Tuesday, April 18, 2006
No politics in combat
I felt something of a fool asking the Marines with whom we had just spent 45 minutes darting around the war-torn streets of Ramadi what they thought about the calls for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign.

Most looked at me blankly, sweat still pouring down their boyish faces, unaware of the politics behind the battle they fight everyday.

In this part of Iraq, where ankle-deep stagnant water and sewage fills the streets and nearly every building bears witness to the ongoing fight, all their time is focused on the mission, and just getting themselves and their fellow Marines home alive.

This fact of their existence in Iraq was emphasized less than two hours later, when the local governor's compound came under a complex attack, a regular occurrence in this part of the city. Mortars, RPGs, car bombs, bullets flying -- this is reality for these boys.

There were hectic efforts to figure out where the incoming fire was impacting and if there were any casualties. Marines were running up to the roof to re-supply those manning weapons, firing rockets, tank rounds, and finally, celebrating when the fight was over and there were no casualties.

As they had said to me earlier -- there are no politics on the ground here, just combat.
Posted By Arwa Damon, CNN Correspondent: 10:31 AM ET
That's apt, 'there are no politics on the ground here, just combat." Take that and apply it to our lives stateside, substitute another word for "combat" and there you have it. I don't care for the political manuevering, which is basically what it is. IF the Sec of Defense leaves who next? The divide between the parties is too huge to compromise and the agendas are foreign from each other. The media does it's part by playing the dog ravaging a blanket in it's teeth by tossing it's head back & forth. The only thing that's going to happen is that the blanket will fall apart (much like what can happen to the USA unless we stop this). Like it or not, the better path would be to stop the chatter and roar to get rid of the guy and instead devote that same energy supporting the troops. Support the command that exists as best we can.
Posted By Anonymous Norman Seattle Washington : 10:55 AM ET
Thank you for showing what these young people continue to go through. THEY are the reason we are fighting here at home.
THEY should be the first priority, not politics, not the mid-term elections!

When is our government going to wake up and take care of America's people? What will it take? What is the average person to do when it comes time to vote? We are sick of having to choose between the lesser (we hope) of two evils.
Posted By Anonymous Anne, Charlotte NC : 11:00 AM ET
Hi Arwa,
No politics on the ground, just combat. I'd like to take a moment and Thank our troops. Thank you for your service and your blood, sweat and tears..You all are in my prayers. No political battle going on here will diminish my respect for the soldiers. Thank you to them and their families.
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 11:40 AM ET
Maybe if mortars, RPG's, car bombs, etc. were reality for Rumsfield and crew the Iraq situation wouldn't look so bleak. The politicos in Washington seem just as out of touch with the reality of war as our soldiers are with the reality of politics. And the political reality is that the lives of others are expendable.
Posted By Anonymous Susan, Salt Lake City : 11:50 AM ET
"...there is no politics on the ground here, just combat."

Maybe if there had been some responsible, mature politics in the first place (accurate intelligence, a watchful Congress doing it's job as it should have been and skilled diplomacy) when Iraq was just a twinkle in W's eye, there would be no combat - or at least, none such as those poor men, women and civilians are having to experience now.
Posted By Anonymous Nikky, London, UK : 11:59 AM ET
The fact that George Bush had some farfetched idea that he was going to be the saviour of the world and be forever known as the one who brought his ideals to the rest of the world, and the fact that he attempted this using a bunch of people who had absolutely no clue what they were doing is absoulutely disgraceful. These young men and women are putting their lives on the line for their country, and doing a damn good job of it....for something that was not nescessary. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11...and if Bush was Pinnochio, his nose would have grown to Italy by now!
Posted By Anonymous Monique Mellon, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada : 12:08 PM ET
I understand that if Iraq were to ever become a peaceful nation, despite the differences that exist between all the factions of people that live there, it would be a wonderful thing. But tell that to the soldiers who have survived combat, but are disfigured for the rest of their lives. Are WW2 vets truely proud that Germany is now an economic giant? What can Iraq provide the world other than a finite supply of oil?
Posted By Anonymous Dave, Providence RI : 12:24 PM ET
With all due respect to your job, please do not confuse these young men and women by asking irrelevant questions in the heat of the battle. They have too much on their plate as it is.
Posted By Anonymous FB, Del Rio, Texas : 12:32 PM ET
Arwa, good to see you on the blog. Great report last night, but how scary. You're way braver than I could be. Still, I'm glad CNN is keeping reporters with the troops, scary as it is. Stay as safe as you can and remember - total strangers worry about you. :)
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 12:34 PM ET
I really feel for our troops. While there are those of us at home bickering about whether Rumsfeld should resign or stay, while Democrats and Republicans are duking it out over political issues, these guys are in a deadly warzone trying to defend our country. Troops are coming back disfigured and mentally disturbed, or not coming back alive. Not only that, innocent Iraqi and U.S. citizens are dying: but, for what? I wish the Bush administration and other members of the gov't would think about these people for a change instead of their own selfish political ambitions.
Posted By Anonymous Darian Agnew, Alexandria, Virginia : 12:57 PM ET
That's right - they have more important things on their minds than we. Our Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Coasties and Marines are willing to die so that we in the U.S. don't have to.
Posted By Anonymous Tina Chicago, IL : 1:07 PM ET
In all the e-mails I got from Iraq, there were two political comments: I'll never complain about paying for sewers again and I'll leave the politics to you folks at home. Followed by a poem that charged us to stand watch at home while they stood watch there.
Prayers and thoughts for those who stand in our uniform.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 1:09 PM ET
Obviously we have an issue at hand where we can truly say Like Secretary, Like President. Bush's quote "I make the decisions". Apparently he is not going to listen to the people any more than Rumsfeld is going to listen to the Military Leaders. What will it take to wake up this Administration. Do we need to have something worse than 911 here at home again to get the congress to act. Bush and Rumsfeld need to be taken behind closed doors the old fashioned way, told how it is going to be, agree to disagree and come out as a united front and do the right thing. Rumsfeld needs to be replaced and Bush needs to start listening to the public. We the people make the decisions not one MAN!
Posted By Anonymous Dick Borgia USA Retired Norwood, NY : 1:11 PM ET
My Brother is on his 2nd tour and I can assure you from what I hear that there are no politics and no media insights going on over there. Just a plain and simple love of our country and their jobs. What the media portrays and what we, as family members hear are TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS. Pray for our children, siblings, parents and loved ones.
Posted By Anonymous Tammy, Dallas, TX : 1:16 PM ET
That there are "no politics in combat" speaks volumes about the service and sacrifice the members of our armed forces give. After more than two thousand deaths, we should all ask ourselves if we are serving them as well as they serve us. After all, we elected this President and his administration.

I think the answer is no.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Youngstown, Ohio : 1:20 PM ET
I want someone to ask Mr. Rumsfield how he can sleep at knowing the blood on his hands is the direct result of a pack of lies? As I listen to Mr. Rumsfield talk about what anything and evrything, but that, I can't help but wonder what he is hiding. The people see it. The people are fed up. And, I would like to Salute the Generals who are standing up in the interest of their citizenry. Thank you, Gentlemen.
Posted By Anonymous Brenda, Iva, SC : 1:26 PM ET
Mr. Borgia, and the American public: We the people DID make the decision when George Bush was elected. We need to stand by our decision, and realize he is probably doing the best he can do. This also goes for the public back here that is upset over troops dying in Iraq. The soldiers, of whom I am one, made a decision, and swore an oath. The public should be glad that myself and 99% of the rest of the soldiers stand by our oath regardless of politics. What kind of military would it be if soldiers could pick and choose which war they want to fight? For a soldier, politics can't, and shouldn't, be that big of an issue. We have a job that we committed to do, and we do it to the best of our ability, the same as our Commander In Chief. Nobody is perfect, and hindsight is 20/20.
Posted By Anonymous Jason Barrett, Portland, OR : 1:38 PM ET

First, thank you and your crew for risking yourselves to report Ramadi, particularly joining us for the Iraqi Army operation this morning. This is a corner of the war folks at home need to know about. Marines though feel weird about questioning our leaders, particularly openly, however actions on the modern battlefield resonate from the sewage filled streets here to the black tie events in D.C. Those of us out here have all learned the value of basic civil services back home, from electricity to running water and sewage...
Posted By Anonymous Ryan, Ramadi, Iraq : 1:57 PM ET
You know, there's a very good reason not to ask those questions of soldiers. They are sworn to obey the orders of the chain of command, which includes (by definition) the civilian leadership. Asking soldiers to speak negatively of their civilian leadership is like asking them to volunteer for a court-martial.

This is why the recently retired general officers have been speaking out; they simply could not do so while still serving.

If you think it through, it isn't healthy to engender dissension between the military and its civilian leadership; that sort of things leads to coups d'etat in other nations.
Posted By Anonymous Wes M., Lexington KY : 2:46 PM ET
There is no politics on the ground, just survivial. Any good soldier will question their motives for fighting for our country, oath or not. I am a prior enlisted soldier myself and now train Army soldiers everyday to help them prepare for their upcoming future. Yes, our soldiers took an oath to defend our country, but the war in Iraq is defending somone else's country. I teach my soldiers that if they don't keep on top of poiltics then they are openly letting some politician make decisions for them and their families. I think it is funny that people support Bush and his policies. His policies only help him and his pocketbook, not the American people or the honorable soldiers fighting a war that will never end. I support all my fellow soldiers and friends that are sacrificing SO much for this country and recieving SO little in return.
Posted By Anonymous Robert, Goodfellow AFB, TX : 2:48 PM ET
this is very true. there is no politics in combat. our troops dont want to be thinking about Rumsfeld resigning. they just want to worry about making it home alive to see their families and friends again.
Posted By Anonymous James, Spokane, Wa : 3:08 PM ET
In response to,"We need to stand by our decision, and realize he is probably doing the best he can do." That is the thing though, Bush is not doing the best he can do by keeping Rumsfield around who obviously is not even doing the job he was hired to do. I agree hindsight is 20/20 and those that know that would see that rumsfield resigning is an option made clear by this hindsight. Don't get me wrong what the troops are doing out there is thier job, and sacrificing your life is the biggest gift you can give to your country. Let me ask you this, What has Bush and his administation sacrificed for the country, certainly not Rumsfield's posiion, in which he has failed immensely.
Posted By Anonymous Jacob Fernandez, San Antonio, TX : 3:13 PM ET
This is exactly on point. Troop morale will always be high because they have each other. We need to identify the mission, give our warrior all the tools to be successful, and let them loose to accomplish the job. Our decision makers have become nothing more than pimples on the ass of progress.
Posted By Anonymous Vernon, Valrico, FL. : 3:50 PM ET
As I listened to the President's support for Rumsfeld doing a "find job", I couldn't help but think of the Katrina victims, and the President's remarks: "Brownie you're doing a heck of a job." It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
Posted By Anonymous Bill Sharpe, Tampa, Florida : 3:54 PM ET
i was just wondering if you had any idea what company you were with when you were there. because my boyfriend is currently over there in ramadi and he is a marine. thanks!
Posted By Anonymous marci, mentor, ohio : 3:55 PM ET
These young men and women put their lives on the live the entire time thry are in active duty. Their safety and the saftey of their fellow soilders should be the nations first concern, by no means should it be politics.

God Bless the men and women fighting for us thousands of miles away.
Posted By Anonymous Michael, St. Clair Shores MI : 3:55 PM ET
It is true that the politicians here are out of touch with the realities of war. Rumsfeld may have been in Iraq, but he hasn't been to IRAQ. Theres a huge difference between the Iraq he experiences and the Iraq that us soldiers experience over there. There's too much at stake for the soldier's over there for them to be worried about Rumsfeld. Most of them dont care for him anyways, but they have other things on their minds that the political battle over here.
Posted By Anonymous Andria, Copperas Cove, TX : 4:00 PM ET
I would have been very surprised if an active duty Military said anything bad about his/her chain of command.
It's called mutiny in the Navy and they hang you for it.
Thats why they only people complaining are retired.
Keep up the good work!
Posted By Anonymous Barry, Imperial Beach, ca. USN(RET) : 4:00 PM ET
I think Rumsfeld should resign, in fact I think Bush should resign. My son is in Iraq and I am very very very proud of him and what he stands for. I support him and all his commrades at arms that just look to stay alive another day.

In the beginning I thought, OK, the Iraqi people need help to get from under the rule of Saddam. Then we reached Baghdad and Bush declaired the war was over. Yet, the number of soldiers lost keep growing and no one seems to know why, except the need for oil.

When our sons, husbands and fathers over there feel that their mission for the day is to "ride down the streets and hope they make it back at the end of the day in one piece." Something is wrong here.

No one in the Bush administration can give a straight answer, they just keep hiding behind the remark, "we're protecting our homeland."

Last night I had someone tell me to pass a message to my son that they wanted to thank him for protecting them. I said thanks, but I thought, protecting us from what? If he was sent out to protect us he would of been in Afganistan and Bin Ladin would be caught.
Posted By Anonymous Glenda, Augusta, Maine : 4:01 PM ET
Let's get real. Do we think that stiring up the Muslem societies will make us safer. If we want to expose those living in Mid-evil times, let's also look at our President who is living in the Dark-Ages.
Posted By Anonymous neil, Atlanta : 4:02 PM ET
Rumsfield is a disgrace. As junior officers in any military we learned about honor and standards and that bad judgement, bad leadership and dishonor brings failure.
We understood that, that price for failure in leadership was replacement.
Most leaders who believe that the senior leadership is serious about standards and honor take it on the chin, without a whimper, and leave feeling like a failure to claw their way back somehow.
But now we find out that our senior leadership is not serious about high standards, good judgement and good leadership after all.
If you ever make it high enough, you are exempt from those standards.
How does that make you feel junior officers and leaders?
By any measure this group of neo-cons, misled, made horrible decisions with terrible reprocussions.

Where is their honor?
Posted By Anonymous John Corbin Abilene Texas : 4:03 PM ET
Our soldiers are just a scapegoat for all politcal blunders which CIA & FBI did in past 30 years. I feel pity for them and the people killed by them on the countries which we occupy.
Posted By Anonymous John, Dallas , TX : 4:05 PM ET
The entire reason they are in combat in the first place is due to politics. These men and women that are serving are doing themselves and their country no favor by pretending that politics has no influence on the war they are fighting.
Posted By Anonymous JB, Dallas TX : 4:07 PM ET
I was in Desert Storm and served in the Army proudly for 25 years. Bring them all home now.
Posted By Anonymous gdw, york pa : 4:07 PM ET
This is a ridiculous debate. Soldiers do not care who the SecDef really is. They are professional...they have a job to do...and they are going to do what is asked of them. As far as retired generals making comments...good for them. As a former Army officer, you should not undermine your superiors while performing your duty. Now that they are not in service, they are doing what they think is best for their former troops. Good for them, but Rumsfeld's argument that they are a small portion of retirees is ludicrous. They are a large portion of retired general "that worked with Rumsfeld." They ought to know what kind of leader he is. Bottom Line: Let's listen to these retired leaders, and not get the front-line soldiers in the middle of it.
Posted By Anonymous JJ Joe Birmingham, AL : 4:08 PM ET
God Bless my brothers and sisters in arms!! They have been and continue to set themselves apart from everyday folks as true patriots and Americans. Please keep them in your prayers and hearts, it makes all the difference in the world.

Posted By Anonymous LT G, New York, NY : 4:09 PM ET
First of all, these brave men and women would NOT be fighting for their lives if it wasn't for Bush and Rumsfeld. They have no business being there and what about all the innocent people who have died over there because of a bogus and made up story that our president cooked up. Now, our soldiers and their families are paying the price. Get them out of the harms way and bring them home where they belong!
Posted By Anonymous AH Richmond, Virginia : 4:12 PM ET
My comment is short and simple..all this has gone on long enough
Posted By Anonymous O.M, Cleveland Ohio : 4:13 PM ET
The country has been divided about the war in Iraq since it's inception and the divide continues to deepen with every passing day. It should be no surprise to anyone that there are members of the armed forces, including generals, who have not agreed with the war or how it has been conducted. Why should we assume that because they have chosen to publicly disagree that they are correct? Let's take the generals dissent for what it really is: Their opinion. Nothing more, nothing less. Their opinion should not be given more or less credibility than the opinions of Rumsfeld and others who planned the current conduct of operations. The planning leading up to the war certainly offered these generals an opportunity to voice their concerns and I assume that they did. If they did not, shame on them. If they did they were overuled by a military chain of command that is NOT a democracy. Now in hindsight it is easy to point to current problems and say, "I told you so!"
Posted By Anonymous Dan, San Jose, CA : 4:13 PM ET
Critics of Rumsfeld talk about his bad decisions (too numerous to count.) His defenders talk about how hard he works. The criteria for a good Sec. of Defense isn't that he puts in 80 hours/week. If you listen closely, even his strongest supports don't really defend him. Of course, the failure isn't his, but those of Bush/Cheney - to whom he serves: "at the pleasure of the President."
Posted By Anonymous J. Corn, Grafton, MA : 4:15 PM ET
i find it asinine to say "we made a decision and we must stand by it". The same sayings and tactics that apply to war and the military do not apply to politics. Why do we have a democracy? Isn't it so that we can question ourselves and our leaders and bring them down from their seats of power if we feel they are doing the wrong thing? Isn't that what makes us different from a dictatorship? People think Bush is great for making up his mind and sticking to it, I would rather trust a leader who makes mistakes, admits them, learns from them and changes his mind instead of sacrificing lives for misguided principles. In my book, that isn't called flip-flopping, its called the humility and intelligence to accept mistakes and try to make up for them. In the 21st century it is not enough for people to say "we made a decision and now we must stick with it". Not when America's decisions affect the course of history for billions of people and nations and regimes around the world.
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Atlanta, GA : 4:16 PM ET
"IF the Sec of Defense leaves who next?"

Posted By Norman Seattle Washington

How about John McCain?

We need a person in that position that understands the battle field. Someone that actually shed blood and knows what it takes to win a war. I see that in John McCain.
Posted By Anonymous Jack Bower, Fernley, Nevada : 4:16 PM ET
What always bothers me is how easily people forget the lessons of Vietnam and history in general. The Democrats supported the war in the first place and the artocities that we've found in Iraq are easily bad enough to justify going in there. Then, there's the little lesson from Vietnam where the public turned against the war. The Vietnamese leaders knew the American public had no stomach for war. They caused casualties to make the public turn against the war in Vietnam and it worked and the Vietnamese won. The terrorists know this and they're doing it. And finally, how many people realize that we are STILL feeling the effects of WWII? We ARE Japan's military for all intents and purposes. History bears that he who is willing to fight longer will win.
Posted By Anonymous Aric, Gainesville, FL : 4:17 PM ET
I believe that calling Marines 'boys' is somewhat derogatory. To portray them as ignorant back-door draftees 'unaware of the politics behind the battle'is even worse. If you're going to blog, please refrain from shallow innuendo.
Posted By Anonymous Grant Gibbs, West Hartford, CT : 4:18 PM ET
This just goes to show that history DOES repeat itself. First McNamara, now Rumsfield. At least McNamara left his post before he killed all the troops. But these two clowns, "Dubya" and "Rummy" are so typical of most of our elected leaders in that they only hear what they want to hear and declare everything else irrelavent. When are the people of this country going to wake up and start voting with some intelligence.
Posted By Anonymous Dale, Omaha, NE : 4:21 PM ET
I agree that politics are not on the minds of our warfighters while they are supporting OIF or OEF, but I can assure you they are aware of politics once the arrive back to the states. I meet with our young men and women on a regular basis at Walter Reed and Brooke Army Medical Centers and I can assure everyone commenting that these folks are overwhelmingly supportive of the current leadership. If you don't believe me, I challenge CNN to conduct a scientific poll of returning warfighters and lets see if Rumsfield should go or stay from the folks that are out there spilling their blood.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Fairfax, VA : 4:21 PM ET
It's too bad that during a time of war and combat someone has to stop a troop and ask what he thinks about politics in Washington. How inappropriate. How distracting. Fisrt of all, anyone in the media understands that our troops can't comment on the politics of war. It's a violation of the UCMJ. They should never be asked in the first place. Find a better way to destroy their morale.
Posted By Anonymous Troy, San Diego, CA : 4:24 PM ET
We have sewage "running" in the streets here, too, only we call them politicians.
Posted By Anonymous John, Salt Lake City, Utah : 4:25 PM ET
Stop! American rise up and voice your opinion as to this war! Our men and women in the armed services need to return home now! President Johnson said in 1964 we can't win in Vietnam. Well, ten's of thousands of more killed and 10 years later it finally ended. Why have we not learned anything from the past and now were in the 21st century. We are not the police force of the world. Why do more mothers have to cry for their sons and daughters killed in action. If we have a democracy let's show the world what it can do. Voice your opinion and vote these corrupt government officals out of office. Oh, this applies to immigration to.
Posted By Anonymous Bob Eldridge, Hampton Ga. : 4:27 PM ET
When will Americans realize are people are getting maimed, dying, families torn apart, lives totally destroyed and the list goes on so the Iraqi people can have freedom of speech and yet Americans can't speak freely for fear of the govt. reaction. What would Bush do if another country said "you have WMD and invaded another land just because you didn't like the way the leader was leading....?" yes, saddam was evil and dangerous, BUT NOT TO US!! our people are dying and some even have said are "living death"....WHY
Posted By Anonymous Adrienne Hope, Skokie IL : 4:30 PM ET
I used to try and explain my job in the military to civilians. It was not easily done, as the responsiblities cannot be defined into a nice job description. By definition, I was a navigator. By job, I was a trainer, a gunner, a fireman, a river guide, etc., We say that the Sec Def is not doing his job. I for one, have never been a Sec Def. I find it funny that so many people, that their only exposure to what is going on is by reading the paper and watching television, that they know how to do the job better than the person appointed.
I don't believe we should be in Iraq, but we are. It is a war, and it takes time. It's going to take alot of time. To think that going to war, changing out a government, establishing a new government, and bringing peace to a region, that doesn't want us there is only going to take 24 months.... well, sounds foolish to me. But then again, Americans want everything done now. Right now, or we'll replace you with someone who'll get the job done. Question: who is the person that could step in, and "get the job done"?
Posted By Anonymous John Allison, Columbia, SC : 4:47 PM ET
I find this blog interesting. First of all as a journalist, I can say that Anderson is doing his job and a great job at that. Journalists are the eyes and ears for most of us sitting at our computers, home, etc.

However, does the media continue to fuel the flame of shoddy journalism? Yes. I think it's a necessary evil though. The reason being, it allows readers to appreciate the insignificant arguments that line our newspapers about issues like Donald Rumsfield and appreciate the heroics of our men and women serving in the military.

My younger brother has joined this so called war of terrorism and is leading a platoon in Iraq as of this last Wed. Our family is going through a lot... not only to add to the stress, we find this country we migrated to be so divided on issues like these. The truth is, we don't know what will become of this war until 15 to 20 years after it's all been said and done. What I do know is that my brother is out there, in blistering heat fighting a battle that he believes in. We shouldn't be opinionated unless we're willing to pick up arms and do the same thing he's doing. Sacrifice.
Posted By Anonymous Christian, Dallas, TX : 4:59 PM ET
Being a Military member myself, who has served three tours in Iraq, I can totally relate soldier's comments. When you're serving in a war zone you're trying to finish the mission, while also making every effort to keep yourself and the buddy next to you alive. In my opinion, I would estimate that very few soldiers usually realize the political ramifications of their/the Military's actions. Soldiers are loyal to their country and service, and realize that their political view won't keep them from getting hurt in combat. To steal a line from Troy, "....war is old men talking and young men dying..."
Posted By Anonymous Mike, Hanford CA : 5:12 PM ET
I spent a year patrolling just outside of Ramadi. I was wounded there in June 05. It's long been the worst part of Iraq, but hasn't received much media attention.
Posted By Anonymous Clayton Paulding, Baltimore MD : 5:13 PM ET
Are they boy's or are they men? Next time you are at the airport watching these young people leaving for war - take a look at them - most of them are babies as far as I'm concerned and it breaks my heart.
Posted By Anonymous SCH, St. Louis, MO : 5:16 PM ET
Great entry Arwa, only one flaw do not call the brave Marines in Ramadi boys. If taking enemy fire doesn't make you a man I don't know what does.
Posted By Anonymous Billy College Park,MD : 5:23 PM ET
Since my last attempted post was sterilized out, I will filter out everything but the main point. If you want to understand why we are in Iraq, research PNAC--a think tank of which Rumsfeld is a founding member.

As for the troops, thank you for your service and dedication. Of course it is taboo to talk about politics while serving your Country.
Posted By Anonymous Ivan, Denver, CO : 5:26 PM ET
As a (soon to be retired) two time vetran (of the current conflict and others prior) ... I will let you in on a fact (it isn't a secret because it is written in black and white).

It is against Department of Defense regulations, and is punishable (everyone, to my knowledge, is told "It will be enforced") to say anything "not in support" of military or civilian superiors, wheather elected or appointed.
NO active general CAN say anything except positive (approved) statements about a superior, in public. Any soldier in the field is ... a) involved im MUCH more important things [like staying alive] and ... b) Not going to open themselves up to "Mickey Mouse" UCMJ or risk a small note on their OER/EER that will cost a promotion or transfer.
Posted By Anonymous Al Bishop, New Albany, MS : 5:38 PM ET
As I read several of the reader's comments, I contemplate our differences, naiveness, and disagreements over war, troops, and politics. And is far more complex to make my opinion and appear impartial and rightious ( at least with common sense). As and Infantryman, I've always expected strong leadership from my general officers; leadership that proctect us as well guide us and encourage us. I knew few points about goverment and vietnam before I enlisted in the military, and one of of those points was that those commanding generals wouldn't allow the goverment ( again) let us "get waisted" in wars or conflicts, that they would give us all the resources, solid and complete planning ( A & B) so we can do the best of what we can do. In Iraq, for whatever reason we are " getting wasted" sure some have failed us, unequivocally not by choice, I presume. Rumsfeld's stubborn personality has reached its peak ( " you go to war with the army that you got" )That truly sounded arrogant, in my opinion. For less than what the Secretary of Defesnse, in the military people get burned. Rumsfeld is lacking integraty. ( Learn how to lead, also how to follow, or get out the way).
Posted By Anonymous SSGT M.B.S. Riverside, CA : 5:51 PM ET
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