Saturday, August 13, 2005

Looking back at a Colonel's mission in Iraq

Colonel Dana Pittard - a loyal American

Looking back at a Colonel's mission in Iraq

Colonel Pittard has a confusing mission, and my heart goes out to him for his loyalty to our country

This is a reprint from May 5, 2004 - well over a year ago. You can see how Iraq has deteriorated since then - and how I was so right in saying that it was bound to happen. It's not the fault of our American soldiers. It's the fault of the war-planners. Why - and how could we have risked so much in blood and treasure while going headlong into certain chaos?

*An update on Colonel Pittard can be seen at this post and this post.
It's no wonder that military families, especially mothers, are concerned and confused.


May 5, 2004:

Allow me to begin by saying I do not know Colonel Dana Pittard. From what I do know of the Colonel, I believe he is a loyal and good American. I've read a lot about him, he's captured my attention and my heart in many ways. I want to make some comments in his support and in the support of all the men and women in the U.S. armed services in Iraq today.

Compare the two following stories/statements from/about Colonel Pittard.

The first is from just a month ago (April 2004):

"The support of the population is key to everything we do. From the commander down to the squad leader, we must touch, engage the Iraqis,'' says Pittard, who commands the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade, which arrived in the country less than a month ago.
..The unit's predecessor in the province, the 4th Infantry Division, focused on fighting, which has claimed the lives of 34 U.S. soldiers and left nearly 200 others wounded. There have been a few accidental killings of Iraqis and frequent detentions of civilians. Now, while still trying to kill or capture as many insurgents as possible, the brigade is getting involved with everything from attempting dialogue with Islamic college radicals to combating an insect plague ruining date palm plantations.

And now....(this was from May 2004):

"My intent is to destroy Sadr's militia, absolutely destroy it," said Col. Dana Pittard, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Infantry Division, which is leading the operation dubbed Operation Duke Fortitude. "And then to capture or kill Sadr. That is our mission. We're just waiting to be unleashed."
...Acknowledging that invading Najaf could offend Muslims worldwide, he added: "It's that sensitive. If we do this wrong, it will be felt from Morocco to Indonesia."

Colonel Pittard has been placed, by this Pentagon, in a completely confusing position. They want him to be a social worker one day and a trained soldier with a fighting mission (which is what he trains for) the next.

This is where the mission falls apart. It's not up to Colonel Pittard to pretend to care about the hearts and minds of the Iraqis. His mission is to destroy anything that gets in the way of his nation's goal.

Pentagon/Rumsfeld/Bush--you'd best shit or get off the pot. Get a new U.N. resolution. Get your social workers from the U.N. if you need them. Let Colonel Pittard do his job. Give General Abizaid an exit strategy. Get our troops home where they're loved, appreciated, and needed. I'm so ashamed of this administration's pie-in-the-sky lunacy about today's military. They've tried to be some kind of heroes, and they've wound up revealing themselves to be megalomaniacs endangering American security at home and throughout the world. Our President, I fear, is a theo-megalomaniac who, in his public relations, creates a crusade-style mission attitude. This bodes terribly for our armed forces' mission.

I'm speaking out for those in our military who, because of the rules, cannot speak for themselves. I say to the Bush administration: Get on the stick. You're using our military carelessly. General Sanchez is doing his best with the most chillingly horrendous Commander-in-Chief in American history. Colonel Pittard and General Sanchez cannot and would not tell you this. I can...and I will.


At Defenselink, Lt. John R. Vines is quoted to have said that mastering information operations will go a long way toward influencing people "to lay down their weapons and quit fighting and rebuild their country." But for now, he said, "We don't do that nearly as well as we could."

It's crystal-clear we aren't doing it well. It's an opportunity-area the size of an elephant, yet the Bush administration continues to stubbornly insist pro-American P.R. in Iraq is working. It's not working.


"Being steadfast in defense of carefully considered convictions is a virtue. Being blankly incapable of distinguishing cherished hopes from disappointing facts, or of reassessing comforting doctrines in face of contrary evidence, is a crippling political vice."

--George Will [LINK]


Since this writing, al Sadr is in the mainstream again - being accepted and invited into the fold of Iraqi politics. After we destroyed Sadr city. How things have changed.

Since this writing, General Sanchez is the highest-ranking scapegoat to date in the Abu Graib scandal, while the war planners and Bush administration attorneys who approved forms of torture go on with no consequence. Some have even been rewarded.

So many mistakes have been made. No one will be accounatble for them. The buck stops no where. The President doesn't believe in the buck - unless it's the bucks he can shell out to Big Oil while we pay $2.60 per gallon at the pumps.

And the President drives right by a grieving mother begging to have him look her in the eye.

Long Train's Journey

Long Train's Journey

Martisco Station
by Jude Nagurney Camwell

"Train travel gives one time to think without the stress of making plane connections, weather and equipment delays.."

-Frank Romano, professor-emeritus of Rochester Institute of Technology


Long Train's Journey into Night

"Journeys are the midwives of thought"

-Alain de Botton

The India Times' Bachi Karkaria writes a personally erotic accounting of a communal experience.

Want an experience both intensely erotic and serenely impersonal? Tantrics, Sufi mystics and the incorrigibly enlightened can find their own paths to such bliss. Those still in the lowly shunt-yard of the Superconscious will have to settle for a night train.

- Bachi Karkaria


Food for thought:

"If only we could apply a travelling mind-set to our own locales, we might find these places becoming no less interesting than, say, the high mountain passes and butterfly-filled jungles of [Alexander von] Humboldt's South America."

-Alain de Botton

One can leave the self through the senses. It is through the senses (though not exclusively) that one perceives what is outside the self--and then these perceptions confirm something within the self, of which one was previously unaware. This confirmation is mysterious--it's one of the sources of the human sense of mystery. The whole world is mysteriously within us."

-John Berger