blogenlust
10.29.2004

Steve Clemons: A Soldier's Story


Steve Clemons posts about a recent conversation he had with a soldier in the 82nd Airborne while on a flight back from Europe. If what this soldier says is true, the morale in the military is pretty damn low and nobody is happy with Bush. Moreover, Iraq is just as big of a mess as it seems from the media accounts. Here is a portion, but make sure to read it all:
According to him, 75% of all soldiers want Bush defeated in the election and don't care who defeats him; anger and resentment are high. He says that 90% of the officers remain far out of harm's way. From lietenants all the way up, there is general understanding that the officers are hiding in holes, or holding back in well-defended buildings and quite cavalier about sending troops out for assignments and errands that are frequently stupid, poorly planned, and dangerous. [...] He said morale is very low among the troops and that they all want out -- few believe in the war or Bush, and he thinks that many of these troops' negative feelings are being transmitted back to extended family networks that have traditionally been supporters of the Republican Party, like his own family. He shared quite a bit more, including that his military commanders are planning for at minimum an eight year deployment in Iraq, maybe longer. He also shared an interesting anecdote that about a year ago, certain commanders in the 82nd Airborne had been told to prepare for a quick incursion into Cuba. I was stunned. He said, "Yep, we couldn't believe that on top of everything else, Bush thought he could go take out Castro." The Navy Seals were going to go in and do the dirty work, he said, and the "82nd was going to go in for clean-up." He said that he never heard more about it but that the orders clearly didn't go forward -- but they were prepared for that possibility and told that "Bush just wanted to take out Castro."
In the comments of the post, a lot of trolls are questioniong the legitimacy of Clemon's report. However, I think Clemons is a pretty smart guy, and probably has a keen bullshit detector. He's done some fact-checking, and seems to think that it is an accurate account. What a mess.