Words from the front-lines
“It's nothing like what the people back home have been hearing. They're saying the war's over. The war's not over. Now, it's more of a guerrilla war. The waste and frustration, everything that goes on over there, it's just a nightmare.” – Army Sgt. Michael Badgley Jr.
“Everyone hears that morale is high and it is a bold-faced lie. The only people they ever talk to are these commanders. The reserve soldiers never get to speak their mind. We are the pawns of this war. We watch the active duty retire, and move to new assignments. We watch their tours end as we are still trapped because of poor post-war planning.” – Reservist from Indiana
“At the beginning, it was very clear: get that maniac out of power, get him and his regime gone, and everything else would take care of itself. We reached that goal, and continued past that goal, and we've lost track of what we're doing. You can't leave, but you can't win. ... All they're doing now is getting people killed. ... There's not going to be any end in sight. It only takes a handful of people to hit a place, move on, and hit another place. It was effective in Vietnam, and it's effective here.” – Sgt 1st Class John Bogle, 101st Airborne
“The equipment they tried to hand us was items that were bound for the trash pile. Vietnam-era flack vests held together by dental floss and a prayer won't keep us safe ... It was like pulling teeth trying to get the things we needed. As 'dirty reservists,' we didn't deserve the same respect, even though we're supposed to watch the active-duty's backs.” – Nicholas Ramsey, reservist from Indiana, public affairs unit, Iraq
“You'd be surprised at how many of the guys I talked to in my company and others believed that the President's scare about Saddam's WMD was a bunch of bullshit and that the real motivation for this war was only about money. There was also a lot of crap that many companies, not just Marine companies, had to go through with not getting enough equipment to fulfill their missions when they crossed the border. ... It amazes me with all the money our government spends on the military, all the foul-ups and screwed up things we've had to put up with during this campaign. We were promised to go home on June 8th, and found out that it was a lie and we got stuck doing missions for an extra three months. Even some of the most radical conservatives in our company including our company gunnery sergeant got a real bad taste in their mouth about the Marine Corps, and maybe even President Bush.” – Lance Corporal George Batton, Marine Corps Reserves
“Man, they can’t pay me enough to stay here. There’s not enough money in the world to make me stay a month longer.” – Anonymous Specialist, 4th Infantry Division commenting on the $10,000 three year re-up bonus announced by the Pentagon.
“If someone invaded Texas, we'd do the same thing.” – Lieutenant Colonel Kim Keslung, 21st Combat Support hospital, Balad, Iraq.
Yaroslav Trofimov, "In a Tent Hospital, A Close-Up View Of Attacks in Iraq Doctors Face Rising Toll Of Badly Injured Troops," the Wall Street Journal, October 29, 2003.