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Old 02-24-2004, 08:11 AM   #1
BrianR
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Cool Fortunate soldier

Soldier in Iraq unscathed after close encounter with rocket

By Robert Hodierne
Times staff writer

FALLUJAH, Iraq — There are two ways of looking at it. First way, Ruben Garcia should have put all his money on a lottery ticket because Saturday was his lucky day. Or, he should never bet on anything ever again because he had just used up all of his luck.

He and his friends debated this philosophical point as they examined the hole punched through the plywood-covered window just alongside the 27-year-old specialist’s head. The hole punched by the 57mm anti-tank rocket that then passed through a wooden computer desk — leaving the computer unharmed — and planted itself harmlessly in the concrete wall on the other side of the room. A rocket with a warhead powerful enough to punch through four inches of armor.

Garcia, of Miami, was stretched out on his upper bunk, the rock band Tool’s “Lateralus” blaring in his headphones, when the rocket hit at 10:40 Saturday morning.

“There was a lot of smoke in the room,” Garcia said. “I didn’t notice the hole at first. What I figured happened is a mortar landed on the roof and the roof was caving in.”

When he looked around he said he “saw the hole there (in the plywood) and it had fin traces ... I knew a rocket came through. ... I figured, the rocket didn’t detonate, the best thing to do was just get out of the room.”

Rocket, mortar and rocket-propelled grenade attacks are so common at this 82nd Airborne Division forward operating base on the outskirts of Fallujah that it takes something as remarkable as Garcia’s near miss to raise eyebrows.

In that same Saturday attack, one of the four rockets fired exploded just 70 feet from three soldiers walking down a road picking up trash. Moments after the dust settled, the soldiers continued on their way, picking up cigarette butts and candy wrappers.

One of those three, Sgt. Joshua Carroll, 23, of Atlanta, said later of their quick return to their work, “I know it sounds weird, but there’s nothing you can do about it. ... I figured it was over. They usually only fire five or six rounds.”

Besides, Carroll said, 70 feet isn’t especially close. He said he had a rocket-propelled grenade whiz past him three weeks ago, missing by two feet.

And it wasn’t the first time Garcia’s house has been attacked. A few months earlier, a mortar landed just outside, slightly wounding a member of his unit. On Saturday, fifteen minutes after the rocket careened past his head, Garcia smoked a cigar and made jokes.

Spc. Mary Bigalk, 22, a reservist from Oshkosh, Wis., was in the same building with Garcia, 20 feet from the rocket’s path. Bigalk goes into downtown Fallujah on a regular basis and shrugged off the near miss.

“This is nothing,” she said. “It’s just another day in Fallujah.”
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Old 02-24-2004, 08:20 AM   #2
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Great gig...just 1 weekend a month....yeah, right.
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:26 AM   #3
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Angry not fair!!!!!!!

Hello, its me agein. I just wanted to let you know. That I am a reservist as well, and well, when you sign on the dotted line, is says that you are willing to be called up for active duty if needed. If there wanst so many cut backs on the active duty military, the reserves might not have to have been activated for so long. But that is just my opinion.

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Old 03-09-2004, 10:16 AM   #4
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I was surprised by that ... people i know who are career military spent the last year sitting in various bases around the US (one of them got "deployed" to New Jersey, much to the distress of his wife and family in the midwest), and it's the reservists who went overseas. Doesn't make sense somehow. With all due respect to the excellent service provided by all in Iraq and Afghanistan, why send accountants, nurses, and school teachers when we have professional soldiers? Is the overall size of our military really reduced to that point where the reserves form the bulk of the services?
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Old 03-09-2004, 11:18 AM   #5
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Here's an idea? What if we used our DEFENSIVE American military for it's intended purpose which is only to defend American soil and not for starting unprovoked wars with non-threatening countries? What if our military wasn't spread out all over the globe like the Roman Empire as a show of imperialistic force for intimidation? What if we didn't make enemies all over the world through our unconstitutional military interventionism?

Cutbacks in the military are the right thing to do. That doesn't mean cutting pay, it means cutting positions. We need to close every single American military base outside of America. I'm sure we'd have plenty of full-time volunteer servicemen to DEFEND America from attacks. Reservists would hardly be needed let alone activated.

The problem is George W. Bush doesn't read too well. Anyone who has watched him struggle with a teleprompter knows this. Perhaps when he was told the U.S. Military was for defending...

AMERICAN SOIL

he thought it was supposed to be used to defend....

AMERICAN'S OIL
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Old 03-09-2004, 11:48 AM   #6
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Problem is that, if my infos are correct, you have about 490000 soldiers and 362000 are/were deployed in 120 different countries (The Economist July, 26th '03). And you're right. Why does America still need to have a few thousand soldiers in Germany? The war is over for 60 years. Their are still american soldiers in Japan and about 60000 or so in South Corea. Just imagine that in every country America fought a war and was victorious they need to have military bases for 60 years...

An now just try to send someone to Iraq who wasn't home for two years or so. Should be funny when soldiers stop working to protest against being seperated from their family for 2 years or more. You don't have any professional soldiers left to make a rotation.

I think the argument about fighting a war for oil is not completly correct. If Bush only wanted Iraq's oil, he'd have simply needed to stop UN-Embargo against Iraq. So you cannot say that this war was only for oil!
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Old 03-09-2004, 01:15 PM   #7
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I never said it was ONLY for oil, although I think the american soil joke I made up is funny. I don't even think it was mostly about oil, though it was a big part.

GWB's daddy invaded Iraq without provocation and embarassed himself, so GWB walked into the office telling people to "find a way" for America to go to war with Iraq and when the 9/11 attacks hit, he got his wish. He was also able to railroad violations of our civil rights through congress by calling it the patriot act.

Georgie boy had lots of reasons to start the war but none of them were valid, constitutional, or justified.
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Old 03-09-2004, 01:46 PM   #8
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Well, there was one big reason that most Americans don't even know about that may or may not be constitutional, but I believe is arguably valid and justified:

A short time before 9/11, Saddam Hussein suddenly stopped dealing his oil for dollars and began dealing in Euros. Other Middle Eastern countries were looking to follow. From this perspective, to say the war was for oil may be correct but it's not about the profits or implied corporate kickbacks in that oil--it's about the fact that our entire currency is largely based on oil, and to take that away could VERY easily mean the collapse of the US dollar.

I do personally believe 9/11 was an excuse--to take moves ultimately designed to keep us out of another Great Depression. But I think the average American doesn't understand the intricacies of world economics, and it was an excuse the average person could wrap their head around.

We have a large body of evidence showing that we knew Pearl Harbor was going to be bombed in time to stop it, but allowed it to happen so we'd have a publicly acceptable excuse to join the war. Few people now believe that we should have stayed out of WWII, but at the time it would not have gone over well to just jump into the fray. In 75 years, we may also learn that we had the information suggesting that 9/11 was going to happen and we let it happen so we'd have that excuse. I wouldn't be surprised, but I also wouldn't necessarily be angry (assuming I'm still alive.) I personally like having a strong currency, and do not want my children to grow up during another Depression.
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Old 03-09-2004, 02:32 PM   #9
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If you value a strong currency, you should dislike Bush and his record setting deficit spending. You should also not want America's currency to be based on anything other than our own gold. The reason American dollars might be valueless is because of inflation which is caused by nothing other than the United States government printing more and more money without anything to back it up. (Technically the federal reserve prints the money and they're not part of the government, but that's another topic). And you would insist that they reduce spending. In other words you would vote for Libertarians.

If you want the American dollar to be worth something insist they turn off the printing presses and return to a gold standard. That and insist that America not send our military to police the globe.

It would also be a good idea to get government to stop preventing people from getting into the energy business through the many regulations. In 5 years, biomass energy could completely replace all fossil fuel needs (oil) in America or in three years remove our addiction to foreign oil which wouldn't get people to violate our Constitution and the sovereignty of other nations to protect it.

The U.S. Military IS NOT here to defend American "interests" abroad, nor is it here to defend oil supplies or to prop up the value of our currency. None of those is a valid use of our military.

And for the record, I say America did not have a valid reason to enter WWI. And it was America's military interventionism in WWI that created the conditions that allowed Hitler to come to power. Were it not for us blaming Germany for WWI (Austria started it) at the behest of France (Still angry about the Fanko-Prussian war) Hitler never would have come to power and there would have been no second world war. Millions upon milions would have lived were it not for the American military going where it didn't belong. I also think we had no valid reason to enter WWII. Japan attacked America only after we provoked them by again using our military to meddle with the oil of other people.
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Last edited by Radar; 03-10-2004 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 03-09-2004, 06:09 PM   #10
xoxoxoBruce
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Quote:
Originally posted by Radar
...

AMERICAN SOIL

he thought it was supposed to be used to defend....

AMERICAN'S OIL
Yes, very funny.

Quote:
Just imagine that in every country America fought a war and was victorious they need to have military bases for 60 years...
It's hard to imagine....only 60 years.
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Old 03-09-2004, 07:54 PM   #11
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Thanks Bruce, I made that one up myself yesterday.
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Old 03-09-2004, 09:35 PM   #12
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I was wondering when Radar was really gonna be back Missed Ya!
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Old 03-10-2004, 09:54 AM   #13
Radar
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Old 03-10-2004, 10:28 AM   #14
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Red face

Radar.....Im sure you have been around the block a few times. I am sure that you believe in your opinion. But there is one problem with you rmilitary personnel cut-backs. IT MAKES MORE UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My wife is the perfect reason. She was in the USMC as an Ordenance Technition for 8 years. Since the cut backs, she has been unemployed for 3 years now. She finally got her accountants degree and no is working again. You take service members out of the service and replace them with "civies". The military member gets as average of $2.85 and hr.,Plus the pride in whatever job their job is, then put the civies in at $25-$35 an hour, that makes the former service member, as many Demicrats like to call them, Deadbeat people. Your right, lets let the world murder eachother, then the Red Dawn thery, let other countries surprise attack us, then people like YOU complain that the military didnt do anything to stop them from attacking. Oh, wait a min. thats right, we dont have the means anymore, becouse of MRS. CLINTON's MILITARY CUTBACKS!!!!!!!!!! thank you for your time.

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Old 03-10-2004, 10:33 AM   #15
wolf
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Do you call her Hitlary too?
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