In Iraq for 365

About my experiences in Iraq... the frustrations, the missions and this country... and the journey home

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Interview with a journalist

I normally decline interviews, but this particular fellow was quite respectful and complimentery when he asked for an interview. Most journalists want to use my real name, which is a show stopper but the fine folks at did not. Yes, Sminklemeyer is something I made up in college. At any rate, here's a link to the recent interview....


At 8:52 AM, Anonymous kbug said...

wow......thanks for the hookup, Casanova. I'm glad to see that someone picked up on your blog, it's been at the top of my reading list for quite some time, as you well know. I will pass along your advice to Seth as he gets ready to deploy later this year. He was raised in the church, but has drifted away somewhat the past couple of years. I do believe his deployment will go far in bringing him back into the fold, so to speak. As I've told you before, your friendship and writing have meant so much to me and are helping me prepare for Seth's deployment. You paint a picture with your words, especially when you talk about the soldiers. You brought tears to my eyes when you talked about the soldiers kissing their kids pictures before leaving on a mission. It doesn't get any more real than that. Thanks......

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Some Soldier's Mom said...

wonderful interview, smink... er, Bob. I share your sentiments about what should be the story, what's not the story... Your words do tell a story -- a compelling one --that had to be told.

Keep up the blog... Ever think about infiltrating the MSM???

At 8:49 PM, Blogger unknownchum said...

Nice interview- Articulate as usual.
As one of the other commenters said already, what is treated as the story in the news most of the time isn't the real story. That's one reason I read blogs and encourage others to do so... Under the guise of politically correct "rhetorical awareness," I'm making my composition students analyze perspective and bias in the media. The first time I did this, several of my students wanted to conclude that the media is "anti-liberal" and a tool of The Administration or Capitalism. Your blog and others allow me to set up what I hope are enlightening comparisons.
Keep it up-

At 6:24 AM, Blogger AFSister said...

Great interview, Smink! I'm glad you did it, and even more glad you provided the link. Your mind is a mysterious and wonderous place- thanks for sharing it with us!

At 7:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being anti-war and pro-soldier is like thinking about war on a tactical level versus a strategic level. On the level of individual soldiers and units it is impossible for me not to respect people that have sacrificed so much. Anyone who has a problem with troops on this level is stupid. But it is very wrong to expect people to support things on a strategic level. So if I were to say something like “but I respect the military for the job they’re doing” what I'm actually saying is that I support the battle but I am against the strategic decisions and policy that have led to it. The troops have no more to do with the strategic and policy decisions than I do. Pro-war right-wingers love to link support for the troops with support for the war because it kills debate. It is possible to be critical of strategy but love the troops.

Jack (jack D0t toerson at gmail d0t com)

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Kim said...

Wonderful article!

At 6:43 PM, Blogger ianmack said...

well said, jack. i firmly believe that most soldiers are pure in their intentions, but they have to question why they were sent in the first place. regardless if saddam was a tyrant, the fact is that the war was based on lies that were made up along the way. the ends do not justify the means.

i sincerely hope that peace returns to the middle east, but extremism breeds extremism, and using violence to deliver 'democracy' is a slippery slope.

From the recent Amnesty International 2004 report:

"the US government has gone to great lengths to restrict the application of the Geneva Conventions and to “re-define” torture. It has sought to justify the use of coercive interrogation techniques, the practice of holding “ghost detainees” (people in unacknowledged incommunicado detention) and the "rendering" or handing over of prisoners to third countries known to practise torture. The detention facility at Guantánamo Bay has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law. Trials by military commissions have made a mockery of justice and due process.

The USA, as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power, sets the tone for governmental behaviour worldwide. When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity and audacity. From Israel to Uzbekistan, Egypt to Nepal, governments have openly defied human rights and international humanitarian law in the name of national security and “counter-terrorism”.
Full report:

At 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ianmack, I don't actually think the forces should pull out. For a number of reasons, in summary:

1) I that Iraq will turn into more of a blood bath with widespread civil war. Yes, the situation is awful at the moment, but it could get much worse. With the death of millions of Iraqis.

2)Many Shia, despite the Iran-Iraq war, have no enmity towards Iran. The two leading Shiite clerics have substantial ties with Iran (Al-Sistani was born in Sistan, Iran and his headquarters is actually in Tehran!). Pulling out may lead to a great Shiite coalition of Southern Iraq and Iran. This, BTW, is the nightmare scenario for the politicians.

3) My problem with the strategy is primarily to do with the competence of the leaders. Within six weeks of the invasion the British in the south had re-employed local army soldiers and policemen. Why did it take almost a year in Baghdad? For me this is an example of a failure of strategy. With better strategic decisions (i.e. actually having a plan post-invasion) much of this could have been avoided.

4) We've come this far, sacrificed so many Iraqi, US and other lives, something good has to come out of it. If we pull out and point 1 happens, or Iraq/Iran form a Shiite bloc, all of those people would have died for nothing and the situation would still be worse.

It's Catch-22. I think we've got a great army led by some not-so great politicians. Not having a plan post invasion of Baghdad, not re-employing the Iraqi army, not re-employing the Baghdad police, not guarding key ministries, not securing tons of HMX (High Melting Point Explosives -- Suicide bomber/Nuclear Tech favorite), not securing the hundreds of arms depots around Iraq were all decisions taking by political leadership and top brass at the Pentagon.

So we've got to stay, for better or worse, because the alternatives suck. I do wish the politicians lived up to the troops.


At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great to hear that folks are picking up on your blog! I've been reading your blog for a while now and I have to tell you that your writing inspires me.. it inspires me to be a better American and human being. Great job!!!
God Bless,

At 3:42 PM, Blogger Solomon2 said...

For all our troops on this Memorial Day:

Iraq & America the Beautiful.

At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great interview. Thanks again for sharing your experience. I learn something from you every time. Wishing you the very best!


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At 8:25 PM, Blogger Bill Adams said...

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I can even tell you where to get one for free! Visit right now and they'll send you a FREE American Flag. These flags were $19.99, but now they are FREE. You pay just for shipping/handling and they'll ship one to your door. (Actually - I've ordered more than 20 from them to give to my neighbors, as gifts, etc!)

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Semper Fi!

Bill Adams

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