re: "I'm sure they mean well. . . "
JAD is recently redeployed from his second tour as a combat engineer in Iraq.
You did know, of course, that combat engineers lead the way?
I read him all the time, I don't know how I missed this one.
"I hate going to Iraq. Iraq sucks in a way that I am simply incapable of communicating to anyone who hasn't been there."
"I do not think that casualties (actual or potential) nor psychological problems nor stress in relationships nor any other negative consequence Soldiers experience from deployment should have the slightest impact on decisions on how the United States conducts foreign policy.
Don't get me wrong--I believe that if the United States chooses to use armed force, the United States has an obligation to take care of the Soldiers and their families as best they can once they return. But we cannot permit fear of the consequences of using armed force to deter us from doing so.
If we are deterred by the prospect of casualties, any casualties at all, then we are defeated. That's what defeat is. Americans have this idea of defeat that says that a nation is defeated at war when the enemy rolls into the capital city, arrests the national leadership, etc."
"Counterinsurgency theory in general is beyond the scope of this essay. But the single most important element is this:
"The only way to lose a counterinsurgent war is to surrender.
If you stop fighting, you lose."
"Big, logical argument on why you shouldn't say, "But I just want the troops safe."
Let's talk it from a different angle. Most of those I hear this argument from are, frankly, of the female persuasion. One of the many fun things I have learned from being married is that women are less affected by big, logical arguments than they are by a discussion of feelings. So, let's talk about how I feel when some person makes this argument.
I feel patronized. I feel insulted. I am a professional Soldier. I joined the Army knowing full well the potential consequences of my decision and the obligations I would assume. I chose to risk what I risk because I believe in the United States of America, and my Army.
So did everyone else who joined the Army since 1973.
I do not appreciate being treated as if I am too stupid to be aware of the consequences of continuing to fight in Iraq."
"I know about the Suckage that is Iraq. But I'm an adult, and I made my choice. Going on and on about it makes me feel like certain members of the American Public think I'm perpetually four years old, and need to be protected and coddled to prevent any injury. Soldiers don't need to be protected. If you want to protect people, you don't have an Army. You have an Army to train and equip people to protect others. This is an inherently dangerous proposition, and those of us who have chosen to take up that calling know that. We are OK with it. None of us wants to die, but we have agreed to take that risk so that those of you without our training, equipment , discipline, and leadership don't have to run that risk."
There's a lot more there, go ahead and read it all.