Thursday, March 10, 2005

In Praise of American Soldiers

I started writing here because of Spc. Colby Buzell, who created quite a stir in the blogging world, not to mention the MSM and the Pentagon. His blog, My War, became a cause celebre and something of a problem for the military because of concerns about conflicts with OPSEC (Operational Security).

Eventually CBFTW as Buzell was then known, (it doesn't take much imagination to figure out what FTW stands for) quit blogging altogether so that it wouldn't interfere with his job as a machine gunner in the Stryker brigade stationed in Mosul. The blog earned him a great deal of attention and a book deal. His book will be out in the fall and there is an excerpt from it in this months Esquire.

I then moved on to The Questing Cat another blogger now back at his home base in Germany. His name is Specialist Nick Cademartori and he and his close friend The Jersey Cowboy (Michael Anthony Cotignola III) both alternated posts in a website operated by one of the Cat's brothers.

Specialist Nick Cademartori is 22 years old , soon to be 23 and it was an amazing thing to watch his personal growth as well as the improvement in his writing skills. His blog is till up and anyone interested in reading it can find all the archives at

These two bloggers started me on a search for other Soldiers blogging from Iraq. I found quite a number of them. I'm fortunate in that my office job is such that I can browse blogs in my downtime.

What I found was common thread running through these blogs and that is the decency of these bloggers, these American Soldiers in harms way in a strange country. Considers this:

" What you won't see in the news, but what is a recurring scene around here, is the kindess that the vast majority of the Iraqi people have for us and the reciprocating kindness that young U.S. soldiers have for them. By far the coolest thing about being over here is the children. They make all the b.s. and all the long days worth the effort. If the children of this nation are the future of Iraq, then the U.S. can expect good relations with this country in the future. There isn't a city, town, or small community that I've been through where the children don't wave and smile enthusiastically at our presence. I never miss an opportunity to wave and smile back. "

This was written by Michael in his blog; A Day in Iraq. He goes on to say: "The first town we came to was a small community surrounded by farmland. Everyone except the drivers and gunners got out on the ground to walk and talk with the locals and pass out leaflets of information. Kids and grown ups of all ages were crowding around the humvees and the guys on the ground. Even the Iraqi Army guys were busy laughing with the locals. The kids, most of them on their way home from school, could hardly contain themselves in their desire to talk to us. The little girls, with beautiful smiles that reminded me of my niece, would wave and try desperately to talk to us in English. The more outgoing boys, with arms full of textbooks, weren't as shy. They would walk right up to the humvee and stick their heads in the window to talk to the cool American soldiers. Besides asking questions, and wanting us to give them pens, I could here them on more than one occasion telling my driver and me that America was good, Saddam bad. I don't know what it is with pens, but they love them. Unfortunately I only had one, which was soon in the possesion of a young boy. I also had a little video camera and they all wanted to be filmed. Even the little girls loved waving and talking in to the camera. Once again my driver, an all-American guy from the Midwest, displayed the kindness and humor that is ever present in young soldiers. I was also pleased to see some of the older teen boys and some men approach the vehicle with smiles and questions. Even more remarkably, the usually reserved women of this land, waved and smiled with enthusiasm. In this place and others we visited, the scene was the same. It was hardly the type of footage you would see on your nightly news. Watching CNN back home, you would think that this whole nation is on fire, chaos and death all around. "

He can be found at: In future posts I will highlight some other great blogs. This is a completely new phenomenon in the history of warfare. Not even in Destert Storm was this possible and it's catching on. More and more soldiers are blogging, and guess what? They are well educated, dedicated and caring people.

I'm a former Canadian soldier who fully supports George W. Bush and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Don't get me wrong. I'm proud of our military men and women who serve bravely under very trying conditions; overstretched and underfunded. I'm proud of our soldiers, but my government isn't. My government treats our military like shit. They continually rotate them into harms way, while underfunding them and housing them in substandard units. But that's for another day. This day is about American Soldiers, Bless their hearts.