Sunday, February 08, 2004

Frontline News from Iraq

NOTE: The oldman is still in the process of writing his articles on trade, the economy, and the jobs situation. He'd hoped to have them up this weekend, but right now he's having trouble getting his laundry done! Reminder to self: move to someplace where there is no winter. Until then, here's this tidbit.

The Washington Post has a great article dealing with frontline views of soldiers returning from Iraq and attempting to debrief their new replacements on the dangers there. As the article reports:

" As one of the biggest troop rotations in U.S. history gets underway in Iraq, with almost 250,000 soldiers coming or going, the seasoned units that are leaving are doing their best to pass on such hard-won knowledge to their successors, in e-mails, in essays, in PowerPoint presentations and rambling memoirs posted on Web sites or sent to rear detachments. And in the process, these veterans of Iraq have provided an alternate history of the Army's experience there over the past nine months -- one that is far more personal than the images offered by the media and often grimmer than the official accounts of steady progress."

Here is the site:

For more "tell it like it is" and "calling a spade a spade" upfront talk from former soldiers, check out Hackworth's priceless site. As a taste here are excerpted quotes from an open letter to General Schoomaker:

" ... sounding the alarm that the Army personnel system is broken...

" According to the major: “Ticket-punching, rampant careerism and civilian corporate management policies have virtually destroyed a vibrant Army that was once only concerned with people, cohesion, teamwork and winning. Not self.”

" “The Army must change,” he says. “We have the finest soldiers in the world and our leaders aren't corrupt, but times have changed, and war has evolved from static fronts to global terrorism. To ensure we uphold our oath to defend America, the Army must transform itself.” "

More of that kind of straight talk can be found at Hackworth's site. For the record Hackworth was one of the most highly decorated soldiers of the Vietnam era and the author of a definitive military manual on (successful) Southeast Asian counter-insurgency tactics.


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