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GWOT hot wash, straight from the wire

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DOGS AND PONIES |

March 21, 2008

DOGS AND PONIES
Name: Gruntshit
Posting date: 3/21/08
Stationed in: Iraq
Hometown: Clarkston, Washington
Milblog: The Angry American

Framed_gruntshit_dogpony_1

What? You guys in a hurry?

There is probably nothing so unnerving as walking up and down one of the most deadly pieces of highway in Iraq. Okay, yeah there is. It’s setting up a Traffic Control Point on said highway. Especially after we’ve gone after terrorists who are known to build and traffic vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIEDs: "v-beds"). What makes it worse is knowing the destructive power a VBIED has. I’ve been near to these massive explosions, caused when some fuckhead loads up a truck or car with as much explosives as he can. They are fucking crazy. I think the only people that don’t respect them are those who have never been near one.

Somewhere up the chain someone figured that doing these TCPs along major thoroughfares was a stupendous idea. Once you stop traffic it takes about five minutes for that shit to back up about 400m with cars jam-packed in across all the lanes. Anyone who has ever driven on the Beltway or any major freeway and has seen what an accident will do to the traffic has an idea of what I’m talking about.

Take that and put it in a place where snipers live on the left and right of you, and maybe someone has a VBIED in the garage nearby (it's not like they don’t know what we're doing; we have kind of fallen into some patterns) and plans on hooking up with 40-some-odd virgins on this lovely day. I forgot to mention that in the past there were a couple of RPG attacks on this lil stretch of lovely asphalt.

Framed_gruntshit_dogpony_2
D-Roll searching a truck with a dead sheep and a live sheep in the back. Good job D-Roll, yes yes you do have to search the dead sheep. It might have a bomb up its ass. Okay D-Roll, roll up your sleeve, time for the live one.

My job in all of this is to initially stop traffic. Me and my boyz have some tricks up our sleeves to try and mitigate the risk for all those involved. (No, I’m not telling you.) The men of 2-2, our piece of the pie is to stop traffic and begin to funnel it to the search guys. The search guys have it the worst, but that’s as far into that as I’m gonna go. Use your imagination. We do all this and all the while you couldn’t fit a BB up our asses. One day we got Froggy and handed out newspapers to those stuck in traffic. Hindsight being what it is makes me think, “What the fuck was I thinking?”

Framed_gruntshit_dogpony_3
Attempting to get traffic to stop and move in an orderly fashion, with a little help from the National Police.

So we’ve somewhat got a system down and we really do what we can to mitigate risk. But honestly, I just don’t see the logic behind it. Seriously, if you've got some bombs in your trunk and you're coming down the highway and you see traffic backed up, are you gonna take the risk and wait? Now don’t sit there and Armchair General, because anything you're thinking we’ve thought of. Trust me!

Here’s the meat and potatoes of all this. If you’ve been in the military, or hell if you work somewhere that has “Big Bosses”, you know that when the head cheese comes around -- a General, Congressmen, Regional Managers, whatever it may be -- things get dumb. Clean isn’t clean enough. And on the fine day I’m describing, the idea was for a visiting General to “See us out there.”

The whole day’s events were orchestrated and timed in order for us to be out walking up one of the deadliest highways so that the General could “see” us. You think this guy saw a dismounted element on the ground on the side of one of the most deadly roads in Iraq and stopped? No, he didn’t. I’m not even sure he waved.

This isn’t the first time we’ve played this game. The honorable Senator Joe Lieberman once came out to visit the market in our sector. It happened to be as hot as donkey balls (that’s really hot) and we walked it once to secure it, which is Officerese for "to kill time". Something I learned you can count on with VIPs is that they will always be late, so your ass can hang out in the breeze. And when they come through they are gone faster than they arrived. Senator Lieberman walked about 300m, got his picture taken, and rolled out. We'd waited three hours for him.

I get it. Everyone wants to look good. But if you already look good then why go out of your way? I understand the Army side of it, and the political side of it. It’s a game and you just have to play it. My problem with it is that the pawns have names, families and lives. Why do something just for the sake of doing it to show face, when it doesn’t have any tactical value?

The walk up the road for the General; we had already been doing that shit. The TCPs we set up before that do serve a purpose for the most part. Do we like doing them? Fuck no! They are dangerous as hell. But you know as well as I do that when big heads come around, mid-management likes to put on the Dog and Pony show.

Here is a video to give you an idea of the magnitude of these fucking VBIEDs. It's an old video that I found on YouTube, but you'll get the idea...

DEUCE DEUCE OUT!

Comments

Hang on and hang in - for all those people that YOU know the name of and have concerns over, you are doing a fine job explaining why our daily commute is faster than Iraq's. Thanks. Don't worry, if I were to show up it would be with Frank's Doughnuts and hot coffee... but it isn't likely they would send me.

My first thought after reading this was when Senator McCain took a stroll through a Baghdad market...what happens when for the sake of a VIP photo shoot a solider is killed? It seems ridiculous if not down-right cruel to make our soldiers risk your lives so a politician or general can have their views validated (i.e.: Security is improving...watch me walk through this market!)

Jim Webb likes to call them dog and pony shows and has written of having to go through such crap when he was in Vietnam. I guess it's human nature for a mid-level functionary to want to look good, but it's sure inconsiderate to those who have to put the show together.

You write well, but I am sorry and angry to hear about the dog-and-pony shows, and everything else that lacks tactical value.

Thank you for sharing and for bravely serving our country, and I pray you stay well.

Thank-You All for what you are doing May God have his hands on you !! If Bush would get off his ASS & on his Feet & stop drinking his whiskey , buying his whores & eating his Steaks & use the Brain the Good Lord gave him something may be able to get done to bring you all home safe .

Good work,thanks for sharing this information!!!

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