November 28, 2005
BLOGGER-TURNED-REPORTER BILL ROGGIO reports back from a patrol on the Iraqi/Syrian border. He also sends this, by email: "My internet access has been limited but I'm having the time of my life in Iraq. I've had great access to all of the Marines and soldiers out here, and am being treated like royalty. These guys are extremely frustrated with the media and make no bones about their distaste for those who are undermining the war effort by calling for withdrawal."
Bill also has a report on Operation Steel Curtain.
UPDATE: Reader Jack Lifton emails:
You had a link this morning to a report from an embedded newsman in Iraq who said that the troops were frustrated by the lack of support from the folks at home (at least from the MSM) and by the operational advice being given to them by strategists from deep in their armchairs.
I worked in military research and development during the Vietnam era. Many of my friends served in Vietnam and some didn't come home. At no time during that period do I remember morale being as high as it is now in the ranks. In those days a lot of the boys (there were very few girls) didn't have much education or exposure to high tech. My group designed, manufactured, tested, and trained them in the use of night vision equipment. I remember well our quiet pride and admiration for a soldier who had jumped into a river from a helicopter under fire to retrieve the latest starlight scope that had been lost by an injured comrade, so the enemy would not have access to it. This was at the same time as we all had a good laugh listening to Robert MacNamara tell the country that an electronic fence would keep the enemy at Bay and therefore the boys would be home by Christmas. Those of us working on the "electronic fence" knew that the junkyard dog smart Viet Cong wouldn't be stopped by this toy or MacNamara's strategic imagination. I appreciate that MacNamara was frightened by how close we came to nuclear war with the Soviet Union during the amateur hour nightmare of the Bay of Pigs, and that is the only reason I respect him.
Today's troops are light-years ahead of Vietnam in education and technical awareness. Morale is high. They are fighting an army of thugs who cannot face them one-to-one and so try to "terrorize" the people on whose behalf our soldiers are fighting into asking them to leave. The thugs are in fact doing a good job on the self-absorbed opportunist seekers of power we call our elected representatives. They may have schemed themselves into and paid for some elections, but they don't represent those of us who know that you need to fight for freedom.
Just another way it's a reverse Vietnam.