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The military vote

I just got an email from my brother, a specialist in the 1st Armored Division, who as I’ve mentioned here before is disgusted with both sides of The Most Important Election Ever (boom, boom, ba-boom, boom!).

Anyhoo, I had assumed his vote for the voice of Kit was an abberration among the military absentees, usually a stalwart GOP bloc, but among the mechanized grunts in the 1st Armored Division, at least, it’s fairly typical:

{D}on’t fret about the absentee military vote. It won’t be nearly as Republican as usual. It’s hard to find anyone who spent 15 months in Iraq who is voting Bush. There’s a machine-gunner down the hall with a t-shirt picturing our Commander in Chief, bearing the inscription “Operation Enduring Stupidity.”

Can’t say how true this holds for the military as a whole. (If any bunch of soldiers has a good reason to hate Bush, it’s the 1st Armored: their Iraq tour was extended at the last minute by 90 days, a move that had some transport planes turning around mid-flight and some other soldiers enjoying a few hours of false relief on the ground in Germany before they were told they had to go back. I’d be bitter, too.) But I thought I’d pass it on.

  1. Bret says:

    “If my privates all of the sudden got quiet and pleasant with me” …

    If I had a nickle for every time I made that complaint — damn herpes!

  2. Andy D says:

    Hey your right about that, i’ve seen that one too. Most people only see the destruction and the high speed action. I have yet to talk to someone in my company under E-6 who DOESN’T question that we won the war due to the outragous amount of beauraccracy and general fuck ups over there…

    But I suppose its differnt in an aircraft..

  3. Danimal says:

    I have a video on my computer of an iraqi getting mowed down by a m240g – he was attempting to fire and rpg.

    When I was hanging out with my brother and his buds on base in Germany, they showed me a similar video that had been making the rounds. It was taken from an AC-130 gunship and showed insurgents setting up a weapons cache before being cut to pieces.

    The thing about it that bothered me most was how many steps up the chain of command the gunner had to go to get authority to take the shot. It looked like a clearcut situation; the guys on the ground had RPG’s and AK’s. But it took about five minutes for the AC-130 to pass a description of the situation up the chain and then get the go ahead from some commander back in Kuwait. Yes, of course, we don’t want to kill civilians. But we also want to operate effectively. It was shocking.

  4. Andy D says:

    Anyone who attempts to kill me is evil ; )

    That’s is great that he joined up, it’s good to have that type of attitude. But that was also why i joined the Marines. I didn’t want to be an occupation member, baby sitting. That’s what cops are for. If anything we need the money to go to the right places. Don’t the Iraqi soldiers earn like 3x the national yearly average? That’s a great start too. Unfortunatly, our MSM is so completly biased agaisnt the bush/united states that we dont hear about the thousands of confirmed kills that Marine snipers have dispatched. Bring back the body counts. We need a media like start ship troopers where we see infantry blowing away the enemy. I have a video on my computer of an iraqi getting mowed down by a m240g – he was attempting to fire and rpg.

    I want to see video like that. You know what? I’d pay for it too!

    All that I ask when people ask me how they can support me is to write me letters about thier lives and be good citizens by fighting progressivism and socialism. We have it was too good here to have it be destroyed by those evil ideologies.

  5. Danimal says:

    PS: You may have been a reservist baby, but that still trumps me — I’m just a baby.

  6. Danimal says:

    Fully agreed. My brother joined up after 9/11 for no other reason. (Well, a few others, but 9/11 was the galvanizing reason.) He literally wanted to kill terrorists. Arriving in Germany while his division was deployed, he’s been a bit disappointed at not having had the opportunity yet.

    But a lot of his fellow troops had the same attitude before going to Iraq, and that attitude changed.

    Combatting evil is one thing. But let’s face it: acting as an occupying and besieged army in a country with no established connection to 9/11 may not really give you a satisfactory sense that you are combatting evil. There are too many logical, contingent steps along the path of cause and effect between what we are doing in Iraq and how it will prevent terrorism. It doesn’t have the ring of revenge. So it’s hard to fault these veterans for doubting the soundness of their mission.

  7. Andy D says:

    Ex-Marine? Reservist baby ; )

    I believe that in this day and age, we deploy our armies to combat evil. I was having this conversation the other day with someone in class. I was 17 and I wanted to test my self and become a man, so i signed up in the Marines. I don’t know why anyone else would join the MILITARY other than to “close with and engage the enemy in close combat to destroy the ability and spirit of the enemy to fight.” Of course there might be financial perks that someone might confuse with the previous clause as thier primary reason…but war sucks, and it hurts when you don’t get the sweet stuff the generals promise. Yes I think it hurts the moral and probably doesn’t encourage reenlistment, but I still think that the reason they are over there is to kill the enemy. No enemy, no reason to be there.

  8. Danimal says:

    Andy D:

    Your insight on basic military discipline is appreciated; as an ex-Marine I’m sure you know more than I do. But the 1AD has very good reason to fault Bush, and not the brass, for the sudden extension of their tour.

    Why wouldn’t it happen with any other president? It might, but the fact is it happened with this one: at the behest of the President and his various secretaries and undersecretaries, we went into Iraq before we had enough troops in place to do the job right. This is due in part to conditions beyond Bush or the brass’ control: Summer was impending & Turkey refused to let us deploy the 4th from the north.

    Even so, grave and gathering as Saddam’s danger may have been (and yes, we all thought it was), I think a few more months after more than a decade of stalemate would be a reasonable sacrifice in time to do the invasion / occupation right. But Bush couldn’t wait and went in without all his pieces in place. As a direct result we had a rapid deterioration of the situation after major combat operations had ceased, and it was that deterioration that prolonged the 1AD’s deployment.

    I’ll grant you, soldiers are always complaining about something. It’s part of the life. But I think the 1AD is right in these circumstances to direct their anger past the brass at the guys pulling the strings. That’s my take; perhaps you see it differently?

  9. Andy D says:

    The problems that your brother is sounding sound like brass fuck ups, not bush. Why wouldn’t that happen with any other president?

    We have such a fucked up culture fromt the past…

    If your troops are bitching, there is something fucked up. If my privates all of the sudden got quiet and pleasant with me, i’d probably cut ’em down at the knees because they were probably really close to killing me. If your troops aren’t willing to murder you in broad daylight, then you aren’t efficiently and effectivly commanding your resources.

  10. Danimal says:

    Fair enough. It also bears noting that the bitter nihilism evident among troops in the 1AD doesn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, make these guys committed Kerry voters. For all we know, they’re all voting for talking cars. Which only makes sense, for the cars really do talk in Germany.

  11. WWB says:

    I’m not sure how Republican it was supposed to be in the first place, but an equally unscientific though larger sample of the military recently put the military vote at 4-to-1 for Bush.

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