Prev | List | Random | Next
In the July 16 report, two soldiers with the 2nd Infantry division, Corporal Joshua Lake and Specialist Michael Vassell, spoke candidly about their experiences in Iraq.That position has been noted:
"We got grenades going off. We've got an IED blowing up your vehicle. And then you're expected to go back in those four to six, four to five hours and get, and relax to come back out and do another six hours," Lake said. "You don't have time, you just don't have time to do it."
"Because we have people up there in Congress with the brain of a 2-year-old who don't know what they're doing. They don't experience it," Vassell said. "I, I challenge the President or whoever has us here for 15 months to ride along, alongside me. I'll do another 15 months if he comes out here and rides along with me every day for 15 months. I'll do 15 more months. No, I - they don't even have to pay me extra."
It would benefit you to listen to the poignant messages of your soldiers in Iraq, who are paying -- with their blood, nerves and scattered limbs -- the price for these sorts of irresponsible statements. Among them is the eloquent message of Joshua which he sent by way of the media, in which he wipes the tears from his eyes and describes American politicians in harsh terms and invites them to join him there for a few days. Perhaps the message will find in you an attentive ear so you can rescue him and more than 150,000 of your sons there who are tasting the two bitterest things:So who said it? Nancy Pelosi? Harry Reid? Jon Soltz?
If they leave their barracks, the mines devour them, and if they refuse to leave, rulings are passed against them. Thus the only options left in front of them are to commit suicide or cry, both of which are from the severest of afflictions. So is there anything more men can do after crying and killing themselves to make you respond to them? They are doing that out of the severity of humiliation, fear, and terror which they are suffering.
Nope, Osama bin Laden.
Sucks to be you, Joshua.
Update: Clarification from Newsbusters: "Specialist Michael Vassell, not Corporal Joshua Lake, made the comment cited by bin Laden." Still sucks to be Joshua. In fact, it sucks even worse - one of America's greatest enemies in history quotes his pal and pins it on him.
Spc Vassell is African-American, which helps explain the remainder of bin Laden's comments regarding service in Iraq:
It is severer than what the slaves used to suffer at your hands centuries ago, and it is as if some of them have gone from one slavery to another slavery more severe and harmful, even if it be in the fancy dress of the Defense Department's financial enticements.Osama's inspiration for that bit was Charlie Rangell (D-NY):
[Rangell] called the war “morally wrong” and said “it goes even beyond the brutality of slavery and the lynchings.”
Seriously, a copy of this one needs to go to every GI in Iraq.
By the way, Osama's been pretty consistent over the years.
Where was this false courage of yours when the explosion in Beirut took place on 1983 AD (1403 A.H). You were turned into scattered pits and pieces at that time; 241 mainly marines solders were killed. And where was this courage of yours when two explosions made you to leave Aden in lees than twenty four hours!1998:
But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the "chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu...
John Miller, ABC: Describe the situation when your men took down the American forces in Somalia.
Osama bin Laden: After our victory in Afghanistan and the defeat of the oppressors who had killed millions of Muslims, the legend about the invincibility of the superpowers vanished. Our boys no longer viewed America as a superpower. So, when they left Afghanistan, they went to Somalia and prepared themselves carefully for a long war. They had thought that the Americans were like the Russians, so they trained and prepared. They were stunned when they discovered how low was the morale of the American soldier. America had entered with 30,000 soldiers in addition to thousands of soldiers from different countries in the world. ... As I said, our boys were shocked by the low morale of the American soldier and they realized that the American soldier was just a paper tiger. He was unable to endure the strikes that were dealt to his army, so he fled, and America had to stop all its bragging and all that noise it was making in the press after the Gulf War in which it destroyed the infrastructure and the milk and dairy industry that was vital for the infants and the children and the civilians and blew up dams which were necessary for the crops people grew to feed their families. Proud of this destruction, America assumed the titles of world leader and master of the new world order. After a few blows, it forgot all about those titles and rushed out of Somalia in shame and disgrace, dragging the bodies of its soldiers. America stopped calling itself world leader and master of the new world order, and its politicians realized that those titles were too big for them and that they were unworthy of them. I was in Sudan when this happened. I was very happy to learn of that great defeat that America suffered, so was every Muslim. ...
Yeah, I was thinking the same, . . . sucks to be Josh right now.
He's trying to tell his buddies, "No man, I wasn't actually crying, I was just, well, you know, . . . I'm just sayin' . . . "Posted by Ray G at September 9, 2007 04:12 AM
I'm not seeing the point of this...there's plenty of soldiers who've made similar comments for legitimate reasons? Are they supposed to keep their mouths shut in case some guy in a cave might reference their words? Obviously, if I was Joshua I would be annoyed that of all people in the world, Osama Bin Laden decides to reference me, but if the flipside you never open your mouth and utter a true opinion, than Bin Laden pretty much already won anyway.
Maybe I'm misintepreting the post, but "sucks to be you," written about a combat veteran seems a little flippant and juvenile, but I'm reading into it wrong, then that's my bad.
We're all about free speech here.
And the consequences thereof.
What you're seeing is somebody publicly complaining about the difficulty of their mission and suggesting that they can't hack it. That might have been a statement made at an emotional moment, or a carefully thought out position - I don't know which. But obviously it sent an encouraging message loud and clear to the very top of the organization of guys who are trying to kill him and his brothers in arms.
I'm guessing you're a civilian and not in Iraq - if you were a soldier over here you'd know exactly what the phrase meant. When you're at war and your enemy shares, endorses, and encourages your opinion and broadcasts that message around the world - and when most of the guys there with you don't share your weakness - then it sucks to be you.Posted by Greyhawk at September 9, 2007 05:20 PM
Funny that you say that...I got back from Iraq three weeks ago after a monthlong embed with the 82nd - my second trip. Everybody there complained every minute of the day - and they hacked it, every minute of the day.
There are a million pantywaists in this country for you to target anger and blame at, when it comes to Bin Laden's bleatings...No soldier needs more piling on, in what is clearly an embarrasing moment for him.
I agree we all face the consequences of our free speech. If you start picking your battles with junior enlisted soldiers in a combat zone, then I simply question how productively you're using yours.Posted by Nathan Webster at September 9, 2007 06:41 PM
Bin ladeen did the piling on.Posted by davod at September 9, 2007 08:48 PM
I'm not calling on people to lynch the guy, just pointing out it sucks to be him. You're reading far far too much into the post.
Another point on GI speak: soldiers don't complain. (This is an insider's reference too. Ask someone else to explain this one to you.)Posted by Greyhawk at September 9, 2007 10:28 PM
Nobody's saying they shouldn't speak their minds, or even dissent from the policies they're charged with carrying out, but modern war's most critical battlespace is the media, and that of public perception.
What soldiers say and think is important. Their words, if parroted by the media or enemy, can translate into tangible losses, and can really do damage. That's not to say they should be silenced, but simply that they should be wary when reporters are around, and judicious with their words.
Also, the daily complaining in the ranks could strike a reporter or the enemy the wrong way, if they haven't been exposed to that culture. They're not going to casually interpret it as "a griping grunt is a happy grunt." They'll put those words front and center as proof positive that everything is hopeless.
Simply saying all soldiers, officers and enlisted, should weigh their words if they're talking to the media isn't a horrible thing, but in this day and age it's just another part of the fight.
What Jordan said ...
... in this day and age, a soldier has to be as aware of where his mouth is pointing, as he is of where his weapon is pointing.Posted by Rich Casebolt at September 9, 2007 11:30 PM
I'm actually an Army war veteran as well. Soldiers 'complain' all day about everything under and including the sun. If you want to use a different word for it, fine, but let's not go all "culture war" here.
Like I said originally, if I misread the post, fine, that's my mistake. But as far as I can tell, Bin Laden clearly and deliberately chose an example he probably knew would get the desired result from both sides:
The left will rally around it as an example of poor, helpless, bedraggled troops barely able to fight this unfair war. Which is a dirty lie. The kid goes out there, fighting for all of us, and he's 10 times the man any anti-war limo liberal is.
The right will attack the soldier, and say how he's not representative of the rest, and it's terrible and he's letting his buddies down. Which is equally untrue. He really is pretty representative, and he just had the brass balls to say what all his friends were probably thinking.
If people sitting on their fat asses back in the U.S. can't intepret and understand a soldier's war zone words for the emotional venting that they are, that's not the soldier's fault - that's our fault for being stupid and lazy and not bothering to understand men at war. Read "Here Is Your War" by Ernie Pyle sometime, and you'll get all the complaining you can handle.
Bin Laden is a sissy bitch sitting in a cave, and yet his words make us dance like puppets all the same, and divide us even against the soldiers we've sent to fight the war against him.Posted by Nathan Webster at September 10, 2007 12:18 AM
Bingo, which is also why it sucks to be him - you don't want to be 'that guy'. The phrase would apply equally to someone who stumbles into a binjo ditch on a dark night in Korea, or who by luck of the draw gets to be monitor for a piss test three times in a row. It essentially conveys the same message as "Gosh I wouldn't want to be in your shoes" but also conveys a bit of empathy for the situation - at least as much as you're likely to see acknowledged by your fellow troops, who are (of course) tough guys all.
By the way, Nate's reports from Iraq are quite good.Posted by Greyhawk at September 10, 2007 06:37 AM
If I've understood this discussion correctly Nate, the argument that you've built up into a crusade is about one individual who is being used for propaganda by the other side, somewhat in the same manner as Hanoi Jane was used in 'Nam. The fact that the young man made his job harder in addition to giving the members of congress who are against the war ammo to use against him is nothing short of obstreporous.
That you're arguing his case shows that you weren't in the war that showed how bad it could be. That you come into this thread and start slinging around slights such 'people sitting on their fat asses' at people who have a myriad of years beyond you in terms of experience, both of combat and of peacetime, causes one to wonder what your 'Army war' experience is. One normally couches his terms as 'Nam vet or Iraqi vet or Kuwaiti vet. How are you identified?Posted by Mike H. at September 10, 2007 06:45 AM
You are right "It sucks to be him." I mean how freakin embarrassing would it be in World War II if Tokyo Rose quoted you "bitchin" about being in the war. Hell, at the very least back in World War II over 10 million men were drafted you'd expect some soldiers might "bitch". Which makes today's volunteer soldier "bitch" moments even all the more important to Al Queda and the other Jihadists. I don't know if that frustration comes from the fact that over 90% of the population can't comprehend what our servicemen and women have to put up with. Or that the leadership of one political party would rather hamstring our military with laywers instead doing what it takes to win this war.
It essentially conveys the same message as "Gosh I wouldn't want to be in your shoes" but also conveys a bit of empathy for the situation - at least as much as you're likely to see acknowledged by your fellow troops, who are (of course) tough guys all.
If that's the way I should have intepreted it from the very beginning, then like I said from the start, that's my mistake and I've overreacted. To me, it just seemed like an unneccessary attack on some poor troop, but if that's not how it was intended, then I took it much more seriously than you meant. But he's not here to defend himself, so I figured I'd do it for him.
Any soldier in a combat zone can clearly complain about another soldier who screws up like this...but by posting about him and his words, it holds him up to CIVILIAN ridicule, and to those who would use his bad luck against him, for their own political purposes. That was obviously Bin Laden's intention.
Bottom line is I feel bad for the kid and I think he should just be left out of it (especially since he was misquoted no less).
The article you linked to is my least favorite, because it's all about me, and not the soldiers I was actually there to interview...I'm annoyed there's even an online link to it.
Hey, Mike H., I don't need to justify myself or my service to you or anybody. Read the posts. I didn't come in here throwing my weight around. All I did was clarify my bonafides when they were questioned, in defense of a fellow veteran.Posted by Nathan Webster at September 10, 2007 10:48 AM
Bin Laden's mesage isn't aimed at Americans - it's a recruiting drive for al Qaeda aimed at Muslims. See the 1996 and 1998 versions. Americans shouldn't be duped into thinking he's talkng to them at all.Posted by Greyhawk at September 10, 2007 11:20 AM
Please put some links in comments to some of your preferred articles. I really did like that first one, though I understand what you're saying though abv.
One thing about written comunication - unless the sender and receiver know each other well it's easy to make fundamental misjudgments regarding intent - we rely more on inflection, tone, and body language in communications than we consciously recognize.Posted by Greyhawk at September 10, 2007 11:25 AM
The poor troop is fighting toe to toe with the most demonic terrorists on the planet. He can probably withstand a little ribbing from his own uniformed brethren. He's not a helpless victim, he's just an American fighting man who happened to talk within earshot of a reporter.
Of course WE can keep it in proper perspective, and take it for what it is. THEY will use the words to do further damage to the public perceptions about the war, arguably the most important theater in this war. And they certainly have. It's not so much an attack on this soldier, but a cautionary tale for all of them.Posted by jordan at September 10, 2007 01:17 PM
Yeah, I went a little overboard...ah, what are you gonna do...that's the Internet for you.
The biggest part of the reason I was so strident is having just got back from a month at a JSS in Bayji (this was no FOB. It got mortared consistently, and random gunfire was a constant. It was not the worst place by far, but it wasn't the best, though getting better), I can say that what Lake and Vassell said were very representative of the many junior enlisted soldiers I talked to...it wasn't 50-50...more like 90-10. And bear in mind, this was the 82nd!
Having said that, there is no single complaint ever uttered on a patrol or any mission - not one. No matter how hot it gets, or pointless they think it is. That's what counts, not the words somebody decides to misuse.
So when I see a soldier get "attacked" (which wasn't actually the case here), it reminds me of those guys and it reminds me how unfair it would be if the same thing happened to one of them.
When I got back, people would say "oh they must have tried to spin you!" And I'm like "Spin me? I tried to spin them!" Because, since I got sit in on meetings with shiekhs, etc., I could see the local Sunni leadership is buying into the reconcilation concept. But, when you're an E-4 pulling security on a rooftop in 130 degrees, you do NOT see that, and you don't care. More than once, someone would be venting to me, and I would have to tell THEM, "yeah, but the Sunnis are coming around," and then they'd say "yeah, you're probably right. I guess it's working."
It's their story and they get to describe it the way they want....I really believe it's up to America to appreciate those words for the truth they are, not blame a soldier or use the words to excuse our own lack of resolve. Which I don't think anyone here is really doing.
Like everyone agrees, anyone "in the family" can give this guy a hard time - I mean, he got mentioned by Bin Laden for crying out loud. That doesn't happen to everybody.
But, if I'd read it right the first time, my first comment would have been much more tongue-in-cheek...And of course, once you called me out for being a "civilian not in the war zone," I naturally got defensive...civilian now, yes, but...haha...
I'm too lazy to post links, but they're around.Posted by Nathan Webster at September 10, 2007 03:23 PM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(17) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)