Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The last U.S. combat troop

I am seriously outraged. I haven't been this angry in a really long time. I knew there was a draw down from Iraq coming, and I am THRILLED that we are getting out of there, but I never thought it would be handled like this. Just heard on the news, You are witnessing a historic moment in history. I call bullshit. It's historic just like baby bush landing on the ship declaring *Mission Accomplished* back in 2003 was historic. They are rambling off the statistics about the war.. deaths, injuries, divorces, and oh wow.. how the war is over now. BULLSHIT!! Complete fucking bullshit.

Just a few of the offending Tweets from our ever accurate media:

USABreakingNews: CNBC: Last US Combat Troops in Iraq Nearing Kuwait Border, Close to Ending 'Operation Iraqi Freedom'.

AnnCurry: Last US combat troops in Iraq just x'ed the border. "Iraqi Freedom" is officially ended. Now what?

USABreakingNews: CNN- - Military: Last U.S. brigade combat team leaves Iraq; 56,000 troops remain. Fifty-thousand set to stay past August 31.

BreakingNews: Update: Last U.S. combat troops in Kuwait and out of Iraq - NBC News

And the article:
U.S. ends combat operations in Iraq. After 7½ years, last convoy of fighting forces rolling into Kuwait.

The last U.S. combat troops were crossing the border into Kuwait on Thursday morning, bringing to a close the active combat phase of a 7½-year war that overthrew the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein, forever defined the presidency of George W. Bush and left more than 4,400 ((4,415 to be exact)) American service members and tens of thousands of Iraqis dead.

The departure marks the official end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the State Department, told msnbc TV. But while it is “an historic moment,” he said, it is not the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

“We are ending the war ... but we are not ending our work in Iraq,” he said. “We have a long-term commitment to Iraq.”

Read the whole article and watch the video here:

I SERIOUSLY think this undermines the job our troops are currently doing in Iraq. It's 3am where my husband is. Do you think he's asleep in a comfy chu waiting to get up in the morning to advise and assist the Iraqis?? Do you think the mortars have stopped? Do you think the missions have stopped? Of course not!!

So of course WE all know what it really going on in Iraq, but we are Army wives. My problem with the way the media is handling this is the way the public will view our troops in Iraq now. We all know everyone will now just assume that the war/conflict is over. That all of our husbands and wives and sons and daughters are safe now. When that is SERIOUSLY not the case!! My husband is still very much in a war zone. Living in horrible conditions, sleeping with his shoes and gun within arm's reach, waiting for the next siren to sound. Nothing has changed for the troops today, no matter what the media says. The only thing that is different is what they are called. No longer "combat troops" but now troops that are supposed to advise and train. There are 50,000 troops left over there. Don't be fooled, they aren't safe.

Maybe it's just my snarky cynical attitude, but I don't give the American people much credit when it comes to the military. After watching even one "Jay walking" skit on The Jay Leno show, we can all say that much of the public just isn't very knowledgeable about the world around them. It's unfortunate that many will watch the news tonight read on Twitter tonight that the last of the combat troops have left Iraq and that Operation Iraqi Freedom is over and assume that all of our troops are home safe. But like I have posted on this blog before, America isn't at war, America is at the mall. And this wont bring any support to the troops still fighting and STILL risking their lives everyday in Iraq.

It may be a step in the right direction. But what now? What about the casualties to come? What the hell is this damn Operation New Dawn bullshit? How is my husband's life, duties, mission, safety any different now? This is all PR, all smoke and mirrors for the unwitting American public. I feel like I have been let down today, as an American that supports the troops as fiercely as possible, and as a wife to an American Soldier. I don't feel like I witnessed a historic moment, I feel like I just witnessed the biggest joke of 2010. The war is not over!! Combat is NOT over! I hope I'm wrong. I hope this conflict can take a positive turn, but even as I write this, I know it's not going to happen. My husband will have to wait for that siren until the day he redeploys.

I guess the take home message of this whole blog is just remember that there are still people over there. They still need to know they are being supported by the American people. They still need to know we care. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that these 50,000 brave men and women might be forgotten. Or not given the credit they deserve and have earned.


Erin said...

I completely agree with you. A lot of our friends are over there/heading over there. I will just say, they are definitely not "non-combat troops." It really takes away from what is still going on over there. It makes it look like the war is over when its not.

JavaCupcake said...

I think they're referring to the last combat-unit . All soldiers are trained for combat and are combat ready, but their MOS isn't infantry. I think that's all their getting at. The news I watched also said there are 50,000 troops still there! :)

I'll keep praying for the continued safety of your soldier and all soldiers in Iraq until they all come home!!!!

Jessica said...

**Applauding** What a great blog post! I agree with everything you said. I have plenty of conversations about troops still being deployed to Iraq. Nobody that I've had conversations with knew that troops were still deploying to Iraq when your husband went. It's ridiculous what people don't realize about the military. I hope everybody keeps supporting our troops though!

Megan said...

I agree with your post. One thing I would add is that the media in other parts of the world does a heck of a better job than here. When I went to Canada earlier this month and watched the news, it seemed like a lot more of the real events were being documented. Our media portrays the war as if we are all play acting on some global stage, when in reality there are deaths, love ones lost or injured, and tough times at home.

Granted, the media isn't perfect and Canada is sort of anti-war now that the Dutch have pulled out of the Afghan conflict and Canada will likely follow suit, but it was interesting seeing that perspective compared to what we are fed at home about Iraq and Afghanistan.

I, too, hope the troops still there are not forgotten. Thankfully military families stick together and know that this is far from over; "until they all come home" is our daily motto.

Sarah said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I don't know if you've heard this rumor, but I've heard that they're planning to take away combat pay during New Dawn. WTF?! 4 guys were injured 3 days ago when insurgents THREW GRENADES into Strykers in a convoy. HOW IS THAT NOT COMBAT?!

I hate the way the media is handling this. I think you're right; people are going to think that the war is over and forget that there are still troops in danger over there.

Natalia said...

What an awesome post! I totally agree. Most Americans are completely ignorant about the Military and the current situation. I'd like to think that my blog is helping my friends and family back home understand better in some small way. I love the New York Times but the BBC does international news much better and I think it's good for Americans to get an outside perspective.

And you know, I really wonder who gets paid to come up with the Operation names. New Dawn? Sounds like the next installment in the Twilight series.

Sara said...

@JavaCupcake I would venture to say that the vast majority of the 50,000 left are all infantry. My husband is in an infantry brigade right now, not coming home until next year. Literally nothing changed except the combat titles.

Chantal said...

My husband is there. I agree with you completely! It's ridiculous how this is being portrayed...

Scatterbrain said...

One of my very best friends deployed to Iraq LAST WEEK and his MOS is infantry.. and he certainly isn't heading back home yet.

I've been disconnected from news/twitter lately so this is the first I've heard of it. And it makes me sick. :(

Expat Girl said...

Thank you for writing this

Sara said...

I have to agree with Megan about the news media around the world. I have a number of news apps on my iPhone because I think it's my duty as an Army wife to stay informed about the world around me. I watch many new casts every evening and read as much as possible about the current political and military worlds so that I can objectively have an opinion about current subjects. And I really like the way the BBC covers our news stories. But its also important to know what is happening outside of America.

And writing this blog was a priority yesterday as soon as I heard about the story. But I waited until I had looked and many news outlets, read everything I could find, even something on the BBC. I watched the "historic moment" live in tv as I was starting the blog. I watched that last vehicle pass into Kuwait and that symbolic gate close and watch the anchors try to make it seem so important and all I could do was yell at my tv and type as fast as I could.

I hesitated posting the blog because I didnt want to seem like a whiny Army wife. But I think this goes so far past our "Army wife" status. This is a subject everyone needs to be aware of, whether you stay informed or not. This is part of the reason I am concerned about how the remaining troops will be looked at and treated. Too many people dont take pride in being informed and knowledgeable about the world around them.

Thanks for the comments everyone! I really appreciate the support for this blog post!

Samantha the ArmyWife said...

I do agree with you it is ridiculous how the news portrayed all of this. But in all fairness I don't expect the news to really know the difference either. I think what JavaCupCake was getting at is that we no longer have a combat-oriented mission in Iraq. Does that mean that the soldiers on the ground will live in the lap of luxury and be as safe as you or I? No. Does it mean that they won't ever fire their weapons? No. All the same, I totally see your point and I think that the media should distinguish the difference for the sake of keeping the American people properly informed.

JavaCupcake said...

Thank you Samantha... that's what I was trying to say. :)

My husband is in the 4th Stryker Brigade and was on the news, being covered as he crossed into Kuwait. So, I understand what it means to have a husband in harms way. I wasn't trying to negate the situation there. Just point out the difference between the roles of troops who just left versus those who are still there.

We are transitioning from Operation Iraqi Freedom to Operation New Dawn. Yay! History is upon us!

Sara said...

But that's the point I'm trying to make, there isnt a difference between the troops that just left and the ones remaining, in all respects, MOSs, day to day roles, safety, missions, IEDs. I dont expect my husband to be in the lap of luxury now. But it would be nice if the actual combat was over, since that's what everyone wants to celebrate. When I say nothing has changed, I literally mean nothing has changed, even in the respect of the daily combat the Soldiers see. The media wants to celebrate the 18th as if it was a big change, but it hasnt changed one single bit.

Ok, that is a very large generalization, as I only know a handful of Soldiers in Iraq right now. So maybe it's completely different everywhere else, except for the 4 FOBs/COSs where the people I know are deployed to. So what are the chances of that really? And I know people want to "YAY History" after 7 years of war, but still, this seems like a huge mistake when it comes to the military and the 50,000 Soldiers remaining over there.

Megan and Chris said...

I know exactly how you feel! My husband is there right now too and he's not sitting behind a desk and living a life of luxury! Thank you for this post!

Sara said...

"Military Leaders on Iraq Combat: "Our Mission Has Not Changed" -An article by David Sirota

Anonymous said...

I like this post. My husband is in Iraq and obviously isn't in a combat troop but one of his friends and people he works with was killed over the weekend in Basrah. It's not over. It's far from over.