing what they're getting into.  So much so, in fact, that in 1991 you had articles and newscasts about Marines trying to quit any way they could, claim to be gay, get pregnant, and claim conscientious objector status.  The last being the ones I remember the most.

If they're bitching about being there for ten months, several of those low-intensity, then it's a good thing we aren't fighting a major war against a country who never attacked us; ya know like Germany in the 1940's.  It's a sucky place to be for them, I know that, but it's what they're paid for, it's what they volunteered for (whether they bothered to find out beforehand or not). 

Remote tours suck, and having recently worked for months sucking rubber in an M40 I know that wearing the equipment is not fun.  Seven years ago there were soldiers who got to go on a remote tour at a remote at an isolated Pacific island where some of them got to stand in the sun near the equator while wearing their chem. gear and unloading America's chemical weapons for destruction; not fun.  I'm know they all bitched about.  I bitched about the place and I was there as a civilian with my own room.  Bitching is what GIs do.  It's one of the most cherished traditions of the military, but bitching to a press that has been demonstrably hostile to GIs four almost half a century was stupid.  Now the GIs who were stupid enough to trust a reporter get to parade their idiocy for all the world to see.  Even in 1995, when I got out of the Air Force, everyone I served with knew that you can't trust reporters, and we knew that they'd do what they could to make us and the military look bad.  There are exceptions, but not enough to tilt the odds.  I can only guess these youngsters were lulled into a sense of security by the few exceptions they met, and by recent surge of 'patriotism' among journalists.



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