Saw this over at Lightfighter:
My name is Corporal G. I graduated from the University of Virginia, and armed with a history degree took a job in Florida negotiating commercial property insurance claims stemming from Hurricane Charlie. I found success but little pleasure in it and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in May 2005. I am currently assigned to TOW Platoon, 2nd Tank Battalion, whom I deployed with from April 6 – October 30, 2006 as a Humvee Driver, Dismount, and Turret Gunner. I deployed again with TOW Platoon April 20 – November 2, 2007 as a Vehicle Commander, Assistant Section Leader, and eventually Section Leader. My platoon provided MSR Security along a well known highway in AO Raleigh, in Anbar Province Iraq. Our platoon was divided into four sections of four Humvees (and later MRAPs), each composed of 14-19 Marines plus corpsman. Between the two deployments I have been on over three hundred combat patrols, and the issues I discuss below stem largely from these experiences. I am scheduled to finish my enlistment with a third tour in the fall of 2008. [some information redacted for PERSEC reasons]
Young Cpl G. has a lot to say about a lot of things, but for the purposes of this blog I would like to share with you these thoughts of his:
Negative comments from politicians played over television have a dramatic effect on morale, especially on troops who are otherwise indifferent and disdainful of politics in general. I cannot tell you how many times I have overheard Marines and soldiers talking about various inconsiderate comments made from the likes of John Kerry, Murtha, Reid, and Pelosi about how we cannot win, how we should be brought home, etc. The Kerry comments really cemented his reputation with the troops and upset people more than anything else. It is unnerving to volunteer for service during wartime hoping to be deployed and having to listen to a politician explain how the troops need to come home, especially when we clearly have not finished what we started. There is a widespread perception amongst the Marines I know, even those uninterested in politics, that the Democratic Party does not want us to win in Iraq for whatever reason. This is true even amongst Democrats who still maintain the party viewpoint on almost every other issue but the war. Morale is always a tricky issue to deal with, and it is difficult to tell a Marine to buck up when he sees important people back home undercutting his primary reason for existing at the moment.
The news cycle in the mainstream media is about 4/6 months behind events on the ground. The evolution of the IED threat is a perfect example. I remember seeing an article in the Marine Corps Times about a new “speed bump” IED appearing in Iraq. This was about 6 months after we first encountered them. Likewise there was an article in the Washington Post/MSNBC about pressure plate IEDs several months ago that made it seem like this threat, which had been around for over a year, was somehow new. The same thing is true with the effects of the surge. The most accurate news reporting on the ground in Iraq is coming from bloggers and the alternative media. When I was in Iraq I would read Michael Yon and Michael Totten when possible for great stories on what was really happening elsewhere around the country.
I never discussed politics with the Marines, but we did talk about current events, and I did watch CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC with them. The perception I got was that one of the major American political parties is viewed by many Marines with pity, amusement, and bitterly sardonic sarcasm, while the other major American political party evokes profanity and eloquent non-verbal demonstrations of disgust.
There are politicans in America who are above ground wasting oxygen merely because it is illegal to kill them. Marines know this. There may be at least one republic that has not been overthrown by coup d’etat merely because of Article 88. Saying things that need to be said for those who would be punished for such politically incorrect utterances could be a mission for intrepid Civilian Irregular auxiliary surrogates beyond the reach of military justice. There are too many butt-ass naked emperors running around.