Saturday, February 24, 2007

"Hope Rides Alone"

Below is a piece written By Sgt. Eddie Jeffers a US Army Infantryman serving in Ramadi, Iraq. It is Entitled: "Hope Rides Alone". It is the expression of a war weary front line soldier doing the thing he volunteered to do as an honorable US citizen in the Armed Forces of the United States.

If you have had doubts about the war, about the reasons for the war, about the dedication to duty of our servicemen and women, then take the time to read this piece by Sgt. Jeffers.

Hope Rides Alone... Eddie Jeffers

I stare out into the darkness from my post, and I watch the city burn to the ground. I smell the familiar smells, I walk through the familiar rubble, and I look at the frightened faces that watch me pass down the streets of their neighborhoods. My nerves hardly rest; my hands are steady on a device that has been given to me from my government for the purpose of taking the lives of others.

I sweat, and I am tired. My back aches from the loads I carry. Young American boys look to me to direct them in a manner that will someday allow them to see their families again...and yet, I too, am just a age not but a few years more than that of the ones I lead. I am stressed, I am scared, and I am paranoid...because death is everywhere. It waits for me, it calls to me from around street corners and windows, and it is always there.

There are the demons that follow me, and tempt me into thoughts and actions that are not my own...but that are necessary for survival. I've made compromises with my humanity. And I am not alone in this. Miles from me are my brethren in this world, who walk in the same streets...who feel the same things, whether they admit to it or not.

And to think, I volunteered for this...

And I am ignorant to the rest of the world...or so I thought.

But even thousands of miles away, in Ramadi, Iraq, the cries and screams and complaints of the ungrateful reach me. In a year, I will be thrust back into society from a life and mentality that doesn't fit your average man. And then, I will be alone. And then, I will walk down the streets of America, and see the yellow ribbon stickers on the cars of the same people who compare our President to Hitler.

I will watch the television and watch the Cindy Sheehans, and the Al Frankens, and the rest of the ignorant sheep of America spout off their mouths about a subject they know nothing about. It is their right, however, and it is a right that is defended by hundreds of thousands of boys and girls scattered across the world, far from home. I use the word boys and girls, because that's what they are. In the Army, the average age of the infantryman is nineteen years old. The average rank of soldiers killed in action is Private First Class.

People like Cindy Sheehan are ignorant. Not just to this war, but to the results of their idiotic ramblings, or at least I hope they are. They don't realize its effects on this war. In this war, there are no Geneva Conventions, no cease fires. Medics and Chaplains are not spared from the enemy's brutality because it's against the rules. I can only imagine the horrors a military Chaplain would experience at the hands of the enemy. The enemy slinks in the shadows and fights a coward’s war against us. It is effective though, as many men and women have died since the start of this war. And the memory of their service to America is tainted by the inconsiderate remarks on our nation's news outlets. And every day, the enemy changes...only now, the enemy is becoming something new. The enemy is transitioning from the Muslim extremists to Americans. The enemy is becoming the very people whom we defend with our lives. And they do not realize it. But in denouncing our actions, denouncing our leaders, denouncing the war we live and fight, they are isolating the military from society...and they are becoming our enemy.

Democrats and peace activists like to toss the word "quagmire" around and compare this war to Vietnam. In a way they are right, this war is becoming like Vietnam. Not the actual war, but in the isolation of country and military. America is not a nation at war; they are a nation with its military at war. Like it or not, we are here, some of us for our second, or third times; some even for their fourth and so on. Americans are so concerned now with politics, that it is interfering with our war.

Terrorists cut the heads off of American citizens on the internet...and there is no outrage, but an American soldier kills an Iraqi in the midst of battle, and there are investigations, and sometimes soldiers are even jailed...for doing their job.

It is absolutely sickening to me to think our country has come to this. Why are we so obsessed with the bad news? Why will people stop at nothing to be against this war, no matter how much evidence of the good we've done is thrown in their face? When is the last time CNN or MSNBC or CBS reported the opening of schools and hospitals in Iraq? Or the leaders of terror cells being detained or killed? It's all happening, but people will not let up their hatred of President Bush. They will ignore the good news, because it just might show people that Bush was right.

America has lost its will to fight. It has lost its will to defend what is right and just in the world. The crazy thing of it all is that the American people have not even been asked to sacrifice a single thing. It’s not like World War II, where people rationed food and turned in cars to be made into metal for tanks. The American people have not been asked to sacrifice anything. Unless you are in the military or the family member of a servicemember, its life as usual...the war doesn't affect you.

But it affects us. And when it is over and the troops come home and they try to piece together what's left of them after their service...where will the detractors be then? Where will the Cindy Sheehans be to comfort and talk to soldiers and help them sort out the last couple years of their lives, most of which have been spent dodging death and wading through the deaths of their friends? They will be where they always are, somewhere far away, where the horrors of the world can't touch them. Somewhere where they can complain about things they will never experience in their lifetime; things that the young men and women of America have willingly taken upon their shoulders.

We are the hope of the Iraqi people. They want what everyone else wants in life: safety, security, somewhere to call home. They want a country that is safe to raise their children in. Not a place where their children will be abducted, raped and murdered if they do not comply with the terrorists demands. They want to live on, rebuild and prosper. And America has given them the opportunity, but only if we stay true to the cause and see it to its end. But the country must unite in this endeavor...we cannot place the burden on our military alone. We must all stand up and fight, whether in uniform or not. And supporting us is more than sticking yellow ribbon stickers on your cars. It's supporting our President, our troops and our cause.

Right now, the burden is all on the American soldiers. Right now, hope rides alone. But it can change, it must change. Because there is only failure and darkness ahead for us as a country, as a people, if it doesn't.

Let's stop all the political nonsense, let's stop all the bickering, let's stop all the bad news and let's stand and fight!

Isn't that what America is about anyway?


It is young men like Sgt. Jeffers who define America for the majority of us out here in "flyover" country. Yes, we want to bring our serviceman and women home but not at the cost of their honor, nor ours. Ask the Vietnam Veterans what it does to a Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Airman to be placed in a war zone and not be allowed to fight the enemy and win. It scars one's soul. Wounds to the body will heal. But a scared soul will never heal. We have a generation of veterans today who bear that scar blazoned across their souls. Do we really want to do this to another generation of young Americans? Do we??? For if we do, we are in hopeless shape as a country and as individuals... and we no longer deserve to call ourselves "Americans".

As Sgt. Jeffers says above: "Hope Rides Alone". Often, hope is all there is. Take that away, and all is lost.


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Frank said...

I am kind of at a crossroads here.... I watched a show on the History Channel calle "The Real story Behind BlackHawk Down" and towards the end they interviewed soldiers that were there that said they were upset because they were recalled back to the states after the "incedent". Basically they wanted to "finish" the job. Then they interviewed a Republican Senator who said if the troops weren't recalled there would be a bill passed that demanded their recall within a month...... Are the republicans tough on terror or not? Or do they only support war when one of their guys is in office?

Longstreet said...

Frank, if you can get your hands on the book: Black Hawk Down, by Mark Bowden, do so.

I remember the incident vividly. I also purchased the book as soon as it was released.

The US had a situation which had been screwed-to-the-wall by our politicians in DC... including President Clinton. It cost eighteen soldiers their lives and the Secretary of Defense his job.

First... Bush "one" had put US troops into Somalia to help feed the people who were starving from famine. The food shipments had been arriving but the warlords where hoarding the food and controling the population that way. Bush sent US forces in to force the warlords to release the food and to see that it was distributed to the starving population. It worked. The US troops were withdrawn when that mission was completed.

Clinton re-committed troops to Somalia, along with several other countries, to try to pacify the situation again, after it had gone south again, and bring a few of the warlords to Justice. The troops, mostly Rangers and "Delta Force" troops (They don't exist,of course!) found that they needed rolling armor such as APC's (Armored Personell Carriers), and even tanks, to be able to negotiate the rabbit-warren-like streets and alleys of Mogadishu(?). They made a formal request of the Sec Def's office (thru the proper channels) and they were denied that equipment. When the defication hit the rotary oscillator, that equipment would have saved their lives. But... alas, it was not there... and our men were trapped in a fight for their lives with re-inforcements unable to get to the them. The US Commander had to BEG APC's from another country's forces to be able to rescue what was left of the Americans cut off in the city. Some still wound up walking and fighting their way out of the mess.

We had eighteen dead Americans because of the lack of necessary supplies (Armor) to do their jobs.

The Rangers wanted to stay, as did Delta Force (which doesn't exist, of course!) and clean the clock of those warlords in the city and the country. However, they were unable to accomplish the mission without support from the Commander in Chief and the Sec Def., so they were pulled out before there were more needless casualities. It was a complete FUBAR!!!

My friend, this is one of the reasons I contimue to say that Liberals do not understand force, nor the application of force. They want to micro-manage the war effort rather than allow the military to do their jobs. In the Black Hawk Down incident it cost the lives of eighteen Americans... needlessly.

By the way, estimates of the dead, on the Somali side,(in that one battle) were 2,000 plus!

I have been critical of our current Commander in Chief for restricting the US forces in Iraq. Let them do their jobs, stop second quessing them and they will get the job done and be home. This war would have been over in weeks had the Military been allowed free rein to clean that mess up.

We need to stop trying to win friends and influence people! We need to stop trying to nation build! Make a vast parking lot, paved with glass, out of Baghdad, level the remaining hot spots, and come home and prepare for the onslaught of terrorism here at home. For you can bet your bottom dollar it is coming.

Again, Frank, I recommend you get Black Hawk Down and read it. It will give you some insight into what I bitch about so much on this site.

Best regards!


Frank said...

We need to stop trying to nation build! Make a vast parking lot, paved with glass, out of Baghdad, level the remaining hot spots, and come home and prepare for the onslaught of terrorism here at home.
I agree with you here on this but see the problem is if we don't nation build there is no profit in the war for American companies, profit of course that escalates our cost of the war adn hits me and you, the US taxpyer and our children and grandchildren.
I also said it was Republican Congressman who said there would have been a resolution passed by them to bring the troops out of Somalia within a month if Bill Clinton would not have removed the troops..... again is it o.k for republicans to pass non binding resolutions (like they actually did in Kosovo) but not ok for democrats to do the same, Or is that a double standard?

Longstreet said...

Sorry! I wasn't dodging that. I just got caught up in what I was trying to say and forgot it. To answer your question,It IS NOT RIGHT, no matter which side does it. Since both sides do it, it apparently has no double standard. It may in the eyes of some, but looking at it realistically, no, there is no double standard. However, it is a rotten thing to do to our troops!