The reality of Iraq. The specter of sudden violent death or disabling permanent injury -- such as that visited upon Virginia Tech by a crazed gunman yesterday -- confronts our servicemen and women every day and every hour in war-torn Iraq.
WMR has learned the following facts of life from U.S. military members in Iraq, many of whom have just found out that their tours have been extended until December of this year. Many of our service members know that CNN, Fox, and the other corporate media are not reporting the truth from Iraq but are walking a fuzzy line between mouthing Bush administration propaganda and actual news reporting.
Iraq is locked in a bloody civil war in which Shias and Sunnis are prepared to massacre one another to the last person. The only thing they agree on is their hatred of the U.S. occupiers. The much-heralded Gen. David Petraeus is faced with an impossible situation in which alliances change on a daily basis. Take Tal Afar, for example. While Kurds are trying to ethnically cleanse the primarily-Turkmen city and replace Turkmen with Kurds, the U.S. occupiers are trying to separate Shia and Sunni Turkmen into separate cantonments.
However, the Turkmen, who are not Arab, are not plagued by the Shia-Sunni split that pits Iraqi Sunni and Shia Arabs against one another. Petraeus and his advisers are ignorant of this and many other facts of life in Iraq. The American military does not know enemy from friend. Female U.S. military police are just as likely as their male counterparts to be killed while on patrol. There are the rapes of female U.S. military members by their Iraqi police and military "allies," and fellow American troops. Add to this, substance abuse and murder among and between U.S. forces and their Iraqi "allies."
Most of the Iraqi police are corrupt and untrustworthy. Most U.S. troops who work with the Iraqi police do so armed and post guards in the event Iraqi police try to to kill American troops. This unhappy marriage of convenience drawn up by neo-cons in Washington will continue for at least the next 15 months. The same situation exists between the U.S. military and the Iraqi Army, which is predominantly Shia militiamen, many loyal to Moqtada al Sadr, who has just pulled his ministers from the Nouri al Maliki government. When U.S. troops capture Sunni militiamen, they purposely do not release them to the Iraqi Army, lest they be massacred.
Most of Shia insurgents who are arrested are released back into their communities. There is not enough detention space for either Shias or Sunnis. And, as with the case of captured Sunnis, they are released rather than face execution by the Sunnis.
Nothing stops explosive formed penetrators (EFPs) used by the insurgents. They easily rip through up-armored Humvees like driving a Ginzu knife through a Coke can. What remains of U.S. soldiers hit with EFPs are hardly recognizable as human.
The Rules Of Engagement (ROE) for the U.S. military are now so strict that most units that are attacked never fire a shot in retaliation, even when they suffer fatalities among their own ranks.
Route clearance is now performed by 20-year old combat engineers. These engineers look for the EFP's and the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) on roads used by military convoys. Roadside bombs are so well hidden they go off without being detected first. One such bomb recently misfired and killed around two dozen small school girls walking home, hand in hand, from school. The American combat engineers were not able to detect the bomb in time to save the girls. The American troops, especially the fathers, came to tears over the murder of the young girls. And the American troops could not even stop to give the girls first aid because they were on a rescue mission to assist a stranded American squad under fire.
Private sector contractors -- the war profiteers from Blackwater, Halliburton, Triple Canopy, and all the others start, with less than three years of experience, at a salary of $86,000 for moving boxes around in a warehouse. Their active duty counterparts, with much more experience, earn $32,000 a year. However, the contractors can leave Iraq whenever they see fit.
Mental healthcare for U.S. troops leaving Iraq should be a top priority but it is not. They are left for an inadequate Defense and Veterans Affairs Department to deal with.
Read the following insightful words from a U.S. service member in Iraq. These are words to ponder, for hours, if need be:
"Our country is amazing and a place worth holding dear, but very insidious things lurk in our government. Things we see here. Things you will never hear about. Things that you would never think could come of America. Be careful what you believe. Not everyone here dies the way the paper says they do. Some people aren't as brave as they say. Some people were more heroic than you will ever know."
Ed. note: Iraq is a debacle, a bloodbath of monumental proportions. If the Democrats continue to drag their feet and enable the Bush-Cheney war criminal administration, they will be relegated to the same fate as the Republican Party: political obscurity when the American people decide to exact their revenge on the architects of the current American dilemma and nightmare.