Vets For Freedom National Heroes Tour, Texas Stops

March 2, 2008

Many of the Milblogs have made posts about the Vets For Freedom National Heroes Tour that will kick off on Friday, March 14th in San Diego and travel across the country, making various stops along the way, finally culminating In New York City on Wednesday April 9th. All of the vets on the tour are some of the most decorated heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ve all been there. They know the progress that our Troops are making in those countries. They know the cost of pulling our Troops out prematurely.

Many of America’s most decorated war heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan have packed their bags and are hitting the road on a national bus tour to take their non-partisan message of progress and freedom from coast-to-coast.

The Vets for Freedom National Heroes Tour is about supporting our troops, honoring their commitment, and rallying the country to complete the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At this critical juncture in our country, we need Americans, lawmakers and the media, to fully recognize—and appreciate—the sacrifice of our brave military and the dramatic success they have achieved, especially in Iraq with the new counterinsurgency strategy.

We hope to see you along the way—come out, meet some American heroes and support our troops!

The stops in Texas have been planned and many events have been scheduled for the Heroes, for their stops here. We’ve also learned that Blackfive TV’s Pro Correspondants will be covering events as the tour moves across the nation and filing video updates. Below, is the promo shot by Uncle Jimbo of Blackfive.

The Vets For Freedom National Heroes Tour will be in Texas from March 19th through March 20th. Many events have been scheduled. Some will not be open to the public, while others will be.


March 19: San Antonio, TX

0900: Alamo visit and participation in “Alamo Blood Drive”

1100: Lunch at Menger Hotel

1300: Personal visits to wounded warriors at Brook Army Medical Center

1400: Wreath laying ceremony at National Veteran’s Cemetery Fort Sam Houston

1500: Reception at the US Army Medical Department Museum

1600: Wreath laying ceremony at the Combat Medics Memorial

1700: Public Event outside the museum

March 20: Austin, TX

0900: Public Event on the State Capital steps

1100: Wreath laying ceremony at T-Patcher Memorial

1500: Visit to State Veteran’s cemetery Killeen, Tx

1700: Public Event at Fort Hood Clear Creek PX

If you’re able to be in Austin, San Antonio or Fort Hood, please feel free to come out and listen to what the Heroes have to say and show them your support. Some of the Heroes who will be participating in the Vets For Freedom National Heroes Tour are:

David Bellavia

Jeremiah Workman

LTC(ret) Steve Russell

Marco Martinez

Marcus Luttrell

Many of the Heroes on the tour are authors, as well as former military members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and know first-hand what’s occurring in both countries and why it’s imperative that our Troops are allowed to finish the job they started. The stops in Texas are sure to be interesting and I encourage everyone to attend if possible.

Teleconference With Generals In Iraq, Provide Students A Clearer Understanding Of War Effort

February 28, 2008

We’ve often said here that the media is very one-sided when they report news from Iraq, or Afghanistan for that matter. Often, as during the Vietnam War, the media tends to show the bad, ugly side of war, emphasize mistakes that have been made, yet rarely tell the public about the positive things that are happening. Because of this type of coverage, many people in this country have a very jaded attitude about the war, because they’ve only heard the side that the media wants them to hear. Our young people, aren’t any different from their adult counterparts. Many proclaim that they are against the war in Iraq, without knowing anything other than what the media tells them. That’s one of the main reasons that we here at A Soldier’s Mind, and many other milbloggers continue to do what we do. We know how biased the reporting from the media is, as a whole and we also are aware of the progress that is being made, that they fail to report, so we’ve taken it upon ourselves to ensure that the public is better informed.

The students at Naperville Central High School, in Naperville, Illinois had the opportunity last Thursday, to listen to a different side of what is occurring in Iraq. One student, senio Joe Cotton said that when he entered the auditorium, he firmly believed that the US should remove their Troops from Iraq. After an hour of participating in a teleconference with Lt. General James Dubik, US commander of multinational security transition in Iraq and Iraqi Lt. General Nasier Abadi, vice chief of staff of the Iraqi joint forces, Cotton walked out of the auditorium convinced that the Troops should stay in Iraq and finish the job that they started.

Cotton was one of 275 students who had the opportunity to participate in the teleconference and ask questions about the war and listen to what the leaders downrange had to say. One of the questions that Cotton had, was how the Iraqi media portrayed the US forces. Lt. Gen. Abadi answered that question, saying that the image was not portrayed very favorably at the beginning of the war - mostly because of the anti-American propaganda from Iraq’s neighboring countries such as Iran. He said however, that the image has improved vastly as insurgents are removed from power and the people of Iraq are beginning to see tangible results. Abadi said as well that most Iraqis are thankful to the American and Coalition forces for removing Saddam Hussein from power.

“Our people have recognized that America is not the devil,” Abadi said. “It’s Al-Qaeda who is the devil. They have seen what the American forces are doing for them — providing services and building hospitals.”

Lt. General Dubik pointed out that there was still much work to be done in Iraq. He said that there still remain areas of Iraq, including areas in Baghdad, where insurgents remain active and continue to terrorize the citizens. By doing so, he was able to provide a realistic picture of the progress and areas that still needed to be worked on, so that the students were able to get a more rounded picture of conditions in Iraq.

“I don’t want to give the impression things are better everywhere,” he said. “There are parts of the country where progress has not been as robust as we would like, and there are groups that will stop at nothing to undo the security that is already in place.”

Students had numerous questions for the Generals. One student asked how they could measure the progress in the country. The generals shared that several factors had to be taken into consideration, such as the most obvious factor, the decline in civilian deaths. Another factor they said showed progress, was the increasing numbers of Iraqis who are reporting weapons caches and identifying terrorists. According to Lt. Gen. Abadi, he considers that factor critical to achieving long-term success in the country.

“We don’t need guns or tanks. What we need most is information,” Abadi said.

One student, Visraant Iyer said that after listening to the generals’ comments, it just confirmed his opinion that there isn’t any one definitive answer about the war. That there are many factors that define the war in Iraq. Another student, Katie Fricke said that hearing the generals gave her a greater respect for the men and women who are fighting in Iraq and more understanding about what’s going on behind the scenes. The event at Napperville High School was attended by US Representative Judy Biggert from Illinois. She’s also the co-sponsor of the legislation requiring President Bush to provide updates every 30 days on the progress being made in Iraq. Rep. Biggert said that she was extremely impressed with the students who attended the teleconference.

“I think they had very thoughtful questions,” she said. “Some of them even better than what I’ve heard from Congress.”

I think teleconferences like this are a fantastic idea. It’s too bad, that we can’t have public teleconferences such as this on a regular basis, so that the people of this country, aren’t subjected to just what they’re hearing on television and reading in the newspapers, most of which is biased. I feel that it’s time that our citizens are allowed to see both sides of the issue, instead of just what the media wants us to hear.

Chicago Tribune

“The Sonata of War and Peace” by Brandon Begley

January 13, 2008

Here at A Soldier’s Mind, we’ve made it a point to highlight the musical works of people who perform their music in support of our Troops. We also love to highlight the musical works of many of our Active Duty Troops, who themselves are extremely talented musicians. Often people think that our Troops know only how to shoot their weapons, kill the enemy and follow orders. That is the furthest thing from the truth, as so many of them are accomplished musicians, artists and scholars. Hopefully as we continue these types of stories, you our readers, will gain much more insight into the men and women who are serving our country. I’d like to introduce you to one such Soldier.

Back in March, I wrote a story about a young US Army Soldier serving in Afghanistan who composed a sonata in honor of two fellow Soldiers who had given their life in the name of freedom. That young Soldier, Brandon Begley has visited A Soldiers Mind several times and left his thoughts here on the blog. Brandon, currently stationed in Hawaii, is preparing for another deployment. One that will take him to the battlefields of Iraq.

Brandon and I have remained in contact since I first wrote the story about him and his music and has told me that he has now finished the sonata and is preparing to release it on CD. Also on the CD will be other musical pieces that Brandon has composed over the course of the past 16 years. I’d like to give our readers a more in-depth view of the person that Brandon Begley is and the incredible talent this young man has.

Brandon’s musical ambitions began at a very young age, when at 6 years old, he began playing the piano. Brandon’s musical direction leans towards classical music. He composed his first piece of music around the age of 8 years old, a song about his first childhood crush on a girl. According to blog entries on Brandon’s MySpace page, he never officially recorded the song, because it was only played with 2 fingers and was what he considers a primative piece.

“The piece portrays a child like crush I had on her back when I first moved to Kentucky many years ago. That was the beginning of the romance period and the first girlfriend I ever had. The mood of the piece is peaceful and soothing. A relaxful meditative piece which was the beginning of my musical career, although at the time I didn’t think of it that way.”

Brandon has memorialized many events in his life through his music. Events such as marrying the woman of his dreams, to the shock of finding his father deceased, to the joy he felt upon the birth of his daughter, to the pain of learning during his deployment that his wife had miscarried their second child. Brandon’s music covers an entire gamut of emotions, as different events have taken place in his life. The new CD will be entitled “War and Peace” and will soon be released. In total there will be 11 and possibly 12 pieces that Brandon has composed and performed. Take some time to visit his MySpace page and listen to some of the songs he has posted there. I think you’ll agree with me, when I say that not only is Brandon an extremely talented musician, but that his dedication to his continued service to our country, makes him an asses to not only the US Army, but to our country as well.

Unfortunately, due to file size limits of our blogging software, I’m unable to upload the three movements of The Sonata of War and Peace, from Brandon’s CD War and Peace. To listen to all three Prelude To War, Longing For Peace and Fallen Comrade, please follow the link below to The Music of Brandon Begley at MySpace and listen to them. I’d like to personally thank Brandon, for sharing his incredible talent with us.

Army Ten-Miler Scheduled For October 7th

October 5, 2007

Breaking News 10/08/07: A runner from Fairfax County died Sunday during the Army Ten-Miler race near the finish line at the Pentagon.

The runner collapsed about 10:40 a.m. about 200 yards from the finish line, said Col. Jim Yonts. Arlington County medics responded immediately and took the runner to George Washington University Hospital.

The cause of death was not known. Yonts said he did not know the runner’s age. The runner was a civilian, not a member of the military, he said. At this time, the name of the deceased has not been released. Please keep this runner and his/her family in your thoughts and prayers.
Army Times

This is the third in a series of three press releases I’ve posted on the Army 10-Miler. If you recall a couple weeks back I had been contacted by Roxana Hoveyda and been sent the Press Release about the 3rd ID Wives that are running in honor of their deployed spouses. Then last week, Roxana sent me the press release on the Missing Parts In Action team of Wounded Warriors who would be running in the race as well. Roxana has sent me a 3rd Press Release, which I’ll share with you all here. One thing that I’d like to point out, which I’ve bolded in the Press Release, is that some of our Troops, at Camps Victory, Taji and Al Asad are also running and will hold a Press Conference via live video conference and discuss about the difficulties they encountered training for the race in the middle of a Warzone. That newsconference is today. Tune in if you can!


Who: Army Ten-Miler Participants

Confirmed Participants:
Missing Parts in Action Team - Members of the famed military amputee team to
discuss what it takes to train for this event, the new life challenges they
face, what the event means to them and how they have triumphed over their
injuries. Panelists to include: Major David Rozelle, 1LT Ivan Castro, CPT
Wesley Knight, Ed Salau, Nick Myhre, and CPT Elizabeth Painter.

Shadow Race Runners at Camps Victory, Taji and Al Asad - Runners in Iraq via
live video conference, to discuss the challenges of training in a war zone
and in the desert. They will be running their own Ten-Milers on October 7 in
honor of the stateside event.

Alisa Harvey - She is a 4-time women’s overall champion of the Army Ten-Miler
(1998, 1999, 2003 and 2006), a 2006 University of Tennessee Lady Volunteer
Hall of Fame inductee, the 2007 USATF Masters Female Athlete of the Year, Pan
American Games gold medal winner and Olympic trials qualifier.

Jared Nyamboke - Ethiopia, Team: Foot Solutions - 2nd (2:25:31) Cellcom Green
Bay Marathon, WI (5/06) - 1st (2:29:15) Run Barbados Half Marathon (12/05) -
1st (2:28:38) Prince Edward County Marathon, Ontario (10/05). His personal
record for the marathon is 2:14 which he ran in 2004 at the Lena Marathon in

Tatyana Pozdnyakova - Running with Foot Solutions Elite Women’s Team, Tatyana
is 8-time Runner’s World Female Masters Runner of the Year and world’s
fastest master runner in long distance running. (2:34:24); 1st Overall Female
Freescale Austin Marathon (02/06), (59:00); 1st Masters Female Crim Festival
of Races 10-miler (08/06).

LTC Marty Muchow - 2006 Army Ten-Miler Masters winner. All Army team member.

CPT Trisha Stavinoha - 2006, 2007 All Army XC team, 2007 All Army Tri team,
8th overall and 1st age group for 2006 Army Tem Miler (1:01:14).

Members of the Army Ten-Miler Operations and Security Staff

Moderated by: Steve Nearman - the running writer and columnist for The
Washington Times. Nearman is also a competitive middle-distance runner.

When: Friday, Oct. 5, 1:30pm-3:30pm

Where: The TANDBERG Interactive Zone, located in the Arlington Ballroom of
the Crystal Gateway Marriott. The hotel is located at the intersection of
Eads and 15th Streets in Arlington, Va. Metro accessible on blue/yellow
lines at the Crystal City Station. Tel: (703) 920-3230.

Why: To highlight the athletes, the event, the Army and the tremendous
amount of logistical coordination to hold America’s largest 10-mile race.

Credentialing: Credentialing will be done at the hotel from Noon-4 p.m. To
received credentials send an email to or
and include the following info: Name of
the individual(s), media outlet, email address, phone number, and indication
of specialty i.e. reporter, photographer, videographer, etc.

Media representative(s) will be notified by email that he or she has been
granted access to the Army Ten-Miler and its associated events.

Media Kits: Are available online in advance on the Media/Photo Page at

Information: Call Roxana Hoveyda at 202-685-4820 or Shaunteh Kelly at

Marine Speaks Out About Why He Supports Completing The Mission In Iraq

October 3, 2007

We’ve often had discussions here about why some of us feel that our Troops should be allowed to complete their mission in Iraq. Those discussions, at times have become very heated, as various anti-war people have stopped by and attempted to persuade us to start believing as they do. Some of us have dealt with personal attacks from those folks, as they realized that we were as firmly set in our opinions as they were in theirs, and they’ve resorted to insult, name calling and profanity in an attempt to get their points across.

Often when these types of discussions are held, the opinion of our Troops is discounted, ignored or called just plain wrong. Here and on other blogs, our Troops have been subjected to ridicule and disrespect for their desire to complete their mission. They’ve been slandered, demeaned and called names. But regardless of these attacks on their integrity, they’ve remained steadfast in their belief that they are accomplishing great things in Iraq and should be allowed to complete their mission. The following is an article by a Marine, Marco Martinez, who spells out in detail why he continues to support the war, based on things he personally saw in Iraq. He speaks bluntly and in detail about the atrocities he saw that Saddam Hussein committed against the people of Iraq. Things that many of us, living safely here in the United States, could never imagine happening.

Liberals often like to say that “violence is senseless.”

That’s wrong.

Violence isn’t senseless. Senseless violence is senseless. And I should know. Before being awarded the Navy Cross and having the privilege of becoming a Marine, I was a gang member. Sometimes it takes having used violence for both evil as well as good to know that there’s a profound moral difference between the two.

People often ask me whether I still support the war. I never hesitate when answering: “Absolutely I support completing the mission,” I tell them, “Now more than ever.”

I was honored to have been given the opportunity to fight in Iraq on our country’s behalf. And it was that experience—and five things I saw firsthand—that illustrate the foolishness of those who would equate American military power to that used by thugs and tyrants.

1. Mass Graves

I was part of a group that was tasked with guarding Saddam’s mass graves. And let me tell you something: anyone who could look straight down into those huge holes at the skeletons and remains and see what that monster did to 300,000 of his own people would have no doubt that we did the right thing in removing him from power. Saddam’s henchmen would tie two people together, some with babies in their arms, stand them at the crater’s edge, and then shoot one of the people in the head, relying on the weight of the dead body to drag them both into the hole. This would save on rounds and also ensure that both people died, one from a gunshot, the other by being buried alive.

2. Tongue-less Man

You never know how precious freedom of speech is until you meet somehow who has had it taken from them—literally taken from them. During a patrol we came upon two hungry Iraqi men scavenging for food. When our translator began speaking with the men I noticed that one of them had a stub for a tongue. Through the translator we learned that the tongue-less man had spoken against the regime and that Saddam’s henchmen had severed his tongue. Saddam had quite literally removed the man’s freedom of speech.

3. Adrenaline-Fueled Fedayeen Saddam

I couldn’t for the life of me understand why the ninja costume-wearing terrorists we encountered in a series of hellish firefights just wouldn’t go down—even after being shot. Once my fire team and I cleared a terrorist-filled house in a close quarters shootout, I saw dead bodies all around the kitchen. I looked up at the countertops. Scattered everywhere were vials of adrenaline, syringes, and khat (pronounced “cot”), a drug similar to PCP that gives users a surge of energy and strength. That’s when we realized that our zombie-like attackers were zealots who came to fight and die.

4. Human Experiment Pictures

I still can’t shake the pictures out of my head. We discovered them inside a strange laboratory we found inside a Special Republican Guard barracks that had been plunked down inside an amusement park. When I cracked open the photo album, my jaw dropped. There in front of me were the most horrifying images of experiments being performed on newborn and infant children. Picture after picture, page after page, the binder was filled with the most extreme deformities and experimental mutations one could imagine. One baby had an eye that was shifted toward the middle of its head. We turned the books over to our lieutenant as valuable pieces of intelligence.

5. Bomb-Making Materials In a Mosque

Well after the invasion we were tasked to conduct city patrols and build rapport with local sheiks and mosque members. On one occasion we revisited a mosque where the sheik had previously been warm and friendly. Yet this time something seemed a little off. As we made our way through the mosque compound, we were told there were certain “praying houses” we weren’t allowed to enter. But when a Marine walked through a side hallway and passed by a door that had been left ajar, he spotted a huge bottle of nitroglycerin and assorted bomb-making materials.

When I think about my gang member past I shudder in shame. But if there was one lesson I learned from my past it is that there is a profound moral difference between using violence to destroy lives and using violence to save lives. Terrorists do the former; soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines do the latter.

Antimilitary liberals need to learn the difference between the two.

Marco Martinez, a recipient of the Navy Cross, is author of the new book Hard Corps: From Gangster to Marine Hero (Crown Forum).

Town Hall

It’s Time Their Voices Are Heard…

September 27, 2007

The media often delights in highlighting stories about veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, that are against the war in Iraq. They don’t have a problem parading around people like Scott Beauchamp and others who falsely accuse our Troops of committing atrocities. They give credence to blatant liars. They don’t have a problem telling us about the ones who participate in the anti-troop groups such as ANSWER or Code Pink. Yet, it’s not often that they let us hear from the many more who are or have served in those countries, who feel it is necessary for us to remain in Iraq and complete the mission. It’s not often that they tell the story of the Wounded Warriors who are fighting to recuperate as quickly as they can, so that they can rejoin their brothers and sisters in arms, who are still in the fight. The other day, I ran across two pieces by Soldiers who explained their views on the war in Iraq and why they feel we should remain there to finish the job we started. I’d like to share them with you.

Why I want to keep fighting in Iraq
A US soldier gives his perspective on the war.

By Chris Brady

Despite strong public appeals by Gen. David Petraeus and President Bush this month, American views on the Iraq war remain dim. The latest Pew survey shows that 54 percent say US troops should come home as soon as possible, while 47 percent believe the US will probably or definitely fail to achieve its goals in Iraq. Many experts and politicians, meanwhile, have suggested the war can’t be won.

I am a US soldier in Iraq. And I disagree. It’s not too late to succeed. The stakes in Iraq are too high not to keep fighting for progress.

As a National Guardsman serving on a Provincial Reconstruction Team, I’ve seen what is working on the ground in Kirkuk, a city in northern Iraq.

In Kirkuk, just as in any American city, people go about their daily business attempting to provide for their families. The only difference is that in Kirkuk (and throughout much of Iraq), there is a small but extremely violent segment determined to deny citizens any semblance of a normal life.

Life in Kirkuk, of course, does not fairly represent conditions across Iraq. Having served more than four months in Baghdad, I know firsthand that violence has been much more severe in other parts of the country. But I’m convinced that the progress I’ve seen here can happen elsewhere.

Kirkuk is a city of many tensions. Ethnic strains have been compounded by a planned referendum about the city’s political status. But the good people of this city have largely resisted these factors that would tend toward sectarian strife and violence. And they, like many other Iraqis, still need America’s help.

I’ve been asked by more than one Iraqi, “How long are you staying?” When I reply “At least a year,” I’m told “A year is nothing in Iraq. It is a blink of the eye.”

Local tradesmen are justifiably proud of their history and are fond of printing “Welcome to Iraq – More than 7,000 years of civilization” on hand-tooled leather goods. Time here is measured not in weeks and months, but in years and decades. How can we measure progress any differently?

For 35 years this country was under the thumb of a brutal regime that told the populace what to do, when to do it, and where. It is unrealistic to expect a battered national psyche to emerge unscathed and create a functioning government virtually overnight – especially when the concept of “democracy” is as foreign to Iraqis as tribal relations are to Americans.

What Iraqis have accomplished to date is remarkable. In just over three years they have elected provincial councils nationwide, elected and seated a National Assembly, appointed a cabinet, and implemented a Constitution from scratch. Sometimes we forget that the birth of America was equally, if not more, chaotic. The US Bill of Rights alone took more than four years of intense debate before it became the law of the land.

The Provincial Reconstruc-tion Team I serve on has equal numbers of civilian specialists and military members, led by the Department of State, who work together to help Iraqis rebuild basic infrastructure, economics, rule of law, and governance.

We work throughout the province, “outside the wire,” which means off the Forward Operating Base, on a daily basis. We see firsthand the human face of longing for a better life. That is all the Iraqis I interact with want: peace, security, and a future for their children. It is exhilarating to sit and listen while the Provincial Reconstruction Development Committee, consisting of Kurds, Arabs, Turkomans, and Chaldo-Assyrians, hashes out project proposals and votes its approval to rebuild a school or construct a playground at a local orphanage. It makes me proud to play a role in this process.

Iraqis here are nervous that the US military will leave. By most assessments, the Iraqi police and Army are just not ready to operate solo. They work hard and improve daily.

I can see it in the pride they take in morning drill at the Kirkuk Government Building, as the commander puts the security force through its paces. The Police Academy in Kirkuk runs four training classes a day, six days a week. The academy has dug its own well for water – without waiting for help from Baghdad. But these security forces simply need more time and mentoring before they can take on Al Qaeda or potentially other violent factions by themselves.

Politicians and thoughtful citizens alike decry US losses, and no one denies the fact that even a single American life is a high price to pay for the security of a foreign country half a world away. I’ve attended my fair share of “ramp ceremonies” where a thousand soldiers stand for hours at the position of attention well past midnight and salute a fallen comrade’s casket being carried aboard a plane for the final journey home. With the possible exception of family, no one feels the loss any keener than a fellow squad or platoon mate.

The reasons America got involved in Iraq may be suspect. But US forces are here, parts of the country are still broken, and regional security may hang in the balance if we don’t stay and help the Iraqis fix it. The effort is succeeding in the north, and it can in the rest of Iraq as well. America’s forefathers had help from other nations when the United States was born. Allow us to continue to help Iraq be reborn.

Lt. Colonel Chris Brady is a National Guardsman and the deputy team leader of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kirkuk, Iraq. His views are his own. This piece was subject to military review.

Both Soldiers who’s opinions I’m featuring here are National Guard Members. They both hold civilian jobs, apart from the Military, where they have the opportunity to make much more money than they do in the military, yet their committment to the military and this country remain strong. Both feel that the consequences of leaving what we’ve started in Iraq, unfinished, would be dire and invite yet another attack within our country’s borders.

A Soldier’s Feeling On The War In Iraq
by Antoinette McGowan

Joining the National Guard was not an easy decision with the war in Iraq going on. But after all things had been looked at and considered, I did make the choice to join. I, of course, will not be elgible to deploy until August of next year. But I do know how I feel as an American as well as a soldier. Also I do know that when I am eligible for deployment, I will do so without any question if my country asks it of me.

My pride in my country is what pushed me hard to become a soldier to defend my country. For many generations, Americans have stood up to fight for our freedom and to fight against injustices in other areas of the world. World War II was the first time in a long time that the enemy attacked Americans on American soil. No one protested when our government went to Japan and kicked their butts for daring to attack us on our own soil.

Now though we were attacked on our own soil September 11, 2001. So we went to kick some butt and show that we are a strong country and that we will not tolerate anyone attacking our country. Problem is though that many Americans oppose the war and oppose us defending ourselves. Why is it that now a days Americans no longer feel there is a reason to fight back? Have we become so passive and weak that we no longer care what happens to our country?

It does not matter if you like your president or not. What matters is that you care enough about your freedom to fight for it, to defend it at all costs. The majority of people believed in Bush enough to vote him into office but then turned on him for sending troops to Iraq to defend your freedoms. To me I don’t understand how we can trust him enough to vote him into office only to turn on him when he makes a judgement call that is done to defend our way of life.

The media is another area where the war in Iraq went to hell in a hand basket. The media portrays all the bad with this war but none of the good, or positive effects of this war. They have done a great job dividing Americans over this war. The only thing they are doing when they do this is tearing their own country apart. During a war time our country needs to stand together as one united country, not be divided over who supports that war and who is against the war. I have seen many people who supported the war and what the soldiers were doing change their outlook based on negative crap they seen in the media.

Presently we are over in Iraq to help them rebuild their country. Many would think that we should leave them to themselves to do this and just pull our troops home. Well look at it this way, we pull out of Iraq and they are taken over by more terrorists that are now obtaining more power. Let the terrorists obtain enough power and guess who they are coming after? They will come after us again.

When that happens many people who wanted to pull our Troops out are going to look around and wonder, ‘How did this happen?’ It happened because all those people stopped something that should not have been stopped. The more we stay on it to bring the terrorists down, the more we keep them from gaining power. The less power they have the more we as Americans can go to bed at night and sleep easier.

I personally am willing to do anything to maintain our way of life. I do not want to see another attack on American soil. I support what the troops are doing and have a lot of respect for them. They are putting their lives on the line to protect democracy and to keep us all back home safe. When the time comes I will feel honored to join them in their fight.

Author’s Disclaimer: This is written based on my personal views and beliefs. None of this represents the views of our government or other military soldiers. I speak solely for myself and no one else.

Because the media tends to not give much attention to the millions of Soldiers who feel we should remain in Iraq, it’s up to we as milbloggers and you as supporters of our Troops to allow their voices to be heard. It’s up to us to spread their messages far and wide, to all of our family and friends and ask them to do the same. These are the people who we should be listening to, not ones like Beauchamp who’s allegations have been proven to be falsehoods. It’s time then to shout out loudly for everyone to hear… Wake Up America!

Christian Science Monitor
Associated Content

Troops Treat 200 Patients In Three Hours

August 20, 2007

In a small stadium in the middle of town in Pisco, Peru, medical personnel from the Joint Task Force Bravo delivered medical aid to the civilians of Peru following an earthquake that had a magnitude 8.0 on the richter scale on the 17th of August, 2007. Joint Task Force Bravo is from Soto Cano Air Force Base in Honduras.

Within the first three hours of deployment the troops from the Air Force Medical Support Task Force helped a total of 200 patients. They expect to see more in the following week.  However, this job doesn’t seem close to over and it seems it’ll be a tough one in my opinion because the troops from Soto Cano can only carry enough medicine with them to help a maximum of 350 people a day.

Of other news involving this is the Airmen brought a mobile surgical team to treat traumatic injuries but trauma injuries are at a minimal. Most of the patients have respiratory problems and bruises according to one Airmen. She goes on to say, “We thought we might see worse, but luckily these are the majority of cases we diagnosed”.

Well, I hope that it(trauma injuries) stays the minimal but I am sure they’ll run into a few, maybe there is some Peruvians who can’t get themselves to the Soto Cano Airmen, but as they search for patients throughout Peru, I am sure they’ll find them, hopefully in the nick of time too.

*To read more into this, please feel free to visit this site!


The Country Ignores A General(The Definition Of A Scam)

August 12, 2007

This will so get people against our military’s operations to fight terrorists howling like dogs at the moon. Especially since it involves the country of Iraq. Just recently Lt. General James M. Dubik just stated that Iraqi forces and police are making great strides. Now as all of you may know, there has also been recent comments from two other generals stating that Iraqi forces have made great strides, including a British general(mentioned here at ASM) and one American general(mentioned at ) who talked to Congress on behalf of the troops’ acheivements in Iraq(this general was disrespected and walked out on by a representative named Boyda, so get ready to send some angry letters on this general’s behalf). However, it seems that no matter how hard the United States Armed Forces members who don’t scream atrocities are being committed in Iraq by Americans try to make their presence known. Their side of the discussion is getting completely ignored as if they weren’t there. Although, most people know that this isn’t anything new at all and that Congress isn’t going to listen to the officers they put in power of the military forces if what they’re saying doesn’t feed their partisan propagandistic super-ficial egos.

Now, one of the ways the United States Congress blatantly ignores our field grade officers is that they persist with their own agendas(whatever that maybe, depends if they’re a democrat or republican), and continue to think that what they think is the solution to Iraq is the only solution hands down and no discussion. Yesterday, Lt. General James M. Dubik stated that Iraqi Forces are making great strides, and that although problems still exist, the accomplishments that Iraq’s army has made is in improving themselves on the battlefield. There’s no doubt that what the general has said is fact, Iraqi forces continue to take more responsibility for their land and the violence continues to decrease gradually as they fight insurgents and jihadists on a national scale. The only problem with their military is that you can’t really bring out the best of their officers in four years. As Dubik puts it, you can make good captains and leuitenants in four years, but not good colonels or generals in four years. It takes more time to perfect a field grade officer. Quiet frankly, this reminds me of a question that Omar from Iraq The Model asked a couple of months back, “Why do the Americans get to have more than 200 hundred years to perfect their military and country, when we Iraqis only get four?”, you know he raises a good point.

Now, that’s just the military. The fire department and hospitals are fairing okay as well. It’s the police who aren’t suceeding as much as the other elements. According to the Lt. General, the police are being infiltrated by the sectarian divisions and insurgents to some extent. You do have some cops who do things on a professional level and are loyal. Then you have the kind of cops who leave the second they get paid, and of course you have one of those bad cop kinds who abuse their powers and sometimes sell the guns given to them by their country to people willing to use them illegally. The cause for this is the fact that sectarian influences remain in the national police and they will be hard to eradicate. The bombings on mosques, shrines, hospitals, schools, and market areas between the Sunni and Shia sects of Iraq are broadening the already massive and divisive fissure between the two sects and that effects the natonal police forces as well. In some cases, you have cops who aren’t willing to cooperate with their partners just because of the sect they belong to. Sadly, this slows the pace down at which Iraq needs to be going at in order for them to acheive full sovereignty instead of half.

Overall, what this general is saying to the American people isn’t something the people hear often. You don’t hear it in the news outlets, our government facilities, or the American general public. Sadly, all these people who should be hearing it are missing the solution to an issue they so want a solution for. It sounds much like this country has a bad case of “SELECTIVE HEARING“(I know you heard that!), and this will pose a problem for Iraq’s chance at a future. As the band Smile Empty Soul puts it, “Soldier’s are dying, politicians are enjoying, this is WAR!”. That statement resonates well with me. As we know quiet well here at A Soldier’s Mind and at A Soldier’s Perspective, there are people(in the government, media, and public) who do want bad things to happen to our soldiers because it gives them ammunition to make their case against any military effort or action shape or form no matter how much their arguments let alone their paradigm as a whole can have it’s Hubris rebuttled and disproven. Now, this September I am sure General Petraeus is going to anounce Iraq as a qualified victory, and that it would be safe to start slowly drawing down forces as Great Britain is and as did other countries who were a part of the Multi-National Coalition who removed Saddam Hussein’s government but left because they were satisfied with the indigenous personnel of their AO’s since they were capable of running their own communities(yeah remember, the leaders of those countries said so by sending the President letters saying that, Tony Blair said so through a speech to parliament about removing troops as well.) However, Congress would turn a blind eye to such a fact because it doesn’t correspond with their agendas or the opinions of their constituency. They wouldn’t support such a testimony from a general because not doing so would keep them in their seat of power(amidst anti-war bias on multiple sides including the public in general), kind of like how voting to order the president(yes, a joint resolution is in fact a go ahead kind of order) to deploy soldiers to Iraq kept them in their seats of power back in 2002 when the discussion of Operation Iraqi Freedom was taking place and the country was gearing up for the November elections. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with a general’s stance or not, you don’t have the right to ignore them and chose to only listen to the ones who justify and validate your beleagured, homogenous, self-deluded,  dysfunctional way to thinking. Try telling this to people like Boyda, Kucinich, or the folks at OneUtah.

Chances are, they’ll ignore it and brush it off their shoulders. It would be nothing more than a stick in the sand or whispers in the wind. Dubik may have the facts on his side, and he may have the courage to say it despite what may happen to his reputation because of it, but he doesn’t have the audience, The folks who said they only want a solution to the problems we face involving the recent conflicts in the Middle East failed to show up, nor did they choose to listen to a possible solution(probably many others too) to the problem. There was hardly any media coverage on what Dubik said, not in the television, the websites of the news outlets, th papers, or anywhere else. If we’re going to ignore the officers we put in charge of the military, why do we put them there? Are they just a part of the presentation? Well, they’re being treated like so and it’s shameful because they do a whole lot more for the country than just make it’s military efficient and performance capable. They deal with the aspect of our foreign policy that deals with those who want to do physical harm to us. That is a profession that politics should not be allowed to screw up, hands down. So don’t let these generals be ignored(especially by members of Congress since they have full control of the military), we ought to get out what they say as much as possible to make sure as much of the story is heard, not just the parts that generate a sensation. Maybe the military doesn’t have the might to boss Congress around but we(the constituency) most certainly do!

Dreams For Democracy

August 7, 2007

Often here at ASM, we’ve shared stories of Iraqi people that our Troops have helped and shared their thankfulness for the job our Troops are doing in their country. Sure there are those who are so bent on their hatred of this country’s political leadership, that they completely ignore the postive strides our Troops are making, the lives their saving and the hope for a new future they’ve brought to millions of Iraqis. In the past, we’ve featured several other Iraqis who have expressed their gratitude to our Troops for helping to free their people from the oppression of Saddam. When I saw this story, I knew it was one that our readers needed to hear about. This is the story of a man, a native Iraqi, who left his homeland 30 years ago, with dreams of freedom for himself and his family, and eventually came to the United States by way of Canada. That man is now back in Iraq, helping Coaltion Forces and his fellow Iraqis. Meet Rudy Lirato…

Like many people who come to the United States from other countries, Rudy Lirato had dreams of being able to provide a better life for his family, when he left his homeland of Iraq 30 years ago. Those dreams were of a life free from tyranny and oppression. Now he’s back in his native land, serving as an interpreter with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.

“I had just gotten married to my sweetheart and knew that I would be drafted into the Iraqi army and that there was no future for me here,” Lirato said. “I filed for a visa with the Canadian embassy and my uncle had sponsored my mon and then my mom, in turn, sponsored me.”

Just prior to leaving his homeland for Canada, Lirato had just graduated from Baghdad’s Al-Zafrany Technical College with a degree in automotive engineer design. At the time of his departure from Iraq, Saddam Hussein was the vice president of Iraq, but Lirato explained that even then, he was the person pulling the strings and actually in control of what was going on in the country. Only a few years later, in 1980 Saddam became the leader of Iraq, which gave Lirato more reason to have his father and other family members who were still residing in Iraq, leave and get safely out of the country.

“We had to get them out of Iraq, because people were being beaten and killed for no reason. They would disappear if they criticized the Baath Party. They would be picked up by intelligence and you would never see them again,” he said. “You would never think about asking the government what happened, because if you did, you would disappear too.”

Lirato and his wife raised four children and are now grandparents. The first two years that he was living on the North American continnt, Lirato worked odd jobs, whatever was necessary to make ends meet and to support his family. During this time, he saved money and eventually opened his own convenience store and later a chain of convenience stores. He also owned a doughnut shop franchise and a pizzeria. Eighteen years later, he sold his franchise business and opened his own Iralian restaurant, with three satellite stores for pick-up and delivery. He was truly living the American dream, a successful businessman. After spending almost three decades in Canada, Lirato and his family relocated to Phoenix. In 2004 he left his restaurant business as he saw the opportunity to be able to help his homeland after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He felt that he had something to offer, not only to his new homeland but to his former homeland.

“The reason I came here was because this nation needed help,” he said. “The main reason I came to work with the Army was I believed in them and what they are doing as far as their wanting to help the people out of the goodness of their hearts.”

“The coalition forces helped Iraq get rid of a dictator, so their coming into Iraq was an excellent thing and many of the Iraqi people had been asking for US help for years to get rid of Saddam,” said Lirato.

Lirate has spend three years working with Coalition Forces in Iraq. He says that he’s seen the good that has been accomplished to help the people of Iraq. In his current position, he translates as a member of 1st BCT, 1st Cav Division’s embedded provincial reconstruction team and assists them with efforts, which include reconcilliation. Lirato has assisted with reconstruction efforts at schools, helped with water projects, electrical projects and other major reconstruction projects. Some of those large projects include helping with a medical mission in which a 45 foot trailer filled with medicine was taken into the city of Mosul, and saw funds donated to assit with the renovation of a mosque.

“I’ve worked in eforts in Iraq that have involved thousands and thousands of dollars, giving free food rations out to the people,” he said. “There have been a lot of people out there int he US and other nations with big hearts making donations to help Iraqis.”

Lirato stressed that he was really pleased with the humane way that coalition forces and the Iraqi security forcestreat the insurgents that they capture as enemy combatants. He said that it was very eye-opening, especially when compared with the way things were under Saddam Hussein. He stressed that captured insurgents were given a tooth brush, fed and given clean clothing to wear and treated humanly by coalition forces.

“When Saddam captured his enemies, he would give them a slap in the face and a punch in the stomach and then send them to their deaths in meat grinders - after days and days of torture,” Lirato said. “When the coalition forces capture insurgents, suspects are given a toothbrush, food and water and humane treatment. Officers tell their troops not to yell, but be as nice as they can.”

“Now terror suspects are assurred of getting a fair trial,” added Lirate, explaining that there is a noticable difference between Iraq as a democracy , opposed to when it was under a tolatarian regime.

Lirato praised the way that Coalition Forces treat the Iraq citizens, saying that they go out of their way to respect the cultural differences they find in Iraqi society. He feels that the Troops really care about the people and are really wanting to do everything that they can to help the citizens of Iraq have a free and democratic society.

“They have a great respect for and really do care about what happens to the people here,” said Lirato. “But,” he said, “There needs to be a lot more participation on the part of Iraqis to move the country towards democracy.”

“Reaching the younger generation will be the key as they are the future of Iraq,” said Lirato. “Iraqis need to recognize that US and coalition forces are there to help them and that they should grab the opportunity that’s at their doorsteps. The Coalition Forces will not be here forever. Freedom isn’t free. It has cost the Iraqis and coalition precious souls for a good cause,” he added.

Lirato feels that one of the keys to success of Iraq will be to bring the different ethnic groups together and uniting them as one, for the good of the entire country. He feels that if they don’t do so, that the situation in Iraq can become a lot worse than it is. He’s hoping that the groups will wake up and put their differences aside, unite as one and therefore allow themselves and their fellow Iraqis the opportunity to live in prosperity. Lirato says that he fully believes in the democracy and freedom that he and his family have been fortunate enough to experience in Canada and the United States and hopes that one day the people of his homeland will also be able to experience a similar type of freedom… and be free to pursue their own dreams. For Lirato, one of his proudest moments will be a reality in a few short months when he will take the oath to become a US Citizen.

“I can’t wait to tell the judge, the President of the United States, the Congress and everyone else, ‘In God We Trust,’” he said. “It’s going to be an honor for me and my family.”


Locking Out The Politics

July 31, 2007

     One afternoon after school, I was listening to few videos from both the CNN Database, and the FoxNews Database. I don’t often watch television, but I do like hearing and seeing my news above reading it. Sometimes, if I could find a transcript of the video, then I would listen to the talk and read along, so in that sense I would read(other than books and magazines that is). Well, I came across a Fox News video being anchored by David Asman. For those of you who don’t know, he’s a father-in-law of a United States Marine. Anyway, the discussion was about politics and how it ruins everything, especially when it comes to his hometown of Washington D.C. He further says that things would be better without it ruining everything. For many of us here at A Soldier’s Mind, we know quite well how right he is, due to the fact that we see some really personal debates that go on in our threads. At the same time, we all know that our discussions could go more smoothly without politics bastardizing half of the topics that we cover here. So David is in pretty good company. Another one of those individuals who would make up that good company, would be United States Army General David H. Petraeus.

     In a recent article that I just found surfing the web at the Department of Defense’s website “DefenseLink. I read that Petraeus wants to keep politics outside of the testimony that he will be giving Congress in September about the ground assessment on Iraq. He says, “It will be the ground truth” and that they will try to stay apolitical throughout the whole endeavor. Petreaus feels that he and Maliki(Iraqi President) have a good relationship and politics does nothing else but “throw sand in the gears of the relationship”. He wants to sustain the friendship he has with the Iraqi President and wants nothing to go against that, including politics. Of course, some people don’t want that, due to the fact that it may be a huge factor in solving the problems being experienced in Iraq.

     Overall, the general’s mission is to work with the Iraqi government so that way he can start drawing down our troops without having to sacrifice all the good that was gained from surging the troop levels in Iraq, and bringing troop levels back up again after having drawed down. His primary plan to accomplish that would be to do more partnering with Iraqi ground forces rather than leading them, which would be basically passing all the heavy responsibilites to the Iraqi forces. The general believes that inorder to acheive this, he and his counterparts here and in Iraq must try to be apolitical. However, that may be extremely difficult because he’ll be testifying in front of a very, very partisan Congress whose current objective is to force feed the American public the false notion that “Iraq is a failing effort” in the same manner in which preists force fed the false notion to young boys that if they masturbated they’d go blind back in the medieval period. Chances are, since it seems that many in Congress wants Iraq to fail, they won’t even listen to Mr. Petreaus. Afterall, a few Congress members just recently walked out on another general who decided to take a stand against the false premises that state “there is more bad going on in Iraq than good”. If Congress isn’t willing to hear that they’re wrong, then more or less, they’re not willing to listen to Petreaus’ constructive criticism. This is why politics doesn’t have a place in the general’s Spetember Iraq ground situation report.

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