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Procrastinating the Inevitable...

Veteran's Day and My Last Political Rant for a While...

By thePatrick

First, I feel I should start this potentially long, drawn out post with a thank you to Veterans worldwide. Particularly, thanks to those of you with whom I served. Nobody will ever be able to know what exactly we went through, because there is no way to accurately describe it. The tastes, the smells, the noises, the emotions. Everyone's experience was different, but we went through it together. Christy has found out that it's more difficult for me to talk about it with her than with someone who was there, because the experience is hard to explain.

Some past posts may have people thinking that I regret having signed up to serve. Far from the truth. I am proud to think that I was able to sign up as a 17 year old and fulfill that commitment to our country. People have asked if I ever thought of trying to get out of going to Iraq. That never crossed my mind. I signed up for eight years, and I spent the entire time doing what was asked of me. Call it brainwashing if you'd like. I signed up on August 10, 1999 and was honorably discharged on November 28, 2007. I signed the papers and did what I said I would. I am proud of my service. Were it not for my experiences in the Army, I would not be the person I am today, and I would not have the friends I have. Norte, Matticus, Schmadam (sorry, no link), Leslita, Sgt. Hotlips, Missy, Seckel, Daddy Hodge, Raisor, Mason, the list goes on and on.
Shortly after the Presidential elections, I alluded to the fact that I would not tell you who I voted for. This is America. I don't have to tell you who I voted for. However, my experiences in the Army were a huge deciding factor when it came to casting my ballot. Rather than trying to be eloquent and typing up a big explanation, I found a blog written by another veteran, Ernie Stewart. All credit goes to him, but, other than editing for language, I echo his feelings.
I'm one of the few people who still believe that going in and removing Saddam by force was the right move. He and his lunatic sons, for that matter because they would have gladly carried on the madness when daddy was gone. We're talking about a guy who used chemical weapons against his own people, who thumbed his nose at UN weapons inspectors, who shot at jets patrolling the no-fly zone, and was an all around douche. Invading Iraq to force him from power was the right thing to do. It should have been done back in 1991, having failed that it should have been done by Clinton, and having failed that it should have been done by GWB. Which it was. Uday and Qusay departed their worldly vessels in July of 2003, and Saddam was captured five months later in December of the same year. When that happened, our 'To Do' list was all checked off. Saddam driven from power in December of 2003? Then American boots start facing homeward in January of 2004. By the time Saddam hung from the neck until dead in 2006, Iraq should have been a completely sovereign nation. Listen, when the Revolutionary War ended, the French didn't hang around and force us to establish a government that thought the way they do. They got back on their ships, waved, scoffed at the English, and got the heck out of Dodge. Let me ask you this: how is Iraq different today than it was in 2007? Or 2006? Or 2005? Our troops are on their third and fourth tours, patrolling the same streets, driving down the same roads, getting shot at by the same rooftops. The only difference is now they've all got great tans. I think the American presence in Iraq has done all it's going to do. I think any steps to Iraq takes towards the future will have to be fueled by the blood sweat and tears of the Iraqi people, not ours.
I voted for Obama, mostly based on his stance on Iraq. Yes, I live in Utah, so while it was a valiant thing to do, it was pointless (i.e. thanks electoral college, you're welcome McCain). My experiences in Iraq are the same exact experiences that troops are having now. I feel that good was done. We did what we had to do, but now is the time to call it a day. This can be done without disgracing what our Veterans have done.
So, go out and thank a Veteran. Heaven knows, we don't get enough thanks for the crap we had to put up with. And to the ROTC program at USU, there are better ways of doing that then through unannounced artillery fire during the middle of classes. The best way to honor and remember people who were around explosions is not to randomly shoot off cannons. Just a thought.


I really enjoy your political blogs. I know we don't agree on some things but I do enjoy hearing yours and other people's points of view that challenge my own. Well, at least intelligent people's points of views on things which includes yours!
I think you know how I feel on this subject, heck half of my MySpace page is devoted to veterans! I don't believe those of us can ever understand what what guys like yourself went through. I am eternally grateful for people like you that chose to serve their country. It really pisses me off when they don't give you the respect you deserve and people attack you and accuse you of horrible things for political purposes. In my opinion you guys should get a lot more perks than you do! You can't put a price tag on military service and I don't think our country can ever repay you.
I agree mostly with your friend Ernie but today for me isn't about debating the Iraq War. Today is all about you! From one American to another, THANK YOU!

Thanks for sharing, and thanks for fulfilling your committments! Love ya,

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