OpTruth soldier lays it all out at Demfest
by annatopia, Thu Jun 23, 2005 at 05:37:02 PM EDT
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.
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.
Tags: (all tags)