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  1.    #1  
    I challenge the president or anyone who has us for 15 months to ride alongside me!

    A Violent, 'Normal' Day in Baghdad
    Photojournalist Captures the Troop Surge Firsthand, as Soldiers Navigate the Perils of Baghdad


    July 16, 2007 —

    More than 30,000 U.S. troops are trying to tame the violence in Baghdad as part of President Bush's troop surge.

    American soldiers describe the constant stress of living in a war zone, voice their frustrations over the politics with the war strategy in Washington, and are seen as they watch an armored vehicle burn with six of their fellow troops trapped inside, in a rare and raw look at what American troops are experiencing on the front lines in Baghdad.

    ABC News has an exclusive look at that campaign, a portion of which was filmed by British photographer Sean Smith of the Guardian newspaper, who was embedded with the U.S. Army's Second Infantry Division. (Click on the video in the player on the right to see a clip of what Smith filmed in Iraq.)

    Watch more of Nick Watt's report tonight on "Nightline."

    Smith spent two weeks with members of Apache Company and filmed them as they went on daily routine investigations, including one of a bomb making factory hidden in a private home. Soon after they arrived an explosion hit and an Iraqi soldier and several neighbors, including children, were hit.

    The U.S. soldiers set up a first aid station and provided medical assistance in what was a typical day for the troops.

    "I challenge anybody in Congress to do my rotation," said Spc. Michael Vassell of Apache Company. "They don't have to do anything, they just come hang out with me and go home at the times I go home, and come stay here 15 months with me."

    Apache Company was sent to Iraq in June 2006 for a 12-month rotation which has since been extended to a 15-month tour.

    "It's a joke. We will have spent 14 months in contact, basically fighting all 14 months," said Cpl. Joshua Lake. "Our battalion got right to Baghdad & first week we were in Baghdad we lost two guys in our battalion & it hasn't stopped since."

    'We've Got an IED'

    In another instance of Smith's reporting, Lake's platoon responded to a Bradley armored vehicle being hit by a roadside bomb, leaving six American soldiers and an Iraqi translator burning to death inside.

    Lake and his fellow soldiers then raided a nearby house to search for the attackers. He said on a day like that, troops are given four to six hour breaks after these kinds of grueling assignments, which leaves little time to truly calm down.

    "We got grenades going off, we've got an IED blowing up your vehicle & and then you are expected to go back in those four to six, four to five hours & and relax!" he said. "You just don't have time to do it. Your body never gets to come down, you're always on that heightened sense of alertness."

    Two days later, Lake returned to the same neighborhood as his unit raided a house looking for weapons and insurgents. But all they found was an old woman and her dogs; the woman was visibly distressed.

    After spending two weeks with Apache Company in Baghdad, Smith noted, "That's what being a soldier in so-called battle situations is about. The abnormal becomes the normal."

    The next day, U.S. soldiers spotted a suspicious car circling the block where the old woman also lives. They ordered the driver to stop, and when he did not they opened fire.

    They tried, unsuccessfully, to revive him.

    A woman is seen in the video footage telling troops the victim was a taxi driver who was coming to pick her up -- he was just looking for her house.

    Smith said the troops first priority is to defend themselves as some questioned their place in the war. "The frustration is not, 'Look how difficult this is.' The frustration is 'Look how difficult this is and what exactly for?'" Smith said.

    "Because we have people up there in Congress with the brain of a 2-year-old who don't know what they are doing -- they don't experience it. I challenge the president or anyone who has us for 15 months to ride alongside me," Vassell said. "I [would] do another 15 months if he comes out here and rides along with me every day for 15 months. I'll do 15 more months. They don't even have to pay me extra."


    Bring 'em home!
  2. #2  
    Cool! Now President Cowboy can make up for that messy little AWOL thing from 1972-73. Me likey.
  3. #3  
    what an appalling horror junior forced those guys into --

    I saved the video, I'll upload a copy when I can ---
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  4. #4  
    Hey.....

    How about this, we stay there at least another 3 years, send da over there riding point in the ride along program. Then da can come back here after 15 months and tell us what it's really like over there.

    That's if an IED, sniper or one of the crazy indigenous types dosn't get him

  5.    #5  
    Quote Originally Posted by treotraveler View Post
    Hey.....

    How about this, we stay there at least another 3 years, send da over there riding point in the ride along program. Then da can come back here after 15 months and tell us what it's really like over there.

    That's if an IED, sniper or one of the crazy indigenous types dosn't get him

    Wow, you really do miss the point don't Ya?
  6. #6  
    how about we leave now and make all the simpleminders happy only to return later (in a year or two) at the demand of the same simpleminders when genocide breaks out and we are the only country that are able/willing to stop it.

    Aaron
  7. #7  
    'Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children....This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from an iron cross.'
    Dwight Eisenhower
  8.    #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by aairman23 View Post
    how about we leave now and make all the simpleminders happy only to return later (in a year or two) at the demand of the same simpleminders when genocide breaks out and we are the only country that are able/willing to stop it.

    Aaron
    How about we try a little regional diplomacy?
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas View Post
    How about we try a little regional diplomacy?
    Sounds good. what "carrots" and "sticks" do we have?

    It seems that the regional nations are simply larger versions of the warring factions within Iraq. If those parties are not cooperating locally, how do we get them to cooperate regionally?
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by aairman23 View Post
    how about we leave now and make all the simpleminders happy only to return later (in a year or two) at the demand of the same simpleminders when genocide breaks out and we are the only country that are able/willing to stop it.

    Aaron
    Simpleminders? Which simpleminders? And wasn't that exactly how we got into this mess? The simple-minded chickenhawks that thought they could install Democracy on the cheap in the middle-east combined with the simpletons that elected them because they actually bought into the rhetoric and lies that there were ties between the 9-11 hijackers and Saddam - do you mean all of those simpleminders or just a few of them?
  11. #11  
    don't let the name calling bother you Inny. I suppose that using the term chicken hawk inflamed some people. As a veteran myself, I am also especially sensitive to those who promote others to go off to war while at the same time having no intention of participating themselves or expecting their children to participate. Some people have little or no idea of what war is like other than video games which they can reset if they get 'killed'. Unfortunately there is this prevalent mentality that we can have others fight our wars for us while we sit back and watch, much like watching the gardener trim the hedge. Putting a yellow ribbon on your SUV is not the same as getting traumatic brain injury from an IED which is devastating and becoming a highly prevalent injury among those on duty in Iraq. Google it and you will see how this is rapidly becoming a major problem. I happen to be a VA doctor and experience it first hand. At any rate I am digressing here but I have all the respect in the world to those who put their money where their mouths are and walk the walk, like some on this forum who have served in the military especially in the current war. But those like President Bush and Vice president Cheney who skirted their own options to go to war for our country and now would have other do what they would not, I have increasingly little respect. Anyway I also regret the mischaracterization of the words others put in our mouths. Such as that we want to withdraw right now, as if anyone is asking for something other than a well planned phased withdrawl. My quote earlier may have seemed somewhat nebulous but was meant to draw attention to the costs which we all have sufferred from this misguided war, spoken from a great veteran of war and a great republican Dwight Eisenhower. Dwight's insight into war contrasts greatly with our current administration's. And I am sad to say, I have very little faith in their ability to navigate us out of this mess they have gotton us into.
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by cellmatrix View Post
    I happen to be a VA doctor and experience it first hand.
    Wow...I knew I liked you. Seriously, I cannot thank you enough for helping out our fellow vets and choosing to help other vets when you likely had many other places to practice medicine....just very cool. Thanks Cell.

    As to the name calling...yea, the chickenhawk thing probably does bother some. But so does being called a liberal (in the negative GOP-defined way) bother some but they don't seem to mind tossing that one around. And frankly...I've earned the right to call them exactly what they are. When GW Bush fullfils his military commitment and makes up for that lost year back in
    '72 maybe I'll stop calling him a chickenhawk. But 5-deferment Cheney...I cannot see how I could ever view him as anything but a chickenhawk.
    Last edited by moderateinny; 07/20/2007 at 09:53 PM.
  13. #13  
    this war was conceived and planned by chickenhawks who thought as much about the soldiers maimed by their arrogant ignorant folly, as they do about yesterday's disposable Pampers.

    junior and cheney spent far far more time ensuring that their rich friends got tax breaks, oil leases, and relief from enviromental rules -- than ensuring that the wounded from their jolly little war were cared for.
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  14. #14  
    Hey, be nice and show some respect for Cheney...
    He's our commander-in-chief now
    (at least 'til Dubya comes out of surgury)!

    "Everybody Palm!"

    Palm III/IIIC, Palm Vx, Verizon: Treo 650, Centro, Pre+.
    Leo killed my future Pre 3 & Opal, dagnabitt!
    Should I buy a Handspring Visor instead?
    Got a Pre2! "It eats iPhones for Breakfast"!
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by duanedude1 View Post
    Hey, be nice and show some respect for Cheney...
    He's our commander-in-chief now
    (at least 'til Dubya comes out of surgury)!

    quite right. I certainly meant no disrespect for our most beloved, brilliant, and beneviolent President Cheney !!

    Its my understanding that the decision on whether or not junior is allowed to return to being the titular "president" is dependent on the outcome of that “surgury”. The colonoscopy is a routine procedure done in order to determine whether he has developed over the last year, any brain matter.

    He’ll be allowed back to the whitehouse only if he gets a clean, brain matter free, examination.
    755P Sprint SERO (upgraded from unlocked GSM 650 on T-Mobile)
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by duanedude1 View Post
    Hey, be nice and show some respect for Cheney...
    He's our commander-in-chief now
    (at least 'til Dubya comes out of surgury)!

    Quote Originally Posted by BARYE View Post
    quite right. I certainly meant no disrespect for our most beloved, brilliant, and beneviolent President Cheney !!

    Its my understanding that the decision on whether or not junior is allowed to return to being the titular "president" is dependent on the outcome of that “surgury”. The colonoscopy is a routine procedure done in order to determine whether he has developed over the last year, any brain matter.

    He’ll be allowed back to the whitehouse only if he gets a clean, brain matter free, examination.
    I agree with the latter opinion, and suspect that most Americans believe Cheney is the defacto commander in chief of our country.
  17. Dim-Ize's Avatar
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    #17  
    Wouldn't it be great, if those who decided to take a nation to war - were by mandate - required to serve in the conflict? Do you think nations - any nation, would be so quick to do so?

    I'm a republican.
  18. #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by Dim-Ize View Post
    Wouldn't it be great, if those who decided to take a nation to war - were by mandate - required to serve in the conflict? Do you think nations - any nation, would be so quick to do so?

    I'm a republican.
    It would be nice. But I don't have that expectation. I would prefer that the commander in chief be someone that has served their country in a time of war. But that would limit an already pretty shallow pool of talent to serve.

    So my expectations for "civilians" that take us to war is that they be even more thoughtful and weary of committing our troops - and when and if they do they actually do listen to the military officers with experience in war, rather than repeatedly firing them to suit political agendas.
    Last edited by moderateinny; 07/31/2007 at 09:08 PM.
  19.    #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by moderateinny View Post
    It would be nice. But I don't have that expectation. I would prefer that the commander in chief be someone that has served their country in a time of war. But that would limit an already pretty shallow pool of talent to serve.
    You had it with John Kerry.
  20. #20  
    I've had it with John Kerry, too!
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