Postcards from Tradocia


It’s been fourteen months of deployment – seven of them in the CENTCOM AOR – and this trip is starting to drag.

It’s not just the seperation from friends and family, the boredom, the 15 pound dead weight of my M249 slung across my back every day. It’s also a sense that somehow I have to singlehandedly stave off the insanity spewed by the seemingly endless constellation of Bush-haters, America-haters, Army-haters, terrorist sympathizers, and general buffoons. It’s a sense that I’m among a tiny group of sane people, mistakenly locked in an asylum full of not only lunatics but lunatics who speak Martian.

The TVs in the DFAC show either CNN World or Sky News. As far as Sky News is concerned, Iraq is done; not a single image or even snippet of text on the scrolling news ticker gives any indication that the country of Iraq even exists. CNN World is worse; as Operation Matador kicked off, I got to see “these images from western Iraq, where the battle is beginning,” which consisted of a 10-second loop of a shaky video of a distant plume of black smoke across barren desert and a pair of trucks driving around a traffic circle. I’m not kidding.

Later, as the battle wound up, the images were repeated, except with the subtext printed on the screen: “US officials say over 100 suspected insurgents killed.” Suspected insurgents? What the fuck does that mean? Were they sitting at a coffee shop, sipping a latte when the Marines rolled up? Considering they had prepared fighting positions, medium-caliber weaponry, and body armor, I think not. The only thing that makes them “suspected insurgents” is that they might not be “insurgents,” but Syrian army regulars. To add insult to injury, CNN then showed a Marine commander talking about the battle, while labeling him as a US Army general. Christ! Who are these reporters? I know the guy’s globe-and-anchor pins were a little hard to see on his lapels, but please…!

I’m tired of the endless bullshitting, the suffocating deluge of punditry spewed forth by Monday-morning quarterbacks who haven’t had to do anything harder than break a nail on the way to taking the GRE or take a vanilla latte only normal-hot instead of extra-hot because the milk machine was out of dilithium crystals or whatever.

I’m tired of the “support the troops – bring them home” doublespeak crap from people who view soldiers and Marines as cute, adorable but helplessly stupid pawns of Chimpy McBushitler and Darth Rumsfeld. You want to “support the troops”? Then tell us that our fight is worthwhile and appreciated, that our sacrifices aren’t in vain, that you don’t just want us to live but you want us to win. Don’t make this into another Vietnam like so many opponents of the war would like to do, where the veterans felt like all the blood, sweat, and tears were for nought because the nation hated them and what they had done. The only concession I’m willing to make to that attitude is for war opponents who also have loved ones in the fight; they can legitimately say that all they want is their soldier’s safe return. All others would make pawns of us just as much as any part of the Bush Empire would.

I’m tired of Abu Ghraib. Hey, look, I admit it: I’ve singlehandedly raped, killed, and put chemlights into the butts of countless locals. I mostly go around looking for hapless civilians to kill; working with a switch truck enables me to connect a whole lot of genitals to a whole lot of wires, each with 56V DC. I joined the military because I was promised 8 billion dollars and a free-ride scholarship to Yale or Harvard (my choice), but was switched from my desired MOS of 69S (Sexy Woman Examiner) to 02BS (Bullet Sponge/Poop Scooper/Prisoner Sodomy Specialist) by the recruiter. Of course, that was after he anally raped me, killed my dog, and stole my bike. I was under the influence of the Rovian mind-control rays broadcast from my 802.11b wireless router and conned into voting for Bush in the last election, but now that I’m in Iraq, out of the range of the beams, I’ve seen the light.

I admit it all. You win. Will you leave me alone now?

(This is incoherent, I know…just deal with it. Also, for the sarcasmally challenged, the above paragraph was a fabrication. Neither I nor any member of B Company has wired up anybody’s genitals.)


  1. Sprink

    Well said Delobius. I agree with you wholeheartedly.

  2. Jokur

    All I can say is wow. And maybe you have never wired up any genitals but I’m fully trained on that task all I need is a DNVT and some CatV “you can use CatV for anything”

  3. Bryce and Lola

    We empathize with you and think it’s good for you to record your thoughts.
    Love, G&G

  4. Spike

    “Don’t make this into another Vietnam”

    Yeah. I’m a bit worried about that happening.

  5. Mom and Dad

    Dear Alex,

    Having lived through the Viet Nam period, I’m not very concerned that its domestic dynamic will be replayed.

    I’ve never talked to anyone, liberal or conservative, in favor of the initial invasion of Iraq or opposed, who shows the anti-military and anti-government animus that divided our country during the Viet Nam period.

    Now that we’ve crossed the Rubicon, everyone I know agrees that we have to see the mission through.

    The views of certain news reporters notwithstanding, the nation is unified behind your efforts.

    Love, Dad

  6. truax

    That is why we should have kept the TA-312’s. All it took was one quick spin of the hand crank to get 90-100 volts. We didn’t have to wire it directly to each other just connect it to the metal shelter chairs and wait for someone to sit down. Signal always had the best toys for soldier games. Hang in there the SILENT majority is with you and the other crap sells papers.

  7. kelly

    Wow, well said as usual Alex. You bring sarcasism to a new level, you carry the family trait to new heights.

  8. cindy

    I always thought the sarcasm came from the Barnes side, but if Kelly thinks it’s a Hemingway trait then Alex must have gotten a double sarcasm chromosome in the gene pool. Cindy

  9. Bob

    Don’t worry, the libs control the media, but we control the elections.

    Cindy fails to see the fine line between sarcasm and facetiousness. ;-)

    MSG, USAR (Ret 2004)

  10. sec

    [Care to explain what that was? Sorry, I’m in Iraq and don’t have massive bandwidth to download videos. Or is it just so self-expanatory and devastating to my position that it needs no comment?]

  11. sec

    No, just another viewpoint. The issues are too complicated to be “devastated” in any short item.

  12. Pappy

    Don’t Give Up and don’t give in! Iraq and the middle east in general have a long, dark history of corruption,violation of human rights, murder and genocide. You and the rest of the US forces in Iraq are fighting for those that cannot speak for themselves.Young children without even the basic food, medicine and sanitation needed to survive. Women relegated to second class citizens, without any civil rights or even a voice to protest, even if they could.Bribes and kick-backs control the public and private sector.Elitist Bathe party members act as if they are demigods.Sunni’s killing Shiites, while they scream at the media how the Qaran is being defiled by Americans. Killing other Muslims, what chapter or verse is that?
    I appreciate your comment regarding “alledged insurgants.” Syrian regular Army or not if you have weapons and use them against our troops and the civilian population, you are the enemy and should be destroyed.We are winning this war.No-You are winning this war and with a little more practical support from Uncle Sam and a little less propaganda from the left wing liberals this will be over quickly and completely.

  13. LT

    Hmmmph. You are right on many accounts. The mainstream media does not report any of the good we do, including places like FOX. They are all in the business to sell and if it bleeds it leads, unfortunately.
    However, you fall into the usual trap of the self aggrandizing, polarizing propagandists in the right wing media. This country was built on the concept of Freedom. Freedom of popular dissent is part of the bedrock foundation of our freedoms. Freedom of opinion and expression make up the cornerstone of what it means to be American.
    The problem is that you say things like “If you aren’t with us, you’re against us”, and if you dare question anything then you are Un-American and Un-patriotic. The ironic fact is that questioning is a part of the fabric of the American way of life.
    Those who try to squelch dissent are the ones trying to destroy the very foundation that our country was built on. I would submit that the ones screaming the most about being “un-Patriotic” don’t even grasp what it means to live in the greatest country on Earth. We have built an incredible nation reinforced by unparralelled freedom, and the right wing media is trying deperately to tear down the Fortress known as America!!! Remember, “If you’re not with me, you’re against me”

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