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We're WINNING!

December 9, 2008

I dare ANY media outlet to print that. I dare you because it’s true. The most powerful message I got over there, from every single soldier, was their extreme disappointment that we are not hearing the facts about what they are doing.

Two analogies I thought were ‘appropriate’ in this context.

A table needs four legs to stand, right now Iraq is standing on 2 of its own, and we’re (Coalition of Allied forces) providing the other two.

A football game with 2 minutes left, right now we have a 3 pt lead, the next year or two will be spent increasing that to 20 or more points. Would you rather play the last two minutes with a 3 pt or 21 pt lead? Which one would you feel was more of a lock?

Please look at these powerpoints. I’ll quote the soldiers that sent them to me:

“The Sons of Iraq in this edition of the ComCamDaily is pretty much the Iraqi’s joining their own, “backyard” police to help secure their own villages and neighborhoods. They have joined their own cause and basically want to defend themselves from Al Qaeda.”

Powerpoint One

“These are Iraqi’s trained up like American soldiers. Pretty badass.”

Powerpoint Two

And here are two more links, with a ton of stuff that for some reason I haven’t seen in our papers over here.

http://www.dvidshub.net/units/JCCCI or the http://www.defenseimagery.mil/index.html

Make no mistake, when we leave it needs to be ‘a lock’ or else we’ll be sending these brave warriors back into harms way, when we should not have to.

Enough on that. In summary there is a ton I want to say, and likely will, but there are so many impressions I left with.

In the 8 days I had the honor of meeting these brave soldiers I can tell you with my right hand to God that there was NOT ONE soldier upset, pissed off, disgruntled or mad about their situation. Don’t get me wrong, they all would prefer to be home with their families, but far beyond that was an overwhelming sense of pride that they had and were accomplishing a mission that is going to change the world.

Before you piss and moan about anything understand we met soldiers from the post at Waleed on the Syrian border (a bad ass bunch of Marines I might add) to the FOBs around Baghdad that were still seeing ‘action’ unfortunately. NOT ONE of them was anything but respectful, and dead set on completing their mission.

So all of you “bring them home now” folks who think you are doing some greater good by saying that, are in effect doing the exact opposite. They want to come home when the mission is done, period.

I’ll go one better. I would argue I met over 200 soldiers that WANTED to be posted to Afghanistan. That’s not a typo, they WANTED THAT. Understand that much, they are different people than most of us, me included. They serve a cause far bigger than themselves, and it’s because they want to. For anyone out there questioning that, remember this, the draft left us a long time ago, these are volunteers.

The week was life changing in a way. I had grown up military, my dad served and taught me a profound respect of those that do the same, but seeing them ‘in action’ is truly a remarkable experience.

Few things I noticed. Hearing a .50 cal fired at Quantico is a far different experience than hearing one fired in anger in Baghdad.

The troops eat like champs, almost always. I feel sorry for the folks who let it be known they can cook, because when their units get posted to a FOB they are officially cooks for life:)

The MWRAP and Stryker Assault Vehicles are amazing pieces of technology.

Infantry men and women in the US Army are the best scroungers known to man. They can make an anti-tank protection device out of tin foil and duct tape.

Moms, dads, sisters, brothers, uncles, whatever, know that your relatives are happy, well fed, full of ELAN and an Esprit De Corps unmatched by any fighting force on the planet.

The troops serving at Camp Bucca are doing a mission of world changing implications. They have gone from assault troops and hunter killers, to educators, ambassadors, friends and confidants to a nation starving for a chance. They are doing it flawlessly I might add.

Getting to meet both Iraq citizens and soldiers one thing is VERY VERY CLEAR! They are HAPPY the world cares. They have been shown that the world as they knew it under a regime of staggering oppression is not the real world. They want a chance and are incredibly grateful that our men and women, and armed forces from other allied nations are trying to give it to them.

They need help. They need training, they need support but at the end of the day they need enough time to get propped up and running. Once they have the training and infrastructure and have mobilized the forces needed, I believe they’ll do everything within their power to never be in the place they were.

I think we’ll end up having a force in Iraq very similar to Germany. I also think they’ll want it.

One of the last FOBs I visited was an incredible story onto itself.

The men of 2/14 were telling me about their days. Explaining that locals would come in the morning and they knew the soldiers they could ‘hit up’ for things, money, gifts, whatever. As they were telling me this I wasn’t completely understanding it so I stopped and asked them what they meant.

It went something like this. They were occupying a Government building in a city that housed senior Baathe party officials pre war. The city was at around 50k in population. Post war the city was about 4000 people. That number had now swelled to over 40k and was growing daily and the US base there was in a building that the mayor of the city, and citizens, interacted with on a daily basis!

These soldiers were still on daily missions and at high alert but over the past 5 months things are changing dramatically. Where they used to spend 24/7 hunting down terrorists and extremists in local communities, they were now out and about helping rebuild vital parts of the city, playing games with the local children and integrating themselves into the communities there. The Iraqi’s were blown away at the fact that these soldiers weren’t demons or something worse.

It’s not over, not by a long shot, but we are winning and people need to know that.

In closing I wanted to extend my sincere appreciation to a few people.

Tracey Thede of the USO, the lady who kicked off our tour and made it known to us that the USO and it’s mission are a life’s work for her.

Dave Gatley the photographer who accompanied us all week. Fantastic man who helped us get comfortable quick!

1LT Sale Solaita. A man’s man and a true friend. I can’t fathom what this week would have been like without Solly and am proud as hell to call him a friend.

Major Mike Donahue. Part of our team inside Baghdad. Another soldier who was born to lead. I’d follow either of these men to the ends of the earth and trust my life with them as well. Major Donahue is a life long Sox fan too, so we had some great times hanging out and chatting.

Mike Fitzpatrick and Kelly Greene. Two Soldiers who allowed me the honor of participating in their re-enlistment ceremonies. A higher honor I cannot imagine.
SSG Greene was also a part of our team in Baghdad and I’d like to think Solly, Mike Kelly, Ty and I made some friends for life.

To General Odierno, Brigadier General Allyn and Major General Hammond, three incredible leaders leading a force unmatched on this planet, God Bless you and the men and women that serve under you.

To Ty, my college roomate. I can’t imagine a more perfect friend to have shared this past week with. He got it, and that made it worthwhile.

To Shonda and the kids. For allowing me to be away during the holidays and experience something she knew was incredibly important for all involved.

So thanks, to anyone that followed along, and to the folks that made this possible.

We truly are winning, and it was an honor to be allowed to see it up close and personal.

145 Comments leave one →
  1. LT Solaita (Sully from Monsters Inc.) permalink
    December 9, 2008 1:50 pm

    Curt – thanks again for telling the story like it is. God Bless!

  2. Mike permalink
    December 9, 2008 2:05 pm

    The forces in Iraq are made of a coalition of nations.

    According to the NATO website, NATO has no direct role in the coalition of forces that has been in Iraq since May 2003. NATO assists in training some Iraqi security forces.

    “A table needs four legs to stand, right now Iraq is standing on 2 of its own, and we’re (NATO forces) providing the other two.”

  3. Bethe permalink
    December 9, 2008 2:17 pm

    Curt, I’m a big fan, but I respectfully disagree. How can this be considered a win with all the families that have been destroyed as a result of it? All the children left without mommies and daddies?

  4. December 9, 2008 2:33 pm

    Winning? Like in baseball terms? Like we’ve killed more of them, so we’re winning? It’s a no-win situation, dolt. Do you want your kids to join the service? Would that make them “heroes”? I don’t typically criticize people for having opinions, but in this case I’ll make an exception, since just about every one of yours sucks. Talk about baseball.

  5. Elvis Elvisberg permalink
    December 9, 2008 2:35 pm

    They want to come home when the mission is done, period.

    We already won. Whee! Didn’t realize we still had a mission there.

    Again, thanks for your trip. It’s important work.

  6. md1118 permalink
    December 9, 2008 2:47 pm

    who cares what Curt Schilling thinks he is a baseball player one that doesn’t even play here anymore…why is he on the website nobody cares

  7. ayo permalink
    December 9, 2008 2:51 pm

    “Make no mistake, when we leave it needs to be ‘a lock’ or else we’ll be sending these brave warriors back into harms way, when we should not have to.”
    says the baseball playing pitcher.

    Stop posting your opinion like it is fact, especially when it comes to war, and you won’t attract so many detractors, big lug schillard.

    It’s not just my opinion you dope, it’s the opinion of the soldiers serving over there, like the 1LT that posted below, read it

  8. December 9, 2008 2:54 pm

    No one likes wars/conflicts – and there are unfortunately always casualties.
    It’s unavoidable.

    To say that change is good, and the the efforts are working – doesn’t diminish the lives of those who are lost; and that’s the hardest part for some who oppose these ongoing efforts to accept.

    You hit the nail on the head when you said “they are different people than most of us, me included”. Ppeople who choose to protect and serve our country are “built” differently than most of us. We have choices in life — and the choice those have made to serve this country are proud and honored to do so. There is no mandated join to serve.

    We all have a path in life…and we should be forever in respect, awe and debt for theirs.

  9. cgpunker permalink
    December 9, 2008 3:07 pm

    I think you’re mixing your issues here Curt.

    Our armed forces are full of proud soldiers who want to get the job done, and are all over the Middle East kicking butt every day. They want to do their jobs, and they are. No argument there.

    However, that doesn’t mean the US should deploy them willy nilly in bs wars, keep them there years longer than they should be, and then cut off support to them when they come home. That’s the argument.

    It’s not about the troops, it’s about the war. If you’re going to ask these men and women to risk their lives, make sure the mission is worth it, and they’re taken care of for responding to the call.

    They DO believe it’s worth it, read their posts, not sure they can be any more clear than that? You can disagree all you want, and throw terms around like ‘willy nilly’ and ‘bs wars’ but I give the people in charge more credit than that.

  10. Tim Carroll permalink
    December 9, 2008 3:23 pm

    why is it that people that disagree with your (Curt’s) opinions – feel the need to be disrespectful and hateful. what is wrong with you people?

    This is the absolute best country in the WORLD – If these brave men and women do not complete their job (regardless of the politics involved in the first place),
    we WILL be facing a far greater issue down the road with respect to terrorism.
    Can’t you people see that? This man (Curt) just spent his own time, shagging his butt half-way accross the world to spread some good cheer and maybe, just maybe- make the people in harm’s way forget about the awful things they’ve seen and had to endure – so you hateful people can sleep at night.
    This is the holiday season – let’s try not to lose focus on what’s important here.
    Thank you Curt for sharing your experience – it made me proud to be an american to read it. God Bless you and your family – and God Bless the protectors of freedom.

  11. DE3 permalink
    December 9, 2008 3:31 pm

    Curt- Great postings and I respect opposing opinions (yours in general) especially if they are experience and fact based. I am opposed to War in general but I am not too idealogical and understand it is Nesecary. While I disagree with W and his decision in leading us into this conflict, I have always leaned on the thought that our Leaders know WAY more than we will ever be allowed to know and I have to trust they know what is best. Hard to do, but when I read more accounts of people like you who actually talk and see the soldiers at work, I feel that all is under control and we are doing what is right in the long run. I thank you for your accounts and even though you are a Right winger I beleive your heartfelt descriptions.

  12. Tim Carroll permalink
    December 9, 2008 3:38 pm

    i am an idiot. pay no attention to me. i get all of my thoughts from the bible and other regurgitated sources. thank you.

  13. Chris C permalink
    December 9, 2008 3:51 pm

    to Bethe, kw, and the like:

    What you say is true, in a utopia. The evil that tore apart families and killed civilians was always there, and to a point still is. Thanks to our intervention there is a lot less of it.

    Always remember, never in history has evil simply gone away. It’s either been killed, or kills…

    And to cgpunker, Mr. Schilling is correct. The only soldiers I have heard complain about the war have complained about the policy, not the cause. Our soldiers understand “the big picture” far better than sheltered American civilians do…and they truly do support what they are doing.

    If you have any doubt about that at all I encourage you to find a vet and ask them point blank. I think you will be pleasantly surprised…

  14. Dave Farrell permalink
    December 9, 2008 3:58 pm

    Curt…thanks for going. I know it makes a great deal of difference to morale of troops to know people in US care about them.

    Many Iraqiis have died in this war that is “won”. Many more than US. I pray that in 2 to 3 generations they have made a democratic country that upholds the dignity of man as well as the rights of all. TBD.

  15. The C permalink
    December 9, 2008 4:09 pm

    openly express dissent about their employers when they want out of their situation. In fact, they can get killed for doing so.

    How narrowminded must a soldier be to actually believe they can accomplish something that will change the world? Well, actually, I shouldn’t say that… they are changing the world. They are, by enforcing and carrying the orders of our mass-murdering, law- breaking, and constitution-bending government, changing the world. Just not in the way they have been forced and brainwashed to think they are.

    In case you haven’t checked any other news source not owned by Murdoch, the Iraqi government doesn’t want us sticking our noses in THEIR business anymore. Not that we should have done it in the first place. But in any event, it’s people like you who the powers-that-be bank on to fork over their tax money and spread the good word about their imperialistic and world-dominating ambitions, knowing that you’re either too ignorant or self-serving to realize that our supposed “gains” are everyone else’s loss.

    But what, in fact, have our “gains” amounted to during this time of war? Death, worldwide hatred, recession, socialism masked in the form of bailouts, a trillion dollar deficit, fascist propaganda, unemployment, torture, spying, record-breaking war profiteering, the devaluation of our currency, I can keep going…

    Really? Is that what you want Curt? Look at it from a baseball perspective, your fellow players can’t even get as fat a paycheck as they want these days because of our current economic situation, which is directly linked to our idiotic endeavors abroad.

    As the “KW” guy said above, talk about baseball.

    You’re as ignorant as you are ill-informed, that you didn’t use four letter words which would have let me delete this is unfortunate. Keep going to sleep under that blanket of protection afforded you as a citizen here, and bad mouthing those that provide it.

  16. December 9, 2008 5:23 pm

    I didn’t realize “evil” was the enemy until Chris C shed some light on that. Now that I see the light, the solution seems much simpler. Let’s shoot evil with our guns! Yeah! US and A! FREEEEEEEEEDOM!!!

  17. Dave permalink
    December 9, 2008 5:42 pm

    md1118, you ask why Curt is on this website. You mean other than the fact it is HIS BLOG? If you don’t care about his opinion, why did you come to his blog?

  18. December 9, 2008 5:55 pm

    I’m confused. I thought this mission was “accomplished” a long time ago..

  19. Mark P permalink
    December 9, 2008 6:05 pm

    Curt,

    I am so sorry you have to read some of the vitriol spewed in response to your post. The hatred for “W” and America is perplexing.

    After putting yourself in harms way in an effort to encourage our troops, coming back and reading this rubbish must seem disheartening and feel deflating.

    Thank you for sacrificing your time to support our troops.

  20. Todd permalink
    December 9, 2008 7:20 pm

    Curt, I just want to say thank you for what you did in going to visit our troops! It is funny how people will come on here and say Curt is a baseball player and why does he matter and all that, yet these same idiots are okay when celebrities like Oprah say vote for this person or that person. Funny how when someone like you stand up for what you believe people jump all over it. God Bless you Curt and the men and women of our armed services serving to protect us and others from evil…

  21. jonathan permalink
    December 9, 2008 7:32 pm

    NATO is not and has never been involved in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. unfortunately, this mistatement speaks to the larger problem of giving someone like curt schilling the platform to opine on a subject he knows nothing about. curt, i respectfully suggest that you stick to throwing your now-below-average fastball.

  22. Mathew permalink
    December 9, 2008 7:49 pm

    A table only needs three legs to stand.

  23. The C permalink
    December 9, 2008 8:49 pm

    Sorry, part of my post was deleted. I guess we’re on a word count here. Anyway, here’s the first part:

    “Look, I’m sure you saw the greatest of our “armed forces” during your trip. After all, you’re famous and have an open forum to express your opinion; they will tell anyone who will listen that it’s all good in Iraq. In case you didn’t notice, soldiers are not ballplayers; they’re not allowed cry, moan and openly express dissent about their employers when they want out of their situation. In fact, they can get killed for doing so.”

    Really? What armed forces are you talking about? I saw soldiers cry, I saw soldiers upset about situations, I saw soldiers that would rather be home than over there. Unlike professional athletes like me who can sign contracts and skip out on the terms, these men and women sign a contract you wouldn’t fathom signing because it is to serve something bigger than one’s self.

    Here’s my problem with you “soldier love = country love” people. I presented you with an argument of why I think you’re delusional in your blind appreciation for war against a tactic (“terror”), not a specific opponent. What do you respond with? Your regret of the fact that I didn’t resort to foul language to get my point across. Really Schill? Is that the best you got? That’s the equivalent of a BP fastball. Give me facts of why you think what I said is wrong, please… I beg you. I thought my freedom was provided by the constitution; you know, that little thing Washington keeps tucking under the rug every time they open another off-shore prison or pass freedom-stripping legislation, like the Patriot Act. These are facts, not things I made up, you should look them up and read them. They’re all available to you as an American citizen, it’s your right to question those who take our money and invest it in an ill-conceived manner. But I guess it’s much easier to live in denial.

    Who’s in denial? There’s no blind appreciation here, it’s very clear to me. No one will disagree with the start of the war and our ‘intel’ behind that, and that’s going to be a “Let History decide” thing imo. I’m just not ignorant enough or disrespectful enough, like you , to post the sentiments you did in a forum where you clearly see the men and women WHO BELIEVE IN THEIR MISSION AND ARE ACTIVELY SERVING AS WELL AS THEIR PARENTS are posting with ignorant and ill-informed opinions. You’re the same tool that voted for Obama because you somehow deduced that McCain is a “war monger” based on his stances in the Middle East. You want to have this debate drop an email to me, the info is right on the side bar, you want to post misinformed opinions and spew 1st Amendment Law do it somewhere else. You want to wish these men and women a Merry Christmas, or actually DO SOMETHING for them on the Holidays then by all means, post here.

  24. Two Buoys permalink
    December 9, 2008 9:06 pm

    Curt thanks again for visiting the fine troops who are protecting us every day. The ill informed protectionist opinions above are the same people who want the US to intervene in Somalia but with two hands tied behind our back. They will never give credit to the accomplishmens of the armed forces or the nation’s people who continue to support their mission. If you don’t agree with these types of liberals then your opinion is attacked with fascist zeal.

    To his own people, Saddam was as bad as Hitler. The years of providing two no-fly zones with occasional casualties while conducting a war on terror needed to transition to boots on the ground to bring about “change” to this region.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work.

  25. redmiller1 permalink
    December 9, 2008 9:12 pm

    Curt,

    Thanks so much for sharing the story of your trip, the people you met, what you saw, and what you learned.

    I’m glad to hear your perspective, and appreciate your effort to share.

    Thanks to you, and especially to the brave men and women who serve.

  26. Robin permalink
    December 9, 2008 9:18 pm

    First, I would like to say THANK YOU to OUR troops. You are the true hero’s! Second, I would like to say THANK YOU Curt for making my son’s day! I am the mother of one of the soldier’s you had lunch with in Kuwait, PFC Brian Quinn. Ironically enough, when Brian called to tell me about your visit, I was in Norfolk, Virginia for my other son’s homecoming after a six month deployment. I cannot begin to express how greatful I am for your kindness. December 3rd was a wonderful day for all of us! I’m sorry, but now I need to vent.
    To all you blabbering idiots………SHUT UP!!!! Do any of you know what RESPECT is? How about you start showing some, because I’m pretty certain that the troops Curt was visiting with last week will be looking to see what’s been posted here. How sad it will be for them to read some of the nonsense coming from their fellow Americans.
    Proud Mom of a Soldier & Sailor

  27. Dave S. permalink
    December 9, 2008 9:18 pm

    Hi Curt,

    I think it was a terrific thing for you to do to raise moral and i support our troops as much as anyone, but don’t you think there is a seperation between support for our troops and support for this war? We are already there so we have to see it through but don’t forget how we got there. I mean, i can’t even imagine what the oppurtunity cost has been with our brave men mired down in Iraq for years when they could have been focused on fighting true threats. Maybe i’m naive but I too trust and support the people in charge (especially in a time of war) and that included President Bush. I feel like he misused that trust. I don’t think it was malicious, it just is what it is. That’s just my opinion.

  28. December 9, 2008 9:38 pm

    “They DO believe it’s worth it, read their posts,”

    The ones you’ve met think so. I know plenty who don’t. The soldiers over there are doing their job and are to be commended for that. But that doesn’t make the war “right” or anything to be proud of.

    Calling it “winning” diminishes what the soldiers and the people in Iraq are going through.

    No one said war is ‘right’ or anything to be ‘proud’ of except you, which you need to do to justify your argument. I’ll go with the 100% I met over there as opposed to the 0% you did. We, meaning the combined nations over there, are winning, and it in no way diminishes anything anyone’s done. It is going to be a long haul, a very long haul, but I do believe it can be done.

  29. soxfanscott permalink
    December 9, 2008 10:13 pm

    Hey there “Mr C”, Nice rant from the Kos Kids talking points.
    And thanks for calling my 89 year old father “narrow-minded”. I’m sure he was did not believe that he was changing the world when he was a member of Patton’s Third Army During World War 2. Those kept under the oppression of the Nazi Regime at the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp were delighted that my father and his fellow soldiers believed that they could change the world.
    The era may have changed but the principles still ring true. Our all volunteer military is doing fabulous work and should be thanked for their sacrifice and service.
    oh and please keep posting, it’s quite humorous to read how miserable everything is that you observe. The United States Of America is a great country and I am proud to be a citizen!

  30. December 9, 2008 10:37 pm

    Thank you for your trip. I emailed you a personal note, and I wanted to publicly add to that. My brother had the privilege of meeting you in Baghdad. He sent me two incredible pictures: one of you and him shaking hands and one of you signing his Sox 4th of July ballcap. Words do not do justice to the comfort pictures like those provide to family back home. My brother is over there rebuilding Iraq. I was there 4.5 years ago on a different mission. The change is amazing. Thank you for sharing through this wide media that we are making a difference for good. God bless you and your family this season, and thank you for all you do for veterans and servicemembers. You are our hero.

  31. Shindig permalink
    December 10, 2008 12:39 am

    Stop me if I’m wrong, but isn’t part of the issue that the mission is so ill-defined that it will never be the ‘lock’ that you mention? Under what set of circumstances will this thing be so locked up that the war is considered won?

    One of the things that needs to get separated more is that people should be allowed support the troops without necessarily agreeing with the war. There are a lot of unanswered questions about the validity or purpose of the war – why did it start (wmd’s turned out to be incorrect)? Who is the enemy? What is the overall purpose? What constitutes a victory to the point where troops can be withdrawn? etc. I think people have the right to question the motives behind a war without being labeled unpatriotic. Because as great as the armed forces are, those soldiers are someone’s son/daugheter/father/mother/brother/sister and their family has a right to know what it is they are fighting towards. While I agree that terrorism is a real threat, and I am extremely grateful for the protection provided by the troops against that threat, I just don’t know to what extent Iraq was a source of that danger.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but who ‘agrees’ with the war? Does any idiot, even the soldiers serving, AGREE with the war? The only ones I would think actually do agree are the men and women of Iraq who have spent their entire lives being murdered, raped, tortured and impoverished by a pig of a human and his cronies. No ones against opinion or discussion about the motives behind the war, hell Mrs Rice just recently stated her disappointment at the misinformation behind the start of the war. We know there weren’t WMDs now, we didn’t then. Hell we were all lined up and Gung Ho in late 2001 right? Now WE, being the citizens of this country, have the luxury of 20/20 and dissenting opinions from the comfort of our homes, while these men and women carry out a mission that truly is world changing.

  32. MAJ Buddy Rogers permalink
    December 10, 2008 1:15 am

    I just don’t get some of you people. What Curt did by coming over here was amazing. Most athletes or celebs come over for 2 days and only hit the big bases (where it’s a lot safer). Curt was here for a week and flew out to some remote spots and got to see first hand what is really happening over here. If you don’t like what he has to say (i.e. the truth) then don’t read it!

  33. Jimmy permalink
    December 10, 2008 1:33 am

    “Keep going to sleep under that blanket of protection afforded you as a citizen here, and bad mouthing those that provide it.”

    OWNED!!!

    I support the troops and the war as well Curt, nice post. Thanks for relaying the message to the troops that there are still people back home who want them to do good things in Iraq.

  34. Tru permalink
    December 10, 2008 7:12 am

    Curt,
    A note of thanks for visiting the troops in Iraq; the USO is a terrific organization that helps the armed forces in so many ways.

    Secondly, my brothers son-in-law is in Iraq for his fifth tour; he has asked to go back every time. He’s a captain in the Marines, and feels the work they do there is vital to long term good. I’m not a politician and don’t have an axe to grind toward the Iraqi’s, or the region. I fear for his safety, as I do for all our men and women in the military. But he made this choice and I am fully blown away at his commitment to all of this. It’s dangerous work, and my hope is that our involvement will wind down and the work be finished and these very brave people are returned home safely.

    Lastly, I thought you’d like to know Tom Disy and the crew of the USS Benfold are safely home from the Persian Gulf. His parents live nearby (seacoast area of NH), and when he comes to visit, I’ll get in touch to let you know.

    Happy Holidays!

    Tom

  35. Cyn permalink
    December 10, 2008 9:06 am

    //No one said war is ‘right’ or anything to be ‘proud’ of except you, which you need to do to justify your argument. I’ll go with the 100% I met over there as opposed to the 0% you did. //

    Seriously, Curt, if you can’t take people having different opinions on such a loaded subject without reverting to snarkiness to get your point across, why 1) write such loaded entries and 2) allow comments?

    I can take it, but if you can’t handle people getting amped up and emotional on the subject don’t comment at all, no real need to come here then.

  36. The C permalink
    December 10, 2008 10:43 am

    You’re confusing my distrust and annoyance about the way this country is run with disrespect for the troops. I hope the ones that are still alive get to come home soon and reunite with their families. The ones that have died in this war did so in vain, pursuing a tactic, not a defined opponent. Don’t you get it? Soldiers are just pawns in all this. I have no ill will toward them, they’re just following orders.

    I’m embarrassed for you. That you’d say it, much less believe it is a shame. To call these soldiers, in this army, pawns, is a shame. I’d also argue that millions of innocent Iraqi citizens disagree with your ‘died in vain’ comment. But you clearly are cool with looking out for you and only you, which is understandable and unfortunately not uncommon.

    By the way, the constitution is the supreme law of the United States, not just some thing people spew. It has been amended 27 times, the 1st amendment being just one of them. Really, I suggest you read up, it’s enlightening; and don’t get emotional in your posts, use logic instead. It will be a lot easier to understand what I’m saying.

    On the election front, voting for Obama or McCain would not have changed much. McCain wants to be in Iraq forever, and Obama wants to go back to Afghanistan. So that’s really irrelevant, and further proof that you are the one who is “ill-informed” about the foreign policy of our government, not me. There is nothing more unpatriotic than the citizen who fails to question the government when he/ she thinks that the resources we provide them are being misused against our will. There would be no United States of America if it wasn’t for dissent.

    There’s your problem, you just assume that since you believe the war and lives lost were ‘in vain’ anyone not agreeing with you is a blind follower that refuses to question the government. Wrong again. I trust the military minds in this country to do right by our soldiers, and the citizens of countries they are fighting for.

  37. Tony permalink
    December 10, 2008 11:25 am

    Justed wanted to say “thanks” to Curt for taking time away from his family to spend it with our brave men and women fighting in Iraq. To all those people who feel it necessary to criticize and try to denegrate what Curt does really needs to look themselves in the mirror and wonder what went wrong. Most of you love the fact that you can hide in front of your PC spewing nonsense when in reality most of you can’t even be bothered to take the time to help anyone but yourselves. Keep up the great work Curt, I know the troops really really appreciate it.

  38. December 10, 2008 11:33 am

    Curt,
    A big thanks from those of us at the Palace. It was truly great to see the genuine enthusiasm in your eyes. I’m also glad you are allowing the freedom of speech to all those who post here. The right to openly disagree is truly an amazing thing. After all of my travels in various countries, I am always thankful that we can speak openly, without fear, whatever our views are. Again thanks, and keep up the great work.
    Lee

  39. December 10, 2008 12:10 pm

    “To say that change is good, and the the efforts are working – doesn’t diminish the lives of those who are lost; and that’s the hardest part for some who oppose these ongoing efforts to accept.”

    Just wanted to regurgitate that portion of my post, from yesterday because I just don’t understand how anyone can say that any of these soldiers died “in vain”….. it’s callous, insensitive, ignorant and foolish.

  40. Susan permalink
    December 10, 2008 12:39 pm

    To the C and KW and you other stupid F-ING MORONS. Why don’t you all get on a plane and GO LIVE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, because citizens like ME who have respect for the military and for people like Curt and other atheletes who have had the balls to go over there and actually DO something to brighten some of those soldiers’s day a little, DON’T WANT YOU HERE. You stupid, ignorant, ungrateful, jealous JERKS. Go to one of your insufferable liberal blogs and post your vitriol.

  41. Mike permalink
    December 10, 2008 12:52 pm

    As of today, I have 33 months in Iraq since April 2003. I have served from Najaf in the South to Kirkuk in the North, from Khanaquin near the Iranian border to Baghdad in the middle. I think I can say with nearly unmatched authority that Curt is exactly right.

    Iraq is on the cusp – security has never been better, the Iraqi security forces are gaining capability and confidence, the Iraqi Government is providing for their citizens, and the Iraqi people are optimistic for the future. They’re also thankful for what the American Service Member is doing for them everyday.

    Is it over? No. Are we winning? Yes…we, American Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen with our Iraqi partners and allies are winning the fight every day. Curt saw this last week – not from a cushy palace briefing from an Ambassador, but up close and personal with front line troops.

  42. Elvis Elvisberg permalink
    December 10, 2008 1:29 pm

    It’s too bad to see people getting upset here. I hope you have a chance to read the views of retired Army Col. Andrew Bacevich, who is as conservative as they come, who lost a son in Iraq, and has opposed it from the beginning. This really doesn’t have to be a left vs. right shoutfest. It’s more complicated than that.

    Bacevich says, “We don’t want to look when they go back for two or three or four or five combat tours. That’s not supporting the troops. That’s an abdication of civic responsibility. And I do think it – there’s something fundamentally immoral about that.”

    He also says, “I think that the Bush Administration’s response to 9/11 in constructing this paradigm of a global war on terror, in promulgating the so called, Bush Doctrine of Preventive War, in plunging into Iraq – utterly unnecessary war – will go down in our history as a record of recklessness that will be probably unmatched by any other administration. But, doesn’t really mean that Bill Clinton before him, or George Herbert Walker Bush before him, or Ronald Reagan before him, were all that much better.”

    This is serious stuff, here, not just a “Oh YEAH?!?! YOUR team is WICKED STUPID!” conversation in the bleachers.

    You, Curt, are supporting the troops for real by making this trip. Thank you for that. And thanks for writing about it here, and giving information so we can send stuff off to them.

  43. December 10, 2008 2:21 pm

    Ah, Susan, Susan, Susan. How quickly we revert to mudslinging when the idea of discussion becomes too cognitively dissonant to comprehend. Nobody is saying that they don’t appreciate the troops or what they do. It’s quite the opposite. People like me are angry because we don’t want the troops in harm’s way for frivolous reasons. We all have friends and family in the service, and we all want safety for them. America was once a place that encouraged free thought and discussion. Now people treat political issues as too taboo to be able to intelligently discuss them. “LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT!!1!1!!” “GO LIVE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY!” Why the hate? Why not think? Your statements are much more vitriolic than any others that can be read here; it’s possible that you don’t actually know what that word means. I don’t think that people who have differing points of view should be forced to leave a supposed democracy. Don’t you see the hypocrisy? And for the record, this isn’t a political blog. Therefore it’s not some right-wing only site, and I won’t be leaving for one of my “insufferable liberal blogs.” I originally came here to read about baseball. Silly me for expecting that to be a topic of discussion in a former pitcher’s blog on a sports website.

  44. Tim Carroll permalink
    December 10, 2008 3:58 pm

    I did not post the #12 post – some troglodyte did and usurped my name.

  45. Mike permalink
    December 10, 2008 4:17 pm

    KW: “It’s a no-win situation, dolt.” and “I don’t typically criticize people for having opinions, but in this case I’ll make an exception, since just about every one of yours sucks.”

    Considering those are your words in the 4th post, exactly who’s the hypocritical mudslinger?

    You’d do well to heed your own advice.

    Frankly those of us in Iraq don’t care if you agree or disagree with the policy, but to claim that stability in the Middle East and the prosecution international terror are frivolous matters demonstrates either your ignorance or your insolence.

    Are there different ways to accomplish our foreign policy objectives in the Middle East than the path that we chose – of course, but that’s easy to say with the comfort of hindsight. The question for the present is: is it better to finish the job or to leave and let the chips fall where they may. Given the progress made to date, and the cost associated with leaving prematurely (a failed state dominated by an Iranian Islamic theocracy and Saudi-backed Sunni Wahabbism) – I chose to stay.

  46. Nate M permalink
    December 10, 2008 4:33 pm

    Hey Curt,

    Thanks for defending our troops mission and validating the lives lost in the war. The media has failed us in not reporting on the progress of the war in Iraq. It is unfortunate, but we cannot trust them to get our information anymore. According to the media and to the cold hearted liberals in congress we have lost the war. They say over and over that it isn’t justified and we should just withdraw because we already lost. If we say that this war isn’t justified, or we’re losing, or we’re killing innocent people, then we are just discrediting the people who are giving or have lost their lives fighting for something they believe in. Our brave soldiers were not drafted, they chose to enlist. To all you liberals, that is what makes them heros. They didn’t shy away from this cause because they knew that lives would be lost, they joined because of the lives they knew they could make better. And they have been successfui in that mission.

    I have had 4 cousins in Iraq. Three in the army (all brothers) and one in the Marines. One of my cousins in the army was injured and had to come home, but when he was well enough he asked to finish up his tour and so that is what he is doing now. He wanted to go back. He has pictures that he posted recently of him posing with Iraqi police, just hanging out and one of the Iraqi police officers has his arm around him. They don’t hate us over there, it is only the radicals that don’t like us. That will never change and it’s the same thing across the world. They are threatened by democracy and want to take out anyone who doesn’t follow their hardline version of islam.

    To all you liberals, shut up!! If you don’t like what Curt writes then go back up your tree, write your songs about peace and love, smoke another bowl and keep pretending that if you hide the terrorists will go away. Or go where all white collar liberals go, Boston politics.

    Go Red Sox, we need to sign Teixeira now.

  47. : - ) permalink
    December 10, 2008 4:48 pm

    It’s too easy, just do what Curt did. Catch a plane up here and visit the troops in their working environment (i.e. BUCCA as well as the other remote locations). You can flaunt your intellect all you want on this website but it means nothing if you haven’t walked the dusty trail. Curt has seen it with his own eyes, so I’d challenge anybody to come out and see the truth for what it is. In order to do leave the States first, you must fly over the GREAT WALL OF MEDIA.

  48. mike d permalink
    December 10, 2008 5:04 pm

    straight to the point – we have been there long enough. the term “coalition” is misleading – it is our troops, our blood, our money. “a table needs 4 legs to stand” – this is true but we shouldnt have to be all 4 legs!

    it’s time for the citizens of iraq to step up and do their part. yes, let’s do everything we can to help them, but they need a fire lit under them to realize that we are not going to hold their hand inevitably.

    it is great to have celebrities visit the troops – it no doubt helps with morale and that is a huge factor in war. but the american people need to make their voices heard. we have been there for almost 6 years. if the american people did not stand up in the 60’s – who knows we might still be fighting there today.

    the fact that we have competent leadership coming into the white house will be a breth of fresh air and bodes well in getting our men and women home safely.

  49. Chris C permalink
    December 10, 2008 5:05 pm

    kw, I can’t tell if you are agreeing with me or mocking me for my “evil” comment. If you are I can only assume you have never stood tall in front of evil and looked it in the eyes. After you do (if you survive) I would love to see you mock it again…

    I too am upset at the rudeness and disrespect showed in some of these comments. Curt, I realized also that I failed to thank you for your USO trip, I only wish every athlete and superstar would feel the same sense of duty and thanks to our troops as you do!

    I can’t help but feel people that have commented negatively are from people who have done nothing but take from others. They are the people who don’t wait for others to walk off the elevator or subway before entering, that don’t stop to hold a door, the people who borrow other peoples money instead of saving their own, and then ask the gov to pay their mortgages and other debt when they are in trouble, the same people who have never served in our armed forces or volunteered to help our communities, and the same people that voted for Obama (regardless of whether he is a good president or not) simply because he was the “it” item of the moment.

    I personally believe, despite the hardships over the last few years, history will not only look back positively on this mission, but so too will the Iraqi people!

  50. Natasha permalink
    December 10, 2008 5:20 pm

    So there are two minutes of the game left and that equals one or two years in real time Iraq? Sorry, Curt, but a football game is sixty minutes long. For your “math” to work we would have to be finishing up the final year (or two) of a thirty year war. A bit more of a time investment than we have. The investment we do have is in the troops who have come home broken or in body bags never to be the same again. Bring em home, THAT is what they deserve.

  51. Susan permalink
    December 10, 2008 7:44 pm

    Kw, using bigger words and lovely prose doesn’t make you appear any more intelligent. You are STILL a moron. And, obviously a pompous ass liberal who is, yes, insufferable. Don’t even try and talk down to me buddy ro, you will lose.

    If you “came her to read about baseball”, then you obviously don’t know much about baseball. Because if you DID, you would KNOW that Curt doesn’t just post about baseball. Especially now when he is probably out of the game for good.

    So, besides being a moron liberal who thinks he is better than all us unenlightened conservatives, you are a dumb male who knows crap about baseball.

  52. Dusty B. permalink
    December 10, 2008 8:37 pm

    Curt,

    You cannot win something that you have already lost. This war was lost long ago and cannot be won.

    American Deaths
    Since Capture of Saddam (12/13/03): 3749
    Since Handover (6/29/04): 3350
    Since Election (1/31/05): 2772

    With little to show for these deaths, I’d say this is a lost war.

    I’d suggest sticking to what you know Curt instead of trying to blame the “liberal” media. This is becoming as cliche as blaming W.

  53. December 10, 2008 9:01 pm

    Curt, (and everyone else)

    Great discussions by all. As a former Marine who took part in the initial push into Iraq in March 2003, spent another year in Afghanistan, and a Red Sox fan, I was intrigued by your blog and the fact that you went over there for the troops. I remember the Christmas of 2002 in Kuwait, we only had Roger Clemens visiting!!
    As a couple of writers mentioned above, freedom of speech is an amazing thing and I’m glad you let all of the opinions in, as this separates us from much of the rest of the ugly, dangerous, restricted world. As for the nature of the blog, I feel that baseball and the military are completely intertwined. As Field of Dreams explained, baseball is the one constant in American history and I believe has always held a special place in the hearts of the military person for a few reasons. One of these reasons is as follows- most of us can remember going to games with dad as a kid and this was most likely our first introduction to the National Anthem. I always felt this was one of the best moments in the game, when everyone united behind a song and a flag and paid reverence to something unseen. It wasn’t until serving overseas that I was able to fully appreciate what we pay tribute to before each and every baseball game and for this I still get chills. We pay tribute to those who fought for, and possibly died for, our country and our way of life. One cannot argue that this is the best country. Baseball is pure (steroid era aside), non-violent, and something to which we can all relate (a turn in the batting cage, a catch with the old-man, playing Little League). I just hope that everyone will think about what the National Anthem means the next time they attend a baseball game and not just go through the motions. As Red Sox great Ted Williams said when he opened his museum in Florida, he explained that the greatest moment in his life was not when he hit .406, but when he became a Marine Corps officer. I think that he would be proud of you for standing up for the military, Curt. I, for one, am interested in how you feel about my former profession and wish more of our sports heroes had the same attitude as you. Semper Fi

  54. Shindig permalink
    December 11, 2008 12:13 am

    The word ‘agree’ wasn’t meant to mean “people want the war to happen”. It was meant to mean that “people believe this war is worth fighting”. Given that the war was predicated upon the existence of WMD’s, I think people have the right to question what war it is we are fighting here. Every war has a purpose, and given that the initial cause for this war turned out be false, I think people have the right to question what that purpose is.

    Saying that does not, or at least should not, in any way detract from the amazing courage and bravery shown by the armed forces. I for one am extremely thankful for the blanket of security that they provide. They do something that I know I could never be capable of. It’s just a question of whether the blanket is in the right place.

    That said, even if the war was based upon false reasons, I think there have been enormous benefits to the Iraqi people. They are free from an evil tyrant and the gains of that are often overlooked.

  55. JHC permalink
    December 11, 2008 1:50 am

    Curt, you think that because you made one trip to Iraq and spent time talking to soliders, that this makes you qualified to speak so confidently about the situation in Iraq? Would you believe my declarations about baseball because I attended all 5 games of the World Series?? I mean, seriously…the poster KW is correct. You dismiss criticisms as a lack of patriotism..that is offensive and frankly, the last resort of people unable to forumlate a coherent argument.

    I suggest you read up some about the Middle East, try some books by Rashid Khalidi, Tariq Ali or Robert Fisk. These are people who speak Arabic and know the region well..The fact remains, this was was a crime and a disaster. GW Bush will go down in history as a failure for this, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

    I pray for people like you to one day see the light and realize that the US (as it did in Vietnam) has embarked on a fruitless imperial war whose only result is to make the world hate us even more.

    May God Bless everyone on Earth, not just the USA.

  56. KingsGambit permalink
    December 11, 2008 3:07 am

    I believe we are winning, not the war, as it was over quite awhile ago. We are winning the battle of turning what used to be Iraq and it’s way of life into a better more secure one. Have we won? Obviously not, as we are still here, doing what we do everyday, in order to help create a better life for this country.
    While I do agree, we came here under false pretense, we are here and will be here until we are pulled or until those in charge are ready and able to defend their citizens against those who want Iraq to stay oppressed. There is no point in questioning why we are hereIt’s unfortunate to see all the death and destruction on the news etc from those who do not want us here but it’s more unfortunate to not see what the Armed Forces have accomplished while trying to protect the citizens here as well as the infrastructure. The difference from 2003 when I was first here, to now my 3rd tour, is amazing. The locals are more inclined to talk to us without fear, schools are built, water systems are built, citizens are trained how to defend their country, how to rebuild it etc.

    We are Soldiers. We do what we are told, whether we agree with it or not. We will do they best we can and complete the mission whether it’s here, Afghanistan, Africa or where ever else we are sent. We volunteered to support our country, just as Curt volunteered to support us, just as thousands have supported us. I hope for all those critics of what Curt said, is equally critical of everyone else that has any opinion of what we are doing here. Just remember, it’s an opinion/perspective, whatever. Why argue with someone else’s point of view. Since when is yours right and someone else’s is not. This may be a baseball Blog but well, Curt has being doing great things for the Troops here and he’s sharing with everyone. Thank you for spending time with us and enjoying the Bucca Boxing.

  57. J. Warrick permalink
    December 11, 2008 5:58 am

    Curt,

    Thanks for taking the time to visit us…I am at Bucca and know, based on the turn out to Bucca Boxing, the night was great for all! After 20 years in the Air Force, I can now say I have seen it all!

    I also hope those that criticize, saying you should stick to baseball, remember, they weren’t in the Oval Office in 2003 leading up to Operation Iraqi Freedom…I hope they can take the advice they’re offering. Besides, they’re more than welcome to VOLUNTEER and be counted as part of the 3% of American’s who serve the other 97%.

    Thanks again Curt! You made my holiday and in-turn, my families! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family from mine!

  58. mikeSE permalink
    December 11, 2008 8:01 am

    Curt,
    Thanks for your commitment to the troops. The war is a mistake but we need to support our troops, regardless of the ill-advised policies that brought them there. I have a nephew is Iraq and I know he’s torn between doing this job as a professional soldier and supporting the corrupt Bush Administration. Enough politiking from me: Thanks Curt.

  59. December 11, 2008 8:04 am

    Curt I hope you aren’t disheartened by these idiots who go on your site and rip you. They must be intrigued in some way,because they read your story then rip you. I will speak for many others that I know, YOU ARE THE MAN, YOU HAVE BROUGHT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAPPINESS, be it with the Sox, or just supporting the troops. I will always stick by you and defend you from these idiots who rip you. Thanks again for coming to Boston, and I am glad I had the chance to watch you up close. People should appreciate guys like you. EVERYONE GET OFF CURT’S BACK, HE IS MORE OF A MAN THAN MOST OF YOU LIGHTWEIGHTS. GO GET EM’CURT. PITCHING FOR TAMPA NEXT YEAR, OR THE SOX.

  60. Mike permalink
    December 11, 2008 11:34 am

    KW: “It’s a no-win situation, dolt.” and “I don’t typically criticize people for having opinions, but in this case I’ll make an exception, since just about every one of yours sucks.”

    Considering those are your words in the 4th post, exactly who’s the hypocritical mudslinger?

    You’d do well to heed your own advice.

    Frankly those of us in Iraq don’t care if you agree or disagree with the policy, but to claim that stability in the Middle East and the prosecution international terror are frivolous matters demonstrates either your ignorance or your insolence.

    Are there different ways to accomplish our foreign policy objectives in the Middle East than the path that we chose – of course, but that’s easy to say with the comfort of hindsight. The question for the present is: is it better to finish the job or to leave and let the chips fall where they may. Given the progress made to date, and the cost associated with leaving prematurely (a failed state dominated by an Iranian Islamic theocracy and Saudi-backed Sunni Wahabbism) – I chose to stay.

  61. G-Man permalink
    December 11, 2008 11:58 am

    Hey Curt – thanks for taking the time to share so much with us. I know that there are many people out there who oppose all efforts when it comes to the war. Much of it is understandable because it is an emotional time for our country. Some just handle themselves better than others. It really stinks that some of our own children have to be out on that front line. However, like you said, they believe in the mission. It is surreal to hear a soldier on the front lines state their belief in what they are doing. That person on the front line is a far better person than I am. I am also grateful that you read your comments and tactfully respond to some of the ignorance that is posted. Sometimes, I think some of those posters just want to debate to get kicks and they do not even realize this is not the place to do that. I am ashamed that our soldiers have to put up with people who direct their anger toward them over the war. Take care.

  62. Chris permalink
    December 11, 2008 2:01 pm

    What is getting lost in this debate is the fact that we have an athlete standing up and giving back to his community and his country. So many times, we’ve seen players making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Curt and his family, however, have consistently given back to their community. Whether it is his efforts to raise money and awareness for cancer and ALS or his trip to provide some holiday cheer to the troops abroad, Mr. Schilling has always been a faithful servant to the community. I, for one, personally thank you, your wife, and your family for everything you do for others. I appreciate your willingness to express your thoughts and opinions on a variety of issues. But your actions as a community servant are what matter to me most. Thanks again for all of the wonderful charity work you do.

  63. saucy jack permalink
    December 11, 2008 2:04 pm

    What are we winning again?

  64. December 11, 2008 2:58 pm

    Curt,

    As a sibling of a Marine just back from his second tour AMEN!
    -Sarah

  65. December 11, 2008 3:29 pm

    Curt,
    Thanks for the updates. I’ve never thought that this blog was baseball or sports exclusive and reading about your other work is just as great as reading about baseball.

  66. NbptBob permalink
    December 11, 2008 3:59 pm

    To Curt’s point….if the press would just provide a fair and balanced assessment of the work our soldiers are doing in Iraq, many of the readers here would have a different opinion. Unfortunately, we’re told a very slanted view of the situation on the ground in Iraq.

    Thanks Curt! – here’s one person that appreciates hearing about what’s really happening there and the efforts of our men and women that place their lives on the line for us day in and day out so that we can travel about this country as free as we are and say what we want!

    God bless, and MERRY CHRISTMAS ! ! !

  67. Bert permalink
    December 11, 2008 7:23 pm

    No 20/20 hindsight needed here.

    That’s all you’ve got based on your comments below

    I listened to the UN weapons inspectors, who found NO WMDS or WMD PROGRAMS!

    After the fact, after we’d gone in believing their would be both, but you knew better I’m sure

    I also had the benefit of watching Colin Powell make his case for war in front of the UN.

    After the fact, before he came to know what we came to know

    I walked away from that being 100% positive this war was ginned-up by those who are connected to the war profiteers.

    Yep, it’s all about the almighty dollar, that’s the best and most convenient excuse here isn’t it? Couldn’t be that we screwed up or had bad intel, had to be the money folks

    Don’t worry, those same leaders you listened to will happily reduce Veterans benefits when given the opportunity.
    No, I wouldn’t call these brave soldiers “suckers” to their face, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t suckers.

    You’re such an idiot, this statement just confirms that. Gutless too. They volunteer to serve in our armed forces to protect our rights and freedoms, and scumbags like you take potshots, nice. It’s refreshing to know ignorant fools like you are in the minority.

    BTW, Curt, are you saying that these soldiers protect me from Saddam Hussein? What was Hussein gonna do, take over the United States?

    Probably not, most likely not. But he was going to continue to rape, torture and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children while self serving ‘me first’ and ‘me only’ dirt bags like you sat back and said “at least it’s not me, why should I care”

    I’m just glad you wear a baseball cap so that your head has some use.

    I’d gladly doff that cap to punch someone like you in the mouth.

  68. JHC permalink
    December 11, 2008 8:38 pm

    please read the following then se if you think we are still “winning”. http://www.counterpunch.org/patrick12112008.html

    Is that any more opinion or fact than anyone else that’s writing about this engagement from abroad? I’ll take the soldiers and commanders words at far more value than the media in this country, which we got to see first hand over the past 12 months can, and will, push any agenda to their liking beyond the truth if need be.

  69. December 11, 2008 11:57 pm

    Curt,
    I’m a vet…stop drinking the Kool-Aid…who is going to believe your 100 percent support theory, it is not even realistic if the war were a perfect situation…your vehemence masks your ignorance or lack of willingness to recognize fault in the process…our troops (my brothers) should absolutely be supported with every fabric of our souls…but it is not wrong to question the mission from the outside…you cannot afford to question the mission when your life is on the line and we as citizens must remain vigilant in our advocacy for the troops and question for them…the world is not so black and white as you, and some of your more vehement detractors, make it seem…war is not a sport and we should not be so inclined to pick teams…thank you for supporting our troops but ease off the gas just a little bit and try to see both sides of the street…

    Are you even reading this thread?????

  70. December 12, 2008 9:43 am

    I read the thread rather extensively and I do not think you can handle posts that even remotely move to the middle of the road (I am not including the obviously extreme leftist posts). Ignorance does not equal stupidity, I do not think you are stupid. Ignorance is born of not recognizing the pressures of being a soldier require you to succumb to the greater good. Unfortunately, the greater good is relative to who is leading you and is often skewed when it comes to war. Besides telling you to stopping drinking the Kool-Aid (which was a joke), why can’t you respond to the fact that what you see is what they want you to see. I have been there before a dignitary or a high ranking official comes around and soldiers are chosen for interaction based on compliance. Wasteful briefings were held and we were “reminded” on what we should and should not say. I am not judging that process, I am merely trying see if you can acquiesce the slightest bit and at least entertain the idea that everything is not as rosy as you paint it. You have an agenda, like everyone else, but compensating, for what you do not see as fair reporting, by moving to the opposite extreme does not help the soldiers. The real challenge for a man of your intelligence and stature is not to present yourself as an “expert” who got the “real” facts (I think there you hurt your cause), but to actually truly do some good for the soldiers. Remember, Sean Penn went to IRAQ and came back with the “truth” too (not saying you are Sean Penn, but you were a guest of the government as well). Here is food for thought – these soldiers always need items, I am a Rotarian and if you feel so inclined I will help you to reach out to Rotary Clubs across the country (or just the Northeast) to collect supplies for all of the units you interacted with…the greatest thing about America is that two people can disagree and still work toward the common good of our great country.

  71. Greg permalink
    December 12, 2008 10:06 am

    Curt,
    Good analogies except the Coalition of Allied Forces have already left thousands of legs there; and arms, and lives. All by the way on a lie. Point 2, this is not a football game. How many lives are you prepared to sacrifice to increase your lead?
    I’m glad to see our troops feeling successful and that they are accomplishing something. They are doing their job and they the best in the world at doing it…no question. The question is whether they should have to fight and die to serve an agenda of a few who lied to all of us.

    You’re arguing a moot point aren’t you? You can belittle and demean and rant about the reasons we entered and it’s hard to argue you’d be wrong in many cases, but that’s not reality anymore is it? We’re there, we need to complete the job before we leave don’t we? Arguing the above argument is way past relevant unless you are talking about our actions and future situations right?.

    Since you are into dares, I dare you to drive down a road filled with bombs in a vehicle that cannot withstand such a blast because MRAP’s aren’t in the budget. You wouldn’t do that right? But a soldier would, will, and does because that’s their job. Too bad those who sent them deem them less valuable than the money it would take to properly equip them. To use you football analogy: Your team is on the field with no helmet or shoulder pads, the time clock isn’t working, the opposing team is unknown, the game was not scheduled or approved by the league to be played, the owners of the venue want you off the field whether you think the game is over or not, and they are not willing to share the gate with you. We are the visiting team who should have stayed home…That being said thank you for all the great work you do, your heart is never in question, I just often disagree with your mind.

    Nothing here I disagree with. That our men and women were sent into combat less than perfectly equipped is something someone, or many someones should have to pay for, severely.

  72. Kim permalink
    December 12, 2008 10:42 am

    I have thoroughly enjoyed your blogging while over there! You’re a good guy Curt, I can never say that enough.

    To the negative comments here. I live in a large military community. Stop trying to knock down what these soldiers are doing making asinine comments. Sure, there may be soldiers that don’t agree with this but from what I have seen here, from their own mouths, they are proud to go to Iraq or whatever God awful country they are called to. These soldiers are a different breed, different than you or I. They are true Patriots that care about our freedoms and the freedoms of others. They care enough to actually put their lives on the line every day.
    Can you say that much? I thought not.

    Because you are not of that breed and don’t understand what it means to be a soldier, don’t judge. You would not go over there and support what our country stands for so you assume they don’t want to either. How dare you call them suckers. Again, they are true Patriots of this great country of ours. Take the time to read all of Curt’s entries about this trip for goodness sake.

    Just remember, it’s because of these soldiers that you’re able to speak your mind, however idiotic and ungrateful they are.

  73. Eric permalink
    December 12, 2008 11:54 am

    I have nothing but respect for anyone who chooses to fight for their country. My problem stems from the fact that since when is it the United States of America’s job to be the world police?

    1945, end of WWII pretty much. Can anyone argue we were the ONLY nation on this planet willing AND capable of doing it? We took the mantle then, imo, due to necessity, and have carried it every since.

    But he was going to continue to rape, torture and kill hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children while self serving ‘me first’

    Then why aren’t we over in Darfur or any of these other countries that oppress their citizens? Why Iraq?? I won’t begrudge you your beliefs Curt, yours are yours as mine are mine. I just think there is more to the story then is being released right now.

    You can’t, no matter how big, be everywhere at once right? Who makes those decisions of where to go when? That’s what we elect our President for right? There are a lot more places than Iraq, Kuwait and Darfur that need help aren’t there? We’re trying to manage as many as we can it feels like, and we’re doing it with minimal help. But if we don’t, who will?

  74. Mike M. permalink
    December 12, 2008 12:41 pm

    Cost of the war in Iraq:

    Monetarily:
    Roughly 600 billion dollars to date ( and about 341 million dollars PER DAY)… just so you can see all the zeroes that’s $600,000,000,000 to date or $341,000,000 per day

    Which means what? Once you enter into something like this you cannot put a dollar value to any milestones, unless you are someone able to define the value of a human life?

    Lives:
    Between roughly 89,000 and 98,000 DOCUMENTED civilian deaths (some sources actually estimate the number of Iraqi lives lost at over 1 million…)

    4209 American soldier deaths (and over 30,000 officially wounded, with some estimates as high as 100,000)

    Your point? I think we can all agree that 1 is too many right? Civilian and military deaths are a horrific part of war, no one can argue that. I’d ask you how big that first number was before we intervened? How big would that be now if we had not? The answer is, I think, that first number would have been whatever ONE MAN wanted it to be. Is that right?

    Our relations/image with/to a good chunk of the rest of the civilized world: Compromised (to say the least)

    No one can argue this. We’ve bumbled and fumbled many times when it comes to what we’ve said over the past 7 years and the Middle East issues.

    Do me a favor… define winning.

    A game? Scoring more than the other guy. This war? Being able to leave, en masse, and not having to come back to Iraq with an invasion sized force to protect innocent men, women and children from being killed because some lunatic feels the urge to commit genocide on a whim

    But on a separate note… what you did was awesome. We have to support the troops… none of this is any of their fault. They fight day-in day-out to protect us and our freedom and security, and I respect and thank them for it. Thank you for supporting the troops Curt.

    Also, on another (completely) separate note, I don’t know if you would believe/remember this or not, but I actually met you back when you played for the Phillies. I won a contest through PECO Energy to throw out the first pitch to the Phanatic at one of the games, and take place in a one day skills camp. I got VIP Tickets and was allowed to sit anywhere I wanted for the game, and I got an autographed picture of you and I together after lunch. Anywho, thanks for that memory… it was an awesome one.

  75. Hope permalink
    December 12, 2008 12:43 pm

    Hi Curt,

    My son is in the 13th month of a 15 month deployment in Iraq. He is a medic in a striker team near Sadr City.

    I want to thank you first of all for going to meet our service members. I’m sure that for Redsox fans and others it was great to meet you. Thanks also for posting the link to Dvids. Everyday of my son’s deployment I have poured over photos, videos, briefings and news about troop activities to try and keep up with what has been happening over there and to look for photos of my son. For anyone who wants to know what our military does world wide, it is a terrific site. From my living room I have watched as much as I can and from my perspective it has been like watching a metamorphosis. Terrifying in the begining but slowly progress has been made. Progress built on the progress and sacrifice of those in deployment before him. The ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) have stepped up to the plate and now lead the missions with our troops as back ups, trainers and anything else that is asked of them. The courage of all involved, yes, the civilians as well, is nothing short of inspirational. The COP (combat outpost) that my son has been at all year, that the unit before them (less than two years ago)had to literally fight their way into, being attacked by mortars and anything else that the “special groups” could hurl at them daily, is being closed when my son departs. What is it being used for when they leave? It’s becoming a mall again. Yes, a shopping mall. Now, that is progress. On Dvids, I have watched, cried with and lived each day of my son’s deployment, as much with him, his unit and the Iraqi people and as well informed as I could possibly be. I have spent hours each day pouring over different sites, blogs, military and of Iraqi civilians to see it from as many sides as possible. I agree with you Curt, there has been astounding progress made. There is more work to be done, and thanks to SOFA, it will get done. By the way, after watching every day, on the 366th day of my sons deployment, I finally found him on Dvids, it was great! I also saw pictures of your visit last week.

    Thanks so much for going, and thanks for posting here as well. I’m from Massachusetts, so I liked you before but now, I like you even more! Thanks to you and to your family for giving of yourself for the benefit of those who are deployed.

  76. December 12, 2008 1:17 pm

    Hey Curt,

    Upon reading all of these posts in this thread, I am completley disheartened by what was said by a majority of the people here. I may not be the most informed person when it comes to this war but, I do support our brave men and women who are fighting over there to keep us safe. They basically give us the right to post and say what we want. though I do feel that a lot of the posters here are hiding behing their keyboards, and would not dare say the exact same thing to your face! I do not have any loved ones or friends over in Iraq, but do have friends in the Military, here stateside, and they all support what is going on in Iraq. The way I look at it is (and I may take heat for this), I think that you pretty much have to support our troops, and the war. I don’t think that you can support one or the other. You can’t have it both ways!!!! So I say support our troops, and what they are doing over in the Middle East, and stop being so short sighted!!! We are there to do a job, it is getting done, deal with it. Good Bless, and Happy Holidays to all our Troops, and you as well Curt (Thank you for what you do for the troops!!)

  77. AmyS permalink
    December 12, 2008 2:00 pm

    Dear Curt,

    While I passionately, respectfully, disagree with you on most political issues I feel that this is different. First I must thank you for your generous USO tour.

    Second, I am not a military wife, and no one in my extended family if in the military.

    Now, understand, a lot of us feel that we need to bring them home now because we think we shouldn’t have entered this war (Iraq) in the first place and we should just end the mistake. A lot of us think we need to bring them home when the job is done because that is the only honorable way to do it. A lot of us take a stand on one side or the other because that’s what our party tells us to do.

    Most of us have no clue what is really going on over there and what ‘getting the job done’ really entails. I am an intelligent person and I try very hard to find information about what is happening in Iraq. The only time I really get actual info in when I talk to someone who has been there. The news (tv, paper, internet) does not tell us what is happening. The politicians do not tell us what is happening. We get snippets. Little bits of truths. It is maddening.

    Sure, I want our troops out of Iraq as soon as possible for their sake and their families sake. But I don’t know if that is the right thing. I will gladly take any info that you provide me with, Curt, and I will gladly read about your trip to Iraq as I want to know how they feel about this war.

    Curt, I voted differently than you did in this last election. But this doesn’t mean I disagree with you on Iraq. I had to weigh the issues and economy and healthcare came out over Iraq as they effect more people. This was my reasoning, respect it or not, because I can only work part time due to a chronic illness. I tell you this to demonstrate to you that not everyone who voted differently from you is a “bring them home now” person.

    (I hope I got my point across. I’ve had to leave and come back to this a couple of times…)

    Merry Christmas to you and your family
    And Happy Holidays to all troops serving around the world

    Amy, don’t let me tell you what to think, listen to the troops that are actually serving over there and what they have to say. They are posting here daily.

  78. Mark permalink
    December 12, 2008 2:03 pm

    I truly don’t understand the folks who come on her and criticize Curt for his posting his opinions on his blog. First of all, if you don’t like don’t come here. I don’t agree with what Barbara Streisand or Rosie O’Donnell post on their websites, but I don’t fell compelled to go to those sites and tell them they should “stick to show business” and stop talking about politics. They, like Curt have the right to post their opinions. That is what makes this county great, and what I and thousands of other veterans have fought for over the years. As a veteran of the Iraq war (and possibly soon the Afghan conflict), I agree 100 % with Curt and am grateful that he took the time and the VERY REAL physical risk to travel to Iraq and visit the troops.

  79. Susan permalink
    December 12, 2008 2:31 pm

    Bert says:

    “I’m just glad you wear a baseball cap so that your head has some use.”

    Curt’s response:

    “I’d gladly doff that cap to punch someone like you in the mouth.”

    YEAH CURT!!! You are fabulous. Please don’t ever leave this area.

  80. December 12, 2008 7:41 pm

    Dude. Many thanks for making the trip.

  81. Maurice permalink
    December 12, 2008 7:45 pm

    Curt

    I read your post and frankly I don’t agree with you I have a brother who served two tours as an officer in Iraq. when he returned he had lost his wife, his business, his rental properties were facing forclosure, and he had lost out on a promotion. One year later they asked him to go back he refused and as was released from the reserves. I have a buddy who was a well adjusted divorced dad who was a supervisor at his job, he got home 2 years ago and has been in and out of Mental hospitals and Jail and hasn’t been able to restablish a relationship with his daughters since he returned. For what you can argue Bad intel all you want. There is a reason why Colin Powell didn’t return to his post as Secretary of State. As far as the soldiers that are over there many of the Men you met I am sure were career soldiers who signed up to fight for a living but that does not reflect the entire fighting force in Iraq. Many of them are everyday men and women who have been taken away from there families and there lives in order to fight in a pointless war. You talk about Iraq standing on two legs my question is who took the other two legs out from under the table? and for what reason you argue it is easy to blame it on Money well argue it as you may Many of the presidents associates have gotten rich off of government contracts as a result of this war. That is a fact I am not a liberal I respect your opinions but I can’t ignore the whole picture and neither should you.

  82. December 12, 2008 9:59 pm

    People come here because he’s Curt Schilling and are interested in what he has to say. That isn’t too hard to figure out. Once they’ve read what he has to say, it’s human nature to want to comment on it, especially when comments are encouraged. I don’t think anyone came here to pick a fight with Curt.

    //YEAH CURT!!! You are fabulous. Please don’t ever leave this area.//

    Instead of debating or even just arguing, he threatened someone who didn’t agree with him. We have vastly different ideas of what constitutes ‘fabulous’.

  83. December 13, 2008 1:44 pm

    Curt,

    I have three points:

    1) If the troops are so happy and we are winning, then why is the suicide rate skyrocketing for troops in Iraq? http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/02/01/military.suicides/index.html has the story. I also have heard from my best friend (whose husband is in Iraq) that he personally knows of a soldier whose comrades have unloaded his gun without his knowledge because he appeared suicidal after receiving a letter from his wife saying that she was leaving him because she couldn’t wait for his fourth tour of duty to end.

    I don’t doubt the story, I’ll have to take you at your word for it. The statistics, to me, are relevant only when compared to former conflicts and deployments of forces of this size. Those incidents you mention are unfortunately a casualty of war as well.

    It is because of these things that people like me ask that when people like you defend the purpose of being in Iraq, you do so with actual statistics about WHY and HOW we are “winning” this war, and why that is a positive effect that is worth the lives and souls of the men and women serving in Iraq.

    You have to see it to understand it. Before going over there I had never been exposed to the things I was able to see and there is no reason why. The things I saw should be on TV nightly, the stuff being accomplished is amazing and truly deserves to be told over here.

    2) You are a celebrity. Inevitably, statements made in your presence could show up on the news media. What soldier, however depressed and homesick, would dare to express negative feelings about their mission to you in such a way that their comrades might read it online a day later? Do you actually believe you got the “true” picture?

    People like you won’t get it, but this just isn’t true. I was in an active theater of war, and I was in places where shots had been fired in anger very recently. There were multiple times I was able to spend HOURS talking with men and women at different FOBs. It was not all roses and happy faces, but there was, without a doubt, a mind set of ‘completing the mission’ in every soldier I met. It might be hard to believe given what TV and the media has made us think about things like this, but this isn’t some situation where the ‘best’ troops get rewarded with a meet and greet and the nay sayers are huddled into a corner, away from the crowd.

    2) Your blog is hosted on weei.com. Therefore, I believe that anything you post here represents the opinion of WEEI. Perhaps a disclaimer is necessary (I typed in 38pitches.com and was directed straight here).

    I agree and will see that this happens.

  84. Jon permalink
    December 13, 2008 4:44 pm

    “Instead of debating or even just arguing, he threatened someone who didn’t agree with him. We have vastly different ideas of what constitutes ‘fabulous’.”

    Calling the troops suckers is not simply disagreeing with someone…in this case it is downright insulting. Your above quote, Cyn, shows that you don’t understand that. Insult someone or insult an ideal thats very close to their heart and you can expect a very harsh reaction. Thats just common sense or at least I thought it was.

    To the troops over in harms way – THANK YOU!

    To Curt – thank you for supporting the armed forces.

  85. JVet permalink
    December 13, 2008 6:40 pm

    Curt — thanks for doing this — and bringing back visuals and stories. You’re right, we don’t hear them from the media. But I sure do hear it from the soldiers who all seem to find local causes to support in Iraq – hospitals, schools, kids, neighborhoods, etc. That is the impact our country will leave, like we did in Germany as well. Doesn’t matter any more why we went in or whether we handled the initial occupation badly, it is what it is now, and the Iraqis deserve the protection until the crazy psychopaths among them are sufficiently neutralized. This is going about as well as it could now, and Obama is figuring that out.

  86. JHC permalink
    December 14, 2008 7:44 am

    Curt, exactly how many Iraqis did you speak with on you trip? How do you explain the fact the majority of Iraqi people were against the invasion and occupation?

    How do you know this? What ‘facts’ are you exposed to that mean you know this for absolute truth? I know the citizens and soldiers I spoke with are beyond grateful, acknowledging they likely would not be alive were it not for Allied Forces.

    Do you really believe a conflict that now exceeds the total time the US was in WWII, and is not in such an unresolved state, to constitute “winning”?? As a baseball player your talent and resume is unmatched. Your political analysis is as good as my slider..i.e., child-like.

    Yes, because you are obviously so much smarter than I am and more informed when it comes to Foreign Policy Affairs right? Why is that? What is truly ‘unresolved’?
    Do you think a citizen of Iraq has a better chance to live a semi ‘normal’ life today than they did 7 years ago? What gives you the right to have those freedoms and liberties exclusively? And not them? Should your birthplace dictate the rights and freedoms afforded you? Aren’t “All men created equal”? Or is that not what we believe?

  87. jlmd permalink
    December 14, 2008 9:17 am

    curt,
    much like most everyone else here, i want to say thanks for coming. to maurice i am not a career soldier but i still agree with most of what curt has posted here. i am at bucca and am one of the physicians taking care of the detainees. upon hearing this was to be my mission honestly i was not excited. i certainly would have a hard time saying every day here has been great. most times i would rather be somewhere taking care of our guys. that is what i signed up for after all. but i have learned a few things here, and probably the best part of being here is that you get to talk to people from iraq. most of them are very greatful for what we do/ and have done here. some have told me that they threw rocks at a humvee to be able to be detained so that they can get medical care. the iraqi born interpreters i have talked to here state that when we came in 2003 about 75% of the country wanted us here. further the only reason more of the people don’t want us here now are b/c we haven’t set up companies here. we may not have gotten here for the right reasons, but we’re doing the right thing. even though it certainly not the easy thing.
    thanks again curt.
    go sox

  88. December 14, 2008 4:37 pm

    Here’s a thought. Maybe we’ll be winning the war when our president can go over there without it being a “surprise visit” for security reasons. Just sayin’.

  89. JHC permalink
    December 14, 2008 9:12 pm

    [86] I don’t know how to reply to this other than to say, it is obvious from ALL Arab-language media sources.

    You also (in earlier replies) skimmed over the fact that there were no WMD, as if this was a minor issue. It is UNARGUABLE that we invaded a country, and killed THOUSANDS of innocent civilians for no coherent reason. We then botched the rebuilding effort and are now hated by most of the world for this pointless agression..My god Curt, even most Republicans now admit this was was a mistake (and I would add, a serious crime against humanity).

    And don’t bring that hypocritical argument about how bad Saddam was (when he wasn’t shaking Rumsfeld’s hand)..we support Saudi Arabia and sign agreements with North Korea, two regimes with MUCH worse human rights situations..

    And yes, I AM more informed than you on Foreign Affairs issues, it’s my career. And YES, I too have family that served in Iraq and without exception, every one of them despises the Bush administration for getting the US into this quagmire.

  90. JHC permalink
    December 14, 2008 9:19 pm

    [88] exactly..”winning” a war in which no one can safely leave the Green Zone..and it’s been 5 years..the whole situatio is a disgrace. Anyone who really cares about the troops would want them home immediately. The US govt never learns..

  91. Mike permalink
    December 14, 2008 10:32 pm

    [89,90] I too am a foreign policy professional, with a gun, who has nearly 3 years in Iraq. Curt has a much more accurate picture of what is going on here than do either of you.

    And as career “Foreign Affairs” guys, I recommend you do some research. First, Roosevelt and Truman never visited Germany or Japan during (or after) the war. Ever. The fact is GWB has been here multiple times.

    Second, do some research on where the President visited and how he got there – I’m “just sayin”.

    Finally, read what Curt has posted…he has defended the reasons behind the war, because in hindsight they were wrong. But rather than simply leave and suffer the cost associated with a failed state dominated by an Iranian Islamic theocracy and Saudi-backed Sunni Wahabbism, he recommends the prudent course which is to finish the job (it’s closer than you think).

  92. Mike permalink
    December 14, 2008 10:55 pm

    [91] correction: he has NOT defended the reasons behind the war. I apologize for the omission.

  93. Brian permalink
    December 15, 2008 10:27 am

    Thanks for everything you do for the country Curt!!

    And on a lesser note thanks for everything you have done for the Sox!

    War sucks of course, but what we have done is taken the most fierce enemy of America in the most unstable and violent area of the world and made it an ally, removing a ruthless dictator in the process. Its sad to think about but there are going to be more conflicts in that region and our soldiers have secured a safe base for these future conflicts. It is sad that people have died. A good friend of mine died in Afganistan. But he believed in what he was doing and what he signed up for and God Bless Him and all the other soldiers who are better then me because they volunteer their lives for the rest of us.

  94. kelly permalink
    December 15, 2008 11:03 am

    For the blogger named KW well, tell Curt to talk about baseball like you said, but guess what???? He went over there, lifted morale, told the real story. I am a disabled veteran, 10 years in the Coast Guard, and i am sure you laugh at the Coast Guard. But what do you do behind the computer. I have a 12 year old daughter and would be very proud if she joined the services. Maybe you should have joined the military. At least you could speak and i would listen. People like you make this country fail. Curt is a Millionaire, but he went over to war zone to cheer people up. Goto Clintons website. Thanks Curt, hope ya play next year

  95. JHC permalink
    December 15, 2008 7:29 pm

    It is very disturbing to read many of the comments here. [93] Brian says “War sucks of course, but what we have done is taken the most fierce enemy of America in the most unstable and violent area of the world and made it an ally, removing a ruthless dictator in the process”. This kind of thinking is unfortunately too prevalent in the US today, and reveals a shocking lack of historical awareness. Brian, are you not aware that the US Govt SUPPORTED Saddam Hussein throughout the 1980s, a period when he used chemical weapons in his war with Iran? This is an obvious 1984-Orwellian situation, one day Rumsfeld shakes his hand, the next he is the world’s worst dictator.

    Even worse, the idea that “well, there were no WMD but still it was worth getting rid of Saddam”. The unmentioned elephant in the room here is the one-hundred thousand plus dead Iraqi people. Do you think they agree with you?? This war in Iraq is simply a war crime. George W. Bush and his cabinet should be tried for crimes against humanity, it is that simple. And don’t be misled into thinking the Iraqi people are in favor of our troops being there. They most certainly are not. The US and Europe has a long history of interference in the region (Iran, Egypt, Palestine, etc). Isn’t it time we end our imperical adventures? (And go ahead and call me un-patriotic, the last resort of people who can’t argue their own points coherently, ala Bill O’Reily and Rush Limbaugh.)

  96. Michelle permalink
    December 15, 2008 7:43 pm

    Hey Curt,
    My boyfriend is stationed at Camp Bucca and he was one of the lucky ones that got to have lunch with you. He’s a HUGE Red Sox fan and was so excited when he told me you visiting. He was even more excited when he told me that he got to meet you and take a picture with you. Thank you so much, from both of us, for doing this!

  97. December 16, 2008 9:58 am

    JHC,

    Yes, we are all aware of the association the US had with Iraq back in the early 80’s. It’s entirely because they were a sworn enemy of Iran…as were we.

    And just like politics makes strange bedfellows, so to does geopolitics. By your logic, we should have never aligned ourselves with the Soviets in WWII to defeat Hitler because they were evil, too. Just not as potent as Hitler’s Germany.

    The rest of your drivel really isn’t worth responding to.

  98. December 16, 2008 4:54 pm

    I wish Bush got hit in the nose with that shoe. The Iraq war was based on lies and our soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent people have died for those lies. Curt and all the war supporters won’t make a bit of difference in the eyes of history and how future generations will view this horrible tragedy.

  99. December 16, 2008 4:58 pm

    Gravypan has alluded to Hitler! Goddwin’s law and the worlds biggest strawman argument all rolled into a single post!

  100. December 16, 2008 5:03 pm

    “Curt: Do you think a citizen of Iraq has a better chance to live a semi ‘normal’ life today than they did 7 years ago? ”

    I think that child had a better chance at a normal life before our illegal invasion. Iraq was a better place then despite Don Rumsfeld’s friend the despot in charge….

  101. JHC permalink
    December 16, 2008 7:27 pm

    [97] Gravypan, so you are arguing that it is fine to ally oneself with any and all objectionable regimes as long as they are the “enemy of our enemy”? This is the kind of twisted political morals that resulted in our support for Suharto in Indonesia, and the subsequent slaughter of 500,000 “suspected” Communists (grab a history book and look it up).

    As to “drivel”..is that in any way supposed to be a coherent counterpoint? Curt has kindly allowed us the space to take this discussion away from baseball and into politics. I will gladly defend my positions with rational argument. Go around the world and ask people what they think of George Bush and Rumsfeld, then see it what I say is “drivel”. Or look at the case of Henry Kissenger, a man whose crimes have finally been exposed. He would be immediately arrested in many countries in the world for what he did while working for Nixon.

    I came to this blog for baseball, I didn’t inject politics into it. Curt’s good work with the soldiers does not change the fact that his interpretation of the war is wildly off base.

  102. JHC permalink
    December 16, 2008 11:58 pm

    a different perspective..i would like to know Curt’s response to this. There surely is no doubt that the majority of the Iraqi people resent the US invasion and occupation.. http://www.counterpunch.org/patrick12162008.html

    “surely no doubt”? How can you possibly say that? What informed source do you have the no one else has? News snippets? Our media? Hasn’t our media proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that they will drive an agenda as they choose? Truth be damned? They’re not all liars, far from it, but how do you honestly know who’s telling the truth and who isn’t? Aren’t we all ‘picking and choosing’ our facts? To the person commenting on the shoe. Imagine that scenario 7-8 years ago, with someone in the media who’s family had been executed by Hussein, or one of his deranged teen raping sons, is there any question that person would have been shot on sight? We are winning, and I hate to use that word but it’s the only one I can come up with. Our men and women have made a difference. There will still be lives lost and that’s tragic, but if we see it through we’ll leave Iraq as a country that can take care of itself, and NOT kill innocent men, women and children that live there to maintain their ‘presence’.

  103. December 17, 2008 8:10 am

    When asked what he thought about the fact that it has been confirmed that Iraq never had any ties to Al-Quaida BEFORE we invaded Bush said and I quote: “So what?”

    I have a nice quote that goes well with his thought process:

    The people who burned witches at the stake never for one moment thought of their act as violence; rather they thought of it as an act of divinely mandated righteousness. The same can be said of most of the violence we humans have ever committed. -Gil Bailie, author and lecturer (b. 1944)

  104. December 17, 2008 11:40 am

    I guess a person’s right to throw a shoe is worth a hundred thousand murders in your eyes. Not in mine.

    How much blood was spilled and how many lives were lost for you to be able to voice your displeasure, in any forum, about your government? Doesn’t every living, breathing human on this planet deserve that? Like it or not one of our ‘jobs’ on this planet is to provide a global police force. Yes you can argue about many different choices we made, and likely you’d find we agreed in some places, maybe not in others, but it’s a ‘job’ no one else on the planet wanted, or took, in 1945 except the U.S..
    Does that make us unpopular? Sure it does, who liked the hall monitor in school? But if there was no physical harmful deterrent in place for countries committing genocide or other crimes against humanity what would this planet be like? Yes we have done things abroad that were focused on personal interest, no one would disagree, but I find it rather ironic that the same SUV driving, fur wearing, save the planet gang are the first to scream bloody murder at our President when gas prices hit 4 bucks a gallon. We’re a nation of “want my cake and eat it to” and have been for a long time. Darfur needs help, Somalia needs help, Georgia needs help, our country needs massive help, unfortunately we can’t be in all places all the time. We’ve never been perfect at it, never will be, but I’d like to think we’ve ‘done the right thing’ far more often than not.

  105. December 17, 2008 11:48 am

    Yesterday’s major violence in Iraq:

    ‘Baghdad

    Three people were killed (two members of the national police and a civilian) and 13 people were wounded (two policemen and 11 civilians) by a roadside bomb in Karrada neighborhood in downtown Baghdad around 10 a.m.

    A roadside bomb detonated in Qadisiyah neighborhood in west Baghdad around 10 a.m. No casualties reported.

    Three people were wounded (a security member and two civilians) by a parked car bomb that targeted the convoy of the minister of science and technology in Karrada neighborhood in downtown Baghdad around 2 p.m.

    Diyala

    Four Iraqi soldiers were killed by a parked car bomb in Sadiyah, a city 50 miles east of Baquba around 9 a.m.

    Two people were killed (a policeman and a civilian) and seven others (three policemen and four civilians) by a bomb.

    Gunmen killed Sattar al Hadidi, a leader of the Sahwa council in Sadiyah while Hadid was leaving the mosque on Monday evening.

    Nineveh

    Four Iraqi soldiers were wounded when a suicide car bomber tried to attack a check point of the Iraqi army in Rabiaa area west of Mosul con Monday evening. The soldier opened fire and detonated the car before reaching the checkpoint.

    Kirkuk

    A policeman was injured by a roadside bomb that targeted his vehicle in Rashad area west of Kirkuk.

    Sulaimaniyah

    A source in the border police said that an Iranian force had chased liquor smugglers inside the Iraqi land in north Sulaimaniyah province and killed and Iraqi man and an Iranian Kurdish man.’

  106. December 17, 2008 2:31 pm

    Iraqis didn’t ask us to come there and free them. How can dropping bombs on people be called liberating?

    “Darfur needs help, Somalia needs help” but too bad for them they didn’t have any oil. Our “help” in Iraq has caused much more death and suffering than can possibly be measured.

    It is also pretty arrogant of you to ignore all the contributions of all the other countries that fought in world war II.

    I also find it humourous that you are holding guns in those pictures. You are like a big giant child in a mans body. you have spent your life playing a game and now you casually spend a hundred thousands peoples lives and deem their deaths worthy of some glorious idea of freedom that seems to exist in your head. The dead aren’t free.

    Don’t ever compare my right to type critical words on the internet and compare them to innocent people’s right to live their lives without being driven from their homes or killed by a foreign army.

  107. Chris permalink
    December 17, 2008 2:46 pm

    Curt, thanks for going there and giving our troops some well needed support. My father, an Army Colonel. spent a year in Karbala helping rebuild the infrastructre and government. Unfortunately, when US troops pulled out of the city and turned it over to coalition troops, it fell back into the same state it was previously. My uncle just returned from his second tour and echoes what you say. We are winning, not just the conflict, but the hearts and minds as well. We, as a nation, need to realize that although the media doesn’t report it, we are doing a ton of good in that country. If we just up and left, the country would become strife with civil war and turmoil. Thank you so much for sharing your time with troops that need to see that people back home care, and want this mission to be a success. God bless Curt, thank you for caring.

  108. Mike permalink
    December 18, 2008 3:43 am

    [106] Actually 80% of Iraqis, the Shia and Kurds, did in fact ask to be liberated. Military intervention has been the liberation method of choice since the dawn of time…even as recently as Kosovo and Haiti.

    The right to assemble and the right to free speech are both quite new in Iraq, and largely absent in the greater Middle East. Like American society, they are two baseline freedoms in Iraq.

    Innocent people have not been driven from their homes by the US military, but rather as a direct result of Saddam sponsored ethnic cleanesing and forced resettlement. The fact that people are returning by the tens of thousands is indicative of how better it is today than in years past.

    Have mistakes been made? Have innocent people been hurt? Of course, but no military or government in the history of mankind has taken the measures we have to avoid collateral damage and to protect Iraqi citizens. There will always be unintended consequence, and we need to minimize them – but then only way to avoid them altogether is to do nothing at all. If you are an isolationist or a pacificst, I can respect your honesty, but that’s not how the world works for nations charged with the responsibility of leadership.

  109. Marc Breault permalink
    December 18, 2008 4:15 am

    Hi Curt, Thanks for this very interesting post. During the UN sanctions between the two Gulf wars, I got a chance to visit the border between Iraq and Jordan. Iraqi woman would get up before sunrise and walk for miles to illegally cross the border into Jordan picking up scrap metal and trash along the way in a desperate hope that someone at the Jordanian market would buy some of their scrap, and knowing full well no one would. They were gaunt, tired, and bereft of hope. I have never personally witnessed such mass misery in my life. My wife and I were taken to the border because I was overheard questioning whether the UN sanctions at the time were actually doing any good. I speculated they did nothing more than impoverish the rural Iraqi people. Word spread that an American actually questioned whether American policy at that time did any good and people came over to meet us. Sometimes, we Americans are stereotyped as well. I personally feel the war against terror would have been better served by concentrating fully on Afghanistan. However, once my beloved USA entered the war in Iraq I supported them fully. My mother is Japanese, born and raised in Tokyo. She lived through the American carpet bombing of Tokyo and her stories make “A Nightmare on Elm Street” seem like a Shirley Temple movie. But she has an interesting perspective on this whole issue. She believes, as do I that if you do go to war, win the war. Going in half baked ends up causing more death than a total commitment to win. I admit I support the Democratic Party. However, if we do not finish the job in Iraq now, we will cause far more harm than good and in the end, our efforts will have been for nothing. I believe our government, and every citizen of our great country should provide full support for finishing the job. This will help our troops, our nation, and the Iraqi people.

  110. December 18, 2008 10:36 am

    “Innocent people have not been driven from their homes by the US military, but rather as a direct result of Saddam sponsored ethnic cleanesing and forced resettlement. The fact that people are returning by the tens of thousands is indicative of how better it is today than in years past.”

    They were in their homes and then they were driven from there homes because we created chaos which ALLOWED ethnic cleansing on a massive scale. Virtually everyone in Bagdad now lives in complete segregation with giant walls and fences to keep people from wandering into the wrong places and being murdered.

    The people who are returning are the rich who have run out of money and cannot afford to stay in neighboring countries and don’t want to live in the squallor of the refugee camps. Those camps are the breeding grounds for the next generation of terrorists who will blame Americans for their families living condiditions and for the loved ones they have lost.

    Great job my fellow American. You morons have planted the seeds of more terrorism in a country where it DID NOT EXIST BEFORE.

    Your ignorance is surpassed only by your stupidity. Pretty much your entire message is completely false. Do you work for a newspaper in the U.S.?

  111. Mike permalink
    December 18, 2008 11:40 am

    [110] next time you’re in Baghdad look me up…I’ve been here for 34 months. Please hurry, I redeploy in 2 months and don’t want to miss the chance to show you how wrong you are.

    Oh, if you haven’t been here before, no problem, we take first timers too.

  112. December 18, 2008 12:54 pm

    Mike, my friend, an air force officer, just got back from Bagdad last year and he gave me my information. If you were in Bagdad today then you must know about the 3 car bombs that killed 18 human beings today and wounded over 50. You know the ones that the US media completely ignores as usual so Americans can think we are winning an unwinnable war?

    Curt, My “ignorance is surpassed only by your stupidity” and “your entire message is completely false”? Really? What is your IQ Curt? You cannot make me feel stupid. Why? Because you are a troglodyte. You are an uneducated buffoon and a blowhard. Please PROVE my previous statements false and show me how wrong I am.

    Not sure what my IQ is, or how that is relevant here. I don’t need to make you feel or look stupid, you seem to be handling that just fine.
    FWIW Websters has this to say about Troglodytes:
    1 : a member of any of various peoples (as in antiquity) who lived or were reputed to live chiefly in caves
    2 : a person characterized by reclusive habits or outmoded or reactionary attitudes

    Sounds more like you than me? And even commenting on your previous comments is not worth the effort since it would somehow validate some of what you said, which is does not deserve.

  113. December 18, 2008 12:57 pm

    Mike, was there really an attempted coup in Iraq today? You are there so I’m sure you can give us state-siders the real scoop.

  114. Mike permalink
    December 18, 2008 1:17 pm

    No there was no attempted coup….there was an alleged conspiracy that was apparently discovered. No details yet, but the allegations are pretty specious considering it involves Shia and Sunnis conspiring together.

    Not sure what you friend does in the AF, my 16 yrs in the Army has largely taught me that in a ground theater the AF guys are either 10,000ft above it or in a higher HQ staff coordinating support or logistics movement. Both critical functions, but not those that usually lead one outside the wire or offer a breadth of knowledge. There are individual AF augmentees that work in areas with more exposure, but not many.

  115. December 18, 2008 1:20 pm

    You can attack me all day long but I’m just the messenger. You cannot seem to refute what I have said though. All you can do is blow smoke and pose for photographs holding big boy guns trying to contain your grin. Anyway I’m glad you went to Iraq. The soldiers needed a morale boost and you were a famous baseball player and all.

  116. December 18, 2008 1:26 pm

    PS I thoroughly enjoyed making you use the dictionary.

  117. December 18, 2008 1:31 pm

    Peter King and a bunch of football players managed an overseas visit to the troops last year and they didn’t come back with a political rah rah ‘we are winning’ message. I wonder why…

  118. December 18, 2008 3:04 pm

    So Maliki’s private “anti-terror” force did not go around arresting plotters but were in fact arraesting criminals? Or was he purging non loyal members of the Interior ministry.

    Also are you telling the Bagdad is no longer separated by physical barriers into ethnically cleansed sections? Sunni and Shia live together in the same unprotected areas and are free to roam about into different neighborhoods without going through checkpoints?

    How often does a rocket or mortar attack happen in the greenzone? Or a car bomb in the city?

    I am not being a wiseass Mike, I’d actually like to hear your answers to these questions please.

  119. Mike permalink
    December 18, 2008 3:53 pm

    There continue to be occasional attacks on the IZ…last one was in November if memory serves me. You’ll know, because every one of them gets new coverage (justifiably so).

    Barriers are still up in some areas, have been removed most though (at the behest of the locals and the government) to help stimulate the local economies. The ISF are exponentially better than even a year ago, and 90% of the security falls on them. You cannot easily quantify the improvements in the Iraqi Army and Police. It is a fact that attacks are at the lowest point since the invasion – a fact that the NYT even nonchalantly mentioned a week ago.

    Checkpoints are how Iraq police conduct business – same as under Saddam. It is a paradigm we have tried to shift toward foot-patrols and “beat cop” policing, but it’s slow getting them to alter their methods. Freedom of movement between neighborhoods for all sects is not an issue, anyone can go anywhere they chose (but obviously a Sunni isn’t going to stroll into Sadr City – he could, I just wouldn’t recommend it).

  120. JHC permalink
    December 18, 2008 9:55 pm

    Curt, your comment in [110] about newspapers..you mean all the mainstream media outlets who never questioned Bush and Powell in the lead-up to the war? Like Judith Miller in the NY Times who cheer-led the invasion and eventually resigned because of faulty reporting? Like all the media outlets who never challenged the adminstration about their ban on showing dead soldiers coming back in coffins?? The media in the US sucks because if it’s weakness, not the faulty claim of a secret “liberal agenda”.
    Also, your comment about Mr. Raymond’s message being “completely false”..have any evidence to back your claim? Iraq is a disaster right now..spin it how you want but the facts are the facts. Denial is always such an interesting thing to witness..hence George W.’s and Tony Blair’s continued defense of an illegal war that, in a just world, would see them tried for war crimes…seriously Curt, study the history of the Middle East and of US interference before you go and defend our military.

  121. December 19, 2008 3:13 pm

    Mike,

    So from your statements I gather that Iraq, although much more free under US rule, is still a more dangerous place now than it was under Saddamn and obviously there would be at least a hundred thousand more human being still alive had we not invaded.

    Now knowing that there was no Al-Quaida link and no WMDs would you still have invaded Iraq had you been in charge?

    Jon

  122. Mike permalink
    December 20, 2008 7:34 am

    Jon,

    In most dictatorships there is very little of what the state would define as crime – but Iraqi society was in fact violent and the government iself a sponsor of internal terrorism on its citizens. Is there more violence in Iraq today? No. But the violence in Iraq today is random, public and covered by the international media. It is also more spectacular in terms of attack-type. Under Saddam the violence was a targeted tool of oppression that, while reaching far more victims, garnered less notice due to the lack of journalists and the state control of access.

    In hindsight I certainly hope we would have not invaded Iraq knowing what we know now. But, and I think this is the overall point of what has been put out by many people above: A decision to invade was made on the best information available, information that (Hans Blix aside) EVERY developed nation in the world agreed with – including France and Russia. The subsequent failure to locate WMDs, while the centerpiece for a great debate about our intelligence services and processes, doesn’t do anything to change the fact that in April 03 we “owned” the mess that we created. Ever since we have been faced with a choice of either leaving a shattered country with an internecine sectarian war or establishing a stable government consistent with our foreign policy objectives and American principles of equality and representation.

    Choosing the former would create an opportunity for regional enemies, including Shia-theocrats from Iran and Whabbi-dominated Sunni’s from Saudi Arabia, to take advantage of a failed state, further destablizing the Middle East and contiuing the suffering of the Iraqi people. Certainly staying in Iraq has been the hard choice, but in the end (and I think it is approaching) Iraq, the greater Middle East and the US are all better off. A sworn enemy of America has been removed, a representative government in an Islamic state will justly rule its citizens based on principles of equality and the rule of law, and regional stability will be enhanced.

    BTW – my suspicions of the conspiracy proved correct…most are already being released.

    v/r

    Mike

  123. December 20, 2008 12:26 pm

    Actually Mike the “best available” evidence was unavailable to 94 of 100 senators and the rest of the world was that it was unlikely that Saddamn had any weapons. The White House kept any abiguity classified so they could keep you, me and everyone else in the dark so they could have there little war. Every developed nation did NOT agree with us and only 2 other countries were part of our initial illegal invasion. Hans Blix knew the truth and turned out to be dead-on right. And when Saddamn complied with the inspections at the very end Bush upped the anti and ordered them out so the little draft dodger could have his war.

    What were your suspicions on the conspiracy Mike? Because now it appears the interior ministers loyalists were arrested illegally by Maliki’s “anti-terror” force while the minister was abroad as a show of power? Now he is back and they were released. Hmmmm. That doesn’t bode well in my opinion.

    And finally I disagree with your sweeping conclusions of the difference in violence levels. The entire country was completely destabilized by us for over 5 years with over a hundred thousand dead and millions displaced. The fact that we still are not back to prewar stability is a testament to the monumental mistake that history will judge this war to be.

    It’s the reason arguing with people like you is pointless. You disagree with a soldier who is actually SERVING in the theater of war under discussion, with assumptions and assertions made from this side of the ocean based on reports you have no idea are factual or not, none. Oh and I think he’s serving his 2nd or 3rd tour. You will not accept his point of view, even though it’s far more insightful and full of truth than anything we could hope to get over here.

  124. December 20, 2008 3:03 pm

    Curt,

    First of all I thought you refused to give my points any credence by responding to them?

    Second how can he possibly comment on the level of violence when Saddamn was in power? Where are his statistics? Where are his facts? He is making assumptions and I’d like to know how he came to them.

    Third how on earth does being in Iraq and serving our country make him more able to sift through data and reports than me? For example we are having a decent discussion about the recent government arrests of interior ministry employees and we both seem able to keep up with the current events despite the fact that I am on a different continent. How were you able to have such strong opinions on the necessity of the war just last year? Were you in Iraq under Saddmamn? Or were you relying on others reports? Please Curt, spare me the effort of having to debate nonsense with you. I was talking to Mike. I think he is much more intelligent and thoughtful than you and I am enjoying my discussion with him. I doubt we will ever see eye to eye on Iraq but at least I know that he won’t attack me for disagreeing unlike you. I won’t point out that I think he is better than you just because he serves his country in Iraq. I don’t happen to think that just being in the service or serving in Iraq automatically makes you a good person or a an accurate judge of international politics. Apparently you think enlisting in the service makes you unable to be argued with in all matters of military conflict.

  125. Mike permalink
    December 20, 2008 3:33 pm

    Jon,

    Refer to [114] for my initial assessment of the “alleged conspiracy” as being fictious.

    More nations have participated in OIF than Desert Storm. And it is a FACT that the security services of every developed nation believed Saddam had an active WMD program – in fact the major reason France argued against invasion was fear that Saddam would employ chemical weapons.

    I was in downtown Baghdad in the first week of April 2003, have worked everywhere from Najaf to Irbil to Al Sulamaniyah to Khanaquin to Baghdad, and have spent more time in Iraq than I spent getting both of my Masters Degrees in International Relations and National Security combined.

    Considering you have neither the basis for educated opinion nor the willingness to listen to people who’ve been here (and admittedly think coming into Iraq in hindsight was a mistake – but not a right-wing conspiracy as you imply), it’s entirely worthless to continue to debate you. It’s like talking to a drunk, it doesn’t matter in the end…nothing is going to get through.

    Why don’t you now explain to Curt the best way to throw a split fingered fastball? You probably have as much knowledge on that as you do on American foreign policy, counter-insurgency operations, and international terorism.

  126. JHC permalink
    December 21, 2008 5:11 am

    [125] Mike, you are implying that ONLY someone who is serving in Iraq is qualified to talk about the road to war, the invasion, and now the occupation?? Are we supposed to take as “fact” the things you say merely because you are a soldier?? Sorry, I wasn’t aware we were in a military dictatorship where military personnel get preference over civilians.
    As to war crimes, Saddam faced judgement, will Dick Cheney?? http://www.counterpunch.org/cohn12192008.html

  127. December 21, 2008 2:01 pm

    Well Mike, I think instead of debating you have started the attack process. George W Bush has degrees from Yale and Harvard and I still would rather trust my critical thinking to his.

    Only 3 nations were involved in the initial invasion. How many nations have pulled their troops from the Iraqi disaster so far?

    Have you ever read the Downing Street Memo? Or compared the prewar NIE with the edited White paper given to Congress? I have. I think it is pretty clear that even Britain and American intelligence services were not convinced Iraq had an active WMD program.

    So you were in downtown Bahgdad (an active warzone) in April 2003. What knowledge was imparted to you that day that allows you to state as a fact that Iraq is a safer place now than before the war?

    You said “No there was no attempted coup….there was an alleged conspiracy that was apparently discovered. No details yet, but the allegations are pretty specious considering it involves Shia and Sunnis conspiring together.” So what were those arrests about? You dismiss it like a good soldier but you don’t offer any real answers to why it happened.

    So in short your last post consisted of bragging about some nonsense degree programs I could have slept through with decent grades and attacking me for not having your knowledge on the subject. How about a non-vacuous post that could convince me of something? I am a reasonable man.

  128. December 21, 2008 2:46 pm

    For instance Mike Iraq has had an average of 10 deaths per day by bombs and 14 deaths per day from gunshot wounds in 2008.

    Most reasonable people agree that this website where I got those numbers UNDER repors the actual number of deaths: http://www.iraqbodycount.org/database/

    Now this is the part where you prove that more than 24 people were being murdered everyday of the course of a year before the war.

  129. December 21, 2008 2:59 pm

    OK I feel a little bad about the “nonsense” degrees comment. Lets just say I respect your 16 years of service and I respect the effort and drive to better yourself but I am not impressed by your degrees and I don’t think they qualify you to “automatically” win an argument without any facts to back up your claim of a safer Iraq. I will concede that Iraq is safer today for some people and less safe for others.

  130. Mike permalink
    December 21, 2008 11:06 pm

    You’ve probably heard that the internet cable between the Middle East and the US was cut in a couple of places, so I apologize if my responses are a little delayed. Also, [Jon], I apologize for my comment likening you to a drunk who doesn’t get it….it was over the top. But my point remains, I’m convinced that you cannot be open mided about the subject and therefore think that continued debate about this is largely worthless.

    For JHC…I absolutley do not think that only someone who has been in Iraq can discuss the war or the political conditions leadig up to it…and nothing I’ve posted to date even implies that. My point on the preconditions and grounds for the invasion is that (1) in MY OPINION it wasn’t some Bush conspiracy but rather a judgement call based on bad intell, and (2) it doesn’t matter anymore WHY we are here, only what we do about it now that we are here.

    Spare me the moveon.org bull$Sit about “I wasn’t aware we were in a military dictatorship”…nothing I’ve said could even be construed as remotely implying that. I’m not a fan of Pres Bush and I haven’t voted in 12 years because I think it’s inappropriate for healthy civil-military relations.

    I do think that unless you have actually been in Iraq and talked to Iraqis, as I have for 3 years, you have far less appreciation for Iraq under Saddam. And unless you have a background in National Security or a breadth of knowledge of dictatorships and power you are less able to understand the level of violence in pre-invasion Iraq.

  131. December 22, 2008 11:20 am

    Mike, no worries. I feel I am perfectly open minded and I have not heard any convincing evidence that Iraq is a safer place now from you except your standard “trust me, I am an expert” line.

  132. Mike permalink
    December 22, 2008 3:33 pm

    Jon,

    Fair enough assessment. I am days away from missing my 3rd Christmas in 4 years with my wife and 3 kids – I don’t have the energy or interest in continued debate on this. I personally don’t care whether or not I changed your mind or hardened your opinion – my experience is that these days most people are so politically polarized that they lack the necessary intellectual integrity to listen to reason anyway (on both sides of the aisle of course). Since you can’t (or won’t) come to Iraq and see first hand, there’s nothing I can do to shift your thinking.

    I came to this blog first and foremost because I’m a Red Sox fan and therefore a huge Curt Schilling fan. I find it sad and unfortunate, however, that someone like Curt Schilling, who ought to be celebrated for coming to Iraq and showing his appreciation for American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines is browbeaten in such a generally classless manner his own blog for sharing his observations.

  133. December 22, 2008 9:20 pm

    We can close the discussion then. Mike, I genuinely hope you come home as soon as possible and safely. Merry Christmas to you and your family the ones at home and your brothers serving with you.

  134. Mike permalink
    December 22, 2008 10:57 pm

    Thanks Jon, Merry Christmas to you as well.

  135. LTC (R) O'Brien permalink
    December 23, 2008 8:54 am

    Curt, some folks don’t like the truth because it challenges their narrow world view and they refuse to recognize reality. What the troops are, and have been, doing in Iraq and Afghanistan is absolutely essential to our nation’s security. As you know, they are incredible men and women, a great many who have volunteered to go back to Iraq and Afghanistan because they strongly believe in the mission. Unfortunately, the media, failing to have ever gotten out of the sixties, clings to the nirvana and mantras of that generation, and disdain the very folks who have protected their right to express their thoughts. They totally ignored the truth of the success of our armed forces and have purposely attempted to create an image of a Vietnam-like quagmire. I believe they even hoped for it. Unfortunately, I do not believe it will be too long before we all suffer due to the media’s malpractice.

  136. Phil D. permalink
    December 23, 2008 6:03 pm

    Mike,

    In your post, listed as No. 91 on here, you said that both Roosevelt and Truman did not visit Germany or Japan during and after the war. Then, you compared this with Bush’s multiple visits to Iraq.

    You may want to re-check your facts, buddy.

    In July 1945, Truman, Stalin and Clement Attlee met in Potsdam, Germany. This little gathering became known as the Potsdam Conference.

    I could be wrong, but wasn’t the war OVER at that time????

  137. Phil D. permalink
    December 24, 2008 11:50 am

    No, the Second World War did not end until August 15, 1945. Come on, Curt! The guys at the Natick museum are sad today.

  138. Mike permalink
    December 24, 2008 4:17 pm

    Phil,

    Roosevelt died 12 April 1945.

    V-E day was 8 May 1945….Potsdam was after. The war in Europe was over before Truman went to Germany.

    Truman never went to Japan.

    Thanks for playing. Buddy.

  139. NS Webster permalink
    December 24, 2008 10:59 pm

    I’ve been to Iraq three times, as a freelancer embedded with the 82nd Abn and the 25th Infantry.

    There’s plenty about the war to be upset about, but the reality is violence has hugely and significant decreased. As recently as 2007, the violence was at a level too horrifying to adequately describe; in 2008, it’s still awful, but clearly dropping to levels the Iraqi Army and police can soon manage on their own. Maybe not next year, but soon.

    However, on the USO front, I was once at a very small base in the downtown of a city north of Baghdad, and three no-name comedians came through to give a 90 minute show. It wasn’t that the comedians were especially funny, but they did a good job winning over a tough audience, and it was the clear highlight of the soldiers’ day. One especially bitter Staff Sergeant said he was just excited to be able to sit and laugh for a little while, and he was the type to not see the good in anything.

    Legitimate criticisms of the war effort aside, I hope there’s at least common ground about these USO shows. Anyone cynical about the millionaire (and not so rich) celebrities participating in the shows, who maybe thinks the shows don’t achieve anything, should know these celebrity appearances mean an awful lot to the soldiers there.

  140. Jim Capatelli permalink
    December 27, 2008 2:47 pm

    Curt, you said “We’re Winning!” Actually, Curt, we’re not. It’s over in Iraq for the United States. There’s nothing to “win”. The invasion and occupation were completely based on lies. Billions were wasted. Thousands were killed. All for nothing.

    Wake up and face reality, Curt. “We” are not “winning” in Iraq. We lost a long, long time ago. Now, it’s only a question of how many more lives and billions we waste in a vain attempt to keep this cowboy-hero fantasy going…

  141. December 28, 2008 6:20 am

    Curt, I am one of those “no name” comedians. I spend 11 days each month over there with the HEROES. Next week will make trip 25 for me to Iraq. I thank you for going over. I know you know how much those HEROES need a break in their day. THANK YOU from me, and if you ever just want to go to the front lines and hang out with no name comics you are ALWAYS welcome on my tours. God Bless and thank you! Folks who haven’t been there love to commit, but have no idea what it is really like… I am sure you made their day and to bring a lil bit of home saves lives… you did that!
    Scott Kennedy

  142. LTC (R) O'Brien permalink
    December 29, 2008 6:57 am

    Scott thank you too.

  143. HSW permalink
    January 6, 2009 1:22 am

    Hey Curt,
    I’ve heard a lot of liberals bash you for your outspoken support of the Republican agenda the last 8 years, and though I also feel this administration has been a colossal failure, I am very impressed and proud that us Americans can disagree without being disagreeable and rally around our troops. The new junior Senator from Minnesota Al Franken has some drastically different views from you, but he goes on USO tours faithfully and loves doing all he can for the troops, regardless of whether he agrees with you about this administration’s competence to send those troops to Iraq. Thank you so much for doing your part for our troops; I wish all Americans had the same opportunity to show love for our troops as you, Al and all the others.

    As many others have said, the zeal that all Americans have about our heroes in uniform shouldn’t mean that we can’t be concerned and even outraged if we feel those heroes are sent into harm’s way without a clear mission, sufficient resources and a sound exit strategy. It is an atrocity that after such brave and selfless service, we actually leave our physically and mentally wounded to substandard healthcare and living conditions (Walter Reed, homeless vets [yes they exist, O’Reilly, I’m a trucker and see them all the time], etc). How is it unpatriotic to call our government to account when they don’t honor their end of the bargain with troops with the same fervor and dedication as those heroes? This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans; if a Democratic president had made the errors of this administration, there’d be calls for impeachment or worse. We all ought to be ashamed that we had a government that cherrypicked intel to get our troops into Iraq at the expense of getting the 9/11 terrorists! That we sent our troops to this wrong location without proper body armor and resources, that we didn’t secure the borders and weapons caches (because we didn’t have enough troops in the first place), that our elected government is ambivalent towards torture (Abu Ghraib was known about and permitted, if not encouraged), etc., etc. How is it that the people who ignore these travesties are the patriots, and the ones who demand better for our troops are unpatriotic?? I’m sure I’ll get attacked for daring to expect more for our troops and our country, but oh well…

  144. January 7, 2009 9:11 pm

    Nice post HSW.

  145. tdamess permalink
    October 13, 2010 11:57 pm

    i do not know of how else to send you a question … my son is 38 and has a.l.s. he made a comment to my sister that he would like to meet you is there anyway this could happen i dont know how to keep things private if you ever answer but , this site has my e-mail account it would mean a lot to me if this could be done.

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Curt Schilling's Official Blog

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