Friday, April 13, 2007

US Soldiers Kicked in Balls by Uncle Sam

I have to say morale is not horrible here after the announcement that deployments are being extended another three months. The rumor was in full swing a few weeks before the news hit. It was sort of an air bag.

One officer told me that my headline for the work I am doing here should be “Soldiers kicked in the balls.”

I can tell you that almost every soldier I have talked to said that they are going to leave the military as soon as they can. Most have done a tour previous to this and to be on the second and third tour AND have it extended has simply burned them out, despite the $1000 a month bonus.

The bottom line is that these soldiers have family. It's too long away from spouses and children. I have heard it over and over. Putting ones life on hold for 15 months at a time is just too damn much.

I did ten months over here in 05/06 and that was enough for me. About 8 months of that time were spent in Afghanistan. I found a link today to something I wrote about a friend of mine that died in Afghanistan last winter. Wais was not a soldier in the traditional sense, but he was a fighter and survivor. He managed the Mustafa Hotel in Kabul.

All hell is breaking loose here in Iraq, it seems. Woman suicide bombers, bridges exploding and bombs in the safest parts of the Green Zone—the Iraqi Parliament. Well, that is determination. I am not sure what a surge of troops and extending the Army three months on a twelve month tour can do when all of the attacks I mention are by people willing to blow themselves up. Nothing will stop a suicide bomber easily. Of course you can shoot them if you get a chance, or take the bomb away. Sure. But that is hard to do.

I've been working in Tall Afar at FOB Sykes with the 2-25 AVN attached to 1/17 Air Cav. Good bunch of guys. I took a little video you can see here.

If you like the music, I'm playing the electric guitar, Shurd, the pilot with the rubber chicken is playing a classical and Chris, a contractor was on keyboards. It was our first song and first time jamming. We started out with BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN. If you click on the first podcast you can here the entire jam.

The extreme heat of Iraq has not hit—its rainy, making lots of mud, and cool. Probably in the 50s at night. I have a few more days here, then I am off to Al Assad in Al Anbar.

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