View Full Version : Careying on in Iraq...A letter from the front

02-12-07, 10:29 AM
Careying on in Iraq...A letter from the front
Soldier letter | Captain Gilbert L. Carey


I realize I have not been the greatest at keeping in touch. For this I apologize. I hope everyone is enjoying 2007 and all America has to offer. Here's an update, some thoughts, or as my father would put it, my Carey-ing On. People often ask, "what's it really like over there in Iraq?" Here are my thoughts as I am "over there." We've had a busy couple of weeks. We are planning for the surge and have taken a number of casualties lately, one killed in action last week, three this week. The war is actually quite serious and not a topic of discussion that can be narrowed to a sound byte. It is deadly over here. Many Soldiers sacrifice their lives. Many more are wounded and will carry those scars for a lifetime. Even still more lose precious years with their families and children grow up in our absence. When you leave home and your child is four, and come home when he is six, you lose something you can never recover. Don't think that our families do not pay as high a price as the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines forward deployed. Sometimes it'' lonely here, and there. Our military families sacrifice more than most will ever understand.

I try to catch the news regularly to keep up with the perception of the war back home - and that is exactly what it is, perception. Few people outside of the military and our civilian leadership seem to know much about what is going on here. I don't know if the media is just plain lazy, biased, or they rely on bad sources. Every time we have a KIA I find myself making comparisons, looking at the lives of people here, the lives lost, and comparing them to the lives of those "newsmakers."

Nancy Pelosi I don't know the whole story here with her air travel issue, and I don't mean to unnecessarily single her out - because this issue is more than just her. The truth is that I don't care much about this issue because, in the grand scheme of things, making a stop in say, Chicago, on her way to California from Washington, in her own plane doesn't seem so bad. I'm quite certain the plane is comfortable enough, probably plenty of peanuts. I wonder if the travel time is really too long. I remember the numerous flights I took to get to Iraq. Yes, it is cliché to say that our flights were cramped, and we sat shoulder-to-shoulder. But we literally did, and we faced each other, in the dark, sitting knee-to-knee as well. So sometimes air travel is uncomfortable here. Oddly enough, though, there wasn't much in the way of complaining. The worst complaint was about the seat belts as they can be difficult to buckle up while wearing body armor. The plane served its purpose well, it got us to where we were going. No peanuts though.

Sometimes it takes us a long time to get to where we are going, too. In performing their mission, many Soldiers sit in armored vehicles going perhaps 10 kilometers per hour, wearing 65 pounds of gear, peering out the window hoping to see IEDs on the road with the intent of disarming them before they blow our vehicles in the air, actually flipping them on the roof. Eventually, they all hit the IED. All you can do is hope that the one you do hit is not dead on target, because if it is, it will literally cut you in half. Time on route - many, many hours.

Political Campaign Money One cannot mentions politicians without talking money$$ The news is full of talk of a $1,000,000,000 presidential campaign (one billion dollars). I don't have much use for money here. The Army gives me just about everything I need. But, boy, would I like to get my hands on one billion dollars. I can't help but think of how many college scholarships we could establish for the children of war veterans with all that money.I find the fact that we are willing to spend this large sum of money on nonsensical political campaign ads that say things like "we are failing in Iraq" disturbing. Instead, we should have all candidates gather for a weekend and debate. Let them all face Tim Russert for hours and hours until he either tires or the Bills win the Super Bowl. They should debate every week until the election. If a candidate it too afraid to debate then they don't have what it takes to be in the race in the first place. We need candidates with courage, conviction and ideas. Keep things in perspective, losing a debate is a far cry from losing life or limb to an IED. Dear John McCain and Russ Feingold, please keep pushing for reform.

When you are on the campaign trail, do me a favor. Don't start your political campaign speech with, "I support the troops, but...." There is no "but." We don't like the lip service. For me, some things are black and white. The President hit the nail right on the head, you are either with us, or you are against us. Don't think for a second that hollow words of support give us a sense of true support. All I ask is that everyone think for a minute about why these non-binding resolutions are being proposed. Is it because they are a showing of support for the troops? Stop your nonsense. I cannot imagine how one could take these actions for the sake of playing on the emotions of families with servicemembers in harm's way. I can appreciate the fact that Americans want the war to be over, none more so than those who actually fight the war. It's time for >America to start talking about winning. Let us fight the war, we'll win. All we ask is that the Nation truly support us, no complaining, no posturing.

As I have told my solders many, many times, you can complain, but only if your complaint is followed by an idea, a solution, some way to correct the problem you are complaining about. Our leadership is doing what it can, our leadership works tirelessly and live this war day in and day out. All I hear from the opposition is complaining, no solutions. Instead, be engaged in the debate, offer a plan to win. Sounding the drum-beat of "that policy is wrong" doesn't hold much water, it doesn't begin to inspire. America will be stronger without you, so please, just stay out of our way. We win here every day without you as it is.

Anna Nicole Smith Let me digress for a moment to discuss Anna Nicole Smith (briefly) as she is in the news. Here's the storyline: "'Dale Earnhardt law' may shield Smith autopsy photos." The story goes on to say: "In 2001, Florida passed a law, known as the Earnhardt Family Protection Act. The bill, named for NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, made autopsy photographs, video and audio recordings confidential ... Even if the photos are leaked, it's unclear how much they would be worth, said Brandy Navarre, owner of the celebrity photo agency X17online.com."

First, who exactly is willing to pay for the pictures of a dead woman? This is sick. Maybe I've seen too many pictures of dead soldiers to care about seeing the autopsy pictures of Anna Nicole Smith. I guess I find this trivial, of no real consequence.

Oil Dale Earnhardt makes me think of auto racing, which makes me think of oil, which gets me to why I am in Iraq. Oil. Yes, seriously. Oil. And don't think for a second that that is a bad thing. For those who would attempt to criticize the President in taking on this war by saying "he only went to war for oil." Analyze this. The fact of the matter is that, at least in part, we are in Iraq in order to ensure that a steady stream of oil flows to the United States. This is exactly what you all asked for. This is not a Republican thing, or a Democrat thing. Unfortunately, we Americans consume more than our fair share.

So how dare you say "the President is all about 'big oil', and we went to war for oil" in a feeble attempt to score political points? Well, you asked him to. It makes me wonder if they have any idea what they are saying. Do Americans buy into this criticism? Are we that obtuse? Consider this, oil is a FINITE natural resource that we are consuming at a phenomenally fast pace. Let's counter with, what is your energy policy? I recall the first time gasoline (did I mention, a finite natural resource) went above the $3.00 mark. The responses were "open up the strategic oil reserves" and "those oil companies are making too much money." Neither makes for good energy policy and furthermore, they are making "too much money" because we keep buying their product! Economics 101. Don't blame them for selling a product we all love, and just can't seem to get enough of, blame yourselves. We are willing to bolster the economies of middle-east dictators and terrorist regimes, providing them with the capital necessary to arm themselves and attack us. If you want to fight to win, cut them off. Truly reduce our demand for oil by developing an energy strategy.

Sacrifice Being over here is about sacrifice. I can't help but wonder, why aren't we involving the American people in this war? Why aren't we asking them to make a sacrifice? Unless you are a military family, most wouldn't even know there was a war going on. If you think I'm being glib, don't watch the news or read the paper for a few days and see how often the war enters your thoughts. Even if you are conscious of the war, you can't realize its scale. Let there be no mistaking the fact that we are engaged in a war on terror, and Iraq is the main front in that war. The American people simply must understand this. Whether other Americans join the fight, or many of our political leaders are willing to make real sacrifices is yet to be seen.

Here is what it's really like over here. Earlier this week an IED exploded on one of our vehicles, killing three of our soldiers. They sacrificed their lives. Three more soldiers will escort the remains of our fallen brethren back to their families. The dead and living Soldiers will remain together for the next several days. We honor them in this way to show our respect and support for their service. The trip will be long with multiple flights and many delays. These Soldier-escorts will have many sleepless nights while traveling with the fallen. No one is looking to sell the pictures of these fallen Soldiers to anyone. They lived and died with dignity and we will ensure this fact remains.

GLC GILBERT L. CAREY CPT, JA, USA Brigade Trial Counsel

CPT Gilbert L. Carey 1287 411th EN BDE, HHC APO AE 09391 gil.carey@us.army.mil gilbert.carey@us.army.smil.mil Gilbert.Carey@balad.iraq.centcom.mil


02-13-07, 10:35 PM
I fell for you bro i was there in 2004:flag: