Sunday, February 24, 2008

A little bit of hooah, a little bit of IVAW

It's funny to me sometimes when people tend to assume my life is all one or the other. That since I'm an Army sergeant who's a little bit gung-ho about some stuff, I must completely support everything we do, including the war-or that since I'm an IVAW member taking on a lot of responsibility, I must hate the Army and all of its ways. I was thinking about this (not that the conversation caused it) as I took a phone call the other day from an IVAW member, while I had an Army weapon in one hand. I spoke briefly to the IVAW member, told him I'd call him back, and then proceeded to give the best training I could to my guys on how not to die. When I was done with the training and was no longer on Army time, I called back the IVAW member and proceeded to give them my full due as well. It occurred to me in retrospect how odd it might seem to an outside observer-but I view IVAW as an extension of my NCO self. It's taking care of soldiers, which is my job, just in a little bit different way. Taking care of the bullets they don't know how to dodge-the political bullets that they think they just have to suck up.

The truth is always, no matter how strange it may seem to people, a little bit in between. I love IVAW, I'm firmly against the Iraq War, and I love the Army. I don't always love the way the Army is being handled, and I don't always love how certain anti-Iraq war groups take actions. I prefer to go into recruiter's offices and give them SITREPs. Or Winter Soldier flyers. They're troops too, and just because they're putting new troops in doesn't mean they agree with the war necessarily. I also prefer in the Army to be tough but fair on my soldiers. I will help them with anything that needs doing, but at a certain point, they need to do things themselves and be competent at them-I don't believe that lowering standards helps in the long run. I don't like things about both, but that doesn't mean I am not firm for both. I don't think the two are incompatible at all. I, like a lot of my fellow IVAW members and supporters, are human beings.

Some people make a lot of noise about organizations, and how organizations are doing this, or organizations are doing that. This is, quite frankly, a crock. Organizations don't do things. People do things, and they may be part of an organization of like-minded individuals at the same time. There are few demons on either side, and thinking that each side is a monolithic block of robots can be pretty harmful.

Speaking of monolithic blocks of robots, some thinking that the anti-war movement acts in that fashion may be surprised to learn of the Code of Conduct for Winter Soldier II. We do, in fact, have rules out that will govern behavior for all attendees, members, media, and invited guests. I know this will come as a deep disappointment to TSO, who may cancel his tentative interest upon learning that he will not, after all, be able to blog with a beer in one hand and a keyboard in the other. For everyone else, the rules primarily involve acting like an adult, with a few security concerns and courtesy concerns addressed as well. (Like don't use a cellphone in a place where people are going to be talking seriously about very serious stuff. Some of this is really no-brainers)

In other news, I have an alert of a missing marine on the loose. Anyone in Indiana may want to keep an eye out for Eric Hall -he apparently phoned, so his family knows he's alive, but they report him as wounded in Iraq and with PTSD, so getting him home may be a tough process.

Also, if you haven't visited the Winter Soldier website in a while, now is your time to do so. It also gives details for those of you unable to make it in person who want to tune in during the periods which will be broadcast, especially if you have satellite TV-also the schedule and times you can watch or listen to it.


Adam Kokesh said...

That first part was beautiful! I have heard other IVAW members (the Yoda) thinking about IVAW members the way that NCOs think of their troops. I think the dilemma you bring up could be much more thoroughly explored. As someone who is pro-military myself, I deal with other people seeing this conflict as well, but for me, wanting to end the war and save the military makes the most sense.

NotFooled said...

when y'all do WSII are you going to require people to prove who they are and offer proof of what they say or will that just be another fantasy shite fest like the last?

Army Sergeant said...

Yes, we are going to require verification of all people testifying. DD214s which will be thoroughly checked to ensure they are not faked, or active duty ID cards/ERBs/military orders/etc.

Zero Ponsdorf said...

I continue to be puzzled about just what the point of the WS II exercise might be.

I've read much of your stuff, and watched the video. I visited the website and will be (sadly) be watching via the video feed.

But what I can't find is the hook, or lede.

Ending the war may be a laudable goal, but it seems peripheral to other things. Saying that some in the military have had some problems
may be true, but it is not news.

Second hand tales of alleged atrocities aren't going to fly this time, too many are actually paying attention.

I dunno, seems like someone should have been able to come up with something to catch the imagination of potential supporters outside the mainstream anti-everything crowd.

Army Sergeant said...

You'd be surprised, Zero, on just how much the average citizen does not in fact realize that there are problems with the military, and that the soldiers are not, in fact, being treated well currently.

Zero Ponsdorf said...

"You'd be surprised, Zero, on just how much the average citizen does not in fact realize that there are problems with the military, and that the soldiers are not, in fact, being treated well currently."

This why I keep looking for the punch line.

My first reaction to your comment amounted to: "Are you s***ting me?"

Then I realized that you don't understand that you're preaching to the converted. And that you don't get it.

I give up, you don't seem inclined to extend you concerns to ALL veterans, You don't seen to want to acknowledge that other veterans have been there, done that, long before you took up your current torch.

Attack the VA, attack the War in Iraq, do what you must... but don't paint the IVAW as the savior of troubled vets while urinating on us and saying it's only rain.

We've been pals during the run up to your event, so I'll apologize for my mini-rant. I'll also commit to not visiting here again.

Army Sergeant said...

My concern falls somewhat along the same lines as it does in the military.

In the Army, you have utmost concern for your squad first. Your squad, thick or thin. Your squad over the other squads. Then your platoon over the other platoons. Then your company over the other companies. Then your battalion over the other battalions. Your brigade. So on and so forth.

It's not that I don't care about all veterans. It's that I'm taking care of my squad first.

Nobody's trashing you, nobody's trying to take anything from you or make your life one bit more difficult than it already is.

We're trying to do what I can. We'd appreciate help from older vets. Some are indeed helping us. Others are choosing not to, and that's okay. We're not trying to reinvent the wheel-we're taking help. But help isn't reviling our attempts. If you have a better way to help us, you're more than free to suggest it. But right now, this is the best we can do, and we're trying our hardest.

This can be summed up as: if you don't have a solution to the problem, we're going to keep trying ours. If you do, voice it.

Spc. Freeman said...


Saw you had some links to my site up. I don't believe we've met. I'm Freeman, and thanks for propping my site.

I like what you have going on here, Sergeant. It's rare to see another soldier who feels as I do. I'll have to visit more often. I'm on my way out of the Army, but I've been glad for your support, and I was equally glad to share some mirth over old Arlo Guthrie songs.

I'll be back. You stay strong.


de la Ventosa said...

How about this for starters on how not to die: DON'T ROLL OVER ON YOUR SOLDIERS AND YOUR COUNTRY. As a "good" NCO, you are teaching them measures (combative, non, etc. that the Army has taught you) to evade dying while simultaneously rolling over on them, in the most chickenhawk of ways you annonymous coward, and compromising them further for when they are in the very same place/position you are teaching them to defend themselves in. You want to pull out because you can't handle war, the atrocities, you can't stomache the reasons initally driving the war? You are a "victim?/perpetuator" of populist propaganda that can only see this world as a battle b/t the proletariat and bourgeoisie; your whining prevents you from seeing what "state of nature" world we live in and these fools (perpetuators of regional instability and terror in the middle eastern region) have a lot of resources to do it with.

You IVAW cowards activly work against the very Army you are currently serving by attacking recruiters, rather than trying to bring about change from an internal standpoint (interested in your SIREPs); you tour around in civillian land bashing your own, complicating and confusing those that want to serve, or at least support, their country.

I would like for you to answer me this: when is it okay to fight a war, and to its finish? When you personally decide it is okay, right, just? What is this ideal war you espouse (outside of this utopic state of being that you live in, assuming we have to fight wars; let us bypass you answering saying "we should never have to fight wars" or something to that effect, and I say, "well, hypothetically.")? Is that why you "enlisted?" So you can hold a rank that will never come close to being in a position to access info that would help you make a more informed personal opionion (that you keep in hiding from those around you) and stance?

Why don't you go cup Adam's balls some more, brush each other's hair, maybe braid it.

Oh yeah, and when is Winter Soldier 2.0 going to facilitate (or open itself up to) an open debate with those that disagree with their Marxist philosophies?

Thus Spake Ortner said...

"Why don't you go cup Adam's balls some more, brush each other's hair, maybe braid it."

Is that what they do in IVAW? Now that I know AS is a chick, I may have to switch sides.

Thus Spake Ortner said...

"Why don't you go cup Adam's balls some more, brush each other's hair, maybe braid it."

Is that what they do in IVAW? Now that I know AS is a chick, I may have to switch sides. Although, I better start growing out my hair. I have a high and tight, and am a poor hairless Irish lad on teh rest.

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