As most of you know, I am a Republican. I like President Bush but I also like Governor Schwarzenegger and plan to vote for Rudy Guiliani. I am a moderate. Don’t call me weak, compromise is a good thing. And, if you know me you know I am strongwilled and bullheaded.
I have a nephew that is a soldier in Iraq. He has an amazing ability with words! This last letter I felt very strongly needed to be published. My sister Cori, said soldiers’ mother, said publishing it here would be great! And, she knows a few things about publication, she works for the newspaper. I have a lot to be proud of in my family!
Although I know most of you won’t agree with most of what is written below, we are a country built on the backs (and lives) of soldiers like my nephew who penned this letter.
Please show your respect if you leave a comment. Like my mother said, “If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.” Brilliant woman!
So, without any further ado, the letter:
Been a while, I know. I’ve been slacking off with this. Our schedules have shifted from 10 hour shifts back to 12, and things overall have gotten rather boring. But in war, boring is good. We’ve basically made the worst place in our AO the brightest example of Iraqi success. The police and Army (Iraqi type) are working rather well with the civilian militia to maintain order in the city. In Arabic, it’s referred to as a Sahwah, or Awakening. In our AO, we’ve got Sahwah’s in nearly every village and town. They’ve contributed heavily to bringing the number of enemy attacks down from 10 a day to 10 a week, and have made our area very easy to manage. The greatest issue is that Al Qaida has unquestionably infiltrated many levels of the Sahwah. In many cases, we know that we’re dealing directly with these people, but are willing to give these people to make their living legally by protecting their homes instead of bringing terror to their homes.
In the 8 months we’ve been over here, we’ve confiscated and uncovered a large number of fire arms. I can’t even imagine how many AK-47s we’ve confiscated (at least 15 just last month), not to mention the other miscellaneous rifles, handguns, revolvers, and ammunition we’ve recovered. For instance, we’ve recovered 2 Belgian-manufactured Berettas, one 9mm very similar in construction to the US-Army issue Berettas, but obviously not American (the magazine release was in a different location, and it was manufactured in Belgium, all US service pistols are manufactured in the States), and the other was a much smaller caliber (between .22cal and 7.65mm Remington). We’ve recovered 2 “antique” British service revolvers, 2 Belgian-manufactured (lots of Belgian pistols, if you haven’t noticed) Browning 9mm Pisols, both of which were VERY NICE. We’ve recovered a number of other 9mm pistols which were complete pieces of crap, but our most recent catch was an authentic Austrian Glock 19 9mm. It wasn’t very well maintained, but it’s in pretty good condition. As far as rifles go, we’ve confiscated several Mauser-style long rifles, countless AK’s, and a few RPK machineguns. We’ve picked up a few Russian “Thompson-style” machine guns (with a couple matching drum magazines), and a (!!!) Lee Enfield 1918 model bolt action service rifle with magazine. Some of these rifles are in very nice condition, others are rusted beyond salvation, others are serviceable, but barely so. It pains me to know that all of these firearms are going to be destroyed upon our packing up to leave, and won’t be allowed back in the states. Not even the Lee Enfield or the British Service revolvers. Can’t claim them as war relics, or trophies with the new Army policies…
I don’t know how much of my audience was interested in the above paragraph, but so as not to disappoint the rest of you who were not, I’ll continue to address the current situation in Iraq and current politics.
I haven’t read any recent updates on the status of Congress’s progress on passing the next war spending bill, but the last update I read was that both the bill with a timetable attached and the bill without were both shot down without enough votes to send it final ratification. Now this obviously brings forth the issue of fiscal resources for the military running dangerously low, and if I’m not mistaken, it’s already caused some contracts and orders for new equipment to be cancelled lest the military run into more serious issues that would drive most corporations to claim bankruptcy. The progress in Iraq has been remarkable, setting new lows in terrorist activity and allowing for many areas, formerly closed due to terrorist threat, to be reopened. The greatest threat stems from the Al Qaida stake out and retreat to Baqubah, and members of Maqtadah al-Sadr’s militia. For those of you not following the news, Baqubah and the Diyalah province have become the last stand for many members of Al Qaida, and Sadr’s army has taken foothold throughout Baghdad and other surrounding Shi’a sympathizers’ villages. Baqubah has become the focus for my Brigade, and we’ve got a heavy presence there. Al Qaida won’t last long, and will shortly be decimated beyond resurrection. Once they’ve been reduced that far, it should be clear to the local shayikhs and leaders that they have no reason to fear this crippled terrorist organization. As for Sadr and his “militia” who merely claim that vissad to appeal to young impressionable males who don’t want to be called outright terrorists, it’s been advertised in the media that Maqtadah al-Sadr has been guest to his sympathizing host, Iran for the last several months. It was also advertised several months ago (open source, I don’t recall when exactly) that Sadr placed a “ban” on all anti-coalition activity by all of his militant branches. This however, did not mean they could not continue to wage war against Sunni terrorists. This ban could be lifted soon, but it’s my belief that if Sadr attempted to raise his militia against the United States at this point in time or in the near future, he would hurt nearly any chance he may have to regain an influence in the government (if you remember, Sadr pulled all support back in May or June.). The tribal leaders across Iraq have been meeting with members of other religions, and have shown a great interest in putting their religious differences aside for once, and forming loose alliances.
The Kurds have long been the good example for the rest of Iraq , swiftly forming their own, autonomous government in the Kurdistan Province . They even have their own flag. Their biggest problem and threat to self-jurisdiction is the PKK… which in Kurdish means the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. A group of rebels interested in a Palestinian-style dream of their own territory. The only issue with this is that Turkey currently owns part of what they view is rightfully Kurdish territory. This has caused an armed conflict that has spilled across the Turkey-Iraq border on both sides and claimed the lives of Turkish soldiers and the lives of Kurdish rebels alike. Condoleza Rice has held emergency meetings with both leaders including the Kurdish president of Iraq in hopes of quelling the dispute on a
diplomatic front rather than with an armed conflict that would likely surge for several years. For now, at the last update I read, Kurdish rebels had released the Turkish soldiers they were holding prisoner, and both sides have cooled for the time being, whether an agreement can be reached remains to be determined. For the sake of Iraq , and the peace of the Middle East , let us hope that something can be agreed upon.
On the state-side front, politics have grown steadily more interesting as the Iowa caucus draws closer. I’ll not get too involved in discussing politics of our own country as I write to a “bi-partisan” audience, but I’ll only address the issues which I am most opinionated about. Gun control (or rather I should address them as what they really are, gun protection) laws being one of them as an aspiring conceal and carry license holder. I had a good friend of mine who, by all definitions of the term, is a political analyst; consult the front running candidates’ (both democratic and republican) websites in search of a stance on the subject. Not surprisingly, none of the democratic candidates addressed the issue on their websites. The republican candidates, however mostly favored the protection of the second amendment and the definition of a “right to hold and bear arms” to mean that a law-abiding, healthy, upstanding citizen should be entitled to the right, should they so choose, to own and carry a firearm for the use of self defense. Some candidates cited on their sites examples (as senators or governors) of their voting records in support of gun owners’ rights and against the restrictions on them. The second political topic I have VERY little power over, and that’s Social Security. I’ve already come to terms with the notion that I will never receive Social Security if it remains under government control. Privatized Social Security is really the only way to guarantee that I’ll get the money I put into this mythical fund back at all. The only issue with this, is that the average American citizen is a spender, not a saver, so should the government discontinue its Government Social Security, there’s no longer a slim chance that the average American will get Social Security, there’s no chance, because they will opt out of private SS. Now, a third option would be a government established (possibly upon birth or 18th birthday) privatized SS (basically mandated by the government, but managed privately so the government cannot draw from the “pot o’ gold”). While a bit more work on both ends of the stick, this third option is likely the most successful both to the upstanding intelligent citizen and the dead-beat retards out there who probably don’t expect to live long enough to draw a SS check. The third topic is national health care. National health care is probably the most heated subject in this government race. It crosses the party lines, and is not a red or blue subject. Some candidates on both sides support and oppose it. I haven’t gotten the bottom line on who does and who doesn’t but I plan on doing a little more reading into it in the near future. What I understand now is that it’s been attempted a few times in the past (one such failure was attempted by the democratic front runner, Hillary Clinton during her husband’s presidency) but to no success (obviously since we still have privatized health care). I’m not sure what benefits would come from national health care, except providing more people another reason to depend on the government even more. I hold opinions on other topics, but none are as hot as the above three in this current race; especially the first, with a Supreme Court case pending right now which could be a monumental case. If I’m not mistaken, it’s the United States vs. Heller or Miller, one of the two, but don’t quote me on that. It will basically define a state’s rights in denying citizens the rights to own handguns and other fire arms in their homes. It will not directly address the conceal and carry laws. It stems from a member of Washington , D.C. (which, by the way, has an alarming rate of violent crimes involving firearms) claiming that the city does not have the right to deny its citizens the right to protect their homes with firearms. I won’t get too into this, as I could easily write a whole article on gun laws alone, but This case will undoubtedly be monumental for national interpretation of the Second Amendment as it pertains to our rights to “hold and bear arms”.
On that note, I’ll leave you all to digest my latest publication, however opinionated it was. As always, feedback is always appreciated!
‘Til a later time!