Fear and Loathing in Iraq: June 6, 2004

Sgt. Sachs

Hello all, how’s it hanging. Remember that food poisoning I gopt last week, well it seems to have spread throughout the battalion. This week we have had over 30 people with some kind of bacterial infection. Everyone was walking around groaning and moaning. We actually had to break out the Cipro we normally save for Anthrax attacks for these stomach patients. We don’t know if it actually was the food, but something caused this bug to spread and everyone was taking turns on the toilet. I am not sure if mine was the same as the others, I had to go to the aid station, and everyone else just had the shits. Weird.

As if we didn’t have enough to do, we were signed up for guard duty at an Ammo Holding Area (AHA). We will take turns standing by two shipping containers filled with boom-booms 24 hours on 24 off. Now this wouldn’t be so bad, but our dumb-ass battalion has not provided electricity, beds, heat or A/C, no radio, nothing. And the AHA is located about 100 yards from the perimeter! We can see the small town just down the road where most of the rockets and mortars come from! So we are all yelling and screaming about this and trying to make it more comfortable and safe out there. So the soldiers will be in the middle of nowhere, alone, with no communication and no comforts. You gotta love it.

But battalion is a bit preoccupied right now. You see, all the thousands of sand bags that are here on the camp are made with Iraqi dirt, because there is no sand here. Well all the bags are hard now from the rain and some of the bags are ripping. So battalion decided to have sand trucked over from Kuwait and made into new sand bags. So now ten thousand new sand bags have been arriving and we have been busy putting the new sand bags in front of the old sand bags.

Now this is done on the heels of a really dumb idea. All over the camp we have concrete paving slabs (about 18x30”) to make walkways. But since the ground is all uneven stones they all broke into pieces. Well, the new sergeant major got tired of the way it looked so he decided to fix it. You guessed it: He ordered hundreds of new concrete slabs, exactly the same as the old ones. So now the old ones were picked up, the new ones laid down. Now I was so furious about this dumb fucking idea I decided to count one lane. There were about 200 slabs on the ground broken into pieces. We took them up and laid down about 200 more. I counted, not three days ago, and there are 133 broken slabs on the ground in just that one lane. In a matter of a couple of weeks all 200 new ones will be just as broken as the old ones. You gotta love it.

Now on to a new subject. I have been getting Emails and articles here about some things wrong with John Kerry. Now the reason people are doing this is because I am fairly vocal about my dislike for Bush and the current administration. I don’t know why people are doing this, I am not a Kerry fan, I am an Anyone-but-Bush fan. I don’t give a fuck who gets voted into office, just as long as we get Bush and his cronies out.

Now I am not against Bush just because the way he fucked up this unneeded war, I am against him for the dozens of other reasons he sucks. But people like to bring up maybe one or two things about Kerry because they are desperate to find faults to cover the massive failings of Bush. Kerry may have thrown away a ribbon or something 30 years ago. 30 years ago! You are quibbling about some ribbon 30 years ago? Is their argument that weak? Are they that bankrupt of imagination?

They say Kerry is a flip-flopper. So the man is unworthy because he… dare I say… changes his mind! God forbid. Shame on him and may he burn in Hell. Kerry’s wife owns Heinz. She inherited it. Kerry does not run Heinz, she does. And most of the practices have been in place long before Kerry’s wife took it over, so people shouldn’t try to pin her business dealings on him. He was a bit busy at the time working in the senate. Want to talk about business dealings, take a gander at Halliburton. It makes the worst Heinz as ever done look like a Mother Theresa act.

But to simplify look at the teeter totter:

• Ex drug user
• Bankrupted multiple businesses
• Abused alcohol
• Says he doesn’t read books or newspapers
• Been arrested before (more than once!)
• Listed as AWOL
• Crooked actions to get elected
• Needed to be more careful with intelligence; sent us off to war on false pretences; got us involved us in a war that will never end; doing so has gotten over 800 soldier killed and near 5,000 wounded; has cost us all hundreds of billions and counting; rendered the U.N. useless and is now asking them all to help us; set back foreign policy for decades; allowed the Patriot Act to destroy our civil rights; popularized terrorism to the point of obsession and made us all afraid of our own shadows—feeding right into the terrorists hands.
• Knowingly lied about his Medicare bill—costing us an extra $100 billion dollars!!
• Gave massive tax cuts in a time when money is going down the drain faster than we can count, giving us the largest deficit in American history.
• Has a horrible environmental policy! (wants to dig for oil in National Parks, all for oil reserves we could save by increasing MPG in fucking SUV’s by just 3 MPG)
• Education policy: don’t get me started.
• Don’t get me started on his administration…
• and so on and so on

But what I can’t believe is when you look at this goddamn laundry list of bad deeds and failures, people actually think they are not so bad; That Kerry’s sins are worse than Bush’s. Are you kidding me? Are people that fucking blind!?

Look, once again, I am not a Kerry fan, but you cannot tell me Bush has not fucked this country up. And his sins, compared to… well… anyone else running against him, dwarf them by biblical proportions. But people still have this blind Bush love. They say “yeah, those hundreds of shitty things he did are awful, but he’s not a flip flopper…” Give me a break.

Let me also say, you come here and deal with this country and this war and then tell me you feel proud of what you are doing. That you are holding your head up high for this noble cause. I am here, I talk and listen to the people here, and let me tell you, the newspapers and TV tell you what you want to hear. The people hate this war, want to leave the country and are not holding their heads up high. The computer screens at the internet café have backgrounds making fun of Bush. The MWRs have cartoons pinned up about Bush’s dumb ass. Soldiers grumble all the time that our deployments are getting extended because the pre war plans were such failures and it is costing us lives and time away from our families.

Don’t believe what you see on CNN, the soldiers are not proud, we are pissed. We thank everyone for their support, and we need all of it, but don’t think, even for a minute, that the majority are proud to be here. We are not. This is not Afghanistan; this war was not an eye for an eye noble event.

Bush is a patriot, I will give you that, he loves the USA, but when you get patriotism and ignorance combined, you get militia type hillbillies who do stupid things for dumb reasons. We call them militant cults, like in Waco and Montana, but when you elect one into office we call them tough talking patriots. This war is bullshit. Most people just won’t admit it; Americans just can’t stand to say we were wrong.

I thank you all for your support and we need all the continued support we can get, but support the troops, not the war.

So please don’t send me Emails about Kerry’s foibles, or Nader’s bumblings, I really don’t care. This will be the first election I have ever voted in, and probably the last, it makes no difference, my vote is already cast. Unfortunately, since I have to cast an overseas ballot, it probably won’t get counted, just like in 2000.

Sorry to preach so much about this, but this has been a bad week and I am pissed. It was announced that almost half our company will not get leave during this deployment. HALF!! That is fifty soldiers in our company alone who will have not had more than 2 days off in over a year working in one of the roughest conditions nature can provide. The military told Stars and Stripes that between 8-10% may not get leave. Oh, yeah, try 50%. Remember, don’t believe everything you read or see on CNN.

--Chris Sachs