Friday, January 06, 2006

The Way It Is

In Iraq, America is not fighting a traditional war. There will never be a declaration of surrender signed by our enemy conceding their defeat. Understand this...this war will not end with signatures. I say this for many reasons, but foremost is because our enemy has no true leader. Sure, they have cave-dwellers who claim to be in charge, but these cowards understand that their minions will not cease their campaign of terror simply because they have signed a document. We are fighting a war of counter-insurgency...the most difficult, and I would argue the most misunderstood and complex type of war that exists in modern times.

For the warfighter on the ground, this type of war poses so many dangers. In part because to win this type of war, you have to win the hearts and minds of the majority. In order to do this, we the ground-pounders, have to take risks. We have to come to the point where we signify to the peaceful majority that we have entered a new phase in the war...a phase of temporary co-existence. We simply cannot perpetually continue an all out campaign of destruction (which at one time, was the only way to operate) and expect to win hearts and minds of the peaceful majority. If we do not enter this phase, in the long run, only the innocents will suffer and I believe that we will have great difficulty accomplishing our goals here in this country.

Our enemies understand this. They know that by appearing as the peaceful majority with whom we must eventually ally ourselves, that this will give them a short-term advantage. This will allow their suicide bombers to be able to walk into a crowd of police recruits and detonate themselves. This will allow the VBIED's driving down the streets appearing to going to work, to destroy civilians. The insurgents understand that Iraq, with our assistance is moving forward. And they are without a doubt from time to time, going to exploit these risks that we must take to progress. In the short term, these risks may lead to more coalition casualties as we move forward. But in the long term, it is the only way that we are going to continue to move forward and eventually win this war. In a sense, the insurgents are attempting to accomplish the exact opposite that we are. We are trying, through a campaign of tempered force, to show the majority in Iraq that we are accomplishing so much here for their good, while our enemies are trying to show the majority in America that all we are accomplishing nothing.

There have been times recently here when outside the wire, I have wanted to conduct "business as usual". A vehicle driving past me while I am walking on patrol?...are you kidding me? Four months ago...not a chance. But you know what? Now I must take risks which, for as long as I am here, leads to coexistence with the peaceful majority; because that is the only way that we are going to progress and begin to win hearts and minds of the peaceful majority. It stinks, I know. I hate it. But it is simply the facts of counterinsurgency. And that is just the way it is.


Pvt Eubanks said...

Hey dude, i am back in the states, i just want you to know that your views of the war are very important to those in here, the press never covers the war just like how it is, they always add their own twist, and you can never truly know the kind of war taking place by turning on your TV. So these kind of blogs are an excellent source of information because you guys show the unskewed truth. So i am just here to say that i appreciate the information you provide.

Eric said...


Tara said...

I have never understood war either...not the politics of it anyway. You give me a better understanding of what you are fighting for and who you are fighting against. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am involved and can understand your pain, determination and the pain and determination of everyone involved. Thank you.

Barb said...

As you say, we aren't there because we want territory. This war is over how the world should be run for the next 500 years ... in tyranny or freedom. But you are there at a painful point in the cycle, where there is no easy choice, and you can't know if the people around you are friend or foe half the time. The kinds of snap decisions you all have to make on the ground everyday are amazing.

CJ said...

Now if we could just get our politicians and media to see things the way you do.... Well put Marine. And I want you to know that I think you all are very brave and courageous to know those kinds of risks and be willing to take them anyway. Thank you from my heart. Keep writing!!!!

Anonymous said...

From my brother near Sumarra, received 1/8/06:

"I hope this letter finds you in good health.

I am writing you, guess to get it off my chest. I can't write my wife nor any of her here it goes. Today we lost one gunner and one driver was injured pretty badly. They were hit by an IED. This is just a slap in our
face to wake us up and let us realize that we are in a land that only understands one way of doing business, and that is by fear and threat of death.

I have yet to see any type of order in this country, may it be
from simply police training, to the complexity of running their own government. There is no way that this country can run itself in the near future, it is not a problem that is easily solved.

These people could care less about the preservation of life and that is mind bogggeling. Don't they realize the sooner they stop fighting us the sooner we
leave? The media and our government needs to get out of the military's way and let us do what we as a fighting force do. The media is probably the enemy's best friend, as long as they (the enemy) continue to hit us and their own civilians, the media just eats it up, like a fat kid in a candy store.

What happened today kinda bothered me, but also let me realize what I
am doing is a necessary evil; if the military pulls out, the enemy will take this fight from their back yard and bring it to ours. So because of this, I know that we must stay the course and continue to do the hard fight."

Anonymous said...

Great blog--thanks for sharing your POV with folks like me; people who are (for lack of a better word) totally ignorant to what our soldier's lives are like while they serve in Iraq.

I'm curious: in your post, you said that, four months ago, if a vehicle passed by you while you were on foot patrol, "forget it." What does this mean? What would have happened?

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