Thursday, April 27, 2006

Rice, Rummie Visit Troops in Iraq. Front Line Troops Say, "Yeah, So?"


BALAD, Iraq (CNN) -- As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made their surprise visits to Baghdad on Wednesday, many of the troops stationed north of Baghdad, in Balad and Dujail, say either they didn't know about it or didn't care.

"I'd ask him for a plane ticket home to see my wife. I have barely seen her in the last two years," said a young sergeant, who did not want to be identified. Like many of the soldiers with the 4th Infantry Division, he is on his second deployment to Iraq.

Some joked that whenever VIP's come to visit they just go to the main bases and meet the "fobbits," the nickname given to troops who do not go outside the barbed wire.

"They have to get out to see the people that are doing the jobs they are making them do. If they didn't they would not be very good leaders," said Maj. Michael Humphreys, one of the few soldiers here willing to tell journalists some of his opinions on senior leadership.

At the time he was asked, he didn't know Rumsfeld and Rice were visiting. He was too preoccupied with his mission -- trying to set up a local paper for the Tribal Council in Dujail.

As we discussed the visit, a tip came through -- a suspected leader of a cell dedicated to making "IED's," or improvised explosive devices -- military-speak for homemade bombs -- would be at a certain location at 1400 hours.

The chase was on.

Bumping along the dusty back roads to avoid insurgents, a VIP visit was the furthest thing from these troops' minds. For them, the priority is the mission. On this day they were following a lead, chasing a vehicle trying to escape as they approached the target house, and trying to find bits of intelligence from residents unwilling to talk.

A top priority is getting themselves and their fellow soldiers home alive, and we are told that priority does not change -- no matter who visits.

---End of Transmission---

6 comments:

dragonflyfilly said...

i like that photograph of you in your profile now, you look so centred (i.e. centered being the American spelling, lol) - we Anglophones in Canada are so snobby about how we spell, eh?

Blake said...

At this point, Rice and Rummy would have to suit up and go into battle to win back the support of troops. That or continue more of their "you go to war with the army you have, not the army you would like to have" rhetoric. That sure seems to be winning over the troops.

Tommy Gnosis said...

I'd like to say that this (finally) represents the beginning of the end of the rule of spin over the rule of fact, but I'm cautious... very cautious.

james said...

PJ:

Oops, I just changed my profile picture to that of Zach from the former band "Rage Against the Machine." I rotate images around now and then so I'll be back to my own picture at some point. :)

Thanks for the compliment.

Blake:

Rice and Rummy (esp. Rummy) are becoming more and more out of touch with not only Americans but the troops.

Paolo:

I remain cautious as well.

Jeremy said...

So what the article is saying here, is that the Bush administration tends to use the troops for political reasons, photo ops, and general propaganda, instead of directly taking actions to help them?

I had no idea?!?!

james said...

Jeremy:

Yeah it's a shocker, huh? CNN is so clueless. It took them this long to realize that the troops are pissed off. Great Buddha this administration is so clueless it's scary as all hell.

Then again that's nothing that we curious and intelligent Americans didn't know years ago.