Wednesday, September 05, 2007

What a Month!!

My last PalosVerdesBlog post was nearly two months ago, on July 24. It dealt with “Just War” theory in the age of worldwide Islamic terrorism. There were some interesting comments.

First from Burt: “My reading is that the rest of the world is as smart as the 75% of Americans who realize that we've irrevocably blown it --and the world and our country would be far better off if we didn't continue to blow our treasury and if we didn't continue to add to the number of US military who are destined to be mentally diminished the rest of their lives. I've been asking you for the year that we've known each other what you see as the end point of our staying there; so far I haven't heard any logical answer.” Of course I’ve answered this question every time Burt asked it, but he does not want to accept the possibility of my end point being achieved. Neither does a Democrat Party that is invested in defeat.

George Weigel (“First Things”) described what our leaving now would mean: “What would ‘out’ mean? At the moment, it would certainly mean a genocidal war of Balkan ferocity or worse within Iraq. That war would almost certainly draw in both Iran and the Sunni powers of the region. And then, it seems almost certain, the entire region would explode, with incalculable political, economic, and human costs. In the midst of that chaos, al-Qaeda and similar networks would find themselves new Iraqi havens, as they did in the chaos of the Soviet debacle in Afghanistan—which would, in turn, likely mean that the United States would have to go back into Iraq in the future, under far, far worse circumstances than we face today.”

Greg asked the salient question: “As for the ensuing chaos, let us suppose that subsequent to a pull-out, ethnic cleansing took the form of concentration camps complete with gas chambers and soap factories. Would the Dems be remorseful? Would they want to go back in?”

Mike added a warning: “George Marshall used to say that democracies will not sustain a war beyond seven years. Were he alive today he might adjust that figure downward.” I only hope that the American people wake up to the fact that this war with Islamic radicals is going to be a generational struggle and that we had damn well better win it.


On a lighter note: My grandson, Sgt. Johnny Walton, US Army 82 Airborne, was discharged last week after 5 years in the service and 2 tours of duty (nearly 2 years) in Iraq. Carolynne, his mom, said Johnny is tempted to burn his uniforms, but he had better not, as he is eligible for recall for 2 more years. In January, Johnny will be entering George Mason University. Continued good luck, grandson.

Our good friend Col. Dave McCarthy, USMC Special Operations, is leaving Iraq soon. Here is a longish bit from his last “Bagdad” report:

“Greetings. I trust this message finds you and yours all well and in good spirits. It's hard to believe that thirteen messages have been written in my time here, and I don't know how many photos have been sent. As I've told you many times before, writing a few sentences each day or night has been a form of therapy for me. I wonder if I'll need to continue the therapy when I get back to the states . . . probably: I am going to L.A. after all, LaLa Land. I will begin redeployment in two days. After I leave Bagdad I have to go to Kuwait where I will spend about a week, then it's off to the USA. I feel a little sad because I'll be leaving the friends I've made here - both American and Iraqi, and I feel a little guilty because our National interests and the lives of innocent Iraqis tell me I should stay. I'll miss the camaraderie and the adrenaline rushes; I'll miss putting on my Battle Rattle, saddling up and heading out into Indian territory (outside the wire).

What I won't miss are tents, porta-johns, bad chow (or no chow), too little sleep (or no sleep) and having people trying to blow me up with IEDs, gettingrocketed with RPGs and getting shot at by small arms fire (although I am going back to L.A., so there's that chance). I won't miss listening to arabic prayers broadcast five times a day over loudspeakers in the minarets. I won't miss Big-Voice announcing "INCOMING! INCOMING! INCOMING!" I won't miss killing and witnessing death. Another thing I surely won't miss about Bagdad is the weather. In the NY Times Op-Ed piece "A War We Just Might Win " authors Michael E. O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack write, "After the furnace-like heat, the first thing you notice when you land in Baghdad . . ." Yep, "furnace-like heat" sums itup nicely; I won't miss it at all, nor the rivers of sweat that go with it. Oh, by the way, after the heat the first thing they noticed was the high morale of the troops.

One bit of shameless self-promotion, if I may: I just found out that have been awarded the Bronze Star medal. Napoleon said something about how men will perform magnificently for a little bit of colored ribbon; I guess he's right.

A quick aside: The documentary movie "Obsession" is excellent, albeit chilling, and I highly recommend it. It'll give you a good insight into what America - and western civilization - faces. I see it first-hand here daily. The overriding message in the movie is the quote of Irish statesman Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." That thought is one of the main reasons I have sworn the oath every morning for the past 26 years and why I keep deploying.

Since the last message I had a few more missions, including one big one on the Iranian border - a nice neighborhood (did the sarcasm come through o.k.?). We took a Black Hawk helicopter to a Forward Operating Base (FOB) about an hour and a half flight southeast of Bagdad and then headed out from there. The FOB there has a small contingent of US Forces and a large contingent of Georgian forces - that's Georgian as in from the Republic of Georgia. The ride down was not uneventful: about half way there we took small arms ground fire. We had two Black Hawks, as always, and each Black Hawk has two 7.62-cal. door guns; when the door gunners from each airship open fire it puts out a large volume of fire. Unfortunately I was seated in the forward-facing seat directly behind one of the door gunners, and getting hit in the face with a few hundred rounds of hot brass as it's being ejected from the gun is just no fun . . . then again it's more fun than getting hit in the face with hot lead from ground fire.


Above is a picture of our Terp (interpreter) Ammar, Air Force Major General Edgington and me. Ammar is not only a valued asset he is a great man and has become a dear friend. He is an Iraqi Catholic, so when the terrorists started bombing Catholic churches and kidnapping and killing priests, nuns and parishioners he moved his family to Jordan for their safety. I knew he wants more than anything to come to America with his parents, his brother and his sister, become a citizen and start a business, so I got him all of the documents and forms he needs, arranged for an interview with Major General Edgington and for a friend who works in the U.S. Embassy in Bagdad to take Ammar from office to office to get all the signatures and stamps he needs. When the final O.K. comes - God willing - he'll be leaving for America in a couple of months. I very much look forward to having his family as guests.

In closing I have a favor to ask: please say a prayer for the good people of Iraq - the innocent people; there are a lot of them, many of whom I have befriended - especially the Kurds up North and the Baghdad Christians - and they deserve better than they've gotten the last few years. If we can get rid of Al Qaida and get rid of the Syrians, Iranians, Saudis and other foreign Muslim extremists, then the good people might have a chance. O.K., now that's everything. Take care and be well. Please know that you are always in my thoughts and in my prayers.

Semper Fidelis,DMM

I’m sure we’re all looking forward to tipping a few brewskis with Brother Dave and listening to him tell us some details about his war experiences. God bless him and all our fighting troops.


Finally, why was I absent from blog duty for the last two months? There have been some BIG changes in my life. Lee and I are divorcing. On Aug 1, I moved into a lovely home in the Malaga Cove area of Palos Verdes Estates with Linda Henson, the new love of my life, and her Westie (West Highland Terrier) Sammy. My new email address is
wlama@verizon.net
and the home phone is 310-375-9315. I hope to continue my contributions to the blogosphere and that my friends like the new stuff from a newly happy guy.

1 Comments:

Blogger fetching jen said...

Welcome back Bill! I missed your insightful posts and wish you all the best with your new life.

fj

p.s. visit my weekly column at sacunion.com (Katy Grimes)

2:42 PM  

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