OpTruth soldier lays it all out at Demfest

From the diaries--Chris

hey everybody. me & my husband are finally getting around to writing up some demfest posts. it took a few days to process everything, and we're still in the middle of that.  but i wanted to bring a couple of posts to your attention that deal with the situation in iraq. i know we all care very deeply for our troops and we are all concerned about when they'll get to come home, and i thought that you might be interested in some information we got from 1st sargeant perry jefferies of operation truth.

first of all, here is a link to my husband's entry. here is a link to mine. please feel free to pop over there and read the posts in their entirety, as they're much more detailed than this diary is going to be.  that being said, here are the highlights.

the best discussion we attended was a forum featuring 1st sgt. perry jefferies from optruth. he served in the 4ID during the initial invasion into iraq, then later served on the iraq-iran border. it was by far the most enlightening of all the forums i attended, so much so that i caught the guy afterwards and monopolised him for about an hour.

it was the first time i've gotten to speak face to face with a vet who'd been in country since the war began. i have friends who served during the runup, and in fact both my husband and i know some folks who are in country or in support positions in kuwait right now. but we haven't gotten to speak to any of those friends who experienced the fighting first hand yet. needless to say, i had to pick 1st sgt. jefferies's  brain.  a sample of one of the stories he told me (is it redundant to quote myself?):

1st sg. jefferies served in the 4ID during the initial invasion, then later served on the iraq-iran border. during the initial invasion, the supply lines were pretty much nonexistent. he said it was so bad when they were on the border that they couldn't even help the refugees. as you may know, there are lots of iraqi refugees living in iran. after the invasion many of them streamed back over the border and tried to return home. jefferies told us about refugees showing up at their camp who'd walked for days across the desert... and because of the lousy supply lines our troops couldn't even give them a drink of water. they had to turn people away and send them back into the desert. we didn't have enough water and food for our own troops, much less the refugees.

yep, you read that right. we didn't have enough food and water for our own army. i guess that's what rummy meant when he said, "you go to war with the army you have."

he said some really disturbing things in the forum, but what really struck me were his statements about the war's breaking point. readers of juan cole probably realise that we are quickly approaching a critical point in the war. here's the relevant passage from my entry:

when he got into talking about stop-loss, i felt compelled to ask him about the draft. this is something i'm really scared about. i never thought we'd have to go through another vietnam, but here we are. 1st sgt. jefferies said he does not believe that a draft resolution will make it though congress because of the political ramifications. however, he said something that chilled me to the bone. he said that by the end of summer, something is going to give.

let me elaborate. we talked about the similarities between georgie's great iraqi adventure and the vietnam war. as a soldier on the ground, jefferies saw those similarities. he said they were obvious to anyone with their eyes open. and he said that we are a similar point to that which we reached in the mid-sixties before we fully committed to the vietnam war. our casualty rate at this point in the iraq war parallels that of the early yeras in vietnam. and we're facing a similar insurgency (although jefferies isn't convinced that the iraqi insurgents are getting help from foreign governments). we're facing equally appalling conditions which are leading to fragging (yes, that's beginning to happen in iraq) and drug use. but what's really scary is this breaking point he talked about.

basically, what he said is that by the end of summer we are going to have to make a decision, and he sees three options. 1) we begin pulling out and leaving with our tail between our legs. 2) we fully committ to the conflict and send in more troops. 3) we get some real international help and turn the rebuilding of iraq over to the united nations. 1st sgt. jefferies does not believe that the bushies have the political capital to accomplish option number three, so he sees us either starting to leave or committing our guys to the meat grinder. and where will we get the troops, i asked. he said that - since he doesn't believe a draft will pass - that we are going to have to start pulling even more guardsmen into theater, extending tours of duty, and increasing in-country rotations. he also suspects we will begin pulling in troops from south korea (already happening), phillipines, germany, and pretty much anywhere else we have troops in a foreign country. but won't those extended tours and rotations break our army, i asked. he said the army never totally breaks, but that it will be substantially weakened and won't ever be the same again.  in other words, an end to american military dominance.

funny, i seem to recall howard dean catching a world of hell during the primaries when he "dared" to suggest that there might come a time in the future when america will no longer be the dominant military player.  well, it appears as though georgie's great iraqi adventure is going to lead to that happening much sooner than any of us expected.

1st sgt. jefferies stressed that this idea of a make-or-break point in the war is not an uncommon thought amongst our military. regardless of their political ideology, many soldiers in country realise that we are reaching that point. 1st sgt. jefferies also stated that this line of thinking is becoming more common among the higher-ranking and career military officers. he stated that there are whispers amongst the officer class about this end of summer breaking point, and that he is seeing this idea floated publicly by some of the army's upper brass. and this is coming from someone who would know. optruth works with soldiers who've served and recently returned from afghanistan and iraq, so i know his information is current.

on one hand, i'm relieved to know that we are reaching some sort of nexus. but on the other hand, i am increasingly worried that the misadministration will go ahead and committ to the meat grinder. i don't think that, as a country, we can collectively go through another vietnam without some serious ramifications. i also disagree with 1st sgt. jefferies about the draft, but i hope he's right. if bush committs, the only way to avoid breaking the army is to go the draft route. i just don't see how extending tours and stop-loss will solve this problem.

anyway, i just wanted to share this conversation with yall. i walked away from the conversation with a lot less hope regarding the whole situation. i just want our guys home now. we made a mistake. it's time to admit it and own up to it.  bring them home NOW.

as a postscript, optruth currently has a couple of online actions you can take to help out our vets right now.  please click here to send a letter to congress with the click of a button and urge them to support our vets with PTSD. please go do it - it takes all of 30 seconds.

also, 1st sgt. jefferies has a blog entry posted right now about how notorious hater fred phelps plans on protesting some vets funerals. go read it.

updated: arg! went through this post and corrected the spelling of sgt. jeffEries's name.

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Comments

21 Comments

if you made it this far...
....i salute you!
by annatopia 2005-06-23 12:54PM | 0 recs
No personal offense meant
and off-topic (a serious topic) but did your caps key break? I find reading this sort of highly stylized diary very difficult. I think it detracts from your effort.

 

by BigDog 2005-06-23 12:57PM | 0 recs
Re: No personal offense meant
WTF are you talking about?
by annatopia 2005-06-23 12:58PM | 0 recs
oh wait, i get it
i'm just a lazy typist.

and hey, at least i don't hit my enter key every fifth word!  ;^P

by annatopia 2005-06-23 01:00PM | 0 recs
The state of our troops
Your description of what 1st sgt. jeffries had to say reminds me of a discussion Demetrius had at a rest stop on the way back to Ohio. You can find it here:

http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2005/6/22/20138/4155

by Renee in Ohio 2005-06-23 01:25PM | 0 recs
I Didn't Realize
I didn't realize until after Sgt. Jeffries spoke that recruiters work on 'commission.'  If they don't meet their quotas, it effects their income and even their career status.  They can be demoted.  So, they lie.
by donna in evanston 2005-06-23 02:02PM | 0 recs
yup
neither did i. i thought his presentation was incredibly informative. i learned more from him than i learned from any other speaker throughout the weekend.
by annatopia 2005-06-23 02:17PM | 0 recs
great diary
thanks for passing this info on. It's always much more enlightening to hear some first hand analysis, I think it just helps to validate what we already know but can't , as "regular" citizens, ever be totaly be sure of. Those guys who are in country, or have close ties to others who are there, become all of our eyes and ears to seperate the bullshit from the truth. Thanks to you for relaying this, and a special thanks to the guys at Operation Truth  
by Duke1676 2005-06-23 02:20PM | 0 recs
please visit their website
something i didn't go into in my diary or post (which i'll have to add, again, still processing through everything) is that optruth is working real hard in the NYC to help homeless afghanistan & iraq vets.  jeffries said there were about 100 homeless vets in NYC that they are trying to find homes for, and they have a special donation fund that's going to be set up soon.  these are vets that are slipping through the cracks - they are guys who lost their jobs or homes or families due to their extended tours. you can donate to optruth and specifically earmark your donations for the homeless vets.  if you can spare a dime, please give it to them. i've promised them a donation on my next paycheck a week from tomorrow. it won't be much, but maybe it'll help one of these vets get into a warm bed.
by annatopia 2005-06-23 02:23PM | 0 recs
Enjoyed Meeting You
Wow - You made it home!  At least I only had a blocks to go.

Excellent summary.  I look forward to many more.

by Othniel 2005-06-23 05:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Enjoyed Meeting You
Hi O, I haven't forgotten that I promised you a post on the religion panel.  I will have it soon.
by Garemko 2005-06-23 06:10PM | 0 recs
looking forward to it
i didn't make that panel, so i'm real interested to read your upcoming entry. make sure you x-post some of it over here.
by annatopia 2005-06-24 05:57AM | 0 recs
Question for clarification
I read those diary entries with great interest.  However, I noticed that the were not dated by year.  

Would someone who KNOWS FOR SURE please confirm that those are 2005 entries.  (It might be nice for the linked site to make that clear.)  

I want to quote them Elsewhere in a forum that is 50/50 between wingnuts and GoodGuys and want to make sure that what I quote is absolutely unimpeachable.

Part of this whole game is giving the wingnuts no easy openings to invalidate or counterattack.

by InigoMontoya 2005-06-23 06:41PM | 0 recs
which diaries are you talking about?
the two on my site were literally written yesterday with info we garnered over the weekend.

the optruth page is current as well. their blog (linked at the top of their page) is current, too.  in fact they've updated today.  hope that helps!

by annatopia 2005-06-24 05:29AM | 0 recs
Re: which diaries are you talking about?
Anna, I understand that the postings were new but I'm asking about the Specialist's diary dates:  it's not clear whether they were from this year or last year.  I want to make sure that these are his diary entries from the past two months.  See, if it's  not clear, the wingnuts can claim it was from last year and that the situation has improved.   I want to be on absolutely defensible ground that this is current situation.
 
by InigoMontoya 2005-06-24 04:57PM | 0 recs
gotcha
that's why i asked which ones you were talking about.  on the optruth blog, there is a date at the bottom of each entry that looks like this:
 Posted 06.24.2005

if that's not what you're talking about, leave a link to the entry in question and i'll try to help you out.

by annatopia 2005-06-25 06:45AM | 0 recs
Re: here's my problem
Here's the link to Sgt. Perry's posts.

http://69.31.93.170/main.cfm?actionId=globalShowStaticContent&screenKey=hear&htmlId=1236

And here is the text that makes me uneasy as regading the events as being current:

I watched America provide doors, floors, windows, plumbing, sewage disposal, and air conditioning for Iraqi troops while American soldiers on the same compound struggled with none of these things. Despite promises to make conditions equal for US and Iraqi troops, the construction never approached parity. Meanwhile, the Coalition Provisional Authority struggled to keep the new Iraqi Army from quitting as it prepared for its first big 'graduation.'

The CPA no longer exists.  It appears that this would be from last year.  Also, the Iraqi Army has already had its first several graduations, their lack of effectiveness notwithstanding.

The administration systems here are totally broke. Some of the troops are on a 'chemical recon' now (looking for weapons of mass destruction) but I have even stopped carrying my mask - no one seriously believes that there is a real chemical threat."

I believe that searches from WMD were concluded/suspended several months ago.

Please don't think I'm being critical of Sgt. Perry or Optruth.  It's just that those May/June dates without years attached open up potential games of "Gotcha!" from the opposition, which divert from the essential truth.

by InigoMontoya 2005-06-25 12:01PM | 0 recs
grammer.
That's "my husband and I".  The inner-English teacher can't resist.
by tlongpine 2005-06-24 06:37AM | 0 recs
Re: grammer.
damn grammer cops!  :^P

in the south, it's "me & my husband"

lmao - noted for next time.

by annatopia 2005-06-24 07:01AM | 0 recs
Bush lets the next 9/11 happen

I don't think that someone blew up the WTC but I do think that it's quite plausible that Bush et al decided to let terrorism happen in the US (proably expecting something more benign than what actually happened) as a way to gain the political capital they needed to keep their agenda moving.

They are at a very low point now, and might try it again. Another major domestic terror attack would almost certainly result in a draft passing Congress. The only question is whether the American people would get fooled again. Next time, they just might blame Bush for not doing his job and stopping it.

This might be a good time for Dem politicians to start talking about what has not been done for homeland security in preparation for holding Bush accountable if there is another attack.

by TrainWreck 2005-06-24 07:24AM | 0 recs
OpTruth
Is one of the best organizations out there! If you think their work is important please support their efforts.

Also, all of their bloggers are very insightful and consistantly thought provoking...

Thanks for sharing, Anna!

by Alex Urevick 2005-06-24 04:08PM | 0 recs

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