August 06, 2003

'We Don't Feel Like Heroes Anymore'

Here is an extraordinary message from a US GI with his
life and honor on the line in the _resident's foolish
military adventure in Iraq. Will the "US mainstream
news media" give these brave men and women the proper
forum on the airwaves and in the living rooms of their
fellow citizens? Perhaps more importantly, wil the "US
mainstream news media" protect the courageous GIs who
speak out? Will the "US mainstream news media" keep
track of them and thereby draw public scrutiny to any
punishment by the spiteful Bush cabal? Howard Dean
(D-Jeffords) is on the cover of TIME and Newsweak
because he is talking tough to the little bully in the
White House. It is not only resonating with the
"Democratic wng of the Democratic Party," it is
resonating with a wide cross-section of the
electorate. Indeed, as I have mentioned before, a
Popular Front is emerging. This widespread opposition
to the _resident's destructive economic and national
security "policies" is not about ideology, it is about
human decency, common , credibility and the principles
the US has traditionally shared with its friends and
allies in the international community...

'We Don't Feel Like Heroes Anymore'
By Pfc. Isaac Kindblade
The Oregonian

Tuesday 05 August 2003

I am a private first class in the Army's 671st
Engineer Company out of Portland. I just wanted to let
you know a little bit of what we are up to, maybe so
that you can have another opinion of what's going on
over here in Iraq.

We have been in country since Feb. 14 and were a
part of the Third Infantry Division's march into
Baghdad. In fact, as a result of some serious
miscommunications, we were the front line of the
charge on two very distinct occasions.

We haven't been a huge part of the war. We are
bridge builders, and we were here in the event that
the Iraqis blew up the bridges on their retreat. They
didn't, so we didn't have to do much.

We were scheduled for 13 missions at the start of
the war. We did three or four bridge-related missions.
We fill in where we are needed, whether it be guarding
enemy prisoners of war, operating traffic control
points, patrols on the Tigris River or guard duty of
police stations. Our primary mission at this point is
transportation, because we happen to drive very large

A lot is being said about poor morale. That seems to
be the case all over the place. It's hot, we've been
here for a long time, it's dangerous, we haven't had
any real down time in months and we don't know when
we're going home.

I think a big aspect has been the people here. When
the war had just ended, we were the liberators, and
all the people loved us. Convoys were like one long
parade. Somewhere down the line, we became an
occupation force in their eyes. We don't feel like
heroes anymore.

We are doing the best we can, trying to get this
place back on its feet so we can go home -- making
friends with the locals and trying to enforce peace
and stability.

A lot is made of our military's might. Our Abrams
tanks, our Apache helicopters, computers, satellites,
this and that. All that stuff is great, but it's
essentially useless in peacekeeping ops. It is up to
the soldiers on the ground armed with M-16s and a
precious few words of Arabic.

The task is daunting, and the conditions are
frightening. We can't help but think of "Black Hawk
Down" when we're in Baghdad surrounded by swarms of
people. Soldiers are being attacked, injured and
killed every day. The rules of engagement are
crippling. We are outnumbered. We are exhausted. We
are in over our heads.

The president says, "Bring 'em on." The generals say
we don't need more troops. Well, they're not over

It would take a group of supermen to do what's been
asked of us. Maybe people back home think we are.
Hell, maybe we are. I'm 20, and I can't help but think
that serving in a war is a rite of passage, earning my
generation a place in the history books.

I'm honored to be over here, and I realize that this
is the experience of a lifetime. All the same, we are
ready to come home.


Pfc. Isaac Kindblade of Cornelius enlisted in the Army
at age 17 before his graduation from Valley Catholic
High School in Beaverton.

Posted by richard at August 6, 2003 05:49 PM